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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oxford's Bond

The legacy of Bond Fleming 33C 36T, Oxford College Dean, Emeritus, was assured long ago. Even in his late 90s, Fleming, who passed away on June 27, remained an active part of the Emory community.

Since his death, that community has mourned his loss and celebrated his life as well as his many contributions to the University he loved.

Fleming (shown at right in 1974; it's tough to see, but on his lapel he is wearing an Emory nametag, click the photo to see it full size) was much-loved across the University, but nowhere more so than at Oxford, where he served as dean from 1966-76.

A July 2 memorial service at Glenn Auditorium gave the Emory community the opportunity to pay its final respects. Since then, the EAA collected several memories from Oxford alumni and administrators.

Joe Moon, Oxford's dean of campus life, wrote the following:

Dean Fleming left a legacy at Oxford that is truly remarkable. When I arrived at Oxford in 1988, Dr. Fleming was in retirement, but he continued to support and advocate for Oxford with the energy and passion as if he were still sitting in the dean's chair. I cannot remember an Oxford event that Bond failed to attend in all these years--often wearing a ragtag Oxford College baseball cap.

During Board of Counselor meetings or meetings with Atlanta campus administrators, I looked forward to the moment in each meeting when Bond would rise slowly and heap praise upon Oxford and admonish all in attendance to support the college's mission.

Bond Fleming was a southern gentleman of the highest order: he was courtly, intelligent, loyal, compassionate, and tenacious in the support of his friends, his college, and his church. He was one of a kind and will be deeply missed.

Oxford College Alumni Board member Warren Brook 70Ox 72B, a close friend of Fleming's, told us he had spoken with the former dean on June 18, his 99th birthday. Brook said his still-spry friend asked about Oxford's incoming first-year students and was already making plans for the upcoming year.

I spoke with my friend Tammy Camfield 89Ox 91C, director of alumni relations at Oxford, the other day about Fleming, and she also recalled the last time they spoke--Thursday, June 17. He was excited about his family coming over to celebrate his birthday and about officiating at his grandson's wedding in Athens on the 19th.

"He was always so complimentary of everyone at Oxford," she said. "And he always ended conversations by saying, 'God bless you.' It was the sweetest thing."

A memorial service at Oxford is being planned. Until then, please feel free to leave a memory of your own below.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

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