Educator, Pastor, Civic Leader
Norman Henry McCrummen served his state well as an education advocate, minister, civic leader and military officer. Throughout his life he was often called John, a nickname given to him as a child.
A native of Montgomery, he developed a lifelong interest in flying and served in Pacific as part of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He obtained the rank of major. After returning from service, he completed his undergraduate studies at Mercer University and later obtained a master's degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He would serve as pastor of churches in Ramer, Atmore, Selma and Birmingham, Alabama, and a church in Dalton, Georgia.
As a civic leader, he was influential in initiating an educational rehabilitation program for prisoners while serving as chairman of the Birmingham Parole Board. He also chaired the Alabama Youth Committee under three governors and helped to create the Alabama Youth Services Department. He also was committed to the betterment of Alabama's historic Black Belt region.
His greatest contributions, however, came in his 20 years as president of Judson College in Marion, one of the oldest women's colleges in the U.S. He initiated new academic programs and fundraising efforts that resulted in growth of the college. He often stated, "When you educate a man, you educate a person; but, when you educate a woman, you educate a family." He developed innovative programs for the era that ensured both the long-term viability of the college and made it possible for hundreds of women to receive a Christian education.
His tenure as college president, and later as chancellor, promoted his reputation as an educational leader. He served as president of both the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools and the Alabama Consortium of Higher Education, which he helped to found.
He was honored many times for his service. Samford University bestowed an honorary doctorate, and he was a four-time recipient of the George Washington Honor Medal from The Freedom Foundation. Both the Birmingham City Council and the Alabama State Legislature honored him for his civic service.
Dr. McCrummen and his wife had three children. Consistent themes that have described him through the years have been his stature as a Christian gentleman and his love and commitment to family.
Norman Henry "John" McCrummen was inducted into the Alabama Men's Hall of Fame in 2014.