On May 5, during the City of Raleigh’s City Council, the board for the Raleigh Hall of Fame announced its 2015 Hall of Fame inductees. Three of the eight honorees have ties to Saint Augustine’s University – Dr. Robert E. Bridges, Rev. Arthur James Calloway and Bishop Henry Beard Delany. This recognition demonstrates how two former SAU professors and an alumnus have upheld SAU’s rich legacy by making significant contributions to the city.
Dr. Bridges’ service to the City of Raleigh began in 1961. Upon earning a degree in elementary education from Saint Augustine’s College (now University), he was hired by Raleigh City Schools to teach fourth grade at Hunter Elementary School. In 1984, he became the school system’s first African-American superintendent. During his 28-year career, he helped integrate the school system, participated in the merger of the Raleigh School System and Wake County School System into one, and oversaw unprecedented growth. Aware of the need for African-American male children to have mentors and encouragement in achieving academic success, he created the Helping Hands Program which the school system still operates. After retiring in 1989, Dr. Bridges served as provost at SAU and chaired the NC Advisory Commission on Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps. He continues to work with the Helping Hands Program and mentor young African-American men. His impact on the community and the school system has been recognized throughout the years by numerous awards including the Wake Education Partnership Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
For thirty-nine years, Rev. Calloway served the citizens of Southeast Raleigh as rector of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church. Under his leadership, the church established after-school programs, provided meeting space for Alcoholic Anonymous, and provided grants for senior citizen programing all to the benefit of Southeast Raleigh. During this time, he also took on the role of community organizer, civil rights activist and college instructor at SAU. During the 1960s, he helped organize efforts to integrate Raleigh City Schools and supported the election of African Americans to political office. Rev. Calloway was elected to the Raleigh City Council representing Southeast Raleigh for three terms from 1979-1985. He was also involved with the PTA, Save Our Community Association, Southside CAC and Southeast Optimist Club. In 1998, Rev. Calloway retired from St. Ambrose. He passed away in 2001.
Alumnus Delany, a centennial inductee, was born an enslaved person on February 5, 1858 and died April 14, 1928 as a Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Delany, a Georgia native, arrived in Raleigh in 1881 to enroll as a student at St. Augustine’s Normal School to study theology and music. After graduating in 1885, Delany immediately joined the staff. He served as the chaplain, vice principal and supervisor of building projects. He and his students helped construct several buildings on the campus including the Historic Chapel, which still is a place of place of spiritual guidance for the campus and the community.
Ordained in The Episcopal Church in 1889, Bishop Delany’s legacy continues in the churches he helped found as well as at SAU’s Historic Chapel.
A Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Monday, October 5 at the Raleigh Convention Center. For more information, visit www.raleighhalloffame.org.