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Former longtime professor at Bennett gives back

Leon J. McDougle, Jr. taught at Bennett College for 39 years, retiring in 2005. Yet although he's been gone from Bennett College for 12 years, his love of the Institution remains.

So much so that on Dec. 9 during the UNCF Black & White Day Party Scholarship Fundraiser, held inside the Global Learning Center, McDougle and his wife Renee donated $5,000 to his former employer.

Bennett College is one of the 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities supported by the Black College Fund apportionment.

And now, McDougle is challenging his former colleagues to give to Bennett, too.

"Too many people have worked too hard and have been too dedicated to this Institution to idly sit back and let it close," McDougle said. "My wife and I gave that $5,000 in recognition of former President Dr. Gloria Randall Scott. We didn't always agree with everything she did, but she kept this college open, and she treated us all the same. She was very dedicated to the faculty, and I think she really cared for Bennett and still does. I'm challenging all former Bennett faculty members and current faculty members to give to Bennett."

Bennett College President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins said she's grateful to McDougle for making a donation to Bennett and for encouraging other former faculty members to do so.

"I know I speak on behalf of the Bennett College Board of Trustees and the entire Bennett family when I say we truly appreciate Mr. McDougle," Dawkins said. "He has given to Bennett at a critical juncture in our history as we try to raise a significant amount of money. Likewise, he's challenging other former Bennett professors, as well as current ones, to do the same."

McDougle, who earned his bachelor's degree in health education and his master's degree in physical education from North Carolina Central University, taught aquatics, health education, land sports and a couple of major courses in the Division of Education while on the Bennett faculty.

He said there wasn't much about Bennett that he didn't like.

"Bennett was a special place," McDougle said. "I got a chance to sit back and watch a lot of students develop. Bennett has a lot of traditions that other schools didn't have that impressed me. I think being a single-sex school is good for Bennett."

"Mr. McDougle was a very dedicated faculty member, and the students really liked him," said Steve Willis, interim provost and VP of Academic Affairs at Bennett. "He was also a great colleague. I'm not surprised by his donation to Bennett or his challenge to former and current faculty members because he truly cares about the institution. I hope those who can respond favorably to his challenge."

Laurie D. Willis, Bennett College website

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.

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