Boldon presented MC’s highest honor

Dean Bolden

Dean Bolden

Dr. Dean A. Boldon, professor emeritus and former academic vice president and dean of the faculty at Maryville College, was presented the college’s Medallion during the Founder’s Day banquet held Oct. 25.

Since 1990, Maryville College has awarded the Medallion, the highest honor bestowed by the college, in recognition of those individuals who have dedicated their efforts to advancing the college’s reputation as a distinctive educational and cultural institution.

“The Maryville College Medallion is the highest award presented by the college,” explained Dr. Dan Ellis, Jr., chairman of the college’s board of directors, who presented the award. “Recipients are selected by the board of directors, upon the recommendation of the president and an ad hoc committee. They are chosen on the basis of their exemplary service to Maryville College, their outstanding service to their community and church, and their prominence and leadership in their chosen profession or career.”

Ellis said Boldon, who retired in May 2007, “has had as much to do with the look and feel - and success - of this college” as any previous recipient.

Forced out of Iran by the Islamic Revolutionary Government in 1979, Boldon came to Maryville College from Tehran, where he served in various teaching and senior administrative positions at Damavand College, an American-curriculum, four-year liberal arts college for women.

With a doctorate in sociology from Vanderbilt University, a master of divinity degree in religion and society from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hanover College, Boldon was hired as an associate professor of sociology at Maryville. Within one year, he was named chairperson of the college’s division of social sciences - a position he held for seven years.

“During those years, he broadened his understanding of the college by serving on numerous college committees and councils, including the Academic Life Council, the Task Force on Curriculum Review and Design, and the board’s Academic Affairs Committee,” Ellis said. “He received the ALCOA Foundation Faculty Merit Award and the Andrew Mellon Foundation Grant for Research in organizational behavior. In 1984, he was named runner-up for the college’s Outstanding Teacher award, nominated by members of the junior and senior classes. The following year, he was called to the commencement stage to accept the top teaching award.”

With the 1986 resignation of Dr. Alfred Perkins, MC’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, Boldon was selected to lead the academic affairs of the college.

“During Dean Bolden’s tenure as chief academic officer, much of what makes the Maryville College of 2007 outstanding was initiated,” Ellis said.

“Our current dean, Dr. Robert Naylor, has predicted that, when the next history of the college is written, Dean Boldon’s 12-year deanship will be regarded as one of the two most distinguished of the 20th century,” Ellis continued.

In 1998, Boldon decided to leave the dean’s office and return to the classroom.

“Dean told his colleagues that returning to teaching was stepping up, not stepping down, from the deanship,” Ellis said. His travel-study trips were also popular. He guided students and colleagues through areas of Turkey, Malta, Italy and Morocco.

“In 2006, Dean’s next-to-last year at Maryville College, he was again recognized with the Outstanding Teacher award. That honor, awarded at commencement, comes with it the privilege of carrying the college’s mace and leading the academic processions for ceremonies in the coming year,” Ellis said. “How fitting, then, that throughout the 2006-2007 academic year, Dean, although on his way out, was still, in a real and symbolic way, leading.

“How fitting, too, is this Medallion presentation,” the chairman concluded.

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