The Morris College Board of Trustees elected three alumni and longtime benefactors to its executive board at its 2018 fall board meeting in October: state Rep. J. David Weeks, D-Sumter, chairman; Dr. Audrey P. Neal, vice chairman; and Dr. James B. Blassingame, secretary.
Weeks, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, District No. 51 of Sumter County, earned a Bachelor of Arts from Morris College (1975), a Master of Education from Howard University, a Juris Doctor of Law from the University of South Carolina School of Law and a Bachelor of Divinity from the former Morris College School of Religion. He is a member of numerous civic and community organizations, including the board of directors of the Sumter County Community Development Corp., Four Bridges Community Development Association, Santee Lynches Regional Council of Governments and the South Carolina Community Bank. A Life Member of the NAACP and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., he also serves on the policy committee of the Sumter Urban Area Transportation Survey, the Audit Committee of the Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc. and is a 32nd-degree Mason and Shriner. Morris College bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. Weeks is a native of Sumter, where he resides.
Neal earned a Bachelor of Science from Morris College (1969) and a Master of Education from South Carolina State University. She has done further study at the University of South Carolina where she completed 30 hours in elementary education. Morris College also bestowed upon her the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Her affiliations with numerous educational and professional organizations include the presentation of papers titled "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" and "How Children Learn through Personal Experience." She is second vice president of the Southern Region Women's Department of the Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc. and chairwoman of the program committee in the Women's Department of the Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc. She is also a member of the Benedict College Board of Trustees, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., the International Association of Ministers' Wives and Widow Alliance Inc. and the Interdenominational Ministers' Wives and Widow Alliance of Columbia. She will conclude her five-year tenure as president of the Woman's Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina on Dec. 31. The Sumter native resides in Columbia.
Blassingame is the immediate past president of the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Morris College and the Bachelor of Divinity from the former Morris College School of Religion. The college also bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. Additional studies include continuing education at Princeton Theological Seminary and a nine-month internship in Clinical Pastoral Education. He also completed 30 hours of doctoral studies at Erskine Theological Seminary. A veteran of the United States Army, he is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions such as the Mamie L. Duckett Founder's Day Award from Benedict College and induction into Morris College National Alumni Association Hall of Fame. He was appointed by the S.C. State Senate to serve on the Pee Dee Citizens Committee on Judicial Qualifications. Among the many boards he serves on are the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. Inc. (executive committee), Festival On The Avenue Inc., YouthLink-SC, South Carolina School Improvement Council, Sumter County Gallery of Art and the Bank of Clarendon Sumter Advisory Board. The Seneca native resides in Sumter.
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