Category Archives: Community

Black History Month Celebration: 9th Annual African-American Read-In

by Trinity Littleton

Photo courtesy of Mary Amelia Taylor
Photo courtesy of Mary Amelia Taylor

Judson College students gathered on Tuesday, February 18, to celebrate Black History Month by taking part in the National African-American Read-In. This event took place in the Ramsay-McCrummen Chapel in Jewett Hall at 7 p.m. The Humanities and Fine Arts Division hosted this 9th annual read-in to celebrate literature and achievements by African American authors. Audri Thicklin, Lashundra Walker, Breanna Weaver and Camry Sturdivant are students who participated by reading a variety of excerpts alongside some of our campus professors. Students were able to hear pieces from Deborah Roberts, Maya Angelou, Phillis Wheatley, William Apess and many others. The Judson Singers performed two pieces directed by Dr. Spafford featuring Miriam Nicholson on percussion and piano. Bama Porter, Kenzie Parker, Marissa McNamara and Grace Abbott performed “The Creation” by James Weldon Johnson, directed by Dr. Billie Jean Young.  

Photo courtesy of Mary Amelia Taylor
Photo courtesy of Mary Amelia Taylor

Dr. Parham shared that the African-American Read-In only involved readings until 2015, when the Humanities and Fine Arts Division requested adding music and performances to celebrate other widely known African-Americans as well. This annual event provides exposure to other cultures and values; it is an amazing opportunity and Judson College cannot wait to celebrate with you next year at the 10th annual African-American Read-in! 

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A Quilter’s Dream

by Trinity Littleton

  • Photos courtesy of Mary Amelia Taylor

Thursday, February 20, Mary Ann and China Pettway came to share their stories about the unique quilts of Gee’s Bend to the students, staff and faculty of Judson College. The quilts of Gee’s Bend are quilts created by a group of women and their ancestors who live or have lived in the isolated African American hamlet of Gee’s Bend, Alabama along the Alabama River. These quilts carry forward an old and proud tradition of textiles made for home and family that represent a part of the rich body of African American quilts. The Civil Rights movement was brought to Gee’s Bend in 1965 by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. This movement provided a way for the Gee’s Bend women to boost their family incomes through the Freedom Quilting Bee and they have continued to make these original and world-renowned quilts ever since. 

Mary Ann Pettway, manager of the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective, began quilting with her mother the summer of 2005 and since then has not stopped. She has had her work displayed in museums, galleries and universities around the world. China Pettway was also taught by her mother to make quilts at the age of eleven along with her sibling. The two women from Gee’s Bend remained on campus after their presentation and a few of our students took the opportunity to sit in with them during lunch which was followed by a quilt-making demonstration. Judson College was thrilled to host Mary Ann and China Pettway on campus and appreciate them taking the time to come. 

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Judson Alum Celebrates Her 107th Birthday

by Grace Terry


Judson Alumna Iona Fontaine celebrated her one-hundred-and-seventh birthday on the sixteenth of January 2020. Students sent their well-wishes by signing a giant card in the cafeteria. This special birthday card, along with another filled with the comments and words of congratulations from other alumni made their way to Ms. Fontaine via Beth Poole. Members of news media gathered at the John Knox nursing home in Montgomery, Alabama to broadcast the special event. Judson College wishes Ms. Fontaine well and that she has had a Happy Birthday!

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Rose Sunday Turns 104

“The ivy chain on Rose Sunday bound us together, In love’s sweet devotion for aye.” These lyrics from the senior song “A Spray of Laughter” sum up the true meaning of Rose Sunday. Rose Sunday is a tradition that has been around since 1915. It symbolizes the bond we share not only with the current classes, but with the sister classes who came before us. Each year the freshmen weave the ivy with the help of their soon-to-be big sister class. As both classes hold up the chain, the senior class comes through the two lines dressed in their academic regalia. Then after the classes sing short prayer songs, the president, faculty, and students walk down the street to Siloam Baptist Church, where the president delivers a message.

In the year 1915, Judson College held its first Rose Sunday, in honor of when Milo P. Jewett, the first president of Judson College, would invite the students to walk with him to Siloam Baptist Church. Siloam has been home to many of Judson’s presidents and students. Some of Siloam’s members founded Judson as well as Samford University.

As we come to celebrate Judson’s 104th celebration of Rose Sunday, we welcome Dr. Mark Tew back to our Judson family for his first Rose Sunday as president of the college.

