Dr. Carolyn Ward loved Shorter College. As a student at Shorter, she was active in student affairs, president of her class for 3 years and president of the student body her senior year. She graduated cum laude with a degree in biology and later became a well-respected physician in the Atlanta area. She was also a woman who brooked no nonsense.

She served on the Alumni Governing Board 1963-1964

She served as a trustee for Shorter College from 1986-1991, 1992-1997, 1999-2002 and served on the reorganized board from 2002 through October 7, 2005. She served as Chairman of the Board 2001-2002.

In 1997, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Alumni Association.

The faculty and Staff of Shorter College named her the Red Cross “Hero of 2003” as past chairman of the Shorter Board of Trustees.

The following are excerpts from her diary of her experiences with Shorter – a diary that she kept from 2001 until shortly before her death in 2011.

From her cover letter:

“ These last years (2001-2005) were tumultuous years for me and the rest of the Board, during which in the Fall of 2001 the College Executive Committee realized that the Georgia Baptist Convention which had the right to elect trustees since the 1959 charter was about to begin packing the Board of Trustees with men (sic) whose first loyalty was to the Convention. In spite of all that we tried – 2 face-to-face meetings  with our boards and committees as well as meetings with both groups’ officials, numerous letters back and forth  – – – we lost the decision of the Supreme Court by a vote of 4-3 in May 2005.  Thus by one vote, the history of Shorter was forever changed as well as her future.

“. . . My grief and sadness has continued, especially as I see the predicted changes occurring. In addition the Baptist media, the now (2006 -2011) Board chairman and even the now president in his speeches, continue to rewrite Shorter history according to their own desires.  They paint those of us who tried so hard, in the worst possible light.

“One thing I know is that I did my best, that I did what I thought I should and that I have no regrets.  I would do it again.


From her diary:

“Fall 2001 – GBC elected 3 trustees who were not originally presented by SC [Shorter College].  They turned down a former trustee, the immediate past chairman of the Board and the immediate past President of the Alumni Assn. We asked them to reconsider. Especially since 4 ladies had rotated or resigned off the board, and Shorter, having a long history of being a woman’s college and today has approximately 65% women in the student body, we asked that the alumni president be nominated.  They refused.

“Being the first time this had occurred and given the history of the politics and record of the Convention, it was immediately seen as a takeover of the board by the extreme fundamentalists of the Convention.  It was also evident that such a takeover would forever change the entire character and soul of Shorter College.

“AT THE SAME TIME, it happened that this year of 2002 was the ten year audit to be done by SACS.  The SACS Handbook mandates that a college through its governing board must be free of undue external pressure from any outside group.  As the workup for the review proceeded, the SACS group found that they had questioned the independence of Shorter’s governing board 10 years ago and thus they focused on this unresolved issue.

“Since our paperwork had to be submitted to SACS by Jan1, the BOT on Nov 2 voted a lease arrangement for the management of the college, which was considered to be temporary until changes could be made with the GBC. This had not been accomplished by January 1 and so the lease went into effect on January 2.  Because of the immediate furor and reaction that it met with the GBC’s leader, it was rescinded on Jan     (date omission by the author) in order to work with the GBC as they refused to talk until it was.”

From February until November 2002, work went on in order to come to an agreement with the GBC on the selection of trustees. All efforts were met with the same sort of intransigence that is evident now.  In May, the Shorter trustees passed a new bylaw to the charter in an attempt to clarify Shorter’s position regarding the election of trustees. The bylaw, in essence, set forth in writing what had been the agreement with the GBC since 1959. It said that the Georgia Baptist Convention would still elect trustees, just as it always had, but that the nominees would be qualified first by the College. The vote on the bylaw was split; it passed and became a bone of contention between the GBC –placed trustees and the rest of the board.

As was the custom, Shorter sent a list of proposed trustees to the GBC. The proposed trustees were to be evaluated by the GBC Nominating Committee and selections for each of the eight vacancies were to be made. The Nominating Committee would then present the slate of candidates to the full Convention for a vote.  For each position, three nominees were submitted.

The Convention began and the Nominating Committee had still not informed Shorter whom they had chosen as trustees for the school. It was not until November 11 that the GBC Nominating Committee handed the list of nominees selected to the Shorter representatives at the Convention.

Dr. Ward writes, “. . . NONE of the 8 are from our list. Thus they have completely ignored our bylaw, have once again demonstrated that the Board is not independent and remains under the pressure and thumb of the GBC. This means we again have an issue with SACS.

