The History of the Norfolk State University Retirees Association (NSURA) — Established July 12, 2000
For every institution, there are days or dates that are extremely significant in the history of the development of that institution. Such a date for Norfolk State University was July 1, 1997. On this date, Dr. Marie V. McDemmond became the third president of the largest historically black university, the first female to serve in this prestigious position as well as the first female to serve as the chief executive officer of a four-year, state supported university in Virginia.
Dr. McDemmond expressed deep appreciation for the programs that were affectively enhancing the image and the stature of Norfolk State University. As was to be expected, the vivacious new leader came with some initiatives of her own. She soon expressed her desire to have the University’s retirees organized because she believed that the maturity, experience, and knowledge - in general - of the retirees in an organized setting would serve to foster advancement and cohesiveness among administrators, faculty and students alike. NSURA serves as the voice of the organized retirees of Norfolk State University.
Phyllis Crudup Bryant, then Director of Advancement Research, took the lead in the organizational efforts and served as Campus Representative. She has proven to be a remarkable choice, an alumna of Norfolk State University, earning both the baccalaureate and the master’s degrees, and reared in a home of two decades of Norfolk State University Alumni. She is the embodiment of the spirit of Norfolk State University and now serves as the University’s Director of Constituent Relations. To begin this historical task, an Open Letter was written to NSU retirees requesting ten serious, energetic, committed volunteers to serve as core leaders. Their charge was to name the organization and formulate the mission, vision, goals, objectives, constitution and by-laws, and elect the officers. Interested retirees were asked to complete and submit a Volunteer Form on April 10, 2002, at a luncheon sponsored by the NSU Foundation, Inc.
After receiving the Volunteer Forms and identifying other NSU retirees who might possibly be interested in such an endeavor, individual letters were written to the sixteen retirees and other retirees inviting them to meet with Ms. Bryant to plan the establishment of the organization. Ten retirees attended the first meeting at noon on July 12, 2000, in Room 430 of Harrison B. Wilson Hall.
At this meeting, each retiree made a commitment to serve on the Planning Committee. The seeds were planted for the Norfolk State University Retirees Association.
The pioneers at this initial meeting were as follows:
- Dr. Samuel Anderson, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, 1997, 34 years of service
- Jocelyn Pretlow Goss, Professor Emerita of English and Foreign Languages, 1978, 32 years of service
- Thelma M. Hayes, Professor Emerita of Business, 1985, 40 years of service
- David H. Klein, English and Foreign Languages, 28 years of service
- Dr. Alvin Clinton Lomax, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Emeritus, 1992, 32 1/2 years of service
- Dr. Naomi H. Morton Pharr, Professor Emerita of Business, 1992, 50 years of service
- Rice Roberts, Technology Department, 1990, 28 years of service
- Dollie Peeples Wells, Human Resources, 1991, 28 years of service
- Lillie Ruth Wilson, Counseling Services/ Instructor, 1981, 15 years of service
- Dr. Lillian Parker Wright, Consumer Services and Family Studies, 1992, 26 years of service
- Ms. Phyllis Crudup Bryant, Campus Representative, the Division of University Advancement, 17 years of service
- These eleven persons formed the nucleus of the planning group to found the Norfolk State University Retirees Association (NSURA).
At the first meeting, Ms. Bryant greeted and welcomed the group and gave the invocation, which asked for leadership and guidance in this venture. Each retiree was given the opportunity to introduce himself/herself. Once the task at hand was explained, each retiree present made a commitment to work diligently to complete the task in a manner supportive of our current President, Marie V. McDemmond, the visionary leader of Norfolk State University.
The next item on the agenda was to select a name for the organization. It was unanimously decided that the name would be the Norfolk State University Retirees Association and that the membership would be open only to those persons who had officially retired from Norfolk State University. A provision would also be made to include honorary members.
At this first meeting, a decision was made not to elect a president. Dr.Samuel Anderson and Mr. David H. Klein were designated to serve as co-chairs until a president and the vice president could be elected at a later date. However, some officers were elected. They were as follows:
Recording Secretary — Mrs. Dollie Peeples Wells
Assistant recording Secretary — Mrs. Lillie Ruth Wilson
Treasurer — Ms. Thelma M. Hayes
Historian — Mrs. Jocelyn Pretlow Goss
The group decided to meet once a month on the second Friday. Refreshments were served at these meetings, which enhanced the time for camaraderie and friendship. At meetings throughout the year, the Founders and the Founding Campus Liaison formulated the Constitution and By-Laws.
