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Memories of Cornelia Strong, June 1995

By Barbara Mangum Bowland, Class of 1951

What wonderful memories crowd my mind as I recall precious Dr. Strong! I was one of the fortunate girls entering college in the fall of 1947 to find out that she was to be my faculty advisor. I was planning on majoring in sociology so I did not include math in my preferred subjects! Much to my dismay, Dr. Strong assumed everyone loved math as she did, so signed me up for her class—the only class to have a lab! Wonderful! She told us if we maintained a B in her class we did not have to come to lab. The first six weeks I did—so I didn’t (come to lab that is). In my mail the next day was a summons to her office. Courtesy would demand I still get her permission to skip lab. I learned the hard way. My roommate laughed and laughed at our “labs” only to laugh on the other side of her mouth when exam time came along and much of it was made out by—Dr. Strong! Her students did well!

At this point in time Dr. Strong had already written 3 textbooks that were outdated! A brilliant woman and a dear friend!

By the end of my sophomore year Dr. Strong knew me well and advised against my sociology major in favor of Primary Education—the best move of my life thus far. How I have loved teaching!

Dr. Strong’s name lent itself to much mirth for so frail a little lady! When deep snows covered the campus many of the professors called off class—but not Dr. Strong. She was always there!

As you can see by the letter enclosed, we stayed in touch and remained true friends until she joined “her beloved Daisy.” The heel for my wedding slipper that she made and sent was blue satin with a real four leaf clover pressed on it covered with net. The verse enclosed “A bride must have something old—and something new—and a four leaf clover in the heel of her shoe.”

My life was guided well and enhanced in many ways by the gracious lady. How I thank God that I was lucky enough to be one of “her girls.”

[Ms. Bowland enclosed the following letter she received from Prof. Strong: ]

The Stronghold
109 Adams Street
Greensboro, N.C.
July 11, 1951

Love and good wishes, dear Barbara Mangum, as you enter on your new life. May it be ever richer in happiness than you can now dream, and may each of you help the other to wider sympathies and to richer service.

My sister Daisy used to make little four-leaf clover heels for brides, and I have finished—crudely, I know, for I am not an artist as she was—one that she had started and I am sending it to you to wear on the happy day. You knew—or did you?—that my sister left me this Spring and I have been not only in sorrow and loneliness but under the doctor’s care with a crippling and painful case of arthritis ever since Daisy went.

Please congratulate the groom-to-be. I am sure I do not have to tell him what a fortunate man he is!

Your old friend,

C. Strong

Let me know where you are going to live. I want to keep in touch with you if I may. C.S.


© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2016