Senior associate director of admissions; coordinator for multicultural admission; intercollegiate athletics liaison; assistant track-and-field coach; and adviser, campus hip-hop dance group at Gettysburg (Pa.) College.
My great-great grandfather founded St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Gettysburg, Pa. My family ran it for several years, then stepped away from leadership when I was 11. St. James Lutheran Church is the place we chose to attend next because we knew the pastors, who were great community members. We were the sole African Americans to come in that door. On our first visit, some people wouldn’t shake our hands, even during the greeting. This happened in the mid-’70s.
The very next week, one of our pastors in his sermon said, “If you call yourself a child of God, shame on you for treating guests the way some of you did. I saw you.” Pastors Ed Keyser and Fritz Foltz let it be known that intolerance was not tolerable. People warmed up; people who weren’t accepting chose to leave.
One of my favorite moments at St. James was the first time I went to sixth-grade Sunday school. The kids were all people I knew from elementary school, all welcoming. They were excited to have me with them.