“Rev. Mike Everson, chairman of the GBC Nominating Committee prior to reading the names of the GBC nominees, gave a “7 minute dialog” against the College and our President in particular.  . . .He also made comments about the ones which Shorter had nominated to the GBC. He said that one woman had joined a Baptist [church] recently in order to be on the Board and there was a question about how much either she or her church gave to the Cooperative Program. He also said one of our nominees only went to church a couple of times a year. Etc.  Their 8 nominees were, of course, elected.”

And so the process of electing trustees began. No longer would the trustees be vetted by Shorter. No longer was there a primary focus on the qualifications of the candidates as would best serve the institution. Trustees would now first be qualified on how much they or their churches gave to the Cooperative Program of the GBC.

For those of you who have been scratching your heads and wondering how we could get to the place in which we currently find ourselves, you must look to the beginning of the Fundamentalist take-over of Shorter.

We thank Dr. Ward for her diligence and love of Shorter and for sharing her insights with us. We hope that we can honor her memory, as we step forth in faith to declare that Shorter has always been a Christian institution of higher education.

Not once, in all of the controversy currently surrounding our beloved institution has the current administration pointed to the reason for the “need for returning Shorter to its Christian roots”. They have not. Shorter has always held to its Christian roots; it just has not sold herself to the Fundamentalist agenda. The Fundamentalists of the GBC now have complete control – not ownership, as no one owns a non-profit institution – of the school.   The agenda at Shorter is no longer the pursuit of academic excellence; the agenda is power and control disguised in the  name of Jesus Christ.

As Dr. Ward wrote, in reference to her leadership of a rapidly changing Board of Trustees, after the trustee election of 2002:

“God Bless Shorter.  God bless our Board.  And God help me to do my duty.”

16 responses to “AND SO IT BEGINS PART TWO

  1. Larry T. Burgess

    I will forever be thankful for Dr. Carolyn Ward! She was the chair under whom I served as a Trustee of Shorter College. She was and remains from Heaven an absolute tribute to all that Shorter has been through the years. With absolute accuracy, her diary describes the agony we experienced together. I was not allowed to be a part of the reorganized Board after the court ruling, and I can only imagine what a continued struggle it was for her to see her efforts deprecated and her legacy criticized without any effective outlet through which Georgia Baptists could hear the heart of this humble giant. I am extremely thankful to SOS for finally making such a revealing description of the struggle available to all who will read and reflect! Thank you, Dr. Ward, and thank you, SOS!!!

  2. Dr. Ward was my Dr, for many years a good friend to this at the time young girl. She was one of the smartest and most forthright people I have ever known. Thank you so much for sharing her thoughts and words about the alma mater she and I shared, She loved Shorter so very much!

  3. John_of_Silence

    “Rev. Mike Everson, chairman of the GBC Nominating Committee prior to reading the names of the GBC nominees, gave a “7 minute dialog” against the College and our President in particular. . . .He also made comments about the ones which Shorter had nominated to the GBC. He said that one woman had joined a Baptist [church] recently in order to be on the Board and there was a question about how much either she or her church gave to the Cooperative Program. He also said one of our nominees only went to church a couple of times a year. Etc. Their 8 nominees were, of course, elected.”

    What curious omissions and truncations in this paragraph–even by the original author! Could it be that the candidates presented were intentionally selected to be rejected by the GBC so that Schrader could have his paper tiger with SACS?

    You claim you are exposing the truth on this website by quoting sources who did and do have an agenda–such an agenda that they created an illegitimate (what you euphemistically call “reorganized”) board of trustees to try and steal the college.

  4. I don’t know…. it does seem obvious to me that the GBC has an agenda to steal the college, and has made some pretty direct moves to do just that. I guess I’m not entirely sure of what you’re against, John of Silence? Isn’t that paragraph directly from Dr. Ward’s diary? If so, I think it’s obvious she was worried about the direction everything was headed, and rightly so…

