On August 28, 1966, the president of North Greenville stepped up to a door, inserted the key in the lock, and opened it. It was a small act, performed unselfconsciously, and without ceremony. The opening of that door, however, marked an important moment in the lives of many people. It also marked an important moment in the life of this institution.
Dr. Neely was opening the door of the North Greenville Evening Division in Greer for the first time to the public. The door of the building on 111 South Main Street in Greer is a symbol of an avenue of opportunity for three score people in the Greer area. We want to tell you what the opening door means to some of them.
Let us call him John. He thinks he is rather old to be starting to school, but to anyone else he would be a young man. His three children would think he is old, as all daddy’s are old to preschoolers. His wife is young and endowed with quiet ambitions for her husband, as all young wives are. A pastor in the Greer area a few years ago found this youthful family, and led them to a commitment to Christ of such depth that they are very sensitive to the leadership of God in their lives. John feels called to preach. And, like all called men, he knows it is a call to prepare for an effective ministry. More than one young man, working full time, with a wife working also, and sons and daughters has faced this call to the ministry. And for each of them it has brought with it the awareness of the magnitude of the step of faith involved in the husband and father going back to the school for seven or more long and costly years. John is not sure at this point that God is really calling him to make such an enormous step. But he wants to do it, if God is calling him.
The door to the College’s evening division in Greer means that here is a point where he can make a beginning in the direction in which he feels led at the present. John is enrolled in a course in Bible survey. Under the leadership who has answered God’s call John will develop spiritual resources and insights which will make the coming years plain to him. He is supplementing his church experience of worship, study, and service with an exploration in depth of God’s dealings with man. Under these circumstances we feel confident that he will be in the best possible place to confirm his feelings about his future usefulness to the kingdom.
The door opened to another person whom we will call Joyce. This student started to North Greenville several years ago. She has not graduated yet because in her last semester marriage beckoned to her and she answered, and she answered with the intention of completing her education. Coming to the Tigerville campus just isn’t possible for her now that she is working to help her husband through college. But through the evening classes she can take those few courses she needs to graduate. This would never have been possible for her in the foreseeable future if the door had not been opened just a few blocks from her home.
There are many people waiting for a door of opportunity to be opened to them and to the other members of their race who are trying hard to lift themselves to the position of exercising the responsibilities which go with the rights of all citizens. When the door in Greer was opened, two such students came in to enroll. Any progress that is made in race relations, any advancement in cooperation within the framework of just laws uniformly applied and uniformly obeyed will be made as people of good will, in the name of Christ, move forward through higher education.
Through those same doors have come other; a homemaker who wants to be better prepared to do substitute teaching in the public schools; a young man who wants to prepare for a position of top leadership in business; a layman who wants to study religious education and be a more effective member and leader in his church; a salesman who will someday have a business of his own, and a responsible place in the community because he is an educated man. These were joined by a teacher who knows that after several years she herself needs to learn that her pupils may drink from a fresh stream of scholarship; a young secretary who feels that additional training on her part will mean that the businessman she serves will be able to expand and improve his services as he has better-qualified personnel in his employ.
Yes, we have an attractive facility, and we will have good instructors. But the story of the evening division is not in these things. The real story is in the lives of these people whom the college is serving in a way it could never have served if it limited itself to the Tigerville campus. And they are a part of the North Greenville story now because someone opened a door.
Article written by Dr. Paul A. Talmadge, dean of instruction, for the Fall 1966 North Greenville Alumni Magazine