You might say that Savannah State runs in the Singleton family’s genes. Four generations of the family have attended the university, including all eight of the Singleton siblings.
“I suspect the Singleton family holds one of the top records for the most members of one family to attend Savannah State,” says Barbara S. Myers, the university’s director of alumni relations.
The Singleton’s relationship with Savannah State began with the family’s patriarch, the late Leroy Singleton Sr., who attended what was then called Georgia State Industrial College. His wife, the late Angela Greene Singleton, followed in his footsteps, receiving a degree in elementary education from Savannah State in 1958. She later went on to receive a master of elementary education degree from the joint graduate program of Savannah State and Armstrong State College (now Armstrong State University) in 1976. She retired from the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) after a 31-year teaching career. Leroy retired after a 28-year career at the Central of Georgia Railway Company.
Leroy and Angela Singleton were blessed with eight children, all of who followed in their footsteps. Their eldest daughter, the late Edith Singleton Hagans, graduated from Savannah State in 1963 with a degree in elementary education and retired from the SCCPSS, where she served as a teacher.
The late Emily Singleton Chisholm graduated from Savannah State in 1961 with a bachelor of science degree in biology. She went on to earn a master of public health degree from the University of Michigan. Emily, who received the SSU National Alumni Association’s National Alumnus of the Year award in 2001, retired after a 33-year career as a research scientist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Son Leroy Singleton Jr. studied business administration at Savannah State from 1956-59 before serving in the United States Army. He went on to serve as founder and president of Cougar Chemical Corporation, a successful business in Washington, D.C. His wife, Pauline Smith Singleton, received a bachelor of business administration degree from Savannah State in 1960.
Rosemary Singleton Whitson graduated from Savannah State in 1961 with a bachelor of business administration degree and later worked as a secretary in the college’s office of alumni affairs. She moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Department of the Interior. Rosemary’s husband, the late William Whitson, worked as a Foreign Service officer with the Voice of America. The couple traveled extensively and lived in Africa for two years.
Pearl Singleton Reddick received a degree in elementary education from Savannah State in 1963 and a master of elementary education degree from the joint graduate program at Savannah State and Armstrong in 1973. After obtaining certification to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages from Georgia State University, she went on to serve as an ESOL teacher for 23 years and retired from the SCCPSS after teaching for a total of 41 years.
Harold Singleton graduated from Savannah State in 1967 with a degree in health, physical education and recreation and a master of education degree from the joint program at Savannah State and Armstrong in 1975. He worked at Savannah State in several capacities over the years, including bookstore manager and director of auxiliary services. Harold currently works as a deputy in the Chatham County Sherriff’s Department. Harold’s wife, Serdalia Gordon Singleton, is also a 1967 graduate of Savannah State and earned a master of elementary education degree in the joint degree program in 1973. She is a retired teacher.
Walter Singleton, who served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War, is a 1974 graduate of Savannah State with a bachelor of business administration degree. He managed two major drugstore companies in Savannah before retiring. His wife, LaRosa Hall Singleton, graduated from Savannah State in 1976 and retired as a teacher from the SCCPSS.
Leroy and Angela Singleton’s youngest child, Carol Singleton Montgomery, graduated from Savannah State in 1973 with a degree in sociology and a minor in mass communications. She went on to become the first woman and the first African-American to serve as a news anchor in Savannah during her years with WSAV-TV. She also hosted the WSAV show Ebony Edition for eight years. From 1979-86, she worked as director of alumni affairs for Savannah State, then went on to work for Clayton State University, from which she retired in 2010.
The Singleton siblings have 15 grandchildren, six of whom attended Savannah State, including the late Kevin Chisholm, Rene’ Le Maitre, Allegra Dorman, Shaina Washington, Charles LeValle and Marc LeValle. Daniel Le Maitre, son of Rene’ and her husband, Garvin, is currently a student at Savannah State, working toward a degree in computer science.
“My mother guaranteed that every child [in our family] had the opportunity to go to college, and it had to be Savannah State,” says Harold Singleton. “Our family had a great experience at Savannah State. I always say that if a person doesn’t go to college, they lose half their life. To me, college is one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life.”
This story first appeared in Impressions, Fall 2015.