Huntingdon remembers Trustee Emerita Dorothy Sellars
Montgomery, Ala.—The Huntingdon College community was saddened today to learn of the death of Class of 1948 alumna and Trustee Emerita Dorothy Rainer Sellars of Opp, Alabama. A memorial service is planned for later this summer.
Sellars owned and operated the Dorothy Rainer Sellars School of Dance for more than 50 years, serving more than 1500 dancers since it formed in Florala, Alabama, in 1953. The school moved to Opp in 1974. On the school's fiftieth annual performance in 2003, Sellars was saluted for her many years of work to provide cultural enrichment in the Opp area. In recognition of her guidance and teaching, her students donated two chairs in Ligon Chapel, Flowers Hall, at Huntingdon College, named for Sellars and for her husband, the late William A. “Doc” Sellars, the retired chief of hospital pharmacy at Eglin Air Force Base, who passed away in June 2011.
Recognizing Sellars’ years of service, Huntingdon President J. Cameron West said, "She has touched so many lives through her commitments to the arts and to enriching the cultural opportunities for young people in the southern Alabama region. It would be difficult to name a more dedicated alumna, or one who has given more of her time and energy to Huntingdon College. I learned today that one of our alumnae, who was also a student of the Sellars School of Dance, visited her yesterday, and that Dorothy asked about the College even on the last day of her life. We are honored that her name, as well as her husband's name, are engraved in the Chapel for all to see and appreciate her good work."
She studied dance in residence in New York City after graduating as the valedictorian of the Opp High School Class of 1944, and returned annually during the summers to study with Thalia Mara at the National Academy of Ballet and with Henry LeTang, a leading teacher of tap and a Broadway show choreographer. After graduating from Huntingdon with a major in history and an English minor in 1948, she attended the University of Alabama for graduate study in history.
Beginning in 1965, Sellars directed students on study tours to New York each year for many years.
The recipient of Huntingdon's Alumni Loyalty Award in 1977 and Alumni Achievement Award in 1985, Sellars became a member of the Huntingdon College Board of Trustees in 1991. She served as a speaker for the College's Founders Day celebration in 1986. She has served on the Alabama State Council on the Arts, as a judge for Alabama State Junior Miss pageants, and as a judge for the Arts Council of Montgomery’s ACES project; and was a member of the Alabama Dance Council, Professional Dance Teachers Association, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Opp Chamber of Commerce. Sellars wrote nearly two dozen articles for DANCE Magazine, New York, and authored a book, The Dance Teacher Today, DANAD Publishing Company, New York, in 1969. She is survived by two sons: William and Lee.
Addendum 6/25/2012: The Sellars family has established the Dorothy Rainer Sellars Scholarship at Huntingdon, to which gifts in Sellars' memory may be made. Gifts may be sent to the Office of College and Alumni Relations, Huntingdon College, 1500 E. Fairview Ave., Montgomery, Alabama, 36106.
Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. A coeducational liberal arts college, Huntingdon's motto is "Enter to grow in wisdom; go forth to apply wisdom in service."
For more information, contact the Huntingdon College Office of Communications at (334) 833-4515.