Co-workers, students share as three faculty retire

Faculty, staff and students from across the campus gathered in Brownlee Hall Dec. 1 to celebrate the retirements of H.B Rajendra, associate professor of Business Administration, Annette Hunt, head librarian, and Dr. Femi Ajanaku, professor of Social Sciences.

The three have collectively served the college for 106 years.  Barbara Frankle, former vice president of Academic Affairs, reminisced and shared memories about the honorees.

“H. B. Rajendra, Annette Hunt, and Femi Ajanaku have longevity, but even more they are very excellent people and they share a lot in common,” she said. “They are modest people, tremendous lovers of learning, they have quiet demeanors and believe in truth.”

Past and present students Patrick McDonald, Sean Mackie and Tiffany Francis shared bittersweet moments and life lessons they will never forget.

“I will never forget Mr. H. B Rajendra,” McDonald said. “I graduated from LeMoyne in 1989 and to this day I remember everything he has taught me.”

Mackie said Ms. Hunt was like a mother to him.

“I loved her as my professor and as my mom,” he said. There was a point in the semester when I dropped out. During that time my grandma had died. If it was not for Ms. Hunt being a loving professor and mother to me, I wouldn’t have gotten back in school and graduated in the spring of this year.”

Francis said Dr. Ajanaku was the best advisor she ever had.

“The transition to another advisor may be ‘iffy’,” she said. “She really set the bar; she left a mark and has done a good job. So, as a student it’s my job to remember everything she has taught me.”

Ajanaku said she is excited about retiring, even though she “started late” as a professor.

“I received my Ph.D. when I was 40 years of age,” she said. “It was not my initial purpose to teach. I was offered a job at LeMoyne-Owen College and I took the job because it was an HBCU. I had fellowship with the school.”

Ajanaku said she still expects to teach one class.

Hunt said do not mention work to her.

“I’m so excited about retiring! All I want to do now is travel and catch up on things I have been wanting to do,” she said.

“It has been an honor working at LeMoyne-Owen,” said Rajendra, who also expressed his feelings in an open letter to the campus. “I wish my students nothing but the best.”

LOC President Andrea Lewis Miller thanked the three retirees for the impact they have made on hundreds of students and the college in general.

“People, like the three of you, are very unique and the work you have given to the college will always be remembered… I just want you to know you will be missed by students, faculty and staff,” Miller said. “If we can always have people like you to make the contributions to LeMoyne-Owen like you have, we will always be better off. I know and hope that you will remain somehow connected to the college.”