|Mrs. Hazel Lee Payne Phillips|
|As I look back, there
were three life-defining influences that shaped my destiny:
1. My family who set religion as the number one priority and education a close second;
2. The Baptist Church; and
3. Bishop College.
I was born into a family of three generations of Baptists in Rodessa, Louisiana. The two older generations of the Payne family owned and managed a farm, general store and cotton gin located 1_ miles south of town. My mother, Lillian Bessie Henderson Payne, ended her career as a schoolteacher to become a homemaker after marrying my father, John Edward Payne, Sr. He had attended Bishop College Normal School.
I was the fourth of five children. We all knew that participation in church activities was mandatory. We also knew we were expected to do our personal best as students and could have our education financed beyond high school. We eventually earned five baccalaureate degrees (four from Bishop), graduate credits, two Master of Arts degrees, one Doctor of Medicine and one Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature.
Four years after my motherıs death, my father re-married and moved his family to Marshall, Texas. My stepmother, Carretta Howard Payne, a Bishop College graduate and teacher, ended her career to become a homemaker.
There are so many memories I now treasure.
During my childhood, my family took me to the collegeıs musical programs, athletic competitions, homecomings, baccalaureate, and commencement activities. I was awarded a Bishop College scholarship at my high school graduation, and I anxiously awaited the time when I would become a student at Bishop. The time finally came in the fall of 1940. The Bishop campus was within walking distance from my home. We enjoyed walking to school but my father would drive us when the weather was inclement or we were running late.
Bishop College had an aura of academic excellence. There was Dean Melvin J. Banks, the ultimate scholar and teacher. He had the first Phi Beta Kappa insignia I had ever seen. He carried it on his pocket watch chain, and it was often visible as he walked around the classroom or auditorium giving lectures that excited and inspired students. Everybody loved the man.
There was the Department of Music that was visibly outstanding under Miss Augusta McSwain. One of my favorite musical experiences was their annual rendition of the Messiah, including the Hallelujah Chorus.
There was Coach Jimmy Stevens and the basketball recruits he brought in from cities such as Denver, Tulsa, and East St. Louis. These were the golden years for Tiger basketball victories as Coach Stevens introduced the "wheel" passing strategy to the delight of Bishop fans and the horror of our opponents. His recruits in football added excitement and victories on the gridiron.
There were homecomings in Marshall and Dallas filled with school spirit and the sharing of memories. The football game, brunch, and varied social affairs were ideal for people watching as alumni staged their own special style show.
There was Bishop College President Joseph J. Rhoads --- a tall, handsome, imposing, articulate man who commanded respect from all he met. During his administration, Bishop had innovative offerings for its students:
1. The annual Ministersı Institute brought renowned ministers from throughout the USA. Students rushed to the auditorium to get the best seats to hear profound sermons, critique varied and unusual delivery styles, and see the latest fashions in suits and accessories. Some speakers would jump across the stage as they entertained you with their words.
2. Saturday classes, a Masterıs Degree program in education, and other special programs were offered for ministers and teachers already employed.
3. The requirements that all students complete a course in Bible Study and mandatory attendance at chapel services emphasized the importance of religion in each life.
4. The Fuller/Finney house experience was required for female students. Under the supervision of Mrs. Campbell, we learned the skills of managing a home (meal planning, cooking, cleaning, etc.). A team of girls rotated through Fuller House (with a low-income budget) and Finney House (with a higher-income budget). It was fun and you had a roommate, but we complained about the constraints of the tight budget in Fuller House and the meals prepared by some of our housemates.
5. Perspective graduates were required to pass written and oral examinations. The written test was prepared by teachers in the studentıs major field. The oral examining board included the studentıs major professor and selected teachers from other disciplines. These were frightening experiences, especially the oral examination. What a feeling of relief, pride and joy when I was notified that I had passed both segments.
There was Mrs. Lucille Bridges Rhoads, the first lady of Bishop, who exposed the female students to the social graces so necessary to move freely and confidently in the larger society. At the suggestion of Mrs. Rhoads, female students who lived on campus were encouraged to invite an off-campus "buddy" to feel free to use a dorm room when the trip home (for relaxation, studying, etc.) would be inconvenient.
She was a gracious hostess and everyone looked forward to being invited to one of her luncheons for seniors. I still remember how excited and honored I felt when she asked me to be the speaker for one of these luncheons.
All teachers took a personal interest in the students both in class and during other activities. I had three special mentors:
MMM Dean Banks guided me in course selection. He insisted that I fulfill requirements for a Texas Teacherıs certificate, including student teaching completed with my former teacher Mrs. M.M. Turner at Central High School in Marshall.
MMM Miss Johnetta Horton who supervised my work in the Registrarıs Office and recommended the University of Minnesota for graduate study.
MMM Mr. Rogers, my major professor, accepted nothing less than our personal best work and assigned activities in the community for hands-on experiences.
Finally, there was my late sister, Dr. Thelma Payne Thompson Daniels. After graduating from Bishop in 1943, she earned a M.A. degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma all in English Literature. She spent 32 years at Bishop and wore many hats, including professor in English; Chair, English and Modern Languages; Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chair of the Executive Committee.
Mrs. Hazel Lee Payne Phillips
P.O. Box 41
Marshall, Texas 75671
BA in May 1944 with Highest Honors
Minor: Related Social Sciences
University of Minnesota
Masters of Arts in August 1945
Major: Educational Psychology
Minor: Psychology and Educational Administration
New York University
Michigan State University
I got my very first job at Bishop. After completing Typing 1 during my freshman year, I was recommended for a job as typist in the Registrarıs Office. I worked there from 1941 until 1944. I did not receive a monthly check but credit on my tuition. After graduation in 1944, I received a check for the balance. So, I got my very first paycheck from Bishop.
After the summer of 1944, I left the Registrarıs Office to complete a Masters program. I returned to Bishop as Director of the Registrarıs Office for the next four years. I resigned from the Registrarıs Office in 1949 to become the guidance counselor for the new comprehensive high school under construction in Shreveport, Louisiana. This school was designed to serve all the Negro high school students in Caddo Parish and was later named Booker T. Washington High School. As the first counselor employed for a Negro school in Caddo Parish, I remained at Booker T. Washington for forty years before retiring in 1989.