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Clarence W. Dortch

Born in Tennessee, Clarence was a member of the Keene Industrial Academy class of 1912. He became the first professor emeritus of Southwestern. 'Fessor Dortch, as he was called, taught for over 40 years in Adventist education, including 16 years as music department chairman at Southwestern Junior College. In addition to their time, their talents and their gifts to their schools over the years, he and his wife, Lena Dake Dortch, aided over 30 college students by providing free room and board.

Even before his graduation from Keene Industrial Academy, Clarence drove two to three miles west of Keene several times a week in a rented horse and buggy to teach piano and reed organ lessons. He also organized a girls octet at the academy and dubbed them "Ye Southern Warblers." He continued to teach piano part-time as he completed his education at Pacific Union College. In July of his first summer there, he arranged and sang in a mixed octet for Ellen White's funeral. He received his master's degree at University of North Texas.

'Fessor Dortch began his teaching career at Lodi Academy, but soon had to interrupt his teaching to serve as a corporal in the Army in WWI. He returned to the classroom in 1919, teaching at Gem State Academy and returning to Pacific Union College from 1920 to 1926. He also taught at Southern and Walla Walla colleges. He was greatly loved by his keyboard and choir students and received many honors during his life. The pipe organ in the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church is the Dortch Organ, and Southwestern's Mabee Center houses the Dortch Choral Room.

This scholarship has been established to honor Clarence W. Dortch for his contributions to Christian education. It is funded by his daughter, Mrs. Corinne Dortch Bates, and his son, Dr. Verne Dortch, both class of 1942; his student Elder Charles Beeler, class of 1938; and 110 alumni musicians.

This scholarship in his memory is for students who aspire to use their musical talents in God's service.

Students Recipients 

2020-2021-Jonathan Correa

2019-2020 -Miles Morris

2018-2019 -Owen Marsh

2017-2018 -Precious Williams

2016-2017 - Dhyana Ebanks-Johnson