At the September 2001 meeting, the official roster of officers was finalized. They were as follows:
Dr. Samuel Anderson — President
Mr. David Klein — Vice President
Mrs. Lillie Ruth Wilson — Recording Secretary
Mrs. Dollie Peeples Wells — Corresponding Secretary
Dr. Lillian Parker Wright — Financial Secretary
Ms. Thelma M. Hayes — Treasurer
Dr. Naomi H. Morton Pharr — Parliamentarian
Mrs. Jocelyn Pretlow Goss — Historian
Dr. Alvin Clinton Lomax — Chaplain
The association spent considerable time and thought in writing the Constitution, keeping in mind the purpose as it related to the uniqueness of Norfolk State University. The Constitution was adopted on March 27, 2001. Revisions were approved on June 8, 2001. The vision of the organization is to involve all retirees in activities that enhance the image, support the programs and promote the advancement of the University, regarding its cultural and social events, as well as its leisure time activities. The Association established $25.00 as its annual dues.
FIRST HONORARY MEMBERS HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
Interested alumni and friends gathered in the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center on Monday, April 9, 2001, for the formal Induction Ceremony of the Founding and Honorary Members of NSURA. Dr. Thelma Thompson, Vice President of Academic Affairs, graciously accepted the task of presenting the new members to the Norfolk State University Family and their guests. The first Honorary Members were as follows:
On September 18, 2001, NSURA held a Special Membership Meeting in the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center. This date had historical significance for NSURA because on September 18, 1935, sixty- six years earlier, Norfolk State University opened its doors to its first students.
- Dr. William “Bill” Carroll, Ms. Inez Dunston, Dr. Aubrey Escoffery, Mrs. Madeline Franklin, Mr. Reuben Jarvis, Mrs. Ruth Jarvis, Mrs. Shirley G. Jenkins, Dr. Eleanor G. D. Jones, Mr. Charles Pleasants, Mrs. Eleanor Ruffin, Dr. Georgia Ryder, Dr. Otto Sampson, and Donald F. Taylor joined NSURA on September 18, 2001.
- Dr. James Reeves and George Watts paid membership dues on October 5, 2001.
- On October 11, 2001, Dr. William Wright joined the Association.
- On October 12, 2001, Dr. Raymond Alexander, Dr. George Brown, Mrs. Clara Echols, Dr. Burton Schepper, Mrs. Esther I. Wilson, and Ms. Florence Woodhouse joined.
- On November 9, 2001, Mrs. Sara Morris, Mrs. Fannie Taylor Smith, Dr. Brinston Collins, and Dr. Linda Scanlan joined NSURA.
- On January 11, 2002 Mrs. Virginia Randolph and Dr. Muriel Chasten joined
- Dr. Peter Chang joined on February 20, 2002.
- Phyllis Crudup Bryant designed the official seal of NSURA.
- It was typeset by Lisa Jackson Smith.
- The word “founded,” was added by Dr. Lillian Parker Wright, adopted March 2001.
- The Seal will appear on the letterhead and on all programs.
- NSURA adopted green and gold as its colors, March 2001.
- The Induction Oath was adopted March 2001.
- The Creed was written by Jocelyn Pretlow Goss, adopted March 2001.
- The poem, “The Retirees,” was written by Dr. William Carroll, adopted January 2002.
NSURA sponsored its first public program on Tuesday, February 12, 2002, for African American History Month, titled “The African American Soldier of WWII: Patriotism Through a Glass Darkly.” It was well attended by over 200 students, faculty, staff, NSU ROTC students and members of the Hampton Roads Community.
NSURA grew from ten Founding members to forty members and five honorary members. Other NSU retirees have indicated interest in joining the Association. At its October 12, 2002 meeting, new members were inducted and seven committees were established. The committees were as follows:
Mrs. Ruth Jarvis
Mr. George Watts, Co-chair
Dr. Burton Shepper
Mrs. Dollie Peeples Wells
Dr. Aubrey Escoffery, Chair
Dr. James Reeves
Dr. Donald Taylor
Ms. Phyllis Crudup Bryant
Dr. William Carroll, Chair
Dr. Raymond Alexander
Mrs. Clara Echols
Dr. Florence Woodhouse
Mrs. Inez Dunston
Dr. Otto Sampson
Ms. Phyllis Crudup Bryant, Acting Chair
Ms. Esther Wilson
Mrs. Dollie Peeples Wells
Dr. Eleanor G. D. Jones, Chair
Mrs. Jocelyn Pretlow Goss
Dr. James Reeves
Mr. George Watts
Dr. Otto Sampson, Chair
Mrs. Inez Dunston, Co-chair
Mrs. Madeline Franklin
Dr. George Brown, Chair
With criteria in place for more honorary members, and as our faculty, staff and administrators continue to retire and remain in the Hampton Roads area, the Association envisions a growth in its membership. This growth will enable us to enhance our services to the continued advancement of the institution and foster genuine fellowship among the University population and the community.