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  • Tribute to Mrs. Julie Etta Washington Nance

    by Representative James E. Clyburn

    Posted on 2013-01-01

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    CLYBURN of south carolina in the house of representatives Tuesday, January 1, 2013 Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute a woman who will be forever known as ``the First Lady of South Carolina State College.'' I was fortunate to know Mrs. Julie Etta Washington Nance since my days on the campus in the late 1950s. She passed away on December 30, 2012, and I know that she will be sorely missed by so many who had the privilege to know her.

    Julie Nance was born in 1926, the daughter of J. Irwin Washington, who was South Carolina State College's business manager for 40 years, and Julia Robinson Washington. J. I., as he was called, was my longtime mentor, and I was honored to have a close association with the Washington family throughout my life.

    From the time she was born, Julie was connected to South Carolina State College (now University). She lived with her family on the Orangeburg campus and attended Felton Laboratory School, also located there. After graduating from Wilkinson High School, she attended S.C. State and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education in 1947.

    She briefly left Orangeburg to teach first grade in Florence for one year, but returned to Orangeburg to work in the college bookstore and to be closer to the love of her life, M. Maceo Nance, Jr. He had been enrolled on the campus in 1942, but joined the U.S. Navy for three years during World War II. He returned to campus after his military service.

    The two married in 1950, and lived with her parents on campus until they were able to build their own home next door.

    Dr. Nance began his 37-year career at South Carolina State as a supply clerk. As he rose through the ranks on campus, Julie stayed home to raise her two sons, M. Maceo Nance, III and Robert M. Nance, who would later become the District Director for my Congressional office where he has served continuously for the past 20 years.

    In 1967, Dr. Nance was named the interim president of South Carolina State during the tumultuous days of the civil rights movement. Shortly after taking office, a protest in front of the campus over a segregated bowling alley turned tragic when law enforcement open fire on the student protestors, killing three young men and wounding nearly two dozen others.

    Following the tragedy, Dr. and Mrs. Nance formed the rock that held the campus together. Their strength and compassion united the college, and ultimately, Dr. Nance was rewarded by being named the permanent president of South Carolina State. It was a position he held for 19 years with great distinction.

    Julie Nance continued to build on the family atmosphere on the Orangeburg campus. She and her husband often hosted events in their home and at the president's office, where students, faculty and staff could mingle. Julie, known for her elegance and charm, was a tremendous asset to her husband to whom she was married for more than 50 years. During their leadership at S.C. State, the college experienced great growth and increased its influence within the community and the state. After Dr. Nance retired in March 1986, the couple remained two of the college's staunchest supporters.

    Mrs. Nance received numerous awards including the Distinguished Alumna Award from South Carolina State University and the Sammie Davis Jr. Life Membership Achievement Award given by the NAACP, of which she was a lifetime member. She also held life memberships in the South Carolina State University Alumni Association and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. She was a member of Williams Chapel A.M.E. Church, the Links, Inc. and an Emeritus member of The Regional Medical Center Foundation Board.

    In addition to being the parents of two sons, the couple was also grandparents to two granddaughters, Michelle Nelson and Kimberly Colley; three grandsons, Nicholas Nance, Milligan Nance and Kevin Hunt; and four great-grandchildren, Mya Nelson, Maci Nelson, Madison Hunt and Halie Hunt.

    When Mrs. Nance departed this life, she was at home in her longtime Orangeburg residence located on the road that was ceremonially named in 2000 the ``Dr. M. Maceo Nance Jr. Highway'' in honor of her beloved husband.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and my colleagues join me in honoring the life and legacy of this remarkable woman. Mrs. Julie Etta Washington Nance's entire life was devoted to South Carolina State College (University). This institution, the Orangeburg community, and the State of South Carolina are much better places because of her leadership and dedication.


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