Delta Kappa Gamma oral history

Memorial Service for Mary Hemphill Greene
February 15, 1968
First Presbyterian Church
Greenville, North Carolina

Rev. Richard Gammon - RG
Dr. Hermine Caraway - HC
Lois Grigsby - LG

[Organ music] (1:54, Memorial Service)

RG: Let us unite in prayer. Almighty God, who has created us that we might enjoy thee and glorify thee forever, we praise thee for the gift of life, for the high privilege of living upon this good Earth which thou hast made. We bless thee for those great and pleasant associations which thou dost accord us throughout our earthly pilgrimage, and we thank thee that we can look beyond the shadows of our mortality to even greater, and higher, and more pleasant experiences in the life beyond. We thank thee, our Father, for the friend in whose memory we are gathered here today, for all of the fine and noble qualities of her life which thou didst inspire in her, for the ideals of service which were the guide and the directing force within her. And now we pray, our Father, that thou wilt enable each of us so to live under the guidance of thy spirit that our lives may ever be a praise and a blessing to thee and of help to our fellow man. For we make our prayer in the name of Christ, who loved us and gave himself that we might have eternal life. Amen. (3:54, Memorial Service)

HC: The members of Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma welcome you to this service. Two weeks and four days ago, we were all distressed to hear of the untimely death of our fellow member, our colleague, and our friend, Mary Hemphill Greene. This afternoon we pause in our activities in deference to her memory. Let me quote a few lines from the magazine Forward:

"The song of life is a sad song. The song of life has many stanzas and they keep changing. Some are happy as well as sad. Some are comic and some are tragic. And this is the song of life for us all. Yet, broken hearts are healed, and healed hearts are stronger than ever before."

You will find the song In Memoriam either on the song sheet or else on page fifty-four in the Delta Kappa Gamma songbook. We will stand for the singing of this hymn and the organist will play through the hymn one time before we begin singing. Let us stand. (5:42, Memorial Service)

[Organ plays; congregation sings] (6:45, Memorial Service)

LG: In memoriam, Mary Hemphill Greene. No memorial service for Mary Greene should be really somber, though this occasion cannot but be sad for her many friends. But if anyone ever favored the light touch, it was Mary. She would have wanted us to go away today with renewed kindliness toward people and increased power to see in better perspective our own small individual cares and worries. In her obituary can be read the chief facts of Mary's life and career: her degrees from Agnes Scott College and Columbia University, with additional study at the University of California, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Chicago; her years of service at East Carolina as teacher and, part of the time, as also news bureau director; her membership in the honor societies of Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Kappa Gamma and in various professional organizations; her work on the editorial board of the North Carolina English Teacher; her listing in Who's Who in American Education and the Directory of American Scholars. But today, we are attempting to catch something more, something of the characteristics that made her the unique person that she was. (8:43, Memorial Service)

One of the first half-dozen faculty members I met when I came to East Carolina College nearly thirty-eight years ago was Mary Greene. Having preceded me here by a couple of years, she was already at home in the English department, on the campus, in the teachers' dormitory-then Ragsdale Hall-and she was unfailingly kind and friendly in helping the newcomer get started. From that day to this I have counted her among my good friends and I am sure that teacher after teacher, joining not only our department but other departments and staffs on the campus, have met a similar outgoing friendliness. Also, her work as director of the college news bureau for eighteen years brought her in contact with a wide range of individuals, from the president, whose office was one stop on her daily beat, through the various teaching and administrative staffs, to the workman on the campus, or the janitor, maid, or cook, about whom there was a news item to be written. Indeed, I doubt that anyone else on the East Carolina University campus of 1967-1968 knew as many of the more than twelve hundred persons employed by the university as Mary did, or was more universally known and liked. (10:22, Memorial Service)

Mary Greene was a scholar, a lover of books, reading, and study, but in my judgement she was, in her professional life, first of all a teacher. She enjoyed her classes and her students, and her students responded. Like all good teachers she could lose herself completely in the work of a class hour. At one time when Mary was not very well, a friend commented that she certainly did not show any letting down in the classroom. "You go by Mary's room," she said, "And she will be looking so animated and interested in the work going on."

