JAMES R. CAMERON'S SPEECH
AT THE DEDICATION
OF THE JAMES R. CAMERON CENTER
HISTORY, LAW, AND GOVERNMENT
OCTOBER 15, 2005
and family, let me begin by thanking each of you for coming to share these
few moments which mark the official opening of this new campus facility.
Most people have to die or be a major donor to have their name on a building,
but I meet neither of those qualifications. We owe this occasion to the
initiative of my department chairman, Dr. Donald Yerxa, and to the generosity
friends and former students. I also want to thank my son and his wife for
establishing a scholarship in the name of his parents.
My life resonates with the title of Dr. Edward
S. Mann's last book, Linked to a Cause. For me, as it was for him,
that cause has been Eastern Nazarene College. Since the fall of
1948, when I transferred here from the Ohio State University, this campus
has been my home. It was ENC which afforded me an opportunity to secure
a college education. At the end of my first semester here, I returned to
Maine broke, having spent most of the semester in bed with pneumonia. A
call to Mrs. Mary Rankin, director of student employment services, resulted
in an invitation to return to the campus with the promise of a job. I was
able to earn my entire way through college.
My arrival on campus coincided with that of two
of the most outstanding teachers and scholars to ever grace these halls:
Charles W. Akers and Timothy L. Smith. Some of their books are on display
in the new case. It was Smith who invited me to be a tutorial assistant
in the Department of History, which whetted my appetite to become a teacher.
Akers became' my mentor. He and his wife, Eleanor, invited Ruth Allen to
their apartment, where she baked a lemon meringue pie for me and I was
hooked for life. These men modeled for me the life of a Christian scholar
and teacher. They were very much involved in student life, while finishing
their own doctoral programs. There weren't many ENC faculty members with
the PhD degree in the 1940s. These men both inspired and encouraged me
to begin a graduate program. President Mann offered me a job teaching plane
geometry and algebra while I began my graduate studies. He also offered
Ruth a full-time position, teaching twenty hours a week in the Academy,
for one thousand dollars a year. She helped support me in more ways than
one. Her encouragement and critical reading of my papers were of major
After receiving my M. A. in history at Boston
University in 1952, I was admitted to BU’s doctoral program and expanded
my teaching to include history and political science as well as mathematics.
Smith took a leave of absence to write Called Unto Holiness and
then resigned in 1954. I was appointed to fill the slot which he
vacated. He had begun to teach in college courses incorporated for
the Quincy School Department. Charles Akers took a leave of absence from
ENC to become the first fulltime director of what became Quincy College.
When he left ENC in 1959, I was appointed head of the Department of History
and elected by my colleagues as chair of the Division of Social Science.
I also received my PhD that year and was promoted to Associate Professor.
to the end of World War II, the History Department consisted of only one
faculty member. During the thirties, forties, and fifties, Room 24 in the
Administration Building was the history classroom. Room 27 across the hall
became the offices for the history faculty. With the opening of Shrader
Science Building in 1959, the Division of Social Science offered a proposal
which was accepted for the remodeling of the top floor of Gardner Hall.
The History Department was located where the English Department is now
situated. When Cove Hall was constructed, the Division of Social Science
again offered a proposal for renovation which was accepted—this time for
Canterbury Hall. The Department of History now has new facilities on the
Old Colony Campus with its own unique identification.
When I began my research for the first volume
of the history of the college, ENC had no records for the period before
the move to Wollaston in 1919. After the publication of ENC: The First
Fifty Years, I was given a small room in the basement of Angell Hall
to store the material that I had gathered. The room had neither heat nor
a dehumidifier. I was able to secure the latter. Later the archives were
moved to an apartment in Young and a member of the library staff was assigned
to work there part-time. Now the archives has a permanent and appropriate
home in this center.
Dr. Yerxa has included debate trophies in the
case in this building. Professor James Golden began the intercollegiate
debate program at ENC in 1956, but left after one year. The leading debaters
were history students, so Dr. Charles Akers took over the program. It was
two history students, Richard Schubert and Luther Starnes who first represented
ENC at a National Debate Tournament in 1958. I took over the program from
Akers and we qualified for the Nationals in both 1961 and 1962. When I
became an exchange professor at Northwest Nazarene College in 1968, history
professor Dr. Larry Hyberson took over the program. The program was dropped
when history faculty were no longer willing to direct it.
I have had the privilege of working with some
outstanding colleagues, who incidentally began our association as my students.
Barbara Faulkner was graduated in a class with Jim Sheets and Dick Schubert.
She worked as secretary to Dean Alvin Kauffman during her early graduate
years before becoming my colleague. We worked together for thirty-five
years. Another of my students who returned to teach with me was Larry Hybertson,
who earned his doctorate at Oregon State University and taught at Florida
State before joining the ENC history faculty. On one occasion Barbara,
Larry, and I attended a conference of the American Historical Association
in Toronto. On our return trip, our plane from Montreal to Boston was cancelled
and we were stranded for the night. We pooled our resources for a taxi
ride to a hotel and were able to use credit cards there. The plane ride
the next morning was the coldest that I ever experienced. On another occasion,
Barbara and I were, returning from a history convention in Chicago. After
the plane for home took off, the pilot told us that the wind was seventy
miles an hour in Boston and the temperature was zero degrees. This was
a white-knuckle flight. Passengers were calling for more drinks, but Barbara
sat there very calmly. We landed in New York and were put on a milk train
is hard for me to realize that Donald Yerxa has been a member of the ENC
Department of History for more than twenty-five years. I had to request
three deans before I found one who would appoint him to replace me as head
of the department. Only Charles Akers came close to Don in initiative and
leadership in this department. Both were very involved with students out
of the classroom. Don has published a departmental newsletter, raised funds
for lectureships, and the publication of my centennial volume of the history
of the college as well as for the creation of this facility which is officially
named today. His professional career has been matched by perhaps only two
other members of the ENC faculty. He has been my student, my colleague,
and now my department head, but most of all he is my friend!
I welcome two new colleagues to the department,
Carla Lovett and Randall Stephens. It has been my privilege to get acquainted
with each of them as we traveled together to national meetings of the Conference
on Faith and History. Since our offices and classrooms are on different
campuses, I have enjoyed attending a meeting of the New England Historical
Association with each of them. As I fade out, the Department of History
at Eastern Nazarene College is in excellent hands.
from the Cameron Center dedication | List