JImmie McClellan is an author, an educator, a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Texas, the highest honor given by the University to any graduate, a seven-term member of Alexandria’s Human Rights Commission, and a world-class kayaker. A hard worker throughout his life, McClellan grew up in East Texas and at age 15 he was trapping minnows in the Brazos River and selling them to bait camps for a penny each. To earn the money for his BA in Political Science at the University of Texas, Jimmie worked four years after school as a dairy hand. While getting his Masters in History, he worked at a cardboard box factory in Arlington, Texas. During his freshman year, the UT enrolled a small percentage of black students. McClellan says, “You could almost cut the racism with a knife. Many institutions preach the same racism, and I became interested in the problem.” He and about 10 friends became the civil rights and the peace movements. “A small number of people can make a lot of noise, and I had to do something.” McClellan lived in an off-campus apartment his last two years where he received threatening calls at night from the KKK. He says now, “I was not as scared as I should have been.” At UT, McClellan joined ROTC and the Army Reserves. As President of the Texas Intercollegiate Student Association, he spoke around the state protesting the Vietnam War. His high profile earned him much attention and a government discharge from ROTC and the Reserves.
McClellan left Texas and headed for Washington, D.C. Once there, he continued studying for advanced degrees and tried various occupations, including serving in the U.S. Office of Education and continued with his civil rights and peace activities. By 1975, he had a Master of Philosophy from GWU and joined the faculty of NVCC. He earned his Ph.D. from The Union Institute of Cincinnati and his doctoral studies were conducted at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. McClellan also did post-grad work in Political Science at Georgetown and GWU. A few years after its founding, McClellan began teaching history at NVCC’s Alexandria Campus. In 2009, he became Dean of Liberal Arts and oversaw the merger of two academic divisions, which resulted in supervision over 14 departments, 320 faculty members, and a writing center. During his career, he also taught Political Science and served four terms as Chair of the Alexandria Campus Council, four terms as Chair of the College Senate, and one term as President of the Virginia Community Colleges Association. Jimmie and his wife Catherine have a daughter, Shannon, and three granddaughters: seven, five, and three months.