Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Joe Smiddy story

From this web page, it says:

"The remarkable Joseph C. Smiddy, coal miner's son, musician, scholar and humanitarian, joined the first faculty at Clinch Valley as professor of biology. Two years later he was appointed dean, and eventually became chancellor. As teacher, administrator, and self-proclaimed 'voice crying in the wilderness,' he kept the college going through its lean early years, sometimes by wit alone. On one occasion he saved the first dormitory by assuring the University of Virginia provost that it would be used to house students from broken homes.

Smiddy's unerring instinct for doing the right thing was never more evident than the day an excited secretary rushed into his office exclaiming 'Mr. Smiddy, what should we do? There's a woman in the registration line with skin as black as it can be.' Without looking up, Smiddy asked, 'What color is her money?' A few moments later Clinch Valley College was integrated, years before its parent institution admitted African Americans as undergraduates."

I suspect that Joe Smiddy did not need any executive orders or attorney general opinions to do the right thing.

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