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The Fresh Face of Judson

by Lela Ball

Over the course of a mere summer, vast improvements have been made across campus. Julia Barron Hall has received a majority of the renovations: bathroom outlets were moved to more reachable and convenient locations, the bathroom walls were repainted, light fixtures were replaced, and new tiles were installed in the bathroom floors.

In Jewett, the dining hall received renovations as well. The back received a fresh coat of paint as well as new cabinets. The old tile was pulled up in the main dining hall, and the floor leading into Archibald also received an upgrade. New equipment is also now being used.

As for the J, major changes have been made. The entire second floor has been renovated, each room now lively and busy. Some painting was also done in this building. The replacement of the HVAC on the second floor is another dramatic change. Possibly the most exciting renovation is the moving of The Vault (now simply the bookstore) back into the J, which has greatly pleased the student body. Finally, the Judson Eagles’ soccer field as received a new scoreboard.

Please take note that several offices have moved around due to the exciting changes in the J. Courtney Tindale is now in the office next to the mail room, and Ms. Sulynn Creswell is just down the hall. Amy Butler, Sarah Fowler and Coach Cynthia White have all moved to the second floor, as has the location of the SGA boardroom.

The Triangle will continue to update you on any more developments.

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The One Who Runs the College

The Judson community might already be familiar with the words “she is the one who runs the college,” often said by Judson’s late president Dr. David Potts. That “she” is Mrs. Mary Ellen Clements, Potts’ longtime secretary.

Born and raised here in Marion, Ala., Clements has lived here her whole life. She is a mother of three daughters, and now she is a grandma of four girls and two boys.

Previously, Clements held a few part-time jobs at Marion Military Institute and a clothing department store in downtown Marion. Her first full-time job was in the library of Judson. In the summertime during her stint at the library, she worked in the development office because the library was closed during this time. After that, she served as a switchboard operator when Judson acquired a telephone system.

When she left this job, she worked outside of Judson for few years. However, in 1993 she came back to Judson as a secretary to the president. This is a position that she still holds today. She has been in the office for 25 years. If we also count the years when she was in library, she has served Judson for thirty years.

Throughout the years her favorite thing about Judson has been attending chapel. She explains, “Chapel service is very meaningful to me because I am able to stop to go and worship together with the community. It just helps me to get through the rest of the week.”

Her favorite memory of Judson, when Potts was still in the office, also includes the meaningful time when faculty and staff members have meetings in the president’s office. They always have an opportunity to share prayer requests, and they pray for each other before the meeting starts.

As a secretary to Potts, she scheduled his appointments and all the meetings that he had to attend. She was responsible for any of his correspondence, typing all of his letters to be mailed out to alumnae and other friends of the college. Her main responsibility was the communication between the college and the three boards of the college. The three boards include the Board of Trustees, the Board of Advisors, and the Board of Governors that meet several times in a year.

She was responsible for sending out letters to them about meeting and preparing materials for them prior to that meeting day. When they actually come to campus, she sits in the meetings and takes notes. After each meeting, she types up her notes and mails them out to the board members.

In the past, she would also compile reports from each department into one big report and prepare it to mail out to the board members before they attended the meeting, so they had the report of activities at the college. When asked, her most trying time is when she prepares for their report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) which accredits Judson. Since it is very important for the college to remain accredited, they have to be sure the report is perfect. They spend many hours compiling those reports, so this is the most stressful part of her job at Judson.

Clements’ responsibilities have changed since Potts’ absence in the office. For her, it’s been a totally different routine since she no longer has to complete these correspondences; other offices are handling these tasks now. However, she is still involved with board meetings.h

When Potts was here, she was much busier. She recalls about Potts that “He was a very good boss, very kind and considerate and very family oriented. I never had a problem if I had a sick family member and needed to be away from the office.”

She expounds on her favorite memory as a secretary to Potts for decades by saying, “My favorite memories are the times we were able to share our faith and personal stories together, God moments that we had each had, things that had happened to us when God answered our prayers. It is the time we shared our hearts together. I love when his grandchildren came in, and he was just all smiles, and when my grandchildren came in, he always smiled and just stopped to give time [for them].” Clements “wants Judson like, Dr. Potts always said, to be a place of Christ, that we would never veer from that mission and that we will be the place that our founders intended it to be.”

