Six Visionary Leaders to be Inducted into the Claflin University Hall of Fame
Nov 16, 2018
Six visionary leaders will be inducted into the Claflin University Hall of Fame at the 25thAnnual Presidential Scholarship Gala on Friday, November 16 at 6 p.m. in the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex on the campus of Claflin University. Individuals that are selected each year have made their mark in areas such as community service, military, education, athletics, government and philanthropy.
The Gala, which will include a musical performance by Grammy-award winning Gladys Knight, raises money for scholarships for the Presidential Scholars. This event is also taking place during the kick-off of the University’s Sesquicentennial celebration.
The 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees are: Lieutenant Colonel Leon Bradley, '74; Senior Master Sergeant Leonard A. Jordan, '76 (posthumously); Jessie Ruth Littlejohn, Gerald Mackey, 74; Vernon Wallace, '73; and Brigadier General Twanda Young, '89.
Lieutenant Colonel Leon Bradley
Lieutenant Colonel Leon Bradley, a native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, graduated from Claflin University in 1974, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. Bradley also earned a master’s degree in public administration - organizational behavior from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
While progressing through the ranks as an officer, Bradley graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas. He completed Joint Professional Military Education in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Airborne School in Columbus, Georgia.
Bradley served as a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) staff officer in Izmir, Turkey, before culminating his 21 years of honorable military service, with a final assignment at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Bradley began a second career as a senior Army JROTC instructor at South Cobb High School in Austell, Georgia. For the next 22 years, he molded, mentored, and instilled discipline, work ethic, and a commitment to serve the country and others to more than 15,000 cadets. He created opportunities for community service, volunteerism, and scholarships for all of his cadets. Upon his retirement, he received the Commander’s Award for Public Service.
In addition to his distinguished military career, Bradley has donated his time to the community by acting as treasurer of the Atlanta, Georgia, chapter of the Claflin University International Alumni Association (CUIAA), and former chairman and treasurer of the board of directors at Hillside International Truth Center.
He is a Lifetime Member of the CUIAA, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., the American Legion, Military Officers Association of America, and past quartermaster and secretary of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
Senior Master Sergeant Leonard A. Jordan
Senior Master Sergeant Leonard A. Jordan served over 23 years in the United States Air Force and retired as a senior master sergeant (E-8) in October 2006 after serving at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida.
SMSgt. Jordan was born and raised in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where he graduated in 1972 from Orangeburg Wilkinson High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social sciences in 1976 at Claflin University and a master’s in counseling in 1978 at South Carolina State University. Jordan also earned a master’s in business administration (MBA) in 2012 at Strayer University.
Jordan entered active duty in February 1983. After completing basic training, he enrolled in the Personnel Specialist Course at Keesler Air Force Base (AFB), Mississippi, where he was a distinguished graduate. He held leadership positions at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; Charleston AFB, South Carolina; and Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, prior to his final assignment at MacDill AFB.
Jordan received numerous military awards and decorations for his outstanding leadership and service. He received the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three devices, Air Force Organization Excellence Award, National Defense Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the Armed Forces Service Medal.
Jordan’s professional military education includes the NCO Preparatory Course (Residence), NCO Leadership School (Residence), NCO Academy (Residence), and USAF Senior NCO Academy (Correspondence and Residence). He earned an associate degree in applied science-personnel administration at the Community College of the Air Force.
Jordan was married to the former Cathy L. Jones of lslandton, South Carolina, and they have one daughter, Angelina.
Jessie Ruth Littlejohn
Jessie Ruth Littlejohn is a native of Spartanburg (South Carolina) County. Prior to her retirement in 2007, Littlejohn was a successful realtor for nearly 23 years. She was a licensed realtor in Illinois, Virginia, and Florida. Littlejohn was an Authorized Buyers Representative, Certified Residential Specialist and a graduate of the Realtor's Institute.
