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'Compassion, wisdom, demeanor' are Rev. Rodney's legacy

By News Argus
On December 4, 2012

Retired faculty member the Rev. Cedric Sydney Rodney died Nov. 20; he was 88.
The Rev. Rodney worked at Winston-Salem State for more than 40 years as a professor of religion and ethics, and as program coordinator for the annual James A. Gray Lecture Series.
Although he was retired, Rodney worked part-time at the University until July.
 Rodney was the first recipient of the University's Distinguished Service Award named in his honor.
"He was a gentleman, a very compassionate man, very wise and always got along with us," said colleague Ike Okonta, associate professor of philosophy.
"He was an example to other faculty."
Rodney was also a role model and counselor for many WSSU students.
Daisie Blue, Miss WSSU 1971, and student of Rodney, said he had an "exuberant personality and a zest for life and learning," that he always wanted to share with others.
"He was very passionate in his work and passionate about his students," Blue said.
"He could bring life to the subject matter in a way that no one else could."
Blue said Rodney's impact on the University was tremendous and he will always be remembered.
"He leaves [a legacy) that I cannot begin to capture it from my perspective," she said.
"He was 'cool' even back in the day. Not the kind of cool in a negative way - but a very smart, confident kind of cool. To compare him to a present day individual, it would be like President Obama."
Rodney joined the Moravian Church after immigrating to the United States from Guyana.
He spent 27 years as pastor in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and the St. Phillips Moravian Church in Old Salem.
While being active in the church, Rodney was a strong supporter of WSSU athletics. He led the football team and crowd in prayer before games.
Tonia Walker, associate director of athletics, said she enjoyed the time Rodney was able to contribute to the Athletic Department.
"We loved him," Walker said.
"I can't remember a football game until recently not hearing Rodney lead that game in prayer. His voice, his presence, his spirit will be sorely missed."
Athletic Director Bill Hayes, a friend of Rodney, said the two have been friends for more than 40 years.
"We had a long relationship and it goes back to about 1969," Hayes said.
"I ran a leadership program for him with the church where he ministered."
Hayes, the WSSU football coach from 1976-87, said Rodney was the ideal example of a good person.
"I never saw him angry.  He had a perfect spirit," Hayes said.
"He always had something positive to say."
Rodney graduated from the School of Religion at Malone College and earned a master's degree from John Carroll University.
He was very involved with the community including on the board of directors of the Hospice and Palliative Care Center, the Wachovia Historical Society and the Winston-Salem Rotary.
He is survived by his wife Mae Lipscomb Rodney,  O'Kelly Library director and his three children: Elise, Yvette and Cabot.
 Edited by DaYona McLean

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