Perhaps first among her favorite courses, and those most liked by students, was the Shakespeare. She gave much time and thought to building up English 325. Coming to realize that reading aloud seemed to reach best the students in this course, she made her reading to the class a feature of the course as she taught it. Over the years, I have heard many students comment on how Miss Greene really made the plays come alive for them. The dedication of the East Carolina University Playhouse's five performances of Romeo and Juliet this past week-"To the memory of Mary H. Greene, professor of English, who loved Shakespeare"-was indeed fitting. (12:03, Memorial Service)

She had her own individual approach to the details of her work, one often touched by the humor that was an outstanding characteristic of hers. A former student told an incident that illustrates this. She said that one day Miss Greene came into the classroom-probably a Freshman English class though not necessarily so-and settled herself at her desk. Then she looked up and said, "The sun is shinning over the dinning room." Without comment she turned to the work that had been assigned. In a few minutes she paused and said again, "The sun is shinning over the dinning room." Then she went on with the work. To the amazement of the class, and finally to their amused recognition of her point, she repeated her statement from time to time during the hour. As the closing bell rang, she stepped to the board and fired a parting shot by writing there, "The sun is shinning over the dinning room," and the class filed out, still with no explanation, "But," said the student who told the incident, "I doubt if anyone in that class ever again misspelled 'shining' or 'dining'." (13:25, Memorial Service)

Mary and I often taught across the hall from each other in old Austin, and it was not uncommon for me to hear a burst of laughter from her classroom, the humor, no doubt, pointing up the fact or idea being discussed. Everyone speaks of Mary's unfailing good humor. She never seemed to feel cross, irritable, or despondent. She made light of any difficulties of her own, was able to poke fun at herself, as she did, for example, the time she came up with a peculiar-smelling clam chowder, which she was making for someone sick, and, checking, found that instead of picking up the small can of milk she had intended to use, she had got hold of a similar can of white enamel. If you knew her well, you could just see her laughing, with eyes half shut, as she told this. (14:27, Memorial Service)

She typically greeted with some cheerful or joking remark those she came in touch with day by day. In the grocery, the laundry, the post office, on the street, as well as on the campus, the invariable reaction has been: "Miss Greene was always so pleasant and friendly." Along with her joking and her good humor, however, she was deeply sensitive to the needs of others and was always doing a kindness to someone. She helped students. She encouraged younger teachers. She contributed to funds when hardship came to someone on the campus. She carried food to the sick. She expressed her appreciation to people freely, especially, in recent years, to her friends, whose friendship she seemed to prize more and more. A retiree commented to me on Mary's thoughtfulness in the first weeks of her retirement. "Doubtless feeling that the transition might be difficult," she said, "Mary called me every few days, just to ask how I was getting along and chat a few minutes." A note this week from Emma Hooper, for so many years a coworker and friend of Mary's, spoke of having received from her a letter of the nicest good wishes while she was delayed at home by illness in the fall of 1928, the year Mary joined the faculty, even though she and Mary had not yet met. (16:09, Memorial Service)

In the English department, the news bureau, and the many extracurricular duties of the campus, Mary was always ready to do her part and more. She was quick to volunteer to take a class for someone ill and taught many an extra class for this reason. One of her fellow teachers, who is also a leader in this group memorializing Mary today, said, "No matter what I called on Mary for, she never once refused to help," and I heard similar comments many times from Dr. Lucille Turner, Mary's coworker for over three decades, first as her fellow teacher and then as her department head.

