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Meharry opens 125-year observance with formal academic convocation

NASHVILLE, TENN. - Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, Councilwoman Brenda Gilmore, scholarship donors and alumni from across the nation, plus hundreds of students, faculty and staff, assembled at Meharry Medical College Monday to applaud students cited for superior scholarship, to witness faculty awarded for exemplary teaching, and to enjoy the kickoff event of the College’s year-long celebration of its 125th anniversary.
Dr. John E. Maupin Jr. (r), president of Meharry Medical College, and Frank S. Royal Sr., chairman of the board of trustees, with the president of the National Medical Association, Dr. Lucille C. Norville-Perez, as they announce during the opening event of the College's year-long anniversary celebration, a partnership joining Meharry and the NMA in a drive to increase seat belt safety among African-Americans.


The centerpiece of the opening celebration was the College’s traditional Fall Convocation, featuring this year a Meharry honors graduate, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Leonard M. Randolph, Jr., ‘72. Gen. Randolph told students that they are part of a rich legacy, reminding them, for example, that community outreach - “going where people are and not forcing them to come to us”—is a concept that began at Meharry.

Said the general: “You should always stand tall and be extremely proud of Meharry. As for me, I pray I will never lose the sensitivity and caring that I learned right here on this campus.”

To publicly acknowledge long-term supporters of the College, John E. Maupin, Jr., president of Meharry, inaugurated a new Presidential Distinguished Service Medal at the Convocation. He awarded the first one to Nashville physician Calvin L. Calhoun, Sr., M.D., ‘60, an emeritus faculty member with a 50-year association with Meharry.

The second Presidential Medal went to Rueben C. Warren, D.D.S., ‘72, M.P.H., Ph.D., of Atlanta, an alumnus and former dean of the Meharry School of Dentistry. Currently, Dr. Warren is the associate administrator of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Immediately following the formal academic convocation, Dr. Maupin, Board of Trustees Chairman Frank S. Royal, Sr., of Richmond, and Meharry National Alumni Association President Brandon Barton, D.D.S., cut the 125th “birthday” cake and unveiled a new icon intended for public display throughout the anniversary year. The icon design was specially commissioned to capture in a single image Meharry’s rich legacy and its vision of unparalleled success for its three core businesses enterprises - education, research and health care services.

The convocation/unveiling ceremony was preceded on Sunday by “Meharry Day” at Clark Memorial United Methodist Church. Delivering the principal message for the morning worship service, Dr. Maupin told the congregation it was historically correct in its anniversary year for Meharry to worship there to count the blessings that have contributed to the College’s longevity. The reason: Central Tennessee College, founded by the Methodist Church, began in Clark Memorial’s basement. And the medical department it organized evolved into Meharry Medical College in 1913.

Continuing the celebration, later in the academic year Meharry plans to sponsor a black tie opening for a Black History Month art exhibit, featuring collections that have been donated to the College over the years. In April, the College’s Circle of Friends Gala will be an expanded version of the annual donor recognition event, with entertainment to be provided by Three Mo’ Tenors, the vocal aggregation whose command of European classics, jazz, pop, blues, gospel and spirituals is taking the nation by storm.

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