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Have you ever given serious thought to the legacy you are leaving behind? Many of you reading this are in the early stages of your life’s journey, but it is never too soon to start giving some serious thought to your legacy. Proverbs 13:22 says that a good person “leaves an inheritance of moral stability and goodness to their children’s children.” I can say with supreme confidence that Esther Harriott Ottley, who is the subject of this month’s “Stories of Andrews” installment, has left her family such a legacy. As you are about to read, Esther was the first person of color to graduate with a BA in mathematics from Andrews University in 1954. She eventually went on to obtain a master’s degree in education from Columbia University in New York as well as a doctorate in math/physics education at American University in Washington, D.C. (class of 1965). The story will chronicle more of her amazing career, but it is important to note that Esther has left a legacy of commitment to Christian education as well. She and her husband, Neville Ottley, attended Andrews in the 1950s. Their daughter, the former Dawn Ottley, graduated from Andrews in 1983, and her husband, LeRoy Barnes, attended Andrews in the 1980s. Their daughter, Maya Nelson, is a current social work major here at Andrews, and their son, Avery Barnes attended in the 2000s. You can read more of Esther’s story in Stories of Andrews at Thank you, Esther, for the legacy and example that you have left not just for your family but for all of us here in your Andrews family.

Michael Nixon

Publication Date



Berrien Springs, MI

Esther Harriott Ottley