Mary was devoted to her friends, as I have already indicated, to her family, and to East Carolina Teachers' College, East Carolina College, East Carolina University, to which she gave her best over the years. Her only niece stayed with Mary for a while and attended college here until she married. The five-year-old great-niece, whom Mary adored, was named for her and called by the full name Mary Greene. Disturbed by what she caught of the tragedy of Mary's death, little Mary Greene said to her mother, "I'm not named for anybody anymore, am I?" But her mother assured her that she would always be named for someone. (17:49, Memorial Service)

One of the happy experiences of Mary's last week was seeing in print the new novel of Mr. Ovid Pierce, a close friend, and reading his acknowledgement to her and another helpful friend, Mrs. Agnes Barrett, of his indebtedness to them for their constant interest and encouragement. Also after attending the dedication of the university stadium that week, Mary had enjoyed a pick-up supper with a small group at the home of an intimate friend, Marguerite Perry, the Saturday night of her death, and had evidently spent part of the remainder of the evening happily preparing food to serve a similar group at her home the following night.

Her family will miss her, her friends will miss her, East Carolina University will miss her, and Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma will miss her. Mary Hemphill Greene was all that I have said and more, much more. Who can catch the mystery of personality in a net of words? Scholar, journalist, teacher, friend, she was, beyond that, a unique and unforgettable personality whose best memorial will be in the hearts of those who loved her. [Pause] I place this white rose among the red in memory of Mary Hemphill Greene. (19:45, Memorial Service)

HC: May we stand and sing the first two stanzas of Be Still My Soul - that is hymn 374 in the Presbyterian hymnal - after which, may we remain standing for the benediction.

[Organ plays; congregation sings] (23:25, Memorial Service)

RG: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace, both now and in the life everlasting. Amen. (23:42, Memorial Service)

[Organ plays, fading out]

[End of recording]


Southeast Regional Conference of Delta Kappa Gamma
Program prepared by members from North Carolina and Florida

Introduction by Lois Grigsby
August, 1967
Mobile, Alabama

Lois Grigsby - LG
Introductory Speaker - IS
Lead Speaker - LS
Additional Speakers - AS

LG: Program prepared by Mrs. Addie Lewis of Florida and Mrs. Antoinette Jenkins of North Carolina, members of the International Committee on Professional Affairs, for a presentation at the Southeast Regional Conference in Mobile, Alabama, August, 1967. Four colleagues from North Carolina and four from Florida cooperated in giving the program. This tape is copied from one prepared by the International Delta Kappa Gamma Society for headquarters. (0:37, Southeast Regional Conference)

[Break in recording]

IS: .Escambia High School in Pensacola, Florida. Number one speaker: Myrtle Stevens, Eta Chapter, art teacher, Pensacola, Florida. Number two speaker: Ruth [unclear 00:55], Alpha Omicron Chapter, teacher of English, Jay High School, Jay, Florida. Number three speaker: Ruth Bryan, Eta Chapter, teacher of English, Choctawhatchee High School, Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Number four speaker: Rosalie Pruitt, Chi Chapter, elementary librarian, High Point, North Carolina. Number five speaker: Sally [Clingman Smith 01:24], Beta Alpha Chapter, kindergarten director, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina. Number six: Hermine Caraway, Beta Alpha Chapter, teacher of English, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina. Last but not least: Antoinette Jenkins, Beta Alpha Chapter, professor of English emeritus, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, also the script designer and producer of these excellent visual aids and serving as our technical director. And now these girls will present to you the hallmark of the professional teacher. (2:12, Southeast Regional Conference)

[Pause; break in recording]

