O x f o r d C o m m e n c e m e n t

"An ever-present leader"

Oxford College graduate Samuel Tito Jackson (right) received the 1998 Eady Sophomore Award, the school's highest student honor, as he and 170 other sophomores accepted their associate of arts degrees on Saturday, May 9. Described by Dean of Campus Life Joe Moon (left) as "an ever-present and contributing leader in a wide range of campus activities," Jackson was an Honor Council representative, a Student Government Association senator, vice president of the Black Student Alliance, vice president of the Oxford Fellowship, and a member of the Chorale and Wind Ensemble. Last spring, he served as one of three community assistants selected by Residence Life to improve academic support and services for residential students.

"Tito is unfailingly positive and affirming," Moon adds. "Fellow students respect him and express amazement at his energy level and his infectious good humor."--A.O.A.

Photo by Ann Borden

Three Oxford legends--Clark, Penn, and Sharp--retire

The Oxford College community bid farewell to three of its most beloved members this spring. Chaplain Sammy Clark, Professor of History Neil Penn, and Professor of Biology Homer Sharp announced their retirements at the end of this academic year.

Clark (left), Oxford chaplain for sixteen years, has urged students to put their faith into action with community involvement. Through his work, students have volunteered in emergency food banks, shelters, and soup kitchens. Clark also has led numerous service-learning trips, most recently to South Africa last spring.

On the evening of Friday, May 8, Clark delivered his last Baccalaureate sermon. "You are about to make a big crossing, a crossing from a place that has become very familiar to a place that is now somewhat unfamiliar," he told the graduates. "We are marked for life because of the people we have met at Oxford--the teachers, the friends, the administrators, the staff, the ones we trusted with our deepest secrets."

"Sammy fosters an attitude in us of partnership and collaboration with the people that we work with, not just charity," says Emily Tripp '95Ox-'97C, a veteran of three of the service-learning trips. "He challenges us to think about how we're going to use our education, wealth, and position in society to make some changes when we return home."

Penn (center) is also praised for his personal commitment to Oxford students. "He has an in-depth understanding of his field combined with a passionate desire to share it with students," says Michael McQuaide, professor of sociology and Penn's colleague for nineteen years. "He challenges students yet supports them."

During his thirty-three years on the faculty, Penn revived Oxford's student newspaper, The Spokesman; campaigned to make the Oxford campus more accessible to people with disabilities; and won both the Phi Theta Kappa honor society award and the Fleming Award for teaching. "His knowledge of the subject matter is unparalleled," says Alan Cook '79Ox, a former student of Penn. "But his unique lecture style separates him from any other professor I ever had."

Colleagues of Sharp (right), who is retiring after thirty-five years at Oxford, share a similar sentiment. "He is extremely knowledgeable about his subject and is always prepared," says Eloise Carter, associate professor of biology and chair of the natural science and mathematics division. "Homer sets high standards and communicates to students that they are capable of meeting those standards."

A Newton County native, Sharp enrolled in Oxford College on scholarship in 1954 and received his Emory College degree in 1959. Also a past recipient of the Phi Theta Kappa and Fleming awards, he is known for encouraging academic rigor but not competition, according to one of Sharp's former students, Joe Burch '76Ox-'78C. "He made us apply knowledge to new situations, so that we made discoveries on our own."--A.O.A.

Photo by Kay Hinton

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