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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dr. Clara L. Small Earns Frank H. Morris Humanitarian Award

class=""MsoNormal"">SALISBURY, MD---For nearly three decades, Dr. Clara L. Small, professor of history at Salisbury University, has played a vital role in the local community, serving as a popular speaker on African-American history, founding and overseeing student organizations and coordinating local disaster relief drives.

class=""MsoNormal"">The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore recently saluted Small’s efforts, presenting her with its Frank H. Morris Humanitarian Award. The award, named after a much-loved former Salisbury mayor, is one of the community’s most prestigious honors. Past honorees have included community leaders Virginia Layfield, Paul Rendine, Richard “Dick” Hazel and Dr. George Whitehead III, SU professor of psychology.

class=""MsoNormal"">Receiving a standing ovation a room filled with community leaders, a stunned Small told them, “I wish my students were here.  For the first time they’d see me speechless.”  She attributed her service ethic to her parents who “taught me, wherever you are, make it become a part of you and you a part of it.”

class=""MsoNormal"">“She has constantly dedicated herself to being a contributing member of her regional community,” said Community Foundation Board member Gladys Goslee, announcing the committee’s selection.

class=""MsoNormal"">A frequent speaker on African-American history and culture, Small give an average of 60 talks and presentations during African-American History Month each February and another 30 on average during Women’s History Month in March. Often dressed in period costumes, she takes her living lessons to schools, churches, prisons, halfway houses, civic organizations and social groups both regionally and nationally.

class=""MsoNormal"">In addition to her public speaking, she adds her leadership to a number of local and state organizations, including the Governor’s Commission to Study the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, to which she was appointed. She also is a board of directors member of Pemberton Hall Manor and SU’s Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture, and the historian for the Thomas E. Polk Sr. chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers. Through a grant from the Community Foundation, she was able to create the annual Buffalo Soldiers Summer Youth Workshop.

class=""MsoNormal"">At SU, Small has been a noteworthy professor both in and out of the classroom. She has served as an advisor to the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the first African-American sorority on campus. She was the long-time advisor for SU’s Union of African-American Students, was a catalyst for establishing a student chapter of the NAACP and works with the Office of Multiethnic Student Services to provide African-American and Women’s History Month activities.

class=""MsoNormal"">She also organized the Maryland Gamma chapter of the Pi Gamma Mu honor society in the social sciences at SU, serving as its co-advisor since 1982. Nationally, she was named its chancellor of the northeastern region in 1991 and has been re-elected to the post every three years since. This year, the international organization honored her with its Faithful Service Award.

class=""MsoNormal"">Earlier this spring for her service to SU, she earned the University System of Maryland’s highest faculty honor, the Board of Regents Award for Excellence.

class=""MsoNormal"">Small “has been truly dedicated to the personal development of all Salisbury University students,” said Goslee.

class=""MsoNormal"">Beyond her service to the campus, Small has provided food and comfort to those in need. She coordinated efforts in the Salisbury community to send more than 140 boxes of relief supplies to victims of Hurricane Floyd in her native North Carolina, going beyond local collection to drive three vanloads of food, blankets, clothing and other needed items to the stricken area.

class=""MsoNormal"">More recently, she was the first person at SU to organize relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. At the local level, she continues to coordinate the collection of non-perishable goods for the Joseph House and the Maryland Food Bank in Salisbury.

class=""MsoNormal"">Small is the daughter of Tarlton Small and the late Doris Skinner Small of Plymouth, NC. She is the sister of Joan Parker of Plymouth.

class=""MsoNormal"">For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at "

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