In considering how to most effectively present this special Alumni In Memory, our beloved "Dr. Mac," I found myself thinking back to her memorial service and the words spoken by President Smith. As one alumna grateful to have attended this service, I invite you back to August 15, 1997 when the Greenville College community said "Thank You." -Robyn (Jaenke) '88
"A fifty-five year long love affair between the Greenville College family and Elva McAllaster began in August of 1942 when she arrived on campus as a transfer student to begin her junior year of college. Elva's earthly part of that love affair ended on Tuesday when she went home to be with her Lord. But the college family's love affair for "Dr. Mac" will continue for decades . . . .
In 1956, at the call of Dr. H. J. Long, Elva...began what was to be a forty-one year pilgrimage as an English professor and poet-in-residence. During those years it was apparent that the Greenville College family was her family . . . .
There were numerous factors that drew Elva back to teach at Greenville College, but few, in any, more important than the opportunity to be rejoined with her dear friend, Dr. Mae Tenney. From those mid-50's days and throughout the 60's, 70's and 80's, Dr. Mac and Dr. Harriette Whiteman teamed with other colleagues to bring about many student love affairs with literature and with their Lord. Dr. Mac...had an infectious enthusiasm for the material she presented to her classes. Her interesting vocabulary, witty parentheses, and quiet chuckle were a part of her daily lecturers . . . .
Elva McAllaster's talents were given to her Lord through a lifetime of service to Free Methodist Christian higher education. She touched the lives of thousands of students through teaching and role modeling and thousands more through her writing . . . .
Words that come to mind as I reflect on Elva McAllaster, go beyond poet, essayist and novelist. They would also include words like: scholar, encourager, prayer warrior, caring friend. Elva McAllaster brought her own commitment to academic excellence that made academic administrators like presidents and deans unnecessary. There was no place for mediocrity in her classroom . . . .
Possibly the biggest vacuum Dr. Mac leaves in our college community is in the area of prayer concern and support. Elva often called us to prayer, but never when she wasn't first committed herself. I cannot remember a faculty prayer time when she was not there...On Tuesday afternoon as... three of us bowed in the hospital room, our prayer was primarily one of thanksgiving for Elva's life of prayer and a commitment on our part to be more faithful in our own prayer life. She has left a legacy of prayer that you and I are called to continue . . . .
God granted Elva her wish in that He took her home from Greenville just as He had done to Elva's mentor, Dr. Mae Tenney in the 1950's. Today they may well be celebrating together as they honor their supreme Mentor and Lord . . . .
In honoring Elva's life of leadership and servanthood, we recognize that while she is gone from us, her influence remains and calls us to higher ground. Like you, I thank my God for letting me share in the life of Dr. Elva McAllaster."
"Tribute to Dr. Elva McAllaster"
offered by Dr. Robert E. Smith
President, Greenville College
Memorial Gifts may be sent to Greenville College for one of the following projects:
Hogue Hall Lobby Renovation or
The Elva McAllaster Scholarship