  5. Larry T. Burgess

    I am trying to be respectful, but you are so totally ignorant of the truth of what happened and what descriptions of the events mean. The “reorganized” Board of Trustees refers to the group AFTER the GBC won the court case by one vote. That is, AFTER the GBC unseated all those elected by the college and inserted their choices. I was pleased to know DR. Ward was allowed to remain. Now I am even more glad, as her diary gives us a glimpse into the workings of the Board after total GBC domination. By the way, I was present on the floor of the annual meeting of the GBC when Rev. Everson delivered his tirade against Shorter’s suggestions for Trustees and against Dr. Schrader. Such personal attacks are totally against Parliamentary Procedure. Read Roberts Rules of Order if you do not believe what I am writing. NO personal attacks were made from the floor of the convention by Shorter against GBC leadership, not even against Rev. Everson. Dr. Schrader did speak briefly, but he was gracious and followed Parliamentary Procedure to the letter. If the Parliamentarian were not in the pocket of those attacking Shorter, the tirade by Rev. Everson would have been ruled out-of-order. I served as a Southern Baptist pastor for 35 years, and I was the Parliamentarian for every church I served. And by the way, we gave generously to the Cooperative Program and other Southern Baptist mission offerings, at a much higher percentage of our total church income than many of the churches who are now represented on the GBC-dominated Board. You have now claimed at least twice that Dr. Schrader picked Trustee candidates who would be rejected by the GBC and thus created a paper tiger for SACS to react to. [1] The President never picked Trustee candidates unilaterally. They were suggested by the Executive Committee of the Trustees and included suggestions from a large number of people. They went through interviews before being sent to the Nominating Committee of the GBC, to see if they were willing to serve if elected. The suggestions numbered three times the number of Trustees needed for that year [as was true every year]. The final selections were decided by the GBC Nominating Committee and then were nominated on the floor of the GBC annual convention and voted upon. This process had been practiced and honored by the college and the convention for over a 100 yrs. What broke the tradtion and the trust between the two entities was the ugly confrontation by Rev. Mike Everson toward Dr. Schrader at a meal at a Cracker Barrel north of Atlanta, in which he shoved a list of five names in front of Dr. Schrader and demanded that they be elected as Trustees. Dr. Schrader made efforts to contact each of the five and go through the normal interview process, but time was short as the GBC annual convention was just a few days away. Dr. Schrader was not able to reach all five. For example, one on Rev. Everson’s list, Dr. Nelson Price, was out of the country. He forwarded those who agrred to serve to the Nominating Committee of the GBC. I do not think I would have been so gracious toward Rev. Everson’s aggressive style, but Dr. Schrader sought to be acommodating. When the annual meeting of the convention occurred, Rev. Everson delivered his tirade against Dr. Schrader and Shorter [mentioned above] and presented a slate of Trustees which rejected all suggestions from the college [again, a rejected list totalling three times the Trustees needed that year. Every lady on the college’s list was rejected. A wonderful African American Southern Baptist pastor, whom I know well, was rejected. A former Trustee Chair, who had served with distinction, was rejected]. TO BE CONTINUED…

  6. Larry T. Burgess

    CONTINUED…And, oh, imagine this, three of those nominated and elected on the convention floor were from Rev. Everson’s list of five. One of the three, Dr. Nelson Price, spoke in his first meeting as a Trustee of his embarassment at the treatment Dr. Schrader had received at the hands of Rev. Everson. I was present and heard the speech. Dr. Price claimed that Rev. Everson was known for tirades, was speaking only for himself and had “no constituency.” Rev. Everson, it was claimed, was not speaking for the GBC. Dr. Price promised the Board that he would do all he could to protect Dr. Schrader from further attacks. However, I found out soon after the speech that Rev. Everson was elected to be Chair of the Nominating Committee of the GBC. He obviously did have a constituency and was being rewarded for being the henchman of the GBC. He would now lead the very group who decided who would be elected as Trustees of all GBC entities, not just the colleges. At the next Trustee meeting, I delivered a parable. THE PARABLE—Imagine that you are in your house and an arsonist sets it afire. Well-dressed, impressive, articulate representatives of the fire department enter your home and tell you, “Do not worry about this arsonist. He is a wild fire-brand, and we promise that we know how to handle his kind. Trust us and we will take care of this situation.” A few days later, not only is your house still burning, but those same well-dressed, articulate people from the fire department return to deliver the message that the arsonist has just been elected Fire Chief, but do not worry. Upon further reflection, they have decided that the arsonist is a good and just man and will do a good job in his new assignment. IT WAS THE ELECTION OF REV. EVERSON AS CHAIR OF THE GBC NOMINATING COMMITTEE THAT CONVINCED ME THAT WE WERE IN FACT DEALING WITH A FULL-BLOWN ASSAULT ON THE INTEGRITY OF THE TRUSTEE SELECTION PROCESS AS IT HAD BEEN PRACTICED FOR OVER A HUNDRED YEARS. [2] You have also claimed at least twice that the SACS issue was a creation of Dr. Schrader. You need to carefully read the postings on SOS, because your comments show ignorance of the history contained therein [by those of us who lived the history]. Just one reminder—SACS raised the issue 10 YEARS BEFORE the review under Dr. Schrader. They again raised the issue under Dr. Schrader’s tenure. SACS reviews occur every ten years. For Dr. Schrader to have “created the paper tiger,” he would have had to have created it while serving a college in Mississippi long before Shorter ever had a vacancy for President or contacted him.

