Emory Report
August 3, 2009
Volume 61, Number 36

Memorial service
Saturday, Aug. 8
11 a.m.
Old Church, Oxford Campus

The service will be followed by a reception at Allen Memorial United Methodist Church, 803 Whatcoat Street, Oxford, Ga.


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August 3, 2009
Former dean raised Oxford’s profile

By Cathy Wooten

Addressing participants at a philosophy conference in 2000, Bond Fleming said, “I have always been more involved in doing than in publishing. I have sought to do my writing in the lives of students.” Fleming, who died June 27 at the age of 99, was former dean of Oxford College as well as philosopher, minister and teacher.

A graduate of Emory and Candler School of Theology, he also earned a master’s degree in theology and a PhD in philosophy from Boston University, remaining engaged in scholarship throughout his life.

Fleming came to Oxford in 1966, a tumultuous time in higher education and elsewhere. But the challenge he found at Oxford was not dealing with student unrest; it was the need to continue Oxford’s efforts to build a solid financial footing and strengthen its ties to and place within Emory. Under his leadership, Oxford became increasingly integrated into the University as a whole. The campus added new library and athletic facilities and renovated the student center. Recruitment efforts resulted in Oxford’s highest enrollment to that time, and he designated Oxford students ”continuees,” as they are still called, rather than “transfers” to better express Oxford’s relationship with Emory.

Fleming established the Oxford Board of Counselors and continued to attend its meetings until the past year. During his tenure as dean, he and his wife Mary Louise, who preceded him in death in 2005, held board dinners in their home, where Mrs. Fleming cooked the meal herself. This speaks of how different those times were in terms of college resources and local facilities, but it speaks too of the warm hospitality the couple was known for.

The Flemings remained in Oxford after his retirement and were active in the life of the community. An ordained Methodist minister, Fleming had worked earlier to have Oxford recognized as a national shrine of Methodism and both college and town added to the National Register of Historic Places. Continuing that work in retirement, he helped to found the Oxford Historical Shrine Society and worked tirelessly to raise funds for the restoration of Old Church, an important landmark of Emory’s history.

And so it will be in Old Church that friends and family will gather on Aug. 8 to honor Dean Fleming in a memorial service, in and near so much of what was accomplished in this remarkable life.