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’66 Alum is Lifetime Achievement Honoree at Homecoming

  • Thursday, February 7, 2019

    Hawk Pride has no expiration date. 

    That is evident in the life of Norman G. Tilghman, a 1966 graduate of then Maryland State College.  The life-long member of Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Princess Anne has remained close to his alma mater following his retirement after nearly four decades of service at the institution. 

    Tilghman will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hall of Excellence ceremony during homecoming week 2019.  Nominated just last month by the National Alumni Association, the Princess Anne native who grew up on Beckford Avenue is still in a state of disbelief. 

     “What did I do to deserve this?,” he asked. 

    A social science major, Tilghman began his career at UMES at the urging of Dr. William P. Hytche, a math professor at the time.  Over the next 39 years, he would serve in a variety of roles, including a residence counselor in Wicomico Hall, admissions recruiter and director of the campus Upward Bound program, from which he retired in 2010. He also earned his Master of Arts degree in education. 

    “I enjoyed the human contact with the students and I wanted the best for all of those whom I crossed paths with,” the educator said about his work with students and his role in young people's lives. 

    The impact is apparent on the lives of his students, former Upward Bound participant Keshawn Taylor among them. 

    “He was one of few black (male) role models I had as a teenager who was a college graduate,” Taylor said. “Had it not been for his leadership and guidance, I don't believe I would have the success I have today as a present doctoral student.”

    Tilghman is known for imparting in his students the principles “to thine own self be true” and the golden rule of treating others how you want to be treated. 

    “Mr. Tilghman had a profound impact on me as a student worker at UMES, and later in my professional career,” said Dr. Nicole Gale, the current Director of the Upward Bound Program. 

    “He was an outstanding mentor and role model. He was a great example of how to relate to students and nurture them which gives them the confidence to be successful,” Gale said. 

    The Upward Bound program is a federally funded program started in 1964 to encourage, motivate and prepare first-generation and low-income high school students to pursue post-secondary education. 

    “I owe it all to the university,” said Tilghman, whose brother, John, and sister, Evelyn, continue to work at UMES. “I would not have made my accomplishments without the great impact of then Maryland State College.” 

    The Somerset County native will be recognized at the Hall of Excellence ceremony Friday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Services Center.  Other honorees include Jessie Cottman Smith,  Carolyn Anderson,  Michelle Jefferson,  Reginald Harris,  Dr. Robert Martin,  Jack Bryant,  Rhett Burden,  George Trotter,  Dr. Otho E. Jones,  Russell Perry,  Dr. Richard Warren Jr.  and James White.  The late Delphine M. Lee,  C. Payne Lucas and Clifton Anderson will be honored posthumously.

     By Tahja Cropper