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Karaoke Night

by Aqui Lacy, Staffwriter

Judson and Marion Military Institute joined together to hold a karaoke night at Judson’s’ student center “The J” on January 24.  Groups of students from MMI and Judson all joined in The J with their friends and their favorite songs in their heads.

“My favorite part was Hannah Woods opening up the night by singing ‘Irreplaceable’ by Beyonce then being an MC the whole night. I also really enjoyed listening to one of the cadets at MMI sing ‘Chicken Fried.’ Overall it was a fun break from school and all the work. It was nice to have other people around laughing and singing along to songs we all pretty much knew. I think everyone had a great time. We also got to sell snacks for spring break missions, too!” says Cassidy Padgett, a junior at Judson.

During the hour-and-a-half or so of karaoke, there were duets, solos and even some trios. Even a portion of the softball team decided to sing a song together and a portion of third floor Kirtley sang “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus together.

While some students saw the event as a break from homework and their way to de-stress themselves, others say it was a way to support their friends who were there to sing and to sing themselves. Judson student Jordan Hooks said, “My favorite part was when Kelsey got up to sing ‘Take a Bow’ by Rihanna—I loved that song! I also thought it was cool hearing one of the cadets rap ‘Ice Ice Baby.’ It was really fun altogether.”

Students that performed a song at karaoke night had until the day before the event to choose a song so all their songs would be on the playlist and prepared. When people got up to sing, it did not seem as if the singers were nervous. However, the crowd knew all the songs, so when the person missed a spot in the song, the crowd responded with the right lyrics and the song continued.

While the singing was happening there was also food available. After all, what’s a college hangout with no food?  There were cookies, brownies, and hot dogs all for sale at karaoke to raise money for spring break missions—with all the soda for free.

There was not only singing at karaoke night. There was also dancing. Between songs and intermissions, both schools’ students danced together with line dances. These line dances included the “Cha Cha Slide” and “Cupid Shuffle.” There was also a line dance that many Judson students love called the “Church Clap.” While the MMI students did not really know this dance, it was not going to stop them from going out and dancing to it.

One of my personal favorite parts was watching the Judson students teach a few of the MMI students to do the “Church Clap.” Watching it was like watching the two schools come together to have fun — that was the best part.


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Snowmageddon: The Snow That Wasn’t

by Bama Porter, Opinion Editor

On  January 29, the people of small town Marion, Alabama, experienced a blizzard that shall not be easily forgotten.

All activities had been cancelled for that day. Students stayed up to watch as they were slowly buried in their frozen tomb, the windows slowly being covered by snow. Those few who were brave enough to venture out of their rooms were met with a blistering cold that made them regret their decisions.

I, for one, could not find myself leaving my room for anything. I stayed inside while constantly increasing the temperature in my room until it was a toasty eighty-five, which was barely enough to keep the frozen snow at bay.

I watched as my window slowly became a blank canvas, promising me that this would indeed be the foretold “snowmageddon” that they had promised. I could not see an end in sight. The snow had slowly became something more than snow. It had taken on a life of its own, suffocating everything that it could touch. It wanted revenge on the Southerners who had boasted to be immune to its frozen force. We thought we were safe. We had never seen anything like this. We were unprepared. There was no plan, no emergency protocols to take when Mother Nature decided that enough was enough. She wanted us to fear her. She wanted us to learn to respect her and acknowledge that we were in her mercy. I do not believe that we would have made it if it were not for the fact that we showed fear. We were afraid for our lives, so she took pity upon us. When she left, she left a message. The Southerners would never again believe themselves to be immune to the influence of Mother Nature.

At least that is what we were expecting to happen. What really happened was the combination of disappointment, boredom, and freedom. At first, people were disappointed by the lack of the fluffy white snow. Snowball fights had already been planned in anticipation for the snow. Now those plans were cancelled. The only thing that actually happened between the day before and then was the drop in temperature. It was cold enough for snow, but, without rain, there was none. Students now had an entire day free from class.

What did the students do with so much free time on their hands? Some of them ventured out to play Pokémon Go, while others stayed warm and comfortable inside their dorm rooms. Many of the students spent their free time either watching Netflix or studying for upcoming tests.

Although this day was wasted, it is better to be safe than sorry. Students were grateful for a surprise day of freedom from class. It was a chance for them to catch up on some much needed sleep, studying, or homework.

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Joy to the World: 2018 Christmas Vespers

Photo by Pixabay.
Photo by Pixabay.

This year’s Christmas Vespers will be held on December 1 in Alumnae Auditorium and will be led by the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts. The event will offer a more theatrical vibe to celebrate Christ’s birth, organizers say.

