Bluefield College Alumnus Shares School History with Community

July 1, 2008 | RSS

 Bluefield College is sharing its history with the community.   

Thanks to the generosity of Bluefield College alumnus Clarence Mayberry, the college recently gave copies of its new published history, Lighthouse on the Hill: The Bluefield College Story, to local secondary schools and public libraries.   

During a luncheon ceremony on the BC campus on May 16, Mayberry and history book author David Armbrister joined members of the college's Alumni Office in presenting the professionally printed publication to 13 area library representatives.   

Mayberry, a native of the Bluefield area and a 1957 Bluefield College graduate, said he wanted to give the books to local schools and libraries so that others in the community could understand and appreciate the BC story.   

"I was so impressed with this history book that I wanted to make sure that it is in every school and every public library," he said. "I took the book home and read it from cover to cover and realized that a lot of people in the area probably don't fully understand our history. God has really blessed this place, and I want the community to know the people and the contributions that have been made to help this school survive."   

Accepting a complimentary copy of BC's Lighthouse on the Hill from local schools and public libraries during the luncheon were Dennis Grindstaff from Bland High School, Millie O'Dell from Bluefield High School, Janell Ashley from Graham High School, Lisa Goins and Sarah Watson from Mercer Christian Academy, Carol Dotson from Montcalm High School, Barbara Gillespie from Tazewell High School, Rachel Reed from Rocky Gap High School, Lori Simmons from Richlands High School, Marcia Munsey from Graham Middle School, Charity McDaniel from Richlands Middle School, Martha Wollbrinck from Tazewell County Public Libraries (Bluefield Branch and Richlands Branch), Nora Lockett from Craft Memorial Library, and Connie Shumate from Princeton Public Library.   

"I hope you'll take this book back to your schools and your libraries and read them, so that you can share the Bluefield College story with your teachers, your students, and the community," Mayberry told the recipients. "Even in this obscure remembrance, you will take Bluefield College's history with you."   

In addition to sharing the Bluefield College story, Mayberry offered the history books as a gift in memory of his late wife, Betty McGlamary Mayberry, a Bluefield native whose uncle once served as mayor of Bluefield, Virginia.   

"Were it not for my calling to Christian ministry and the United Methodist Church, I would have never met Clarence and Betty Mayberry," said Rev. Don Scott, a longtime pastor of First United Methodist Church in Bluefield, Virginia, who offered remarks as part of the tribute during the luncheon. "Their influence on my life will always be something I appreciate."   

Written by Armbrister, a retired professor of history who served on faculty at Bluefield College for more than three decades, and unveiled first to alumni during Homecoming on November 2, 2007, Lighthouse on the Hill is Bluefield College's first published history since 1972. The creation of the book was a multi-year project that involved Armbrister, a 1954 BC alumnus, in months of researching, interviewing, surveying, writing, editing, and rewriting. Now available to the public, the publication includes 140 pages of text and more than 200 photos that tell the Bluefield College story.   

"Bluefield College is not a geographic place. It is a state of mind," said Dr. Steve Spangler, borrowing words he once heard from a BC alumnus to share during the history book luncheon. "Once you have been a part of this campus community, it will always be a part of you. Our prayer is that you not only take this book with you to share with others, but that you read it and understand that state of mind.   

In addition to being available to read at local schools and public libraries, Bluefield College's Lighthouse on the Hill is also available for sale on campus in the BC Bookstore. For more information, call 276-326-4212.   

Besides purchasing the history books and providing the luncheon for the local schools and libraries, Mayberry said he also intends to establish a scholarship fund at Bluefield College in memory of his wife and to benefit students in the community who attend the Christian liberal arts school.