Bumbry, Curtright to receive honorary doctorates
Saturday, May 09, 2009
CANTON, Mo. – Culver-Stockton College will award honorary degrees to community leader Benjamin J. Bumbry, Jr., of Quincy, Ill., and music educator/composer Carolee R. Curtright of Lincoln, Neb., during the college’s 153rd Commencement on Saturday, May 9.
Bumbry will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of his lifelong efforts to break down racial barriers and his dedicated service to the Quincy community, especially its youth, for more than 50 years. Bumbry is first ward alderman on the Quincy City Council, the city’s first African-American alderman; a member of the Quincy University National Youth Sports Program Advisory Board and the Quincy Blues Society; and director of both the Jackson-Lincoln Swimming Complex and the Redmond Lee Community Center. Previously, he served on the Quincy Park District Board of Commissioners for 10 years. He was the first African-American on the Park Board and worked to redevelop city facilities to improve recreation opportunities for low-income children. He also taught physical education and coached varsity girls softball and basketball for 22 years, as well as coaching community softball and basketball teams for more than 20 years.
Bumbry, a St. Louis native and graduate of Sumner High School, attended Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, on a basketball scholarship as its first African American basketball player; but, after three years, he left to practice with “Goose” Tatum of the Harlem All Stars. Bumbry later finished his bachelor of sciences in physical education degree at Quincy College and then toured with the Harlem All Stars before returning to Quincy. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame at Drake University, as well as into the Iowa AAU Hall of Fame for basketball.
Bumbry received the John Quincy Award from the City of Quincy, was named Citizen of the Year by the Quincy Police Department, and was recognized by the State of Illinois for his work with area youth.
Carolee R. Curtright, a 1956 graduate of Culver-Stockton College, will receive an honorary Doctor of Music degree in recognition of her lifelong commitment to excellence in choral music. She is a published composer/arranger and professor emeritus of music education and choral activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music. In addition to her published compositions, she recently wrote a commissioned piece for the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Summer Institute for the Choral Art. Her choirs have served as choirs-in-residence at the summer institute and she has directed its middle school and elementary choirs.
Prior to joining the University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty, Curtright directed youth and children’s choirs at Country Club Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Kansas City, Mo., including nine children’s choirs and handbell choirs. In addition to teaching at the university, she conducted the Freshman Chorale and directed the University Chorale Women’s Ensemble.
Curtright is the founder/artistic director of the Pueri Cantores Organization of Choirs for Young Voices, which began as a boys choir in 1981 but which has evolved into three choirs. She also is the founder of a community women’s choir, Cantabile, which performs throughout the Nebraska region and has toured nationally and internationally. Until 2002, Cartright was the North Central Division Repertoire and Standards Chair for Children’s Choirs and a member of the National Committee of Repertoire and Standards Chairs.
Currently, she conducts the Matin Singers at First-Plymouth Congregational Church United Church of Christ, Lincoln, Neb., and accompanies the high school and Hope choirs. Cartright continues to coordinate and direct music festivals and honors choirs and to work closely with choir directors, including extensive work with “Sing Around Nebraska.”
About 140 Culver-Stockton students will graduate May 9. Outgoing C-SC President William L. Fox will give the commencement address. Graduation ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m.
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