Spring 2017 Pages 34-37

Violin G. Plummer taught in the Education Department, and also served as assistant librarian for Oakwood College, as well as librarian for the academy. Prior to arriving at Oakwood, in the military “Doc Plummer” had learned cooking skills that served him well as one of the principal bakers at the Oakwood Bakery during its thriving days. He also involved students in church plantings and missionary endeavor in rural areas, in such places as Florence and Hartselle, Alabama, and Fayetteville, Tennessee.
Leslie N. Pollard has led Oakwood in several initiatives since taking office in 2011: unprecedented research of Oakwood students’ spiritual commitments; purchase of two nationally-franchised business in Huntsville; full reaccreditation through 2018 by the AAA*; renovations to Carter Hall and Ford Hall, and construction of the Peters Media Center; a $2,000,000 gift for the OU Health and Wellness Center; a campaign for a Community Health Action Clinic; launched Healthy Campus 2020, joined Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA); and led Oakwood to becoming the first North American Division institution of higher education.
Trailblazer Chaplain (Colonel) Joseph T. Powell, became the first African American Seventh-day Adventist chaplain in the United States Army. Powell was a man of God, a husband, father and mentor. As a young pastor in Durham, North Carolina, Powell worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to organize lunch counter sit-ins. He retired from the Army in 1975, and entered a new phase of ministry as a chaplain and an assistant professor of religion at Oakwood. Later in his career, he also pastored in Los Angeles, California.
The Honorable Eardell J. Rashford, a lifelong member of the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in New York City, has served on Oakwood’s Board of Trustees, and has been a legal advisor to the Northeastern Conference. She has served the A. Samuel Rashford Chapter of the Oakwood Alumni Association, named for her father. Rashford is a founding member of the Association of Black Women Attorneys of New York City. She remains dedicated to God, her church and community, and desires to serve all with God at her side.
While a student at Oakwood, we are told that Benjamin F. Reaves, is credited with the creation of the Oakwood motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve.” As president of Oakwood College from 1986 to 1996, his administration turned around an enrollment decline and established a trend of enrollment increase up to institutional capacity. Other accomplishments during this presidency included elimination of the fund balance deficit that in 1986 had been $1,700,000; reduction of default rate from 29% in 1987 to 11% in 1994; and launch of the first national “Shields of Gold” capital campaign.
During the three years that Neil W. Reid attended Oakwood (1984-87), he served his peers respectively as a senator, the executive vice president, and president of the United Student Movement. Undeterred by a rollover car accident in “Mile Gully” on a visit with his family to Northern Caribbean University in 2003, Neil accepted the call to serve as senior pastor of the University Church. Reid’s passion for selfless pastoral care, visionary leadership, and healthy interpersonal relationships transformed the institution and impacted thousands of lives. Dr. Reid currently serves as the Ministerial Director for Georgia Cumberland Conference of SDA.
Theodore “Ted” Rivers’ passion for music and media inspired him to create, in the 1970s, an “underground,” closed-circuit campus radio station that was fondly known as WTED. Sometime after graduating in 1979, now “Professor” Ted Rivers, taught a variety of Communication classes and launched a legal, low-power campus radio station from unused storage space in Moran Hall. Professor Rivers also based a grant-funded, satellite-learning program there, along with his self-funded music label and video production company, Precious Memories from Oakwood College, which recorded the music of many Oakwood artists. The Dykes-Rivers Lectureship Series is named in his honor.
After years of service as a Literature Evangelist and Publishing Director, in 1973, Sandy Robinson, Jr., accepted a call to develop and direct a new industry for Oakwood College: the Student Literature Evangelist Training Center. Through his leadership, student canvassers were able to earn scholarship funds to continue and complete their Christian education. Many of today’s organizational workers, attorneys, physicians, teachers, and a host of graduates in other professions, were mentored and trained by Elder Robinson.
James Roddy’s name is synonymous with sports and physical education at Oakwood, that the Ashby Gymnasium has been referred to as “the Roddy Dome.” He arrived at Oakwood in 1965 as its first physical education instructor, coach and athletic director. He never imagined “the Oaks” as a place of longevity; however, after 51 years, he can’t envision himself having been anywhere else. Over the years, the physical education program has expanded to include seven intercollegiate athletic programs, three men’s basketball national championships, and a full-fledged health and exercise science academic department.
It is reasonable to calculate that, during Dr. Ernest E. Rogers’ more than 50 years of full time service at Oakwood, he was involved with the training of 90% or more of all ministers in the Regional Conferences of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. During Oakwood’s Founder’s Day and 120th anniversary celebration, the E.E. Rogers Biblical Languages & Resource Center was dedicated at the Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Leadership Center, honoring Dr. Rogers’ service as Oakwood’s first full-time professor of Biblical languages, from 1945 to 1979. The Center fosters the learning and use of Biblical languages, and provides computer-based resources for students.

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