Golden Grads: 50 Years After Graduation, Three Sisters Are Honored by Their College
Publication Date: June 22, 1998 Page: 1 Section: D Edition: CITY
The saying “A family that prays together stays together” has held true for a lifetime for sisters Mildred E. Knox, Dorothy E. Wynecoff and Olivia E. Morgan.
They’ve been praying together since as far back as they can remember, when their father, Golden C. Ellis, was an African Methodist Episcopal Zion preacher. One of the things they fondly remember their father preaching both in and out of the pulpit was the importance of education beyond high school.<
From early on the Ellis girls said they knew that they would be headed to college and pretty much knew that they would be going toLivingstone College in Salisbury.
“We always knew that we would go to Livingstone,” Wynecoff said. “Daddy said that kids from the church could go for nominal fee since the school was supported financially by the church.”
That was over half a century ago. Now, 50 years after their graduation, the three women returned to Livingstone to share the stage for another honor.
Last month they were inducted into the college’s Golden Anniversary Club, an alumni organization for graduates who are celebrating their 50th alumni year.
“It was so exciting to go back, to see old friends . . . just to be back to see the maples and the oaks,” Wynecoff said.
This time around, the sisters were decked out in shimmering gold caps and gowns for the honor instead of the school’s traditional black and blue colors.
The sisters are not triplets, but, seemingly by fate, they all graduated from college at the same time. Knox, age 73, started atLivingstone in 1943, Wynecoff and Morgan in 1944. They graduated in 1948.
“I graduated from Atkins High School in 1942 and worked for a year before beginning at Livingstone,” Knox explained. “Then I took another year off after my junior year to get married.”
Wynecoff, 72, also worked the first year after high school before going off to college. Morgan, 70, joined her sisters directly out of high school.
The sisters say they have always been close and gotten along well. That closeness carried over into their college years as well. “We were all roommates at one point, until the year that Mildred took off to get married, then it was just me and Olivia,” Wynecoff said. The three also renewed their sisterhood by joining the same sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Even though their college days are long behind them, the three have continued their camaraderie. All the sisters eventually married and had their own families. With the exception of Morgan – who went to be with her husband, who was in the military, for three years during the 1950s – the three sisters have always lived in the same city.
They are also still praying together. All sisters are members of Goler Metropolitan AME Zion Church, where they have been worshiping since the late 1940s. Now they keep themselves busy working in various church groups. Knox is an assistant organist for the cathedral choir where Wynecoff sings in the soprano section. Morgan has been the superintendent of the Sunday School department. All three are church missionaries, and all remain actively involved with their sorority
The three are now grandmothers, with 13 grandchildren between them. But they still find time to share in each other’s lives. They occasionally have lunch or get together for birthdays or family reunions. Wynecoff and Morgan say they talk on the phone almost daily.
When not on the phone, the three usually get together at Morgan’s house. The sisters still sound like school girls as they reminisce about their school days, complimenting one another on the different honors each has received over the years. They still speak lovingly of their father’s days as a preacher as they thumb through a scrapbook of his 53 years in the ministry.
They still have their fond memories of growing up as close sisters. The only difference, Morgan said, is “Now we’re golden girls.”
Note: Dorothy E. Wynecoff and Olivia E. Morgan are current members of the W-S Alumni Chapter and all three sisters plan to be at Homecoming next week celebrating 65-years after graduation.