College presidents are often legendary because of their famous students or the historical reputation of their institutions. Others are distinguished through nationally earned reputations. The seven retired presidents featured here are tops in both categories and while they are gifted and visionary history makers and role models, they are servant leaders first. Their work is a calling, a sacred privilege, and the United Methodist-related Historically Black Colleges and Universities they have been a part of are better because of their commitment and service.

In this oral history collection, we gain the knowledge of almost 100 years of lessons learned and taught as these dynamic leaders share their best advice, hopes, and successes. Included are: Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott, Bennett College; Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, Bethune Cookman University and Philander Smith College; Dr. Thomas Winston Cole, Jr., Clark Atlanta University; Dr. Larry L. Earvin, Huston-Tillotson University; Dr. Julius S. Scott Jr., Paine and Wiley Colleges; Dr. Shirley A.R. Lewis, Paine College; and Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, Wiley College.

The Black College Fund’s Council of Presidents is proud to present Privileged to Serve: Lessons in Leadership & Life, the collective wisdom of its emeriti members. This work is produced in conjunction with the African American Methodist Heritage Center and the General Commission on Archives and History Ebony Bishops’ Oral History Project. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s commitment to capture and preserve the voices and experiences of this distinct group is noteworthy, indeed. The pride and humility in the unique experiences of each speaker is coupled with a spirit of thankfulness for the privilege to serve and share.

We now have the sacred honor to listen and learn, and for this, we are grateful.