Simpson College presents Carver Medal to Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender

February 26, 2014

Click here to listen to the medal ceremony, includes President Jay K. Simmons' introduction and General Adams-Ender's Carver Distinguish Lecture.

Click here to see a photo gallery from the Carver Medal ceremony

Simpson College presented its 2014 Carver Medal to Brigadier General Clara L. Adams-Ender.  The Carver Medal is given "annually [to] recognize an outstanding individual whose life exemplifies the commitment and vision of service of George Washington Carver."

Brigadier General Adams-Ender, now retired, served as a vice-president for nursing at Walter Reed Medical Center and was the first Army nurse o command as a general officer.  Having begun her career as a staff nurse, she rose through the ranks quickly, eventually becoming the chief executive officer for 22,000 nurses and director of personnel for the Army Surgeon General.  The fourth elders of ten children, born in North Carolina, Adams-Ender and her family worked the tobacco fields.  She was the first female in the Army to be awarded the Expert Field Medical Badge, in 1967.  She has also commanded an army base. 

The medal ceremony, held on February 26, marks the 150th year of Carver's birth, though the exact day of is birth is not precisely known.   George Washington Carver came to Simpson College in 1890.  According to Simpson President, Dr. Jay K. Simmons Carver made his way to Simpson "wanting only to pursue his education."  The leaders of the College saw in the young African-American man, the son of a slave, someone who possessed "dedication, promise, and great intelligence," according to Simmons.  "Years later, after Mr. Carver had become internationally renowned as a botanist, scientist, educator, and inventor he paid great tribute to the College when he said, 'At Simpson the kind of people there made me believe that I was a human being.  I owe to Simpson College my real beginning in life."

In her Carver Distinguished Lecture General Adams-Ender told the faculty, students, staff, alumni, and guests, which included Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble and members of the Appointive Cabinet of the Iowa Annual Conference, "each of us has an opportunity to determine whether or not we have lived a well-planned life."  Suggesting that she never imagined that she could "do anything compared to Dr. Carver's greatness," the General observed that she came to understand "that we possess some of the same values and often taught many of the same lessons, especially to students."

General Adams-Ender noted four of George Washington Carver's timeless life lessons.  They include: be persistent - "the art of never giving up...Dr. Carver knew that he could be denied, delayed, and obstructed, but that he could never be stopped short of his goal"; possess vision - ""the ability to be able to see goals and objectives accomplished in your mind before they are actually accomplished"; give service - "give back, helping oneself and others...Dr. Carver noted, 'it's not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives nor the amount of money one has in the bank that is simply service that measures success"; be diverse in thought and action.

She concluded her remarks citing an essay written by Michael Josephson, entitled, "Living a Life that Matters."  She emphasized "What will matter is every act of integrity, of compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others..."  She closed by saying, "Living a life that matters does not happen by circumstance.  It is not a matter of accident but of choice.  Choose to live a life that matters."

Following the reading of citations and a proclamation Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender was presented the Carver Medal by representatives of the faculty and students.

Past Carver Distinguished Lecturers include: John Hope Franklin, Eleanor Holmes Norton, William Raspberry, Jesse Jackson, Bishop James Thomas, Bishop Charles Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, James Cone, Bishop Leontine Kelly, Clarence Page, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Simon Estes, and the Iowa Tuskegee Airmen.

Founded in 1860 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, Simpson College, located in Indianola, Iowa, has a total enrollment of 1,900 students