On the bookshelf behind his desk in his third-floor office in TD Arena, Otto German ’73 has two framed photos on a shelf. Perhaps a man’s life can’t be summed up in a couple of photos, but these two come pretty close.
The first is a portrait of German and his late wife and partner of 51 years, Albertha, who passed away at the end of December 2017. He still remembers the exact day they met: June 20, 1966.
“We had a pretty unique relationship,” he says, looking at her image. “It was never all about her, it was never all about me. It was about a union and a promise that we made to each other.”
The other photo is a group shot from 2008 of the 40th anniversary celebration of the integration of the College of Charleston. German is pictured with other trailblazers like Eddie Ganaway ’71, the College’s first black graduate; Carrie Nesbitt Gibbs ’72, the first black female graduate; Fred Daniels, the former men’s basketball coach and admissions director; Lucille Simmons Whipper, the first black administrator; Marvin Dulaney, a former history professor and Avery Research Center executive director; Remus Harper ‘72, the first black scholarship athlete; and former presidents Ted Stern and P. George Benson, among others.
“I was honored to be a part of something new to the College,” he says. “But here we are 10 years later [from anniversary photo] and there’s still work to do when we look at diversity across the board in all areas of the College.”
German, who became the second black scholarship athlete after Harper for the 1970-71 season during his sophomore year at the College, knows the importance scholarships can play in a young athlete’s life. So, he couldn’t be more grateful that the Alumni Association Board of Directors during its meeting on June 15, 2018, voted to rename the association’s two athletic scholarships the Otto B. German ’73 Endowed Alumni Scholarships in Athletics.
“I’m humbled and honored that my fellow alums think that much of me,” says German, 67, who also serves as the president of the College’s Black Alumni Council. “That is better than being in the Athletics Hall of Fame.”
After graduating in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in education, German went to work at the College in financial aid, student activities and admissions before moving over to the athletics department, where he has been for 26 years, rising to the post of associate director of athletics/NCAA compliance.
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This article was originally published in The College Today.