LS: .the very first step in the study of values should be a staff evaluation in the area of our professional ethics. We also feel that many times there's a wide gap between what teachers profess and what they practice. As a means of contrasting these avowed standards with the practice standards, we're going to present actual incidents which have occurred in the school during the past year. Various solutions will be presented and the best solution will be determined. As this problem is stated, any of you who wish may suggest solutions. Since many of the teachers involved are members of Delta Kappa Gamma, and since any teacher in the school can meet similar situations, we propose to make recommendations. Certainly we shall use fictitious names. Our technical director on the stage is in direct communication with the computer in another part of the building. If you wish to state a solution for a problem, certainly you should feel free to do so. When you have stated your solution, if the computer evaluates it as unsatisfactory, nothing will happen. If, however, your solution is evaluated as satisfactory, then a light will appear beneath your picture. If, however, the computer evaluates your solution as preferred, a bell will ring, a light will come on, and this will be a signal for you to go to the flannel board to your left and post your solution to this particular problem. Now, everyone ready? Does anyone have an incident involving professional ethics to record or to report at this time? (4:32, Southeast Regional Conference)

AS: Yes, I do. One teacher at a certain school is the advisor to the senior class. During a class meeting, with the class president in the chair, plans were voted on for commencement weekend. A minority group of five were against those plans but they did not give valid reasons for their opposition. After the voting, these five aired their grievances in a classroom down the hall, where Mr. Johnson stopped the recitation in order to listen. He then advised this minority group not to participate in any activities they did not like. What should he have done?

AS: In the first place, Mr. Johnson should have advised the advisor of the students the attitude of the minority, and then she could have had a conference with the students and worked out a solution which would have led to their satisfaction.

AS: Letting the business of the senior class overflow into a mathematics classroom was just inexcusable. Mr. Johnson should have stopped the students from monopolizing his class and advised them to seek a conference with the advisor, who then would have had a chance to solve the problem. He should not have suggested rebellion. [Bell rings] (5:51, Southeast Regional Conference)

LS: Would you go to the flannel board, please?

[Pause; break in recording]

LS: .the computer states that a teacher-pupil conference is the correct ethical procedure that should have been followed. Certainly it seems to us that, if Mr. Johnson had placed himself in the position of the advisor, he would have acted differently. Mr. Johnson states that he values empathy, but it doesn't seem that he had any empathy with the advisor. What does Mr. Johnson value-cooperation or agitation? In the teaching profession, we should place a high value on cooperation, and this can be easily obtained if we just remember to practice empathy. (7:05, Southeast Regional Conference)

[Pause; break in recording]

AS: .we have another anecdote. One day Mrs. Moore was walking down a hall by Miss White's classroom. When she looked in, she noticed that the students were not seated in their regular seats but they were [unclear 07:36] about the room in little bunches, all of them talking with much animation. Mrs. Moore couldn't wait to go to the county science meeting and tell about this. (7:46, Southeast Regional Conference)

AS: What business is it of hers? The behavior problems don't concern the teachers of other schools and should not have been brought to their attention. If the students [at that school are like most students 08:03], not much time would have elapsed before they would have been [unclear 08:08] the principal. If a behavior problem existed, he could have corrected the situation in whatever way he thought best.

AS: If Mrs. Moore had been honestly concerned about discipline, she could have let Miss White know that she had seen what happened. She could have asked what the pupils were hoping to accomplish by that seating arrangement. If she'd taken the time to investigate, she could have learned that the students had been having a buzz session. They were not aimlessly gossiping. Instead they were planning a lively recitation for the next day, in which all levels of learners would take part. [Bell rings]

LS: You may go to the flannel board, please. (8:53, Southeast Regional Conference)

[Break in recording]


LS: This is a case in which hasty judgement was definitely unfair. It is quite obvious to us that a quiet talk with Miss White would have been the best ethical procedure to have followed. It also seems that maybe Mrs. Moore placed more value on gossip than she did truthfulness. But far more disturbing to me is her lack of trustworthiness. As educators, you and I have a responsibility to be trustworthy, not gossipy.


Does anyone else have an incident to relate?

AS: Yes, I do. All teachers at some time or another must act as custodians for the funds of various clubs, organizations, and all sorts of fees that we must collect. A teacher in our school had been collecting, for some time, book rental fees, insurance fees, class dues, and no telling what else for a number of weeks. Suddenly she was called away home one weekend. Conditions were such that she never returned. The money was never returned to the school. (10:53, Southeast Regional Conference)

AS: The solution to that is plain. The teacher should have mailed the principal check for the full amount.

