UMES named a United Methodist Church historic site

  • Peninsula-Delaware Conference bestows honor

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017
    Dr. Juliette Bell accepts the historic plaque

    The University of Maryland Eastern Shore - founded in 1886 as the Delaware Conference Academy - has the distinction of being “United Methodist Historic Site # 536,” an honor bestowed by the denomination's Peninsula-Delaware Conference.  

    It is a national recognition and one that was overdue, according to Russell McCabe, president of the Conference's Commission on Archives and History.  One or two sites across Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland are selected annually.  “That's a lot to select from,” McCabe said.  

    “We were … discussing eligible sites and when the University of Maryland Eastern Shore came up - it was a slam dunk,” he said.  “There is a great connection with the university, how it started and the back story of the deeper history in 1864 of how the Delaware Conference originated.  

    UMES “is something we are particularly proud of in our history,” McCabe said.  “Even 150 years ago, educational opportunities, regardless of a person's color, were limited.  The Methodist Church realized it was good not only for a person's spiritual well-being but for their general well-being to be educated.

    A lot of effort was then devoted to getting people educated.”  

    McCabe along with other representatives of the Commission were on hand Sept. 14 for UMES' 131st Founders' Day Convocation and Summer Commencement to present a plaque and a resolution, which reads:  

    Whereas the Delaware Conference was established as “the first Conference for Colored Preachers, under the rule of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church” in 1864; 

    and whereas the members of the Conference, wishing to provide opportunities for higher education, established the Delaware Conference Academy in Princess Anne, Maryland in 1886;

    and whereas the Delaware Conference Academy was the forerunner of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

    On recommendation of the Commission on Archives and History, the Peninsula-Delaware Conference designated the Delaware Conference Academy/University of Maryland Eastern Shore as a Conference Historic Site.  

    After the plaque presentation “we met for lunch and talked about it (the historic designation) right away and how happy we were to do it,” McCabe said.  “What a great event Founders' Day was.” 

    Commission members, including Jessie Cottman Smith, alumna ('50) and UMES librarian emerita, all agreed the connection between the church and the university.  

    “Look how things turned out.”  “We were really impressed with what we saw,” McCabe said.  “Boy, it looks great.”


     

    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580.