    I hope blowing smoke gives you some pleasure, but please stop blowing it in my face!

  7. Bless you, Larry.

  8. Larry, I just want to thank for you for your willingness to speak out about what is happening at our Alma Mater. You were my Pastor during my time at Shorter and I have always had a lot of respect for you. It continues to grow as I see how you fought for Shorter as a trustee and even now with your accounts of events during that time. May God continue to hold you in the palm of his hand!!! Much Love, 80’s alumni!

    • Larry T. Burgess

      Melissa and 80’s Alumni,
      I cannot fully express how much I appreciate your encouragement! May God richly bless you, may He somehow bring good out of this situation according to the promise of Romans 8:28, and may His Kingdom be advanced. You are loved and appreciated!!!

  9. I also was a trustee during 2001-2005 and was a committed supporter of Dr Ward and our fellow trustees as we acted within our fiduciary responsiblity to defend the college from a hostile takeover that was clearly the product of a conspiracy of the GBC leadership. Legally, we had no other choice.

    Dr Ward became a beloved friend during these years of trial. We communicated regularly and often. Her life was filled, primarily, with love for Christ Jesus. Her second passion was Shorter College. SC has had no greater and faithful alumna than Carolyn Ward.

    My heart ached for Dr Ward as I witnessed GBC leaders verbally abusing her, President Schraeder, and the Board, both in committee and before the Convention. In all the disappointments in dealing with the GBC, the most disturbing was to watch the betrayal of Dr Ward by her good friend and pastor.

    Before the takeover, I can honestly testify that I never heard a single member of the BOT express any interest in separating from the GBC at all. During the battle, Dr Ward led us with integrity and uprightness in a manner that we all can be proud of. She was a great woman and friend of SC. She is greatly missed!

  10. Larry T. Burgess

    Dear Alan,
    I remember you well and thank God for your faithful service and sincere spirit. I also greatly appreciate your tribute to Dr. Ward! God bless you, Brother!

  11. John_of_Silence

    Mr. Burgess,
    I assure you that I am properly informed and don’t have to resort to all capital letters to convey my messages. Speaking of smoke, what proof do you have that undue influence on the Board of Trustees was an issue with SACS ten years before Schrader?

  12. Dear John_of_Silence,
    I feel tone of your postings is very rude. I can tell that you obviously have very strong feelings on this matter, please have the courage of your convictions by dropping the nom de plume and post under your legal name. If you are unwilling to do so I respectfully request that you refrain from further postings. Again if your point of view is based in facts then you should have nothing to fear, please come out of the shadows and be named.
    Additionally I resent what I feel was an aggressive tone in your replies to Larry Burgess’s postings. I apologize if I seem to be a little touchy on this matter but Larry was my pastor during my years at Shorter College. On several occasions Larry and his Wife opened both his office and their home to help me deal with some personal issues. Their ministry and ethics are in my opinion are above reproach.
    Thanks at least for listening.
    Respectfully Yours,
    Neil Flint
    Shorter College Class of 84

  13. Larry T. Burgess

    John of Silence, I read the report from the SACS audit in 1992. The report named possible undue influence from an outside party, the Georgia Baptist Convention, on the Trustees of Shorter College. No action was required. The concern was simply expressed. The report from the 2002 SACS audit, ten years later, named the same concern—the difference being that in 2002 SACS required action on the part of the Trustees to assure that they could function independently and autonomously. We sought to reach a compromise with the GBC, which SACS accepted but the GBC rejected. I have detailed this proposed compromise several places on this website. It simply amounted to codifying the process of Trustee selection which had been in place and honored by the college and the GBC for many years. When the compromise was rejected by the GBC, the Trustees were required by SACS to take action by a deadline of December 31, 2002, or be subject to probation. We took action in November, 2002, to continue to be a Baptist school but not aligned with the GBC. This action satisfied SACS, and they reaffirmed accreditation in March, 2003. The court case dragged on until May, 2005, when the Georgia Supreme Court ruled by a 4 to 3 margin in favor of the GBC. This ruling dismantled the action taken by the Trustees in November, 2002. We will never know what the SACS Committee of 2002- 2003 would have decided if they had known that the 2002 Trustee actions would be undone by court decision. However, the school is now awaiting the latest SACS report from the ten-year audit done in 2012. Each SACS Committee is made up of different individuals. They are not bound to the same conclusions or recommendations of a previous committee. This will be the first opportunity for SACS to comment on events of the last ten years. We simply must wait and see.

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