Applauding a 50th college class reunion and other college graduates

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mae Carolyn and Joseph Williams (Photo submitted by Tiffany Jennings)

Mae Carolyn and Joseph Williams (Photo submitted by Tiffany Jennings)

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes with biography and history.” – Carter G. Woodson


Two of the Cobb Elementary School 1957 graduates celebrated their 50th college class reunion in October 2015. The two students graduated from North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C. in 1965. The students were Alphia Little Wills and Mae Carolyn Jackson Williams.

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Mae Carolyn’s husband, Joseph Williams, Jr., was also one of the 50th class reunion celebrants.  Alphia Little Wills was an educator from her graduation from North Carolina Central University until her retirement. Mae Carolyn Jackson Williams was also an educator from her graduation from North Carolina Central University until her retirement.


Alphia and Mae Carolyn returned to North Carolina Central University to celebrate their 50th college class reunion, Oct. 30-31, 2015. There were 121 other classmates from around the United States who returned to celebrate this awesome occasion. This celebration was grand and included events at which we were recognized.


On Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 at the North Carolina Central University Founder’s Day Convocation each 50th reunion classmate was recognized individually and given a certificate of recognition.  We wore maroon robes with a medallion on a gray ribbon during this ceremony. Maroon and gray are the university colors.


North Carolina’s Superior Court Judge Leon Stanback, one of our classmates, was the keynote speaker of the convocation. The University’s chancellor, Dr. Debra Saunders-White, gave remarks along with many other noteworthy persons. The University Choir rendered the musical selection, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”


Following the convocation, we attended the North Carolina Central University Golden Eagles’ Club Luncheon. During this luncheon our class was inducted into the Golden Eagles’ Club, a college organization for graduates having graduated from NCCU 50 years earlier or more.  Former chief executive officer of IBM, Dr. Herbert Watkins, one of our classmates, was the keynote speaker. Former North Carolina State superintendent, Dr. Dudley Flood, was the master of ceremonies.

A Friday evening activity that our classmates had prepared for during several of the preceding months was the presentation of our class gift (a monetary donation) to the university. We were very proud of the amount of our donation to the university. Other reunion classes whose graduating class year ended with the number “5” or “0” also made presentations. Later we were entertained at a late evening concert by performing artists Anthony Phillips, saxophonist, and Jeffrey Osborne, singer.


On Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 we began the day by attending the class breakfast at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in the Research Triangle outside of Durham. At the breakfast, we recognized all of our classmates who were deceased. We also had a delicious breakfast and a wonderful time in fellowship.


At noon, chartered buses took us from the Sheraton Hotel to campus for the homecoming game between North Carolina Central University and Norfolk State University. At the game, a block of reserved seating was provided for our class. North Carolina Central University won the game.  That was a pleasant conclusion to our weekend of outstanding activities. It was great to see our college classmates and share news about self and family. It was a fantastic 50th college class reunion.


Other Cobb Elementary School 1957 graduates have also graduated from college. They are being recognized in this article.


Carver Jackson graduated from the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg in 1984.  He was an engineer with General Electric in Greenville, S.C. before his retirement. Carver now works at the University of South Carolina.


Spencer Wilkins graduated in 1987 from Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. He also attended Hood Seminary in Salisbury, N.C. Spencer Wilkins has been a preacher and a manager with the Celanese Corporation in Greenville, S.C. He is now an entrepreneur, a radio commentator, and a farmer.


Gasaway Jones graduated from Rutledge College in Spartanburg, S.C. in 1971. He also graduated from Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg. He worked as a welder for the General Electric Company in Greenville, S.C. He also taught welding at Spartanburg Community College.


Bertha Whiteside graduated from Atlantic Business College in Washington, D.C. in 1964. She has worked as a secretary. She is now a preacher and a teacher.


Jennie Lee Twitty Smith graduated from Morristown College in Morristown, Tenn. in 1963. She also attended Minor Teacher’s College in Washington, D.C. She worked at Howard University and the United States Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. She retired as an administrative assistant.


We are very proud of the accomplishments of these 1957 Cobb Elementary School graduates and we are proud of the accomplishments of the other 1957 Cobb Elementary School graduates who were successful in their professions through on the job training.


– Submitted by Mae Carolyn Jackson Williams