Alabama religious leaders Norman Henry “John” McCrummen II and Clare Purcell will be inducted into the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame Tuesday, Sept. 23.
McCrummen, who died in 2002 at age 81, was pastor of Alabama Baptist churches in Atmore, Ramer, Selma, Birmingham, and Dalton, Ga., before being named president of Judson College in 1970. During his time at Judson, he often filled the pulpit at Siloam Baptist Church in Marion.
At Judson, McCrummen established “The Judson Option,” an accelerated academic track for many degree programs that enabled students to complete four years of work in two years and 10 months. He helped organize the Council for the Advancement of Private Colleges in Alabama and the Alabama Consortium for the Development of Higher Education and was president of the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools. While in Birmingham, he helped establish education rehabilitation programs for prisoners. The author of a collection of sermons, A Dozen Roses, he retired as Judson president in 1990 and served as chancellor until his death.
A Montgomery, Ala., native, McCrummen held a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University, a master of divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and an honorary doctorate of divinity from Samford University. He was a U.S. Air Force communications officer in the Philippines and Okinawa during World War II.
Purcell, a Columbia, Ala., native, served Methodist churches throughout Alabama before being named a bishop in 1938. He was known for his role in facilitating the union of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Methodist Protestant Church in 1939. He was elected to the Methodist church’s highest national post as president of the Council of Bishops in 1955.
He was known as a “denominational statesman” whose ministry touched the lives of not only Alabamians, but people throughout the U.S. and the world. He was made an honorary citizen of Korea for his work with the Methodist committee on relief on behalf of Korean War refugees and was president of the Methodist Commission on World Service and Finance. He was an advisor on social programs to U.S. Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.
Purcell held bachelor’s degrees from Birmingham-Southern College and Vanderbilt University, as well as several honorary degrees. He was a U.S. Army chaplain during World War I. Purcell died in 1964 at age 79.
The induction luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. at The Club in Birmingham on September 23rd. The luncheon is open to the public, but reservations are required. Judson family and friends who would like to attend may make reservations by calling Rebecca Mason at (205) 968-0967 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations may also be made by filling out this reply card and mailing it back to Mrs. Ross Mason, 1121 Cahaba Woods Circle, Birmingham, AL 35243. The deadline for reservations is September 15.
The honorees were selected for induction as men “whose lives have impacted the state, the nation and the world.” Plaques recognizing all the men who have been honored since the Hall of Fame was founded in 1987 are housed in Samford University’s Harwell G. Davis Library. More information on the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame can be found atwww.samford.edu/groups/amhf.