by Judge Charles A. Davis (’70)
To many, December 3, 1969, was just another Wednesday. But this was to be a day of singular importance for Trevecca Nazarene College. Students had just returned from the Thanksgiving holidays and were already anticipating Christmas break. The Trevecca family knew that Dr. Moore, Trevecca’s president and Dean Stanton Parry were in Dallas, Texas, for the meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), but there was limited expectation that anything would change.
We had been through the accreditation process in 1968 only to be turned down. The report cited deficiencies in faculty salaries, facilities, administrative turnover, and most significantly—finances. The news of the denial of accreditation had been disappointing and little seemed to have changed to bring new expectancy.
Dennis Moore and I were spending the afternoon in the Student Government offices, awaiting the promised phone call. As editor of the Trev-Echoes, Dennis needed to advise the printer which of two press releases to include in the Friday edition which had already been “put to bed.” One press release advised that Trevecca had been denied again while the other reported that SACS had granted full accreditation. Rev. Bo Dougharty, Trevecca’s director of public relations, had promised that once he received word from Dallas, he would first call us so the paper could “go to press” regardless of the news.
When the phone rang, we were in separate offices but there was only one line coming into the office suite, so we both answered. The news was totally unexpected—SACS had granted Trevecca full accredited status.
We were in shock.
Immediately, Dennis got on the phone and called the printer with instructions. He then ran from McClurkan, up the hill, to the Administration Building. He had the keys to the school’s carillon bell system and immediately started the bells playing the Trevecca Alma Mater and the Trevecca Hymn.
I left McClurkan and began to make my way from dorm to dorm, announcing to everyone that I saw, “We got it, we got it. We are accredited.”
Students began to stream out of the dorms and gather on the walkway in front of the Administration Building. There were tears of joy, congratulatory exchanges, and a fever of excitement that we had never experienced before. We were all ecstatic.
As we stood there basking in the glory of the moment, a suggestion was made that we should be at the airport that evening to meet Dr. Moore and Dr. Parry as they returned from the victorious trip. The time was set for forming the motorcade that would travel to the airport.
At the appointed time, we left the campus, traveling down Murfreesboro Pike on the way to the airport. Horns were honking and passengers were waving out the windows as the motorcade made its way—ignoring red lights, traveling as the victory parade that it truly was.
Upon our reaching the airport, the officials there quickly sized up the situation. They sent word to the pilot that all passengers should deplane except Dr. and Mrs. Moore and Dr. Parry. Once everyone else was off the plane and into the terminal, the doors to the terminal were opened and some 300 students and friends poured out onto the tarmac, gathering around the foot of the steps leading down from the plane. Then, Dr. Moore appeared in the doorway. As he made his way down the steps, the crowd erupted in cheers. As soon as he reached the tarmac, two students picked him up and placed him on their shoulders. Someone gave him a pompom, and the iconic picture was taken.
Dr. Moore’s grin told the whole story.
After years of effort, prayer and commitment by so many presidents, deans and others, the impossible dream was now a reality. December 3, 1969 was the day that forever altered the course of Trevecca Nazarene University.