AS: Or, better still, she should have left, with another teacher or the principal, a list of the payees into each fund and the cash in case her return was delayed. In this way, the substitute could have taken up right where she left off. [Bell rings]

LS: Would you go to the flannel board, please?

[Break in recording]

LS: .is an example of our need for extreme caution when we are handling other people's money. If asked, no doubt this teacher would have said that she valued honesty very highly and that she was honest, but carelessness is no virtue for us to value. As educators, we have a responsibility in all that we do to demonstrate honesty at all times. (11:58, Southeast Regional Conference)


AS: I have an example of a problem that has occurred that I should like to bring to you. I think maybe this problem needs an immediate recommendation from a group like this. A member of our chapter has conclusive evidence that the son of a school board member has been dishonest on an examination. The father is a prominent citizen of the community. Faced with the certainty of a failing grade for his son, this father has arranged for the board to issue an ultimatum to this teacher: Either pass the boy or lose your job. This particular teacher has chosen dismissal to the giving of a dishonest grade. Obviously, she values integrity very highly. Do we have the courage to take a stand supporting this kind of integrity? What should we do?

AS: That's ridiculous. I think the teachers of this school have been under pressure from that school board just long enough, and it's high time they were taught a useful lesson. There's just no recourse but to call a strike next Monday and stay on strike until something is done about reinstating that teacher. [Laughter] (13:30, Southeast Regional Conference)

AS: I disagree. Such action would not be in harmony with our standards of professional ethics. [unclear 13:37] would be unfair to the students when the teachers have been hired to teach. I am definitely opposed to a strike because that is just not the way professional people solve their problems.

AS: So if striking does not offer a satisfactory solution to the problem, why not call a meeting of these people: the superintendent, the principal, the dismissed teacher, the parents of the boy, two members from this society, two members of the school board, and other parents who are interested. These people could sit around the table, get all the facts out into the open, discuss them, and then evaluate what they have heard from both sides, suggest a fair solution to the problem to be presented to the school board for consideration. Collective representation is our best method. [Bell rings] (14:43, Southeast Regional Conference)

LS: Would you place this solution on the flannel board?

[Break in recording]

LS: .is a case or a time in which a teacher's professional integrity is at stake. Certainly our colleagues need our loyalty at times like this. We should place a high value on loyalty and integrity, place it into practice in our lives, and stand steadfast with this integrity.


Are there other incidents?

AS: Yes. This situation came to my attention the other day. In one particular school, the back wall of Miss Wilson's room coincides with the front wall of Miss Brown's room. Miss Wilson was teaching a class of fifty-four in a room designed for forty-five. Miss Brown heard a noise on the dividing wall between the two rooms so she immediately left her room, went to Miss Wilson's room, opened the door, summoned the tallest boy sitting in the back of the room and, without a word to Miss Wilson or to the boy, she took the boy back to her classroom and kept him the rest of the period. [Laughter] Was this action ethical? (16:19, Southeast Regional Conference)

AS: That was an inexcusable thing to do. Why couldn't she have just ignored the noise [unclear 16:23]?

AS: A quiet conversation with Miss Wilson at some other time would have got better results. The two of them could have discussed the crowded seating problem and found out some way to avoid the annoying noises. This conversation should have taken place when no pupils were present. [Bell rings]

LS: Very good. Would you place this solution on the flannel board, please?