Upon returning to Spartanburg, Littlejohn wanted a better understanding of the community she now serves as the District 3 representative of the Spartanburg City Council. She gained the knowledge she needed after graduating from classes in Spartanburg County's first Citizens Academy Class, Spartanburg County's Grass Roots Leadership Institute, Spartanburg Citizens Police Academy, Leadership Spartanburg, Law for Non-Lawyers, and Spartanburg Water's first “Water Matters” class.
Littlejohn’s work on revitalization projects in her community is well documented. She served as president of the South Converse Neighborhood Association from 2008-2013 and as vice president from 2013-2016. Under her leadership, the association received 501 (c) 3 designation and was honored as Spartanburg 2009 Neighborhood of the Year. The neighborhood received a new park with a pavilion, running/walking trails, basketball courts, conducted a community cleanup campaign, and launched a community newsletter. Littlejohn serves as the newsletter’s publisher and editor.
In addition to being a City of Spartanburg councilwoman, Littlejohn serves on the Claflin University Board of Visitors. She has also worked with and held positions on several boards including the League of Women, South Converse Neighborhood Association, and Partners for Active Living.
In 2014, she was appointed by Governor Niki Haley to the Spartanburg County's Voter Registration & Election Commission, where she served until resigning to serve on the Spartanburg City Council. Littlejohn is a member of several organizations that focus on improving the lives of residents in her community. She is a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Charter Member of the Nu Alpha Omega Chapter of AKA Sorority, Leadership Spartanburg Alumni, Girl Scouts of South Carolina, Claflin University International Alumni Association, Spartanburg Southside Lion’s Club (Charter member), Spartanburg County Grass Roots Alumni, and Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, where she serves on the Usher Board.
Littlejohn has received numerous honors and awards for her service to the community. Included are: Spartanburg Black History Maker, L.D. Barksdale Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, Outstanding Dedication & Support Award; 107.3 JAMZ Upstate History Maker, and the Addie B. McWhirter Society Award.
She established the Jessie Ruth Littlejohn Endowment at Claflin University to support the University’s mission of developing the next generation of visionary leaders.Littlejohn is married to Horace C. Littlejohn (Lt. Col. Retired, USAF). The couple has a son, Terry; a daughter-in-law, Michaelle; and a grandson, Zachury.
Gerald Mackey is a native of Johns Island, S.C., and a 1970 graduate of Haut Gap High School on Johns Island. Mackey graduated magna cum laude from Claflin University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. In 1977, Mackey became the first African American student to earn a master’s degree in English at The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina. He also received his Master of Education in Administration and Supervision in 1992 from The Citadel. Mackey was named a “Charleston Scholar” by the Charleston Branch of English Speaking Union of the United States. He was awarded a scholarship to study abroad and he travelled to London, England, to earn a Certificate in Victorian Literature and the Arts in 1980 from the University of London. In addition, Mackey was named a Crusade Fellow by the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and awarded a three-year fellowship for graduate studies.
Mackey’s stellar career in public and higher education spans 34 years and includes working in the Charleston County School District as a high school English teacher at C.A. Brown and Burke high schools and as the District’s coordinator of teacher evaluation. Mackey was an assistant principal at St. Johns High school on Johns Island. In addition, he served as an English instructor and associate dean of arts and sciences at Trident Technical College-Palmer Campus.
Mackey was selected by the College Board on several occasions to participate in the annual scoring of Advanced Placement Examinations (AP) in English Language and Literature and the scoring of the writing portion of the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT). He also received a grant from Rutgers University and the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a national core curriculum for secondary school teachers entitled “The City and Literature,” in collaboration with other English educators from around the country. Mackey has published articles in various content-area journals such as English Journal, Carolina English Teacher, and Exercise Exchange: A Journal for Teachers of English in High Schools and Colleges.
He has been named "Administrator of the Year" by the South Carolina Technical Education Association while serving as the Palmer Campus Director of Trident Technical College. He received leadership awards in education from The National Council of Negro Women, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., of which he is a member, and Charleston County Council. He also graduated from the S.C. Department of Education Administrators’ Leadership Academy and Leadership Charleston.
