Newman-Hill Scholarship

Mary Newman Fortenberry and Dorothy Hill Kerow established this scholarship to benefit a drama major at USAO.

More than 55 years and miles of travel separated two OCW roommates, yet their friendship continued. The pair celebrated that relationship with the establishment of the Newman-Hill Scholarship.

“The years I spent at OCW set the foundation for all I have accomplished since. They helped me feel confident in taking on all of the challenges life sent my way,” Mary said.

Both began their teaching careers after graduation. Dorothy taught English and speech, 7-12 grades, for two years in Pocasset. Mary’s first job was in Arkansas before a move to Midwest City. She was Dorothy’s maid of honor when she married J.B. “Jay” Kerbow in 1951. Mary married Major Hugh D. “Boots” Fortenberry, USAF, in 1955.

Dorothy earned a master’s degree in comparative literature from Southern Methodist University with a concentration in Greek and Roman literature and French drama. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree at OCW, Mary went on to earn a another bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

The 10 years after their marriage was filled with travel and excitement for Mary and her husband.  Boots was assigned to the Azores where Mary taught fifth grade, served as youth activity director and traveled extensively in Europe and North Africa. They returned to Tulsa where he was head of the ROTC at Tulsa University and she taught junior high. In 1963, he was called back to active duty in Germany and she served as president of the Four Nations Club.

A stateside assignment was in Columbus, Mississippi.  Homesick, the couple returned to Durant where they purchased the family business established in 1894, Newman Furniture, from her parents. She received a certificate of commendation for achievement toward downtown revitalization in Durant, served on the board and helped with the early beginning of the Three Valley Museum and was the only woman on the building committee of the First Presbyterian Church where she was a deacon and elder for many years.

Dorothy began her long list of music and drama productions at OCW, continued at SMU and directed numerous productions in Dallas, including nine in French. Her varied teaching career also included teaching high school French and 7-8 language arts in Richardson, Texas.

In 1970, the couple moved to Frostburg, Maryland, where her husband took a position as chairman of the Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures Department at Frostburg State University. Dorothy taught Greek and Roman Literature section of the department’s World Masterpieces course for several years. She also wrote critical reviews of local theatrical performances. She was elected as an honorary member to Pi Delta Phi.

In 1983, Jay and Dottie, along with a local couple, established an Alliance for the Mentally Ill Chapter for Allegany County, Maryland. Dottie served as president for five years.

Dorothy served as secretary for the SMU-Dallas Lions Club, secretary of the Wagner Society of Dallas, chair of the scholarship committee for the SMU Woman’s Club; a member of the choir, lay reader, vestry member at All Saints Episcopal Church; resource person for the Interfaith Committee and member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Dallas.

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