Larry Stewart Committed to JSU
temperatures and hazardous driving conditions closed most businesses
in northeast Alabama on the Saturday in December, 1965, when Larry Stewart
and his father were driving from Talladega to meet Jacksonville State
University President Houston Cole.
were thinking that the meeting probably would be cancelled," Stewart
said. "When we ascended the plateau near Munford, the snow deepened
and by the time we got to Jacksonville, the snow was more than two inches
to our surprise, the administration building was open, as was the door
to Dr. Cole's office. Not only was Dr. Cole there, Dr. Bascom Wright,
financial aid director, and the dean of men, Gus Edwards, were there
was seeking admission and financial help. After introductions, President
Cole got to the point and asked Stewart why he wanted to attend Jacksonville
told him about my financial situation and that I had been impressed
by Jacksonville when I was a delegate to the Student Conference on American
Government at Jacksonville State in the fall of 1964. Dr. Cole asked
me about my grades, and I told him I had a solid A minus average and
that I had made 27 on my ACT. He laughed and said he believed he could
told Dr. Wright and Mr. Edwards to have me sign some papers, and I left
with grant-in-aids and National Defense Loans to cover all my books,
tuition and fees, plus room and board. I was too stunned to say much
more than 'thanks.' My father and I were very impressed that such an
important man would take time on a snowy Saturday to meet with a lowly
preacher's son and provide me with the means to an education."
as Stewart looks back on his life and career, he cites a remarkable
personal record: "After obtaining my B.S. degree in 1970, I earned my
first master's in 1974. I acquired another master's in school administration
in 1988. Altogether, from 1966 to 1989, when I took an undergraduate
computer course, I was enrolled in JSU at least one semester of every
year for 23 straight years!"
took full advantage of the opportunity provided by President Cole. During
his four years at JSU, Stewart applied himself academically and became
involved in campus organizations, including a group that was instrumental
in bringing national fraternities to campus. Stewart became a member
of Delta Tau Delta, which achieved the top grade point average.
was active in the Writers' Club and wrote for the campus newspaper.
His outstanding performance earned Stewart election to Who's Who in
American Colleges and Universities.
managed to graduate ranked higher in my college class than in high school,"
earning his degree in secondary education, Stewart taught English and
history in the Talladega city school system and later taught and coached
at Weaver High School. He coached for 15 years and served as an administrative
assistant for seven.
1994, Stewart was appointed assistant principal at Weaver Elementary,
where he worked four years until his appointment as principal of Saks
Middle School, from which he retired three years later.
did not end his involvement in education. He was elected to the Calhoun
County school board and served six years.
like to think that my background and training have enabled me to contribute
measurably to that success," he said.
time at JSU brought me into contact with some wonderful teachers and
students, including Dr. Cole, who maintained contact with me and often
invited me into his office for one of his 'chats' .... I could write
a book on the influential teachers I had at JSU."
addition to Stewart's 23-year relationship with JSU, he also found personal
enrichment opportunities on campus.
wife and I have taken continuing education courses in Spanish and ballroom
dancing. We continue JSU involvement as members of the Archaeology Club,
and I continue as member of the Alumni Association, attending functions
have been wonderfully fortunate to be successful and happy in my career
and in my avocations. Much of it I owe to my college experience."
a letter to JSU President William A. Meehan, Stewart said, "I have never
said a formal 'Thank You' to JSU until now. Many of those I would thank
are no longer living, but I thank you as JSU President in their stead.
I am very proud of my alma mater and the progress it has made in the
last 36 years."
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