Because of his success leading the Palmer Campus and forging lasting external relationships with Tri-County businesses, industries and the Charleston’s Eastside Community where the Palmer Campus is located, Mackey earned the prestigious distinction of being enshrined into the inaugural class of Pillars of Palmer in 2017. His portrait now hangs in the Library of the Palmer Campus.
Mackey is the father of Julius Mackey (Shawanna), and grandfather to four grandchildren: Taylor, JaQuan, Jayda, and Jaden.
Vernon Wallace was born in St. Stephen, South Carolina, and received his secondary education in the public schools of Berkeley County. He graduated from Claflin College (now University) in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in social science. While attending Claflin, Wallace served as president of the “Bus Committee,” an organization which raised funds to purchase Claflin's first bus. He also served as president of the Pre-Alumni Council for two years.
Wallace, who received a master’s degree in education in 1978 from South Carolina State University, started his career as a teacher with Greenville County Public Schools. He was employed at Claflin and for six years before accepting a position with Bamberg School District One. Wallace worked with the District for 35 years as a teacher and guidance counselor. He retired in June 2016 with the distinction of being the first African American director of guidance at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School.
Wallace is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He previously served as secretary to the Board of Trustees and currently serves on the Church Council, The United Methodist, and Vice Chairman of the Board of the Child Care Learning Center. His civic and community memberships include: Life Member of the Claflin University International Alumni Association, Claflin University Orangeburg County Alumni Association, NAACP Orangeburg Branch, The National Education Association, United States Selective Service Board and Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Wallace, who was married to the late Brenda Rose Wallace, has three children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Brigadier General Twanda “Tia” Young
Brigadier General Twanda Young graduated from Claflin in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in English. Young participated in the Army ROTC program at Claflin University through the cross-enrollment agreement with South Carolina State University. She was the first female commissioned from the ROTC program to earn the rank of Brigadier General. She earned two master's degrees from Ball State University and another master’s from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
Brigadier General Young’s previous leadership assignments include Executive Training Officer for 1stBattalion, 28th Infantry Division; Battalion S1 for Training Command, Fort Jackson, SC; S1 for MEPS, Indianapolis, IN; Adjutant for the 6th Psychological Operations Battalion, Fort Bragg, NC; HHC Company Commander, 8th Psychological Operations Battalion, Fort Bragg, NC; and Personnel Evaluator, Chief of Enlisted Strength Management, and Chief of Officer Management at First Army, Fort Gillem, GA; Mobilization Plans Officer, Army Reserve Personnel Command, St. Louis, MO; Family Program Manager, United States Army Reserve Command, Fort McPherson, GA; Deputy Reserve Support Division, Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, VA; Mobilization Plans and Policy Officer, Deputy Military Personnel Management, Army G1, Washington, DC.; Battalion Commander, CONUS Replacement Center, Fort Benning, GA; CJ1, Chief Strategic Initiatives, Kabul, Afghanistan; Army Reserve Retirement Services Policy Integrator, Director of Human Resources Policy Directorate, Army G1, Washington, DC; Army Reserve Warrior Transition Liaison Program Manager; Fort Belvoir, VA; Deputy Military Personnel Management, RC Policy, Army G1, at the Pentagon, Washington, DC; Commander, Theater Support Group-Pacific and most recently USARC G-1, Fort Bragg, NC.
She is the recipient of the 2010 Order of Saint Maurice Award presented by the 197th Infantry Brigade and the 2011 Horatio Gates Bronze Medal by the Adjutant General Regiment. Her military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, seven Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Superior Unit Award, NATO Medal, Army Staff Badge, and the Airborne Badge.
Young is an active member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Chapter 140 Fountain, SC, 1775 Adjutant General Corps, and The ROCKs which provides mentorship, scholarship, fellowship and professional development to ROTC Cadets, all active duty, Reserve and National Guard component commissioned officers; and senior Department of the Army Civilians.
Young and Tracy, her husband of 26 years, are natives of South Carolina. They are the proud parents of two adult daughters, Lèa and Tyrà.