Dr. Stephen and Ms. Edeltraut Gilgan-Hunt, residents of Asheville, North Carolina, are the third among the recently named “Key Friends” who have provided unique and significant support to “Friends of Copey”. I am extremely pleased to honor both Stephen and Edeltraut for their devoted support over the full term of our “Friends of Copey” project.
Stephen and I attended Emory & Henry College (E&H) together 50 years ago. Stephen, a 1971 E&H College graduate, continued to earn his Ph.D from the University of Virginia and enjoyed a distinguished career in service to our country. He spent 30 years in the United States Department of Education after a stint teaching and conducting research in the private sector. Near the end of his long and distinguished career in government, he enjoyed a close affiliation with the United States Department of State and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Council of Europe where he was responsible for a 56 country education information network. He worked on projects which deepened his understanding of Third World education systems and their problems.
Edeltraut’s background is also very unique and impressive. Her career in the World Bank’s Africa Division involved projects across that continent concerning economic development, water resources, project management, and related social issues including education.
Both Stephen and Edeltraut have traveled extensively in Africa and Europe providing them both an up-close and first-hand understanding of Third World education systems and educational barriers challenging people from Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Dr. Earl G. Hunt, Jr.
My relationship with Stephen actually has roots before we attended college together. Stephen’s father, Dr. Earl G. Hunt, was E&H College President from 1956 to 1964 and played a key role in the racial integration of the college. President Hunt’s careful and deliberate efforts resulted in Afro-Americans enrolling in E&H College in the mid 1960’s despite much reluctance from the surrounding community, the college’s Board of Trustees, and at great risk to his professional career.
In 1966, two years after President Hunt left the college, I was the first Afro-American male to enroll full-time at E&H College. I benefitted directly from President Hunt’s earlier decisive, determined, and unrelenting commitment to integration during the time most southern and mid-Atlantic segregated small liberal arts colleges showed very little interest. President Hunt was among the very few college Presidents during his time willing to go all in for integration.
Then, as fate would have it, President Hunt’s son, Stephen and I attended E&H College together. Stephen, similar to his father’s devotion to integration, also embarked on equal educational opportunities throughout his professional career and has continued to advocate for justice and rights even as a current member of E&H College’s Board of Trustees.
The Legacy Continues…!
When the first call went out for support to “Friends of Copey”, Stephen and Edeltraut were among the first to respond. They have been devoted supporters of “Friends of Copey” since day one. Their financial and non-financial support has been consistent and generous.
Stephen says, “when Scrapper invited us to become involved with Copey, we were and remain enthusiastic. The Copey project has enabled us to continue our involvement with the development in poorer societies into retirement. Scrapper’s leadership and the dedication of Copey’s citizens continue to impress us and justify all that we do. We are proud to partner with my old college friend and wish Copey all the best.”
The quality of support we “Friends of Copey” have been blessed with is never in question. “Friends of Copey” has successfully pooled some of the best and most talented “friends” around to support a very uncommon mission. I get to see and to know all “active friends” as we move along with our efforts year after year. In other words, I have the “best seat in the house!” And, I can fully attest to the fact…”Friends of Copey” are different…and the best!
Stephen and Edeltraut are wonderful “Key Friends”. It is a truly unique history because our history begins before our paths ever crossed and that is not very common. But, I have so many special stories about the devoted “friends” who have remained supportive. I hope to share more of these with you in the future.