“Vespers is a special service where we focus on Jesus as a newborn Savior,” said Dr. Cindy St. Clair, head of the Music Department. “It is a great time for all Judson community to come together to worship Christ.”

Christmas Vespers will be a collaborative work of Music, English, Religion, Social Work, and Distance Learning departments. The event’s main coordinators, St. Clair and  religion professor Stephanie Peek, have a joint vision of instilling a precious connection between the Christmas story and the Judson community in a brand-new way.

In previous years, Christmas Vespers has been joyfully celebrated in a choir concert, a musical celebration of Christ’s birth. This year, however, the event will take the form of a theater concert. There will be narration of the Christmas story read from Scripture by different speakers, along with Christmas music by the Judson Singers, music professors, and other music ensembles and accompanists.

“It’s not going to be a choir concert like it’s been in the past, so it’s going to be more like a service,” St. Clair said.

The narrators of the night will be Peek and Dr. Stacey Parham, chair of the Humanities and Fine Arts Division and head of the English Department. They will start with Scripture describing the Israelite people in exile, waiting for their missing king, and then share verses showing the King’s return after hundreds of years.

Peek said the purpose of the event is to “craft the service that can tell the story of Christ contextually so that we can put Christ’s birth in the context of the bigger narrative [of Scripture].”

The event will be all about making connections between students, faculty members, and staff. Those attending the event will receive the joy of good news for the Christian life and  be able to reconsider the story of Christmas — a story that is more than just the season of sweaters and presents.

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The Agents of Christ

Volunteers at the SSOH office deliver food bags. Photo by Judson College.
Volunteers at the SSOH office deliver food bags. Photo by Judson College.

Judson College is a proud Christian college because of two things: one is because of the Christ-loving community and two is the agents of Christ. Judson students daily receive two or three emails from our agents of Christ who are serving in the community with all of their hearts. This semester, the office of Faith Based Service and Learning has offered weekly service opportunities to students in various branches where they can serve the Marion community along with student leaders—the agents of Christ. The opportunities that are available are as follows:

Tutoring at Eagle Grove

Kayla Jones, a third-year senior, has been tutoring students at Eagle Grove Baptist Church.  She helps children work on their homework and other students are needed to help.

Sowing Seeds of Hope

One of the most helpful organizations in Perry County, Sowing Seeds of Hope is a place where students can participate in every branch of work. Two of our Judson agents are Aqui Lacy and Rebecca Carver who faithfully help out in the office of SSOH every Thursday. Aqui shares her reasons that she devotes herself to keep on going. “The reactions we get back from people and staffs there. Sometimes helping them organize files does not seem like that big of a deal but to some it is. And they are really thankful and appreciative for the help we bring to them in just that short hour.”

Lincoln Nutrition Site

This site is where the volunteers and adults spend time together when they have their lunch and build relations through conversations and playing games. The contact person for this opportunity, Hannah Woods, a third-year senior, says that her reason for going to the nutrition site is “because I love hearing people’s stories. The people at Lincoln have so much wisdom and knowledge to offer. I can make their day better just by listening and being interested in what they have to say. The body of Christ is multi-generational, and I think it is important to spend time with other people.”

Perry County Nursing Home

This opportunity is for everyone who loves to build new relationships with older people who always love to have visitors to their resident home. As one of the two residential homes for older adults in Perry County, Perry County Nursing Home is a place where volunteers can give love to the hearts of residents who do not receive the love that they deserve. Audri Thicklin is the contact agent for this opportunity. She states, “In order to obey God’s commandment, we have to be able to love the ones around us. The residents at the nursing home deserve love, and I felt led to be one of those people to do that. My heart is tugged every time I go there, and I know that it is where I am supposed to be serving.”

Shut-In Home Visits

This activity is an opportunity where volunteers visit elderly people in the community who aren’t able to leave their homes, and whose friends and family do not visit them as much as they would like them to. Volunteers spend time listening to their stories and learning about them, as they have been here for a long time and have a wide range of knowledge of Marion. The shut-in home visit opportunity is led by Leslie Wheat, a graduating senior, who shares the same feelings with the other agents who love elderly people as much as they do themselves. Wheat explains that her “greatest motivation is seeing how much our visits means to them, and their appreciativeness to us. Even though we think what we are doing seems so small, it means a lot to them to have someone to be with them even for a short time.”


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