Dr. Charles Black and Dr. Hunter Alessi Black's recently began a new chapter of their lives together. However, their individual stories started in the very same place — Southeastern.
Attending elementary school at Southeastern Training School in McClimans Hall (now Southeastern Laboratory School) and climbing the limbs of Friendship Oak at recess, they essentially grew up on campus. "Southeastern gave us roots," says Hunter. "Our formative years are entwined with the University." Their student teachers were Southeastern Education majors, and their classmates were sons and daughters of Southeastern faculty members.
"We were each even more impressed after we graduated and realized how much a Southeastern education meant in our post graduate studies," says Charlie. "Classes like Mrs. Deviller's English and Dr. Earl Corkern's Math taught us both the importance of studying and techniques for lifelong learning."
After graduation, Charlie attended dental school, completed his fellowship and then ultimately practiced Oral Surgery in Mobile, Alabama for 40 years. Hunter completed her bachelor's and master's degree in psychology at Southeastern. She began her career as a professor of Educational Psychology and Counseling at Southeastern and completing her Ph.D. Teaching was her true calling in life and she retired in August 2016 after more than 30 years at Southeastern.
Throughout the years, Charlie and Hunter kept active with their high school class of 1964 and attended reunions regularly. After their 50th reunion, they began dating and were soon engaged. Charlie retired and moved back to Hammond. The couple renovated a home near campus and now look forward to spending their retirement together, just a few blocks from where they used to climb trees together!
"We both realize that we were fortunate to grow up in a college town," says Hunter. "Living near a first-rate University like Southeastern helps so many people obtain degrees, even continuing their education for masters and doctorates."
The Blacks are particularly proud of the many first generation college students who graduate from Southeastern each semester, but they know that the surging cost of higher education places more burdens on families year after year. That is one of the reasons they decided to plan a testamentary gift — to help future Lions ensure their academic future.
"We feel fortunate to be able to give back to Southeastern. We hope that future students will be able to have successful careers supported by an excellent academic foundation from Southeastern," says Hunter.