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Second President's Gala is Saturday, Nov.10

Second President's Gala celebrates the merger of LeMoyne College and Owen Junior College

LeMoyne-Owen College will stage its second President’s Gala Saturday, Nov. 10, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the merger of LeMoyne College and Owen Junior College.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The theme of this year’s event is “A Golden Opportunity to Invest,” which reflects the 50th anniversary of this great partnership. Proceeds from the gala will support LeMoyne-Owen College’s centers of excellence that prepare students for impactful 21st century careers and also will provide critical scholarship dollars to students with academic gifts and those with financial challenges.

The LOC Concert Choir will perform. The Garry Goins Group will provide entertainment.  There will be professional magicians performing feats of magic among attendees. LOC sports teams are the magicians.

The gala is reviving the Beacon of Hope awards, which acknowledge the members of the LeMoyne-Owen College family who have made served the college with distinction. This year’s winners are Myron Lowery, Class of 1968, and posthumous awards will go to Owen founder Rev. Samuel A. Owen and Owen’s first president Levi Watkins Sr.

Dr. Rev. Reginald Porter, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, will accept the award on behalf of Rev. Owen, who pastored Metropolitan. He will be accompanied by Crystal Owen, one of Owen’s granddaughters.

Watkins’ daughter, Annie Marie Garraway, will travel from Ohio to receive the award on behalf of her father. Mrs. Garraway was in the news last year because the movie “Hidden Figures” made her fondly think about a math teacher at Owen, who took special time to tutor Mrs. Garraway in math. The tutor was a LeMoyne College alumna. Mrs. Garraway endowed a $25,000 math scholarship at LOC in memory of that teacher.

And, there will be a silent auction. Items include: A customized LOC ring from Jostens, Flex pass from Hattiloo Theater, Players-signed jersey and ball from the Grizzlies, family membership for the Brooks Museum, Orpheum tickets and a weekend stay with brunch at the Peabody.

Separately and jointly, LeMoyne College, Owen Junior College and LeMoyne-Owen College, over the decades, have been proud pipelines for African-American professionals, and civic and political leaders.

LeMoyne College’s story began in 1862 when the American Missionary Association sent Ms. Lucinda Humphrey to Camp Shiloh to open an elementary school for freedmen and runaway slaves after the occupation of Memphis during the Civil War.

Owen Junior College was established in 1947, when the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention bought property on Vance Avenue to build a junior college. After several years of planning, the school opened in 1954 with 33 students as S. A. Owen Junior College, named in honor of a distinguished religious and civic leader.

Contact Sheila Conard at (901) 435-1527 or email sheila_conard [at] loc [dot] edu for information about purchasing tables or tickets for this grand event. Tickets may also be purchased online by going to the LeMoyne-Owen College website and clicking on “events.”

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