The last time Kentucky State University alumna Renee Gilliam graced her alma mater’s campus, nostalgia overtook her and sent her on a trip down memory lane.
“As a student, there were so many memories,” said Gilliam, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in vocal music in 1975. “I was nurtured, just like other students, by faculty and staff. They were like an extended family. I had friends that were treated the same way.”
The experience Gilliam had during her journey at Kentucky State was unique. She acknowledged the excellent teachings of some the university’s most admired professors.
“I could picture and hear the voices of Roger Uhl, Alvin Seals, Mary Weather, Arnold Wright, and Ethel McClendon of the Department of Sociology as they taught their respective courses. They were revolutionary faculty who were ahead of their time.”
Gilliam also shared fond memories of the time she spent on campus as a child. Those days of having family outings and engaging with campus locals made a good impression on her.
“I celebrated my eighth birthday on this campus, which back then was named Kentucky State College. We also had a family reunion with my grandmother’s niece, two nephews and their families. My grandparents lived in one of two apartments in Atwood Hall located behind Bell Gym. During the summer of 1962 when my mom, brother and I traveled to Frankfurt to visit my sick grandfather, the football players and their girlfriends would babysit us and take us to the grill in Underwood Cafeteria for ice cream.”
It was also exciting for Gilliam to take classes with some of the university’s athletes and soon-to-be professionals. She was proud to have been in their presence, and she reminded her peers back home every chance she got.
“Watching our athletes compete and being drafted into the professional ranks was exciting for me because often they were in general courses with me. I had bragging rights back home by saying I knew them from college.”
All of these memories summed up a great college career for Gilliam, and she’s looking forward to returning to campus in the future.
Quotations and information in this story originally appeared in a story written by Dr. Michael A. Robinson in The Yard.