TROY – Rainy weather didn't dampen the spirit of the day on Friday as Troy University officials, alumni and community leaders gathered to dedicate a building, but more importantly pay tribute to the dedication of a true leader and legend – Dr. John Maloy Long.
Joined by Dr. Don Jeffrey, Interim Dean of the University's College of Communication and Fine Arts, and Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor, Dr. Long and his wife, Mary Lynn, cut the ribbon on the new building on the stage in the Claudia Crosby Theater, as inclement weather pushed the ceremony indoors.
"This building is one of the finest of its kind in the country, and I am honored and humbled that it bears my name," said Dr. Long, TROY's Director of Bands Emeritus.
Dr. Long arrived on the Troy Campus in 1965 and spent the next 30-plus years teaching, encouraging and inspiring students. Even in retirement, Dr. Long has continued to be a part of the University, Dr. Hawkins said.
"Dr. Long is one of the real giants in the history of Troy University," Dr. Hawkins said. "I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity benefit from his experience and inspiration through the years. To be able to honor him in this manner today has truly been an honor for Troy University."
The impact Dr. Long has had on so many was evident on Friday as hundreds of alumni of the Sound of the South Marching Band were in attendance.
"Dr. Long taught my high school band director, who, in turn, instilled in me the passion for expression through music," said Phil Wilson, a TROY alumnus and former Alabama Teacher of the Year. "Now I have the great honor and opportunity to share that passion with my students. I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Long for providing me with the opportunity to be where I am today, sharing a love of music with others."
Robert W. Smith, an alumnus who is now a member of the University's music faculty, said Dr. Long's dedication to his students went far beyond the classroom and on into the real world.
"I'm a student, I'm an alumnus, I'm a product of Dr. John M. Long," Smith said. "We have all learned from this man. We share a legacy of learning that is passed on from generation to generation. Dr. Long taught by example, but he didn't just teach us in the classroom. He nurtured us and many of us owe where we are today to Dr. John M. Long."
In addition to cutting the ribbon and unveiling a plaque and a portrait of Dr. Long, Troy Mayor Jason Reeves also unveiled a surprise during Friday's ceremony. Reeves presented Dr. Long with a street sign and announced that the renaming of Collegedale, the street running behind the School of Music building John M. Long Avenue.
"Dr. Long has inspired, encouraged and led so many," Reeves said.
Following the ceremony, tours were conducted in the new facility as various student groups performed in venues throughout the building.
Dr. John M. Long offers his familiar customary salute to those in attendance at Friday's dedication ceremony for the new John M. Long School of Music building on the Troy Campus as Troy University Chancellor, Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., looks on. Dr. Long served as director of bands at TROY from 1965 to 1995.