[Pause; break in recording]

LS: We hope that all of you see that, at this time, not only do we have teacher [unclear 17:12] but we have teacher cooperation when things happen on stage that have not been rehearsed. The best idea, then, seems to be a teacher conference. Miss Brown would certainly never admit that she had been discourteous. Courtesy is something that you and I have a definite responsibility to place high value upon. Courtesy: We always demand this of other people, but are we, as teachers, always courteous? (17:43, Southeast Regional Conference)


AS: So far we have discussed [unclear 18:09] problems relating to teachers in general. I have something a little bit different that I want to mention. All of us remember that, when we were initiated, we pledged to be loyal to the policies and programs officially adopted by this society and to do our utmost to discharge our part of the responsibilities undertaken by Delta Kappa Gamma. How many members attend all chapter meetings? How many members write on the [unclear 18:44]: "I have contributed little or nothing to Delta Kappa Gamma?" How many members write: "Delta Kappa Gamma has contributed nothing to me?" All members pledge their loyalty sincerely. How many are really sincere? What can we do about this?

AS: They just ought to be suspended from Delta Kappa Gamma if they're unwilling to assume responsibilities. [Laughter] (19:14, Southeast Regional Conference)

AS: I don't know. Obviously the reason that these people are not assuming responsibilities is they're not interested in the activities and are not involved in the work, so it seems to me that perhaps the fault, dear Brutus, is not in those members but in ourselves. You know we're interested in the things that we take an active part in and the things in which we feel successful because we are contributing to them. So let's just think a little bit. What could we do to get all of our members interested, or even enthusiastic, about assuming responsibilities? Seems to me we might have smaller chapters and that will give the members the chance to assume more responsibility. Or let's have livelier programs, and not given by outsiders either but by members themselves.

You know something we've done in our chapter is we've put our new members to work earlier. They really became more interested than they would otherwise. I remember the last time that our chapter was hostess for the state regional meeting. We made two new members, who had been members of our chapter for only a few weeks, co-chairmen for that state regional meeting. [Laughter] They were in charge of all things and they did a bang-up job and did they learn about Delta Kappa Gamma while they were [unclear 20:51]. [Laughter] And since then they have been extremely valuable [unclear 20:58]. Obviously, every member's participation is the answer to this problem. [Bell rings] (21:07, Southeast Regional Conference)

LS: Excellent. Would you put that solution on the board, please?


Fine. We all agree on member participation, and certainly we feel that members will participate if they are sincere when they pledge their loyalty to Delta Kappa Gamma.


We have now proposed these solutions to these particular problems. The computer indicates that the best solutions are: the teacher-pupil conference; the consultation, not the gossiping or the tattling; honesty with other people's money; collective representation; conferences between teachers; and every-member participation. Now, suppose we review and outline the characteristics of the professional teacher so as to guide all members of Delta Kappa Gamma. (23:04, Southeast Regional Conference)

AS: E is for empathy, the knack of identifying with pupils and parents, with teachers and administrators.

AS: T, for trustworthiness, means the ability to be faithful in allegiance to a person, a group, or a cause.

AS: H is for honesty, which impels a person to take the time to do right, to do nothing unworthy of his own inherent qualities of soul.

AS: I for integrity is the keystone of our profession. We must at all times be above reproach.

AS: C for courtesy means built-in politeness to persons of all ages and all positions.

AS: S for sincerity notes keen interest in and strict adherence to our avowed promises. In other words, sincerity embraces genuineness and faithfulness. We hope that all of you will adopt these standards of ethics in your professional relationships, a standard founded on empathy, trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, courtesy, and sincerity. (24:57, Southeast Regional Conference)


[End of recording]

Delta Kappa Gamma oral history
Included is the memorial service on February 15, 1968 for Miss Mary Hemphill Greene, former English Department faculty member at East Carolina University. The service was held at First Presbyterian Church, Greenville, North Carolina, with Dr. Hermine Caraway presiding, invocation by Rev. Richard Gammon and tribute by Miss Lois Grigsby. Also of interest is a program from August 1967 presented to the Southeast Regional Conference of Delta Kappa Gamma meeting in Mobile, Alabama. The program was prepared by Mrs. Addie Lewis of Florida and Mrs. Antoinette Jenkins of N.C. Delta Kappa Gamma is a professional honor society of women educators across the United States and around the world.
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