By Eleanor Rogers Gittens, PhD CU-1941
(Part 3 of 3)
While working full time as an associate professor at the college, I began studying for the doctorate in Urban Education at Fordham University, and received the Doctor of Philosophy ten years later, at age sixty-nine. I retired in 1986. I was a grant reviewer for the U.S Dept of Education, and also for the American Association of University Women.
Loving the Work but not Getting Paid
I joined the NYC Clark Alumni Club in 1945 and have been active in alumni affairs since, serving in various leadership positions. When Clark College and Atlanta University consolidated, I became the first president of the newly formed Clark Atlanta University Alumni Association of Greater New York. From 1975 to 2013 I attended every May Weekend and every National Alumni Association meeting. For years, Lyle and I attended scores of college fairs a year throughout the tri-states, recruiting students for the university.
I became active with the NY Inter-Alumni Council/UNCF where we assisted UNCF in its fund-raising activities. The NY Council is the perennial leader in raising funds for UNCF. I served as the Council’s treasurer for a number of years, and worked on many committees of the National Alumni Council. I also attended every one of the national conferences from 1983 through 2013.
I am an active member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and have been, for some time now, a Delta Dear, a term for the group of sorors who have served more than 50 years.
In 1963 we participated in The March on Washington where at one point I found myself, all five foot two inches of me, marching alongside the seven foot six inches Wilt Chamberlin.
In 1975 my husband and I joined The International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, an organization devoted to exploring the history of the region and to educating local governments on how to protect their treasures. Biennially the Congress meets in a different Caribbean Island where scholars from around the world present papers on their research. In 2011 at the Congress’ 25th meeting in Martinique, we were honored for our years of service.
In 1994 I joined The Teachers for Africa program and taught English for one year at The Gambia College in The Gambia, West Africa. This was the highlight of my career. I am still in contact with many of my students, some of whom are now living in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Over the years, I have been happy to be present at a ceremony that initiated naming a local community facility for my mother for her tireless community activity in Bradenton, Florida; and more recently, to be present at the occasion of the placing, with other public figures, a bust of my father on the River Walk in Tampa, Florida.
Today I am 98 years old and I walk a little slower. Lyle and I are celebrating seventy-four years of marriage. We are proud of our three children, Lyle Rogers, Angela, and Ignae (Eenee) for their accomplishments; and the same for our two grand-children, Akilah and Lyle Hasani. We love our four great-grands: Anike, now a college junior; and hope the best for the littlest ones: DJ, Akil, and Laila. We’re forever thankful to have “inherited” a wonderful daughter-in-law, Sharon. And to think that it all began on that beautiful June day in 1941.