Goins honored at Women of Distinction Luncheon

Published 6:24 am Wednesday, April 25, 2018

HARROGATE, Tenn. — Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) Multicultural Student Services honored Pearl Robinson Goins at the Women of Distinction Luncheon in March. In 1972, Goins became the first African-American woman to graduate from LMU.

“I came here uncertain and unsure, but with one goal in mind: to get an education,” Goins said.

Goins majored in education and participated in numerous extracurricular activities. She joined the Delta Theta Sigma sorority, the service group Gamma Sigma Sigma, the Student National Education Association, the Lincoln Memorial University Advisory Board and the Career Awareness Committee.

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“I found ‘me’ here. I found my voice and my passion here,” Goins said. “When I think of this school I feel blessed.”

Goins began her career as a preschool teacher in Claiborne County. Later, she taught at Claiborne County’s Soldiers’ Memorial Middle School and Tazewell-New Tazewell School. In her spare time, Goins worked as a reading instructor in LMU’s Upward Bound program. In 1990, Goins began teaching at Glenwood Elementary in Greenville, Tennessee, and in the summer of 2001, she was named principal of Glenwood.

She directed the Glenwood EXCEL program, served on the Literacy Council and her church’s Usher Board. Her honors include being named Oak Ridge Teacher of the Year for K-4 and an Outstanding Young Woman in America.

Although Goins has seen many achievements over the years, she still counts her graduation from LMU as one of her greatest moments in life. She went on to earn a master of education in administration and supervision and the educational specialist degree from LMU.

Her son, Jody Goins, vice president for enrollment, athletics and public relations at LMU, had the honor of introducing her at the luncheon. “Our family is glued together by my mom,” he said. Goins credited his success to the foundation his mother provided.

The event’s keynote speaker, Shelly Page, professor at the LMU Duncan School of Law (LMU Law), talked about her education, her career and discrimination she witnessed as a minority and even more so as a woman.

“We have to stop judging a book by its cover,” she said. “We have to stop thinking we know what someone is just by looking at them.”

Page commended Goins for having the moral fortitude required to earn her degree at a time when women of color did not go to college. “I stand in your shadow,” she said.

Cathy Eldahan, director of Multicultural Student Services at LMU, decided to organize the luncheon as a way to honor Goins and other strong, courageous women with stories connected to LMU. She invited LMU students, faculty and staff for a meal and fellowship.

Eldahan is already thinking of hosting the luncheon again next year. “Students loved it and it gives freshman and sophomore students something to strive for and look forward to. I’ve already gotten great feedback.”

“It was very moving hearing such powerful women,” said LMU senior Julianna Durand, “I felt as if I related to the differences that they are making and the differences that I will be able to make.”