Johnny Sanders Jr. and Rubye Coleman-Sanders grew up in Alabama in large families with parents who valued education. After earning undergraduate degrees from Alabama State University, where they met, the couple took their parents’ advice to heart and earned advanced degrees from the University of Georgia. Because their educational pursuits elevated their careers, it is only natural that the award-winning educators would decide to help provide similar opportunities to future students who are pursuing teaching careers.
“The University of Georgia was so great to provide financial assistance when we attended,” said Sanders, who spent 33 years in high school and college-level classrooms. He retired from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
As a professor of counseling and development in Winthrop’s College of Education, he was the first African-American man to become a tenured full professor, and the first counselor educator at Winthrop University to receive the South Carolina Counseling Association’s Counselor Educator of the Year award.
Coleman-Sanders spent 30 years teaching business and education courses in higher education. She retired from Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina, where, like Sanders, she was the first African-American woman to become a tenured full professor.