Book of Memories for Rev. Harold "H.T." Tilton Conner Sr. Recent updates for the Book of Memories Frontrunner Professional Book of Memories V4 en-gb Condolence From Maria Thomas Condolences Tue, 31 Oct 2017 01:27:04 EDT Memorial Candle lit by Bernice Higgs-Brown Memorial Candles Tue, 24 Oct 2017 19:35:09 EDT Memorial Candle lit by Gian Garma and family Memorial Candles Tue, 24 Oct 2017 13:29:35 EDT Condolence From Gregory Owens Condolences Tue, 24 Oct 2017 11:49:30 EDT Condolence From Gregory Owens Condolences Tue, 24 Oct 2017 11:43:50 EDT Condolence From Francine Giles Madrey Condolences Tue, 24 Oct 2017 10:24:12 EDT Condolence From marjorie jonesand family Condolences Mon, 23 Oct 2017 18:49:42 EDT Story shared: Reflections When I arrived at the University of Tennessee at Martin in fall 1968, I was one among a handful of black students there. We quickly identified with and bonded with one another. I suppose it's fair to say that we recognized that our success individually and as a group would depend on our ability to work together cooperatively. We formed friendships and relationships, many of which continue today.

I was not accustomed to seeing black administrators at a predominantly white institution. I suppose I had hoped silently that there would be someone in the administration with whom I could identify or who would hear any concerns I might eventually have. My initial goal was to settle in and to do my best to succeed as a student. I met faculty and administrators, got to know a diverse group of students, settled into my room on the first floor of McCord Hall, A-Unit, and my journey began.

And then one day shortly thereafter – I can't remember when or why – I walked into the office of Dean Harold Conner. Perhaps I had gone to the Dean of Students' office suite to see the dean of women, maybe it was due to some residence hall issue, or it might have simply been that I was curious. Regardless of what took me there, when I met Mr. Conner, I felt I was home! He had such a calming effect on me. He commanded respect, not by asking or demanding it, but simply because in his presence, respect exuded. His soft voice brought calm, and perhaps it was because he was also a minister of the gospel that I always felt humbled (and “on my Ps and Qs”) in his presence. He would speak barely above a whisper in a room filled with students, and yet we could all hear him. When he spoke, we listened.

During some of the periods when black students at UTM issued forth requests and demands for improvements on campus – in social relationships, resources, activities, cultural awareness, race relations, and so on – Mr. Conner always understood our situation and stood with us. In the midst of such circumstances, he always admonished us to weigh our options, to count the cost, to consider the impact of our present actions on our future, our destiny. With his guidance, we were able to look introspectively and ask ourselves what it was that we really wanted and what the best course of action was for achieving our goals. And then, with his blessings, we were off.  It was a time of change at UTM, and Dean Conner helped us understand the environment and navigate the avenues that would ultimately lead to the establishment of various organizations, greater engagement of black students in leadership, heightened sensitivity to the needs of a diverse student population, and an environment of cooperation and collaboration. It was not perfect, and it was not always easy, but Mr. Conner helped make it possible.  

The period of the late 60s and early 70s was a time that was characterized by unrest throughout the country. As students, we were at times rather impetuous and wanted to behave – shall I say – in a more "unbridled" manner. Mr. Conner understood that, but he also had the benefit of experience. He was a man of great reason and wisdom, and he was a constant advocate and supporter. His was the voice of calm and godly counsel. His guidance helped us channel our discontent toward positive action and the greater good.

I am deeply saddened by the passing of this great man, with whom I enjoyed a wonderful relationship during my time at UTM and subsequently. He was a guide, an advocate, a strong supporter, a gentle voice in the wilderness, a confidante, a consummate mentor, and my friend.

Most of my career has been in higher education, primarily in student services. No doubt, the great influence of Mr. Conner helped shape my interest in working with college students, even though I did not realize it at the time. (After all, I was one of those students!) Indeed, it is true that much of who and what I am bears the imprimatur of Dean Harold T. Conner. He made a lasting impact on my life. If fact, one of the great honors of my career was the opportunity to return to my alma mater in 1982 and serve for two years in the position he had held at UTM. It goes without saying that no one could "fill his shoes."

For the Reverend Harold T. Conner, his earthly life has come to a close, and he is now in the presence of God, there to receive the reward that awaits him. He leaves a rich legacy. He touched many lives. He steered many students and other young people in the right direction and prevented many from falling. He loved. He walked faithfully and humbly with God. Truly, the world is a far better place because he lived. Though we can no longer hear his voice audibly, it resonates within our spirits and still speaks to us. Thus, to many of us, Harold Conner yet lives!

Francine Giles Madrey (Class of 1971)

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Condolence From Dennis Mathewson Condolences Sun, 22 Oct 2017 21:27:43 EDT Condolence From Everlyn Hill Condolences Thu, 19 Oct 2017 20:26:46 EDT Condolence From Susan Meacham Condolences Wed, 18 Oct 2017 01:39:31 EDT Condolence From Susan Meacham Condolences Wed, 18 Oct 2017 01:37:16 EDT Photo shared: Conner.jpg

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