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8 June 2005

Dr. Effie Mae Sawyer, 84
Likes Serving Others

Dr. Effie Sawyer

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

Dr. Effie Mae Sawyer, author of The First Hundred Years: the History of Jacksonville State University, 1883-1983, sends regards to all her Jacksonville friends and says she is doing well.

"I have lots of memories of JSU," she said.

As author of the book of history, which is now online at, JSU alumni will always be indebted to her for recording the university’s history.

Dr. Sawyer worked as secretary to JSU presidents, Dr. Houston Cole and Dr. Ernest Stone. She lives in DeKalb, Miss., "between the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, which is only a block from the courthouse," she recently said.

As always, Dr. Sawyer is active in her church. She now attends the DeKalb Methodist Church, where she teaches Sunday School every third Sunday. She cooks, tends roses, accompanies her family to plays and movies, and takes part in activities related to the library, senior citizens, and the chamber of commerce.

"I feel great all of the time," said Dr. Sawyer.

She holds an honorary doctorate of letters from JSU and is also author of a history book about the church she attended while living in Jacksonville, the First Presbyterian Church. She wrote its history after she retired with help from her friends, Mr. and Mrs. Opal Lovett, and members of the church.

As a young woman, Dr. Sawyer traveled from Mississippi to Birmingham to attend business school. She met her husband there, and the two married and settled in Jacksonville. During her tenure, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree at JSU in general business with two minors, English and economics.

Dr. Sawyer’s resume reads like an item from Who’s Who in American Colleges, where she indeed once was listed. In 1949-50, Dr. Sawyer was the state president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In 1953, she was a member of the Professional Secretaries International (PSI) and in 1955 became a certified professional secretary. She was secretary/treasurer of the Council of Public Housing Officials in 1955 and served on the commission and was vice chairman of the Jacksonville Housing Authority. In 1972, she was president of the Ladiga Chapter of the PSI and was secretary of the group in 1975. She was JSU Alumna of the Year in 1984, when she was served as elder at the Presbyterian Church. She received the honorary doctorate presented by JSU President Dr. Theron E. Montgomery in 1984.


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