The Guilford Family
John Parker ’72 and his siblings Conrad ’62, Elwood ’64, Edgar ’69 and Elizabeth ’76 grew up in a Quaker household in eastern North Carolina where getting a college education – at Guilford – was an expectation.
“As we all made our way through high school, there was one thing that was taken for granted – that we were going to college and that mom and dad were going to do everything they could to make sure we could afford to go somewhere where we would be happy and well served – in dad’s case there was only one option,” John said.
Their parents, George ’35 and Elizabeth ’37 Parker, met at Guilford. George died in 2005. Elizabeth, who served on the Board of Trustees, lives in Virginia Beach, Va.
“Their lives were so profoundly affected by life at Guilford,” John said. “It shaped their values and life goals and provided the basis for family stories that reflected a love of place that became deeply seated in all of us.”
In April, 44 years after their parents were honored with Distinguished Service Awards, the Parker siblings received Guilford’s Alumni Excellence Awards along with Minnette Coleman ’73, an actress, writer and singer.
Collectively, the Parkers have been teachers or administrators in high schools and colleges for 181 years. Elwood has taught math at the College for 45 years and Edgar joined the College after 28 years at James Madison University. All five participated in intercollegiate athletics, and they all earned graduate degrees after finishing at Guilford.
In addition to the Alumni Excellence Awards, the Parkers were presented with the Old North State Award from the N.C. Governor’s Office during the alumni awards ceremony.
John admitted his father, George, had the occasional misgiving about sending his children to Guilford.
“Probably, the only times that Dad regretted his influence in directing us toward Guilford was in the wake of many after dinner debates about issues of the day,” he said. “When he would express exasperation that he didn’t know how he had raised such a liberal bunch of young’uns, we would remind him that he was the one that thought Guilford was the best place for us to go to college.”
OTHER AWARD RECIPIENTS THIS YEAR WERE:
Randy Doss ’82
, Charles C. Hendricks Distinguished Service AwardDavid Heggie ’98
, Young Alumni Achievement AwardGrace Sullivan ’14
, E. Garness Purdom Alumni AwardDavid Cason ’14
, Clyde A. Milner Academic Excellence Award
Twenty-one members of the Class of 1963 were inducted to the Golden Circle.