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Making Her Mother’s Influence Perpetual

Lizzie Hitchcock Cole smilingAn elementary education teacher touches lives for generations as her students perpetuate the attitudes and ideas she instilled in them. Mrs. Lizzie Hitchcock Cole (class of 1951) left such a legacy, and her daughter, Carolyn McCollum, wanted to make sure her mother's influence was indeed perpetual.

Mrs. McCollum (class of 1957) established two charitable gift annuities (the first in 1995 and the second in 2008) with which to endow the Lizzie Hitchcock Cole Endowed Scholarship for University of North Alabama students who plan to pursue careers in elementary education.

Over the years, members of the Fidelis Zeta Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa sorority have continued to add significantly to the scholarship fund. In 1960, Mrs. Lizzie Colewas a founding member of the local chapter of this international honorary sorority for female educators.

Lizzie Hitchcock left the Walnut Grove Community on Dry Creek in Hardin County, Tennessee, to live with an older brother in north Florence so she could attend Florence State Normal School in the late 1910's. Her parents were born during the American Civil War. Although education was minimal in the south at that time, Lizzie's well-educated mother taught her children to read using the Holy Bible even before they attended a nearby one-room school. Mrs. McCollum remembers well her mother recalling to her how she would walk down a dusty, unpaved Wood Avenue to take classes in Wesleyan Hall from professors she long held in reverence.

Mrs. McCollum signs the agreement

Mrs. McCollum signs the agreement creating the scholarship in her mother's memory while Dr. Donna Jacobs, Dr. Greg Risner, and Dr. Linda Armstrong look on.

Twenty-five years after marrying Mr. Roy Cole, Lizzie returned to campus where she completed her bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1951. She taught fifth grade students at Gilbert and at Harlan schools in Florence until she retired in 1963, the year she designed the official flag for the City of Florence. Well-respected as a teacher, Mrs. Cole was also a housewife, mother, and Sunday school teacher.

"Mother thought every girl should major in elementary education because she felt it was a great foundation for motherhood. She thought every mother should encourage learning," said Mrs. McCollum, herself a former elementary education teacher.

Carolyn McCollum, a former UNA employee, taught in the Cullman, Decatur, Sheffield, Florence, and Tuscumbia school systems. She continued her mother's interest in flags and has a collection of more than 200 which she used in her classrooms, many of which her mother had also used. Carolyn McCollum retired as the elementary education Curriculum Director for the Florence City Schools and now lives in Sheffield.

Mrs. Lizzie Cole is also the mother of two sons, William H. Cole and James C. Cole, both engineering graduates of Auburn University.

Persons wanting to make donations to the Lizzie Hitchcock Cole Endowed Scholarship fund may contact Missy Pettus, Coordinator of Endowed Scholarships at 256-765-4757.

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