Mississippi College

Retired Baptist Pastor and California Physician Receive Order of Golden Arrow Awards

September 26, 2012

A retired Baptist pastor with more than four decades of experience, the Rev. Gowan Ellis, Sr. of Clinton will be the recipient of Mississippi College’s Order of the Golden Arrow Award at Homecoming weekend.

So will MC alumnus Dr. Sam Maxwell, a brilliant radiologist with St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California and 1973 graduate of Harvard Medical School.

After retiring 15 years ago from First Baptist Church Terry, Ellis has immersed himself in activities at his alma mater. He’s a past president of the Mississippi College National Alumni Association, and was president of the university’s 50-year club.

The Order of the Golden Arrow honors alumni or friends of the college who have made outstanding achievements in their professions, businesses or careers. The award recognizes exceptional performance or leadership beyond the ordinary.

At the Christian university’s Homecoming, October 26-27, Ellis will share the honor with Maxwell, including an awards dinner and get to ride in a parade through Clinton. The awards dinner will be at 6 p.m. on Friday October 26 in Anderson Hall.

A pastor for 41 years, Mississippi College prepared the West, Mississippi native for graduate school at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Kay, a Blue Mountain College graduate are also the parents of children with MC diplomas.

Getting the Order of the Golden Arrow award “was an honor and a surprise,” Ellis said. “There are a lot more deserving people,” said the member of First Baptist Church Clinton.

But retired MC administrator Doc Quick of Clinton says Ellis is only being modest. “He and I go to church together. All their kids went to MC – they are from a fine family. He needs to write a book about it. He’s just a super nice guy.”

Dr. Maxwell is a well-respected physician on the West Coast, who’s also deserving of the honor, university leaders say. He stays involved with his alma mater even though he’s thousands of miles away, Quick says.

A 1969 MC graduate, Dr. Maxwell spent much of his youth working at Maxwell Cleaners in Drew, Mississippi. His family ties to MC go way back. His grandfather graduated from Mississippi College and his father, Lowry Maxwell attended MC from 1926-27. Receiving a Hederman Scholarship helped Dr. Sam Maxwell attend Mississippi College in the late 1960s. Before relocating to California, Dr. Maxwell taught radiology at Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School.

Photo: Rev. Gowan Ellis, Sr., MC Class of 1957

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