News Item

Alumnae graduation jewelry donated to Lander Alumni Affairs Office

June 30, 2015

Lander University’s historical archives have received a donation of three class rings and a pendant, the oldest of which dates back nearly 90 years. The items belonged to Claire, Nell and Mary Henry, three sisters who graduated from Lander within four years of each other. Their cousin, Gayle Jackson West, of Bowman, a 1960 Lander graduate, donated them to the university’s Alumni Affairs Office.

The Henry sisters spent their careers after college as school teachers. They never married and lived together in Newberry. They were three of the five children of the Rev. Walter Samuel Henry, a Methodist minister, and Mamie McGraw Henry, who attended Williamston Female College, which would later become Lander University.

Nell Henry was the oldest. She graduated from Lander with a biology degree in 1927 and held several teaching positions, including as a member of Lander’s biology faculty from 1934-38. She also taught at Limestone College and was on the faculty at Newberry College for 14 years, retiring in 1973.

Claire Henry graduated from Lander in 1929 and taught in the Newberry school system for many years.

Mary Henry, a 1933 Lander graduate, spent her academic career as a chemistry teacher at Greenwood High School.

Nell died in 1999 and Claire followed two years later; they both lived to be 92. Mary was 90 years old when she died in 2002.

Asked why she donated the rings and pendant to Lander, Mrs. West said, “The three sisters were very loyal Lander alumnae and would have wanted the university to have the items.”

Myra Greene, Lander’s director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving, said the jewelry was placed on display in the Office of University Advancement. Greene said, “We are honored that Mrs. West chose to donate this wonderful example of Lander legacy.” She added, “We have other rings in our history cabinet but this is the first grouping from sisters who obviously loved their alma mater.”


Three class rings and a pendant belonging to sisters Nell, Claire and Mary Henry, who were Lander University graduates, have been donated to the university’s Office of Alumni Affairs historical archives.