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Guest Columnist - Dr. Kemp Mabry

Remembering my teachers

    My Southern (Half) Century. My professional education began at Georgia Teachers College, affectionately called “TC.” I had an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and an AB. degree in mathematics from Mercer University. But I needed to learn how to teach mathematics. I read every book on teaching mathematics in the old Rosenwald Library, where the GSU Museum is now located.
    I had 10 years experience working with adolescent high school students in YMCA activities but I had to “professionalize” my temporary teaching certificate to continue teaching mathematics at Willingham High School in Macon where I was employed at that time.
    I learned something from every professor I had classes with at TC, later Georgia Southern College. My time was well spent at TC and GSC. One year I became Teacher of the Year at Willingham High School.
    My problem just now is that I cannot recall the name of every professor I had here or at Tech or at Mercer or at the Florida State University. I asked several of my classmates but they couldn’t remember either!
    There was John Lindsey, who became Dr. Lindsey at FSU later. There was Dr. Georgia Watson, who became famous enough to have a building on campus named for her. Dr. McKinney taught me educational research, which many of my classmates dreaded but I made “A” in the course by working hard.
    I took a mathematics course as an elective from Dr. Walter Lynch. It was just what I needed to teach a transitional course in Geometry.
    The Russian Sputnik success put them a leg up on the race to put a vehicle into orbit. The federal government set up a program to help pay for school counselors to be prepared to help students in career guidance, hoping that they would choose to study mathematics, science or foreign language.
    There were very few school counselors in Georgia at that time. “TC” set up a counselor education program. I applied for the program and was admitted.
    Soon, Dr. William Lawrence Hitchcock arrived from Oregon State University with a plan. He was the most organized teacher I ever had. I hit my stride and made very good grades. I remember that many of my classmates dreaded the course taught by Dr. Bill Weaver. He was a rigorous professor but I worked hard and received the only A plus he had given, so he said.
    The late Dr. Starr Miller was dean of education when I was a graduate student and also when I joined the faculty in 1966. When he asked me to help him in his campaign for the presidency of the Georgia Retired Teachers Association, I did. He was elected and I reported that Georgia’s retired teachers had “hitched their wagon to a ‘Starr’.”
    From District A & M School to South Georgia Teachers College to Georgia Teachers College (TC) to Georgia Southern College to Georgia Southern University. We are proud of the longtime good relations between town and gown. The last “Day for Southern” continues that tradition.
    Read about the entire “Southern Century” in Dr. Del Presley’s definitive history of our beloved “Institution of
Higher Learning.”

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