Spring 2017 Pages 8-11

As a baby, Frances Elizabeth Blake had the distinction of having been held in the arms of Ellen G. White. From 1945 to 1947, Frances taught English and Bible, and served as Dean of Women at Oakwood. After years of service at Pine Forge Academy, she returned to Oakwood and taught English in the inner college program (then called the Center for Academic Advancement). By the time of her retirement in 1973, a number of students lovingly referred to her as “Mom.”
Lottie Cornella Isabell Blake’s zeal to become a missionary nurse led her to Battle Creek, Michigan, where Dr. John Harvey Kellogg encouraged her to pursue the medical course. Her first missionary experience was in the South where she labored as director of the Rock City Sanitarium at Nashville, Tennessee (forerunner of Riverside Hospital & Sanitarium). She was also a practicing physician in Birmingham, Alabama. During this time, she made frequent trips to Huntsville’s Oakwood Manual Training School, now Oakwood University, to serve where she was needed.
Francis Bliss joined the faculty at Oakwood College in 1974, and determinedly pursued her Ph.D. in Education. She rose through the ranks to full professor and ultimately Chairperson of the Education Department. She had a passion for Seventh-day Adventist Christian education and continued to work for the success of teachers and schools well past her formal retirement.
Mary Inez Lang Booth arrived at Oakwood Junior College in 1939. Her professional career at Oakwood extended over 44 years in various capacities, including dean of women, teacher, advisor, and chairman of the Music Department for 29 years. Mrs. Booth also served the Oakwood College Church as organist for many years. A mother figure to many, she was also well known for her role in Oakwood’s prison ministry, fondly called “jail band,” as described in her book Forty Years Behind Bars. An honorary doctorate was awarded to Mrs. Booth, during the 2010 Oakwood University Commencement ceremony.
Charles E. Bradford – fondly known as “Brad” – served the Seventh-day Adventist Church in pastoral ministry and leadership throughout North America. In 1978, the faculty of Andrews University conferred on him the Doctor of Divinity degree. A year later, Brad was elected President of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. In 1992, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers and Scholars at Morehouse College. The Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Leadership Center at Oakwood University is named in his honor.
As a student custodian in Edwards Hall, Tabari Brannon did his job as if he was getting paid a million bucks! While at Oakwood, he was in Voices of Triumph, NAPS, and was a literature evangelist. Now, Brannon is a co-founder of a startup company that helps community members with technology and business. Brannon and his wife Judith live in Bakersfield, California.
After graduating from Oakwood College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology Education in 1999, Ronald Brisé taught at Miami Union Academy for five years. He then went on to earn two MBA degrees in Marketing and Management from American Intercontinental University. Brisé is a faithful member and an elder of the Tabernacle SDA Church, and is a member of several professional and civic organizations. Brisé serves as a Commissioner for the Florida Public Service Commission. He previously served as Florida State Representative of District 108.
As he studied theology at Oakwood College, Charles Decatur (C.D.) Brooks paid his way through school by milking cows at the school’s dairy farm. He spearheaded the construction of the Bell Tower, edited the Acorn, and was a member of the class of 1951. He served as Field Secretary of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and as speaker-director of Breath of Life for 23 years. In 2007 in honor of E.E. Cleveland, Charles Bradford, and C.D. Brooks, the Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Leadership Center (BCBLC) was established at Oakwood University.
In 2004, Angela Brown emerged from the wings, after years as an understudy in countless productions, to center stage at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, transformed the role of Aida into her very own, and instantly won the acclaim of critics and audiences alike. While opera is the main catalyst for her career, Angela’s performance experience includes everything from star hostess on stage to producer and creator of “Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View,” a show that brings opera to the masses in the form of an edgy, yet educational, concert presentation. Brown received her Bachelor of Music degree in voice from Oakwood University, where she studied with Ginger Beazley.
Gina Spivey Brown, Ph.D., currently serves as the Dean of the School of Nursing at Howard University. In her short tenure there, she has led the faculty in restoring the program to much of its former glory. When she chaired the nursing program at Columbia Union College, it had some of its greatest success in terms of students passing the state board exams. She has traveled the world consulting with nursing educators on how to strengthen programs, and she is always willing to assist.
Milton Brown, Ph.D., MD, is the Director of the Drug Development Program for the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a tenured faculty member in at least eight departments and several of these are endowed. He has published more than 150 scientific articles in respected scientific journals and given more than 200 presentations all over the world. In 2015, he was awarded the Percy Julian award in chemistry for his work.
Dr. Janice Johnson Browne is a graduate of Oakwood University with a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology; Alabama A & M University with a M.S. in Clinical Psychology; and Andrews University with a Ph.D. in Leadership. Janice is an international speaker who shares the good news of Jesus Christ, and presents workshops on a variety of topics. She is a vocal soloist, poet, author, clinical therapist, a university educator, and a general civil mediator approved by the Supreme Court of Tennessee. She is Founder and CEO of a charity for displaced Ethiopian women and children.
The 1953 Acorn was dedicated to “one through her friendly manners, high standards, charm of personality, understanding, and sincere devotion has won an irreplaceable spot in the hearts of all.” Miss Natellka E. Burrell rendered untiring services to the cause of learning at Oakwood College. The lives of her students were enriched and inspired by the profoundness of her instruction and the warmth of her friendship and love. Students were led into deep recesses of knowledge and led into a closer relationship with their Maker. Burrell Hall is named in her honor.

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