April 19, 2018

Former Emory Junior College at Valdosta Students Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

Pictured (left to right) are former Emory Junior College at Valdosta students John McTier, V.L. Daughtery, Owen Youles, Henry “Bo” Miller, and Gus Elliott.

VALDOSTA — Former students from Emory Junior College at Valdosta reunited at Valdosta State University’s Rea and Lillian Steele North Campus on Tuesday, April 17, to reminisce and tour the grounds where they lived and studied more than half a century ago.

The former students — Gus Elliott, Henry “Bo” Miller, Owen Youles, V.L. Daughtery, and John McTier — were given the opportunity to reconnect with each other and share stories of their college experiences.

Emory Junior College at Valdosta was an all-male, two-year school established in the mid-1920s that — apart from a brief closure during World War II — operated until 1953. The former school existed on part of what is now VSU’s North Campus, long-time home to the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration and United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Detachment 172.

“Valdosta was always so special,” said Miller, 84, who attended Emory Junior College at Valdosta from 1950 to 1952. “It was my first time away from home, so I was really looking forward to it. I didn’t have a very good background in high school. The war was going on, and everything was kind of geared for the war and not much for education. I needed a lot of extra help in getting through college, and they were so good to do that. It was an outstanding two years for me. 

“The thing I remember is that Valdosta just opened its doors to us. They could not have been any nicer.”

Several graduates of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, Georgia, who live in the South Georgia area also attended the reunion.

“We got to relive the history of the campus as well as see how it has changed over time,” said Dr. Fred Ware, who helped to coordinate the reunion. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Emory University in 1962 and is professor emeritus of management at VSU.

Elliott, Miller’s college roommate, remembers the small classes and “great school teachers” at Emory Junior College at Valdosta.

“I met a lot of great guys,” he said.

Other Emory University-associated attendees were Frank Corker, John Hiers, Briggs Smith, Sue Dennard, Wright Turner, Philip Barr, Brad Burnette, Julius Ariail, and Kenneth Stanley, former dean of the Langdale College of Business Administration.

During the walking tour, Ashley Braswell, director of development for the Langdale College of Business Administration, showed how the campus has grown over time, most notably with the construction of the four-story Health Sciences and Business Administration Building. The entire third floor is utilized by the Langdale College of Business Administration; the building also houses the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders and its Speech and Hearing Clinic, as well as the Department of Social Work. 

The event concluded with a slide show on the history of the campus that utilized material from the Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum. Jennifer Crabb Kyles, senior director of alumni affairs at Emory University, also presented a number of special commemorative medallions to alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago from Emory University.

Miller said being able to reconnect with his college roommate and other old friends was a “great experience.”

“It’s a part of life that you don’t want to miss,” he said.