By Adrienne Gavula
To kick off the Black Alumni Reunion weekend, four generations of Templetons and Frank Hale Jr., great-nephew of Edward C. Berry, joined in celebration of the 175th Anniversary of John Newton Templeton's graduation. He was Ohio University's first African American graduate and only the nation's fourth.
Arthur Templeton, great-grandnephew of John Newton Templeton, began the day by meeting the Templeton Scholars to start the luncheon.
"To me, you always hear and see the history of John Newton Templeton, but to actually see a live person, it puts it all into perspective," says Shaylyn Chochran, a freshman journalism major.
"I think it's great that they still have an interest in meeting us," said Samantha Flores, freshman English major.
During the luncheon, Arthur Templeton was surprised when presented with a birthday cake to celebrate his 89th birthday. A presenter during the luncheon, Connie Perdreau, director of Education Abroad, chronicled John Newton Templeton's life by explaining that what began as a project while she was a student intern, turned into locating Templeton descendents.
The effect of the lives of John Newton Templeton and Edward C. Berry collided in 1915, 28 years after Templeton's departure from the University, when Berry, owner of the Hotel Berry, then one of the country's best and finest hotels, made a substantial contribution in the name of John Newton Templeton toward the construction of the Alumni Gateway.
After the luncheon, the celebration moved to the Alumni Gateway, where a plaque, commemorating the contribution of Edward C. Berry, was unveiled.
"He was a dreamer, He knew who he was and what he wanted to become. He knew he'd have to begin at the bottom. He was a generous man to the least among us and those who had potential," says Hale, talking about Berry.
"I didn't have the opportunity you have today. Coming here and hearing the history makes me so humble. Thank you for what you brought to my life. I'm so happy the Templeton memory is kept alive," says Arthur Templeton.
Adrienne Gavula is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.