Springfield College Hall of Alumni of Color Achievers Legacy Corridor Ceremony

As part of Springfield College Homecoming Weekend 2021, there was a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 2 celebrating the opening of the Hall of Alumni of Color Achievers Legacy Corridor outside the Office of Multicultural Affairs on the second floor of the Campus Union. Nate Harris '08 (0:00 to 0:37), Mary-Beth Cooper (0:38 to 2:15)Brianna D'Haiti '22 (2:16 to 4:10)Calvin Hill (4:14 to 5:35).

 

As part of Springfield College Homecoming Weekend 2021, there was a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 2 celebrating the opening of the Hall of Alumni of Color Achievers Legacy Corridor, located inside the Campus Union.

Springfield College Alumni Council Subcommittee on Alumni of Color Chair Nate Harris '08 (0:00 to 0:37) led the program, followed by Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper (0:38 to 2:15), Student Alumni Association President Brianna D'Haiti '22 (2:16 to 4:10), and Vice President for Inclusion and Community Engagement Calvin Hill (4:14 to 5:35). Following the greetings, Harris, Cooper, D'Haiti, and Hill led attendees through the ribbon cutting ceremony, and tours of the Legacy Corridor.  

"A special thank you to everyone who helped make this special presentation possible, and congratulations to all of the inductees at this year's awards ceremony," said Harris.

Hall of Alumni of Color Achievers 2021 Inaugural Class

John Ma, Class of 1920, G’1926

John Ma, who also goes by Ma Yuehan, was a pioneer in physical education and modern Chinese sports. He is the founder of modern physical education in China, established the Chinese

Sports Federation, and was the first international scholar from China to visit Springfield College.

Ma was born on Gulangyu Island on the southeast coast of China. He enrolled at St. John’s University in Shanghai, where he was a member of the football, tennis, baseball, and swimming teams.

In 1911, Ma graduated from St. John’s University of Medicine. In 1914, he began teaching physical education at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He believed that maintaining a healthy body lies in disease prevention, so he was determined to devote himself to modern physical education.

Ma first came to Springfield College immediately after World War I, during President Doggett’s Expansion and Endowment Fund campaign. Ma witnessed the goodwill and dedication of his fellow students as 150 of them were sent door to door throughout Springfield to collect donations for famine relief in China. Ma earned an undergraduate degree in 1920.

In 1926, John Ma returned to campus to study for his master’s degree in physical education. He wrote a minor thesis titled “Primer of Chinese Boxing” and a major thesis titled “The Transfer Value of Sports.” In collecting data for his major thesis, John interviewed many prominent U.S. physical educators and was able to identify seven qualities of a physical educator—a model which he followed for the rest of his life.

In his thesis, he systematically discussed his sports theory. According to Ma, the value of sports lies in its irreplaceable role in building personality. Many valuable qualities of people can be cultivated through sports, such as courage, persistence, self-confidence, aggressiveness, and determination. In terms of society, Ma believed the development of sports can shape a social atmosphere that values justice, loyalty, freedom, and cooperation.

After completing a master’s degree, Ma returned to China to become the physical education director at Soochow University in 1931. In 1934, he returned to Tsinghua College where he served as the director of the Tsinghua Sports Department. Two years later, he led the Chinese delegation to the Summer Olympics. By 1945, he was named president of Tsinghua University. In 1953, Ma was appointed as a member of the National Sports Commission. Three years later, he was elected chairman of the National Sports Association.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Ma was elected the chairman of the All China Athletic Federation. This enabled him to make a significant contribution to Chinese sports by creating a system of sports schools, which recruited talented athletes and provided world-class training facilities.

Ma’s son, Ma Qiwei ’48, served as vice president of Beijing Institute of Physical Education. His second daughter, Ma Peilun, married Mou Zuoyun ’47, a pioneer of basketball in China. Both Ma Qiwei and Mou Zuoyun followed Ma’s footsteps to study at Springfield College.

Harold Amos ’41

Harold Amos, PhD, graduated first in his class from Camden (N.J.) High School in 1936 and came to Springfield College on an academic scholarship during a time when scholarships for African American students were rare.

