Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
ITC gets a new President
The Interdenominational Theological Center (that’s a mouth full so let’s shorten it to ITC) will soon welcome a new president.
Come July 31 , ITC alum Wesley Williams will become the interim president of ITC, stepping into the chair to be vacated by Dr. Edward Wheeler who decided to retire (again) after serving a near lifetime of preaching the word, educating ministers, making friends and influencing thousands since 1960 (I’ve known “Eddie” since then, when at 15, he rose amidst the congregants of Union Baptist Church of Atlanta and announced he had been called by the master to preach (most of us other members then into or getting into our teen years, were astounded).
In a ringing endorsement of Williams, Wheeler said he possessed what was necessary to move ITC forward. “ Matt is uniquely gifted to effectively lead ITC”, he said. Later, through a spokesperson, Wheeler said the fiscal health of ITC, not unlike most public and private HBCUs, is fighting the battle of the budget and that many graduates leave the colleges for jobs and salaries that don’t always allow them to afford large donations.
Frankly, when I got the news of his stepping aside nearly a fortnight ago, I was curious since he had only been at ITC four years. But it was logical, considering that my friend should be around 74 or 75 years of age and past eligible for his retirement rewards. Conversely, Mr. Williams, already a VP at ITC, is young, energetic and ready to meet the challenges the 61 year consortium of black theological advancement will bring on as ITC matures into the 21st century.
It is rather interesting, however, that Dr. Wheeler has decided to retire just a handful of days prior to the start of the school’s fiscal year (July 1). A few days ago, I was emailed a letter from Sonya Milner, director of development and alumni/constituent relations about a campaign launched at the beginning of ITC’s fiscal year urging several ways those of you who want to can contribute to the school can. “What we are really after are those who can not necessarily give large amounts but those who can give consistently month after month.”
Understandably quiet about particulars of ITC’s current dilemma, I suspect that the place is in need of our dollars. It’s an institution which shouldn’t be allowed to dry up and blow away.
I would appreciate them letting us know where they stand fiscally so we have a clearer picture of the need. Perhaps that is on the agenda of Mr. Williams.
PREACHING A BACCALAURATE: Earlier this spring, Morehouse’s graduates got an opportunity to hear an electrifying sermon/speech from former graduate-turned powerful preacher E. Dewey Smith at this year’s baccalaureate services. I missed the ceremony but got to hear the speech through modern technology. Smith wrapped his encouraging message around the gospel of St. John and his visions on the island of Patmos and outlined in the biblical book of Revelations. It was interesting that the midst of his fire and brimstone, Smith mentioned something about tuitions. The next day, commencement day, billionaire speaker Robert Smith told the stunned grads he was paying off all their student loans.!!!!.......By the way. On Morehouse’s web site, somebody smart in audio-visual managed to isolate the statement Robert Smith made about money that was heard ‘round the world:
“ ….On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have lived in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus. Now I’ve got the alumni. This is a challenge to you alumni. This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to pay off their student loans (at first, the applause was low, but that was before the students REALIZED what Smith had just said. THEN, they erupted!!!).
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net