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Highsmith Family Honored With President's Legacy Award

October 22, 2012

The 175th Homecoming festivities concluded on Sunday morning at the President's Legacy Brunch at Ada Georges Dining Hall.  More than 100 Alumni gathered at the annual event that wrapped up the 2012 Homecoming activities. Barbara Daniel Cox '66, served as Mistress of Ceremonies, and Paul Turner '62, gave the invocation.  The Barbara Walker Story provided musical entertainment.

The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of The Legacy Award to the Highsmith Family by Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital. After a warm introduction by Junious "Rick" Stanton, a close family friend who considers the Highsmiths his family, Charles A. Highsmith Jr., Class of '71, accepted the award.  

Dr. Highsmith graduated with academic honors in 1943, and was president of his graduating class while playing football for Cheyney University.   He was a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

He was a Trustee of Zion Baptist Church and has been recognized previously with the James H. Duckrey Service Award and a distinguished leadership citation from Cheyney University for Public Education Management. Highsmith excelled at every level of educational administration - Elementary Principal, Junior High Principal, Senior High School Principal, Auxiliary District Superintendent, District Superintendent, Associate Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent for Field Operations, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, and School District Superintendent. Stanton noted, "Charles was truly an administrator's administrator, to be looked up to because of rank, yet stood shoulder to shoulder because he was always a co-worker."

Other Highsmith family members who were recognized included Purnell White-Lawrence, president of the Class of 1944 and Cheyney University a First Scholar graduate;  Magnolia Jane White-Highsmith, Class of 1946, and founder of a family scholarship at Cheyney University; Dr. Ann Gillis-Waiters, Class of 1961, who was inducted into the Cheyney University National Hall of Fame in 2012. Renee Lawrence-Harrison, Class of 1968, a generous suporter of Cheyney University who is listed on the Honor Roll of Donors; Charles A. Highsmith, Jr., a 1971 graduate of Cheyney University with a double major in Elementary and Special Education, was a leading member of the Cheyney University Choir and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and Diane Yuko Cogbill-Highsmith, vice president of her class who graduated with honors in 1977 from Cheyney University with a BA in elementary education and a minor in Early Childhood Education.  

Carly Alana Highsmith represented the third generation of Highsmiths.  A Keystone Honors Scholarship recipient, Carly graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 2004 with honors. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and was president of her class. 

Juan Baughn, Ed. D. '66 and consultant trainer for the National Institute of School Leadership, delivered the keynote address. A moving memorial service included the lighting of Memorial Candles to recognize the passing of Cheyney University alumni, including Hermione Clark Hill Logan, daughter of the first president of Cheyney, Dr. Leslie Pinkney Hill.