He majored in biology and minored in chemistry, graduating summa cum laude in 1941. The following year he worked as a graduate assistant in the biology department, the first person of color to do so.

In 1942, Amos was drafted into the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, spending two years in England, and entering France six days after the Normandy invasion. Discharged in 1946, he enrolled in the biological sciences graduate program in the Division of Medical Sciences at Harvard Medical School, earning a master’s degree in 1947, and a PhD in 1952. In another of many firsts, Amos was the first African American to earn a doctoral degree from that division.

Amos returned to Harvard Medical School as a faculty member, where he served for almost 50 years, becoming full professor in 1969. He was well known for his work in animal cell culture and bacterial metabolism and virology, specializing in cell metabolism, including its effects on gene expression. He also helped explain the workings of DNA and RNA.

The first African American to head a department at Harvard Medical School, Amos served as chair of the department of microbiology and molecular genetics from 1968-1971 and 1975-78. He twice served as chair of the Division of Medical Sciences from 1971-75 and 1978-1988.

Serving as a Springfield College Alumni Trustee, Alumni Council president, corporator, Trustee, and Honorary Trustee, Amos was an advocate for underrepresented populations, and actively promoted National Institutes of Health programs for minority college students.  He helped establish the Hinton-Wright Biomedical Society, an association for minority scientists in the Boston area.

Amos was the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. In 1966, he received the Springfield College Distinguished Alumnus Award; in 1981, he received the coveted Tarbell Medallion from Springfield College; and in 1986, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanics. Additionally, he has an honorary degree from Harvard University bestowed in 1996, the Centennial Medal of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2000, and the inaugural Howard University Charles Drew World Medical Prize in 1989, among others awards.

After retirement, he became the first national director of the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, serving until 1994. The program was created to increase the number of faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who can achieve senior rank in academic medicine, dentistry, or nursing.

Roscoe Brown ’43

Roscoe C. Brown Jr., PhD, served as the valedictorian and treasurer of his 1943 graduating class at Springfield College. Brown lettered in football all four of his years at Springfield College, played three years of lacrosse, and served as the manager of the men’s basketball team.

Following graduation from Springfield College, Brown responded to the call of military service and was trained to fly World War II combat missions starting in 1944 as a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. Brown led more than 68 missions as a member of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332 Fighter Group, which consisted of African American pilots flying P-51 Mustangs. He served as one of the consultants in the George Lucas film Red Tails. Brown stood side by side with Lucas during filming in Prague.

At the conclusion of World War II, Brown taught physical education at West Virginia State College. Brown next headed to New York University (NYU) to earn a master’s degree in 1949 and doctorate in 1951. Following 25 years as a professor at NYU, Brown served as president of Bronx Community College from 1977 through 1993. He also created the Center for Urban Education Policy at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York in 1993.

Brown served Springfield College as a Trustee. In 1973, he was presented the Springfield College Distinguished Alumni Award for professional excellence and service to community, state, and nation. In 1992, Brown received an honorary Doctor of Humanics degree from Springfield College. In 2012, he was honored with the highest award given by the National Football Foundation, the Gold Medal, which recognizes an outstanding American who has demonstrated integrity and honesty, achieved significant career success, and has reflected the basic values of those who have excelled in amateur sport, particularly football.

Brown served as a volunteer director or chair of many organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Metropolitan YMCA, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Brown also has served on the New York State Governor’s Advisory Committee for Black Affairs, the Human Rights Advisory Council, and the United States Attorney General Ethical Standards Committee. He was a founding member of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Brown hosted the television program, African American Legends, and he won the 1973 Emmy Award for Distinguished Program with his weekly series Black Arts. He published numerous articles and contributed to several books. Brown also completed nine New York City marathons, his last one at age 80. Brown is the father of four children, has six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Donald Brown ’69, G’78

When Donald Brown  first stepped on the Springfield College campus he fell in love with its mission. That mission continued to guide his long and successful career of promoting diversity and inclusion in higher education and in his community.

As an undergraduate student, Brown became the first president of Afro Am, the first Black student organization at Springfield College. He was involved in the student takeover of the Administration Building and drafted the student demands that were presented to the administration.

