On Sunday afternoon, September 24th, the CNC First Decaders gathered once again at Newport News Park for the annual Reunion Picnic. Attendees were First Decaders and guests, including the staff of CNU's Alumni Relations Office. Our group enjoyed good food, sunshine, old and new memories, and most importantly, fellowship. A major highlight this year was being the first people to hear the great news that our first CNC president, the late H. Westcott (Scotty) Cunningham, is soon to be honored by having the welcome center in Newport Hall named after him. (Photo above courtesy of the Alumni Relations Office)
Above left are (L-R) Baxter Vendrick, Director of the Alumni Relations Office, First Decader Ellen Babb Melvin, and Alumni Relations Office Intern Kenneth Kidd ('18)--a Gingham Trio. I am pictured on the right with two of my former English students, Charlie Snead and Ellen Babb Melvin, both in the class of 1966. (Photos courtesy of Ellen B. Melvin)
The photo above left, by Alumni Relations staff, shows class of 1963 student Patti Andrew Mays (foreground) and her husband, Fred Mays, enjoying a conversation with (standing) Charlie Snead ('66). Behind Patti is her former classmate Jo Berry Sinclair ('63). Addressing the group in the other photo, by Ellen Melvin, is Dr. Sean Heuvel, Chair of the 1961 Historical Preservation Club at CNU.
Posing with members of the Alumni Relations Office are First Decaders Lois Wright, the first (and only) graduate from CNC's first year, and Ellen B. Melvin. (L-R) are Intern Andrew Bagwell, Monica Hill, LOIS, Baxter Vendrick, ELLEN, Intern Kenneth Kidd, Katie Monteith, and Intern Michael Bloom. (Photo courtesy of Ellen B. Melvin)
Our CNC First Decaders include numerous outstanding people. Dr. Lois Wright (left) went forward after CNC to earn advanced degrees at William and Mary. She retired from the faculty of the University of South Carolina as Distinguished Professor Emerita. Her CNC diploma is on display in our Alumni House, just inside the door into the room on the right of the entrance room. Charlie and Thommy Snead (right), who have never yet missed a First Decaders Reunion, although they have a long drive from their home in Hendersonville, NC, both also earned degrees at William and Mary. Charlie had a career of 32 years in elementary school administration and supervision inNC, including 19 years as a principal.
Our mascot, three-legged Annie, and her mom, Mary Ellen (Cissy) Wilkinson, regularly attend our annual fall reunion also, driving down from Richmond. Cissy is yet another example of how successful our First Decaders have been. After CNC, she earned a BA in Philosophy at William and Mary in 1968, was a social worker in Richmond, and then earned her JD from UVA in 1982. She was a legal counselor for 20 years at Jefferson National Bank (later Wachovia) in Richmond .
The First Decader who traveled the longest distance to attend this 2017 reunion was my former student Thomas (Tom) Redmond, who drove from Camden Point, Missouri. No photo was made of him at our picnic, so shown here is his senior year picture in the 1971 Trident. Tom earned his AA & BA (History) at CNC; then his MA (History) at ODU. He worked 35 years in Army Intelligence, mainly at TRADOC, Fort Monroe. After Army retirement, he went into civil service work, which he is still doing part time.
In spite of the flies, which we usually don't have in late September, this sixth Picnic Reunion of the First Decaders was an event that I believe all attendees enjoyed very much. I certainly did!