Albany State University held a Roast and Toast Scholarship Gala to honor former Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities Leroy Bynum Friday evening, bidding him farewell. Bynum has taken a similar position at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y. ASU Interim Vice President for institutional Advancement Chanta Haywood looks on. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
Leroy E. Bynum Jr. Roast & Toast
Leroy E. Bynum Jr. was on the hot seat Friday night as his mentor T. Marshall Jones took good-hearted jabs at the longtime Albany State University dean of the College of Arts & Humanities. Bynum is leaving ASU after two decades to take a similar position in Albany, N.Y.
ALBANY — Albany State University, friends and colleagues finally had the chance Friday to say their goodbyes to the man who, as dean of the university’s College of Arts and Humanities, helped develop ASU’s music department into one of the best in the state.
The university held a Roast & Toast Scholarship Gala Friday evening to honor Leroy E. Bynum Jr. and to bid farewell after he took a similar position at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., last month.
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“I have an awful lot of colleagues and friends from Albany State in this building right now,” Bynum said. “Tonight justifies that the time I spent here among great friends. I am really going to miss my running buddies here.”
The world-renowned tenor served at Albany State for 22 years and is considered a music connoisseur. Bynum shared his love for the arts with Southwest Georgia residents by bringing talented performers from all genres to the city.
During his tenure at ASU, Bynum directed six academic departments that offer 12 bachelor’s degree and four master’s degree programs.
“I will miss the many students who have passed my way,” Bynum said. “It means so much to me to have touched so many lives and that makes it all worthwhile.”
Bynum said he has settled in nicely at his new job.
“Oh, the weather up there is fantastic right now, highs in the 80s, lows in the 60s” Bynum said, then laughed, adding, “but I think I might be singing a different tune in January.”
Bynum’s predecessor, T. Marshall Jones, had a few words to say about his colleague.
Jones retired as chair of the Fine Arts Department at Albany State in 1996 and was succeeded by Bynum, a man he recruited to the university in the early 1990s. He describes Bynum as “just a brilliant, brilliant young man. We brought him in and persuaded him to join the team. The rest of it has been history, as far as what he has done to enhance and move the department.”
However, when Jones stepped to the podium, it was clear he was going to enjoy the moment.
“What a joy it is to stand at this podium and be able to roast a wonderful individual. And even though he left town in a hurry, when I heard he was coming back, I said, ‘Yes, this is my chance.’ So, payback is like a motor scooter, and I am about to ride all over you.”
Jones recalled that in March Bynum had been his roaster at Albany Technical College, recounting one of Bynum’s comments that had the ballroom erupt in laughter.
“Oh, I know you thought you had escaped my wrath, so you hurriedly made your trek to Albany, N.Y. I’ve had my luggage sent there a number of times. As Jackie Gleason would say ‘how sweet it is’ to get revenge so soon on someone who thought he had really escaped,” Jones said. “You forgot the old adage ‘what goes around, comes around. And you have come around to a taste of my wrath …. you old coot.”
But Jones wasn’t finished.
“When you wake up in the morning, what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work. Your little black book has no names in it that don’t end in M.D., and while you are still chasing women, you just don’t remember why.”
Bynum and the crowd loved every minute of it.
“Dr. Bynum has been an excellent leader. We certainly hate to see him go,” James Hill, chair of ASU’s English, Modern Languages and Mass Communication Department, said. “We appreciate his service to Albany State University and we wish him well in the future.”