Thomas & Mary Lee Rankin McCollough
Thomas McCollough, Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Duke University, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in Texas, Georgia, and New Mexico. He served in the Navy V-12 Training Program and earned his B.B.A. degree from the University of Texas in 1947. He received his Bachelor of Divinity (1950) and his Doctor of Theology (1955), both from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1961, Tom began teaching at Duke University as Assistant Professor of Religion. During his tenure, he served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Chair of the Curriculum Committee for the Department of Religion; Director of the Twentieth-Century America Program; Chair of the Marshall Scholarship Committee; and member of the Faculty Hearing Committee and FOCUS Advisory Board, serving as its first director. Tom and his wife, Mary Lee, conducted international study programs, focusing on comparing health-care issues, ethics, and approaches in the United States and Europe. In 1991, Tom published The Moral Imagination and Public Life: Raising the Ethical Question. Upon his retirement in 1997, Duke University celebrated this much-beloved professor with a three-day Ethics Symposium in his honor. Since retirement, Tom resides at Croasdaile Retirement Community Village, in Durham, NC, where he contributes articles to the monthly "Village Voices" and serves on several committees: Religion and Contemporary Society, Distinguished Lecturer Series, and Current Events Guest Speakers.
Mary Lee Rankin McCollough was born in Canton, China, spending her first ten years in Canton and Shanghai. Her grandparents had gone to China as missionaries in 1894, where Mary Lee's mother, Valeria Greene, was also born. Mary Lee's father, M. Theron Rankin, was Secretary of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board. In all, Mary Lee's parents and grandparents contributed 132 years in overseas educational missionary work. Mary Lee graduated with an A.B. from the University of Richmond in 1950 and a Master of Religious Education from the Carver School of Missions and Social Work, in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1953. In 1956, she and Tom were married. Mary Lee taught kindergarten for three years while her husband was on the faculty of Duke University, and, in 1971, earned an M.A.T. from Duke, with a major concentration in Asian history. At that point, Mary Lee began teaching Social Studies at Northern High School, in Durham, where she was an instructor for 20 years until her retirement. Mary Lee was an avid reader who greatly enjoyed traveling abroad. She participated with her husband, Tom, in the University Study Abroad programs in the British Isles and Ireland for six summers. A deeply cherished wife, mother, teacher, and friend, Mary Lee passed away on June 8, 2005.
The McColloughs have two children, Mary Page Tingen and Theron Rankin McCollough, and two grandchildren, Thomas Lee Stanley and David Keith Stanley.