Today in Milligan History, 4/29

Today in Milligan History

an ongoing project of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society

Good Day, Milligan!

Proverbs 29:15 – A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

This is Wednesday, April 29, 2015, and on this day in Milligan history . . . 


1911    William Baxter Boyd and Nan Denton Ford married. W. B. Boyd would later serve as dean of Milligan College; Mrs. Boyd served as librarian and dormitory supervisor. From Cindy Cornwell McCachern (1985) at

1931    It was a Monday. Mabel Wolfe (1934; married name Mabel Acuff)   looked out her window of the Hardin Hall dormitory and saw a limousine pull up.  Out stepped a driver, a white man, who walked around the car to open the door for the elderly black man who stepped out of the vehicle.  The sight of a white chauffeur opening the door for an African-American was so incongruous in the racially segregated America of 1931, Miss Wolfe thought it must be a practical joke.  But it was no joke.  The passenger was none other than the world-famous Dr. George Washington Carver (1864-1943), who had included Milligan College on a ten-day “interracial good will tour” sponsored by the National Student Council of the YMCA.  His “chauffeur” was J. T. Hardwich, regional director of the Atlanta, GA, YMCA.  Carver’s itinerary included stops at Lynchburg College, Randolph Women’s College (both in Lynchburg, VA), Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Radford College, Emory & Henry College, Lees-McRae College, Milligan College, and Maryville College. A planned stop at the University of Tennessee did not materialize and was replaced by stops at Maryville and Knoxville College, a historically African-American institution.  The plan was for Dr. Carver to lecture to the students one hour in the assemblies, and talk in “science and chemistry classrooms.”  The inclusion of Milligan, Lynchburg, Emory & Henry and Radford is interesting, as all four schools have a historical connection to Josephus Hopwood, Milligan College’s founder. Atlanta World, (April 22 and May 1, 1931;  Johnson City Staff News, April 30, 1931; May 1, 1931 letter from Knoxville attorney Webster L. Porter;  May 19, 1931 letter to Carver from Milligan College’s Dean of Men, C. E. Burns

1945    U.S. Army Chaplain Robert O. Fife, with the 42nd Infantry “Rainbow Division” in southern Germany, came upon the site of horror known as Dachau – a concentration camp just outside Munich. Fife took pictures of the grisly scenes, but because he could not deal with the emotional impact of what he saw, he left the film undeveloped in his camera. Years later, when Fife was teaching at Milligan College (at Milligan 1954-1975), he summoned the courage to retrieve the camera, but the years had destroyed the quality of the film.

A day or two after the liberation of Dachau, U.S. Army Chaplain Bill Norris, the grandfather of Director of Alumni Relations Theresa Garbe (1991) and father of Emmanuel Christian Seminary Professor emeritus  Fred Norris (1963) was serving in a M.A.S.H. unit in southern Germany. When he noticed emaciated dysentery patients coming into his hospital, he asked who they were, and found out about Dachau. The next day he took a jeep out to the site and photographed the scenes. Milligan history student Scott Kain (att. 1999-2001) and Prof. Ted Thomas (ΦΑΘ, Milligan since 1999) interviewed Bill and Judy Norris in their Johnson City home in the Fall of 2000, and saw Norris’s photographic evidence of what he saw at Dachau. The Norrises lost the pictures and most of their worldly possessions in a house fire in 2001.

1957    Milligan Students went to the polls and elected new class officers for the 1957-58 school year. They chose Scott Bartchy (1958) and Jim Stidham (1958) to serve as president and vice president of the Student Council. The same issue of The Stampede announced that Ira Read (1958) would edit the 1958 Buffalo, and that Helen Feather (1959) would bring The Stampede to press. The Stampede, May 31, 1957, p. 1.

1960    The Chamber of Commerce of Elizabethton and Carter County, TN, set aside three days, April 29, 30, and May 1 as Milligan Appreciation Days. The merchants of Elizabethton recognized the college by bringing to the attention of Carter County Citizens the progress of the college under the leadership of President Dean E. Walker (1899-1988; President 1950-1968; Chancellor 1968-1988).  The promotion included special radio programs; a special edition (April 29) of the Elizabethton Star featured more than fifty pictures of the college and 700 inches of copy.   Mill-Agenda, Vol. 10, No. 2, May-June 1960.

1989    The Concert Committee of the SGA brought Brian Duncan, earlier a member of the Sweet Comfort Band, to the campus. Four hundred people attended the concert, for which a local band, Committed, did the warm-up act.  The Stampede, Volume 53, No. 5, May, 1989

2009    A campus-wide e-mail shared the good news that the Milligan College Men’s Golf Team was selected as the 2009 Champions of Character recipient at the AAC/NAIA Direct Qualifier Tournament held the previous week at the Bear Trace Course at Harrison Bay. The selection was made by the head coaches of the AAC schools. The Champions of Character award was given to the team that reflected the Champions of Character core values of sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility, respect and servant leadership.

2014    Lauren (Ren) Reed’s (2014) one-act play, Whatever Souls Are Made Of, had its debut during the twenty-seventh annual One Act Festival.  Reed wrote the play and directed the cast, which included Courtney Blair, Corri Richardson, Luis Treviño, Kate Handzlik (2013) and Eli Smith.

Birthdays: This is the birthday of Jean Fritts Leggett (1953, Fide et Amore) in Oxford, PA. She was Milligan College’s first lady during the presidency of her husband Marshall Leggett (1951, Fide et Amore, president 1982-1997).The Leggetts now live in retirement in Texas . . . in 1987 Milligan College junior Alan Michael Cody Boyer  . . . and in 1996 freshman Krissa Marie Tipton.

Do you know something that happened on this day in Milligan history?  Is this the birthday of a Milligan personality?  The anniversary of a Milligan event?  If so, write to Phi Alpha Theta at