Students of Enterprise State Community College’s first graduating class, the Class of 1967, relived some of their most memorable moments on the campus during a luncheon for their 50th Homecoming celebration on Monday, February 27, 2017. The luncheon was hosted by the College’s Interim President, Dr. Vicky Ohlson. In attendance were 12 graduates and five instructors from the inaugural class. Dr. Joseph Talmadge, who served as the Dean of the College from 1965 to 1981 and the President from 1981 to 1994, was the keynote speaker.
Dr. Talmadge regaled the crowd with stories of improbable success in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles during the College’s infancy. Dr. Talmadge credited the success of the College to the determination and creativity of the administration and faculty who could pull together and provide for the students using very limited resources. Dr. Kevin Ammons, Associate Dean of Students, followed Dr. Talmadge’s speech with a presentation on the birth and history of the college.
“It was incredible as an employee of the College and a former student to hear the stories of those first days. I think it’s a testament to the impact that a few competent, passionate people can have on a community and that legacy certainly lives on today at ESCC,” said Andrew Davis, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning.
George Landingham, a member of the Class of 1967, said, “My wife and I …had not been back on the campus since we graduated 50 years ago and our memories were refreshed of the great time we spent there. It was wonderful seeing some old classmates and former faculty. It made me remember that Enterprise State Junior College gave me all the foundation I needed to go on to Auburn University and from there to a successful career. The College truly changed the course of my life.”
Roy and Beverly Powell, graduates of the Class of 1967 who are now married and live in Samson, said, “It was enjoyable to be back on campus and to see our classmates and several of the professors who were there. The College opening when it did was unbelievably good for all of us who were graduating from high school at that time. A lot of us probably would not have been able to have gone to a four-year school because of the cost in it. It was just a blessing to all of us to have such a wonderful experience with the amazing faculty that Dr. Talmadge had assembled. It wasn’t about the facilities, even though it was great to get into the new buildings there, because we even had a good time when we were in downtown Enterprise. It was hard at Auburn to get used to all the big classes. You’d go into a class and there’d be 300 people in there and we were used to 20 to 30. But I didn’t have any more of a problem adjusting to life at Auburn than students who had spent their first two years at Auburn.”
Dr. Ohlson said that having the first graduating class back on campus after 50 years was a wonderful experience and reminded her of how great an impact the College has on the lives of its students, giving them the opportunity for a first-class college education close to home and at a fraction of the cost for the same courses at a state university. She said that she is looking forward to having the Class of 1967 back on campus for this year’s graduation ceremony, where one of their own, Bill Carr, an extremely successful local entrepreneur and CEO of the 21st largest CPA firm in the nation (Carr, Riggs and Ingram) will deliver the commencement address. This year’s homecoming events serve as a model for future years to come, as the College intends to continually include additional classes from the past a part of the homecoming and graduation festivities each year. An alumni organization is also in the works.
Back row left to right: Mr. Ronnie Donaldson, Dr. David Chalker, Dr. Joe Autrey, Mr. Donald Cope, Mr. George Landingham
Middle Row Left to Right: Mrs. Linda Frye, Mrs. Patsy Powell, Ms. Peggy Autrey, Mrs. Martha Thompson, Mr. Roy Powell, Mrs. Gloria Landingham
Front Row Left to Right: Dr. Joseph Talmadge, Mrs. Nancy Brunson, Mrs. Beverly Powell, Mrs. Charlotte Hatcher, Mr. Curtis Davis