Seven Individuals Inducted into Claflin University Hall of Fame

Nov 21, 2014
Seven distinguished individuals who have made their mark in community service, education, athletics, government and philanthropy were inducted into Claflin University’s Hall of Fame during the 21st Annual Presidential Scholarship Gala on Friday, November 21.

The gala continues the University’s 2014 Homecoming celebration and its 145th anniversary events under the theme, “Celebrating Traditions, Pursuing Transformative Change.” Funds raised at the event benefit academically gifted students.

This year’s Hall of Fame honorees are:

Gail V. Wright Blue – Community Service

Gail V. Wright Blue was born and raised in Taylors, South Carolina.  She graduated cum laude from Claflin University in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in social science.  She earned a master’s degree in social work degree from Rutgers University. She received additional intensive training in family therapy and identifying a treating sexually and physically abused children.

In New Jersey, Blue worked as a social worker and supervisor with the Essex County Department of Social Services, school social worker with the Newark Board of Education, licensed clinician with Catholic Charities Mental Health Clinic and in private practice. After retiring from the Newark Board of Education, she relocated to Nichols, South Carolina, in 2000 and began a second career with Pee Dee Mental Health.

Blue is a member of St. Louis Catholic Church. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and a founding member and current president of the Upper Pee Dee Alumni Chapter of Claflin University. Blue is married to retired police officer and entrepreneur Victor Blue Sr., and they have one son and two grandchildren.

Dr. Annie L. Davis-Clerk – Education

Dr. Annie L. Davis-Clerk was born in Orangeburg and graduated from Claflin College with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1957.  She earned a professional diploma in English linguistics from Oxford University, and master’s degrees in education and curriculum development and special education and supervision, and a doctorate in administration and curriculum development from the Teachers College of Columbia University.

Davis-Clerk dedicated more than 45 years to the New York City schools and served on the faculties of the Teachers College of Columbia University, Long Island University, New Rochelle College and Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. During President John F. Kennedy’s administration, she became one of the first African-Americans to be assigned as an educational ambassador to Europe.  She was also appointed by the Reagan administration to the President’s Committee for People with Disabilities, on which she served for more than 20 years. 

Davis-Clerk, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, lives in Acworth, Georgia, and is an active member of Zion Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia. She and her husband, the Rev. Osbern B. Clerk, have a son.

Earl Donaldson – Athletics

Earl Donaldson, a native of Statesboro, Georgia, graduated with honors from Claflin University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1964. He earned a master’s degree in education from Georgia State University, and has been teaching and coaching for 40 years.

Donaldson lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track, and was state champion in the high jump, long jump and mile run. He was also a leading athlete while at Claflin, and was named Honorable Mention Associated Press All American and First Team All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Donaldson is a past Teacher of the Year honoree at the Downtown Learning Center in Atlanta and is a member of Statesboro High School’s Hall of Fame. He has played baseball and basketball in Korea and Japan, appeared on video with Carl Lewis and played an important role in the 2004 bicentennial drama A Place to Call Home.

Donaldson is an active member of the Historical First African Baptist Church. He has three children and three grandchildren.

Dr. Charlestine R. Fairley – Education

Dr. Charlestine R. Fairley, a native of Gulfport, Mississippi, received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Delaware State College, and earned her doctorate in higher education administration from the University of South Carolina. Her dissertation title was “A History of Claflin College, from 1869-1987.”

Dr. Charlestine R. FairleyFairley began her career in higher education at Claflin College as a visiting professor in the Department of Social Science. While at Claflin, she served as a teacher, counselor, Trio Coordinator of Special Services, and Trio Director of Special Services and Upward Bound. 

Fairley was an expert consultant for The Fund for The Improvement of Postsecondary Education in the United States Department of Education, Washington, D.C., from 1989-1990.  She has served on the faculty of NOVA Southeastern University and Bowie State University. She is president of CRF and Associates Inc., and dean of the Annapolis Southern Maryland Campus of Sojourner-Douglass College.

Fairley is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She has three children.

Walter H. Moore Jr. and Laura Shuler Moore – Government/Education

Walter H. Moore Jr. was born in Petersburg, Virginia, and graduated cum laude from Claflin University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1966. He earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Northern in 1966 and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

Walter H. Moore Jr. and Laura Shuler MooreHis civil service career with the Navy spanned 33 years. He was an operations research analyst for the Naval System Command Center in Dahlgren, Virginia, and was later appointed TERRIER software acquisition manager for the Naval Sea Systems Command in Arlington, Virginia. 

Laura Shuler Moore was born in St. George and graduated summa cum laude from Claflin University in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in English.  She later earned a master’s degree in English from Howard University, and master’s degrees in education and counseling and psychology from the University of Maryland.

She retired from the Charles County, Maryland, Public School System, having been employed as an English teacher, reading specialist and counselor. She then began a second career as an occupational therapist after receiving a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Howard University.

The Moores are generous financial supporters of higher education.  In 2002, they established the Walter and Laura Shuler Moore Endowed Scholarship at Claflin University with a $10,000 donation, and have continued their philanthropy with annual contributions to Claflin.  In 1995, they established the Shuler-Moore Scholarship at Shady Grove United Methodist Church in St. George, which, to date, has awarded more than 20 scholarships to church members attending a four-year institution. Many of the recipients are notable Claflin graduates.

The Moores were married on November 21, 1964, Homecoming Day at Claflin. On November 21, 2014, 50 years later, they have returned to the University’s campus to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary and to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as loyal Claflin philanthropists. They have one son.

Charles Richard Stephens (posthumously) – Philanthrophy

Charles Richard Stephens grew up in Brunswick, Georgia.  He is a graduate of Morehouse College and Central Michigan University.

A participant in the Student Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Stephens was arrested with other protesters and shared a cell with A.D. King, brother of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Charles Richard Stephens

As a married graduate student in Atlanta, he was drafted into the United States Army and served as a Stars and Stripes reporter in Korea.

Upon discharge, Stephens began his fundraising career as membership director for the Butler Street YMCA in Atlanta, a site that became famous as the venue for meetings of civil right leaders, including Dr. King. He served as regional director and national campaign director for the United Negro College Fund; became the first development officer for Morehouse School of Medicine; and served as development/institutional advancement officer at Dillard University, Clark College, Morehouse College and the Interdenominational Theological Center and at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

He later became a managing partner and senior consultant at Skystone Ryan, and while there, served as a consultant for Claflin University for 31 years. Stephens was credited with helping to establish the Institutional Advancement office at Claflin and for serving on the team that was responsible for winning a $1 million capacity grant from the Kresge Foundation. He was the first African-American elected chair of the international Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was an active member of Cascade United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Dr. E. Delores B. Stephens, have two daughters and two grandchildren.

Portraits and biographies of the Hall of Fame inductees that are unveiled Friday night will hang on the upper hallway walls of Tingley Memorial Hall.
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