After graduating in 1969, Brown became the assistant director of the Upward Bound program at the University of Massachusetts. A year and a half later, at the age of 23, he became the youngest director of Upward Bound in the nation.

In 1974, Brown was appointed director of non-residential programs for the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, eventually becoming the department’s regional director.

In 1978, he completed his master’s degree at Springfield College and began working at Boston College as the founding director of the Office of African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American Student Programs. By the time he left, the four-year retention rate of students in the program had increased from 17 percent to 95 percent.

In 1989, Brown played a central role in launching Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts Inc., and four years later, he established Christian Soldiers, Inc., programs which instilled the Springfield College values of community service and promoted spirit, mind, and body. Since 2020, Brown has been volunteering with the Legacy Alumni of Color at Springfield College.

Brown is married to Cheryl Hervey-Brown ’73. He is the father of Andrew Edward Brown and the grandfather of Andrew Edward Brown Jr. and Jordan Nicolas Brown.

Arnold Bell ’73

Arnold T. Bell, PhD, was a dedicated trailblazer in the areas of sports physical therapy, athletic training, and higher education.

Bell graduated from Springfield College in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He went on to earn a master’s degree in exercise science from Columbia University, a physical therapy certification at New York University, and a PhD in higher education from Florida State University. After graduation, Bell was recruited by Florida A&M University to establish its physical therapy department under the School of Allied Health.

In 1984, he served as a physical therapist for the Olympic Organizing Committee at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. He then served as chief athletic trainer for sports shooting and heptathlon at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Bell was a nationally certified athletic trainer and licensed physical therapist and athletic trainer in the state of Florida. He made history in 1991 when he became the first African American board certified clinical specialist in any area of physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. His area of certification was sports physical therapy.

Having been published in several academic texts and professional journals, Bell was tapped multiple times to serve as an expert witness in medically related cases. Bell is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bill Chisolm Ethnic Diversity Advisory Council Professional Award from the National Athletic Trainers Association and the Outstanding Notable Physical Therapy Alumnus by the Department of Physical Therapy at New York University. A 2003 inductee into the Florida A&M University Sports Hall of Fame, Bell also received the Springfield College Gertrude Lamb Award bestowed by the Department of Physical Therapy.

Bell continued as a full tenured professor at Florida A&M University until his death in 2013. His contribution to the world of sports physical therapy and athletic training spans the lives of students, athletes, and sports professionals worldwide.

A long-time deacon at Springhill Road Church of Christ, Bell was married to Lois Bell for 33 years. They raised three daughters: Patrice Bell, Antoinette Bell, and Anjane’ Bell. His grandson is Jaxon Arnold Ferguson.

Carlton Pickron ’79, G/CAS’82

Carlton Pickron, EdD, graduated from Springfield College with a degree in physical education in 1979 and a master’s degree and certificate of advanced study in psychophysical movement in 1982. In 1991, Pickron completed a Doctor of Education in organizational development and social issues training from the University of Massachusetts.

After working as director of aquatics and special programs at the National Capital YMCA in Washington, D.C., Pickron began a long career at Westfield State University. He began as a counselor/counseling coordinator in the Office of Minority Affairs in 1983. His career progressed over the next 36 years, finally culminating as vice president of student affairs. Pickron retired in 2019.

Pickron coordinated a trip involving six busloads of students in 2009, and two in 2013, to travel to Washington, D.C., to witness the inaugurations of President Barack Obama. He also led the coordination of two alternative spring break trips to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2017 and 2018 with 50 students attending each.

Pickron is a national certified counselor by the National Board for Certified Counselors and authored numerous articles in higher education publications. He volunteers with the Mason Wright Foundation, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and as a Boston Marathon volunteer team captain. He is an alumni council member and advisor for Men of Excellence at Springfield College.

Pickron was recognized by the First District Omega Psi Phi Fraternity as its Omega Man of the Year in 1993 and 2008, and was the recipient of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Citation for Outstanding Performance in 1989, among other awards. He attended the management development program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1999.

Pickron has been married to Lisa A. Coletta-Pickron ’81, for 41 years. They have two daughters, Charisse, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, and Marita, an English as a second language educator and farmer.