#AfterReinhardt: Stanley Porter remembers segregation, community service

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Stanley Porter, 1970

Stanley Porter was welcomed with open arms at Reinhardt College in August of 1969. It was a time of racial turmoil, and while his journey began as intimidating, he didn’t let fear get in the way of his education or professional success.

“My parents sort of prepared me for what I might face from a discriminatory standpoint,” said Porter. “Thankfully, that never happened.  Reinhardt was a new experience for me. It was a warm environment, and, in my opinion, a very good school. It was my first time being away from home, so I had to make the adjustment to that, but I found it all very rewarding.”

Porter enjoyed his time at Reinhardt, participating in Greek life, weekly chapel and playing pranks on his roommates. His college experience was cut short, however, after being drafted into the military.

Porter joined the Navy, spending four-and-a-half years in active service and 21 years in the Reserves. He also pursued his education, obtaining a degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee, and entered the world of banking. Eventually, he worked his way up to Senior Vice President and Regional Manager for SunTrust Bank in Chattanooga.

Throughout his career, community involvement remained important to Porter. During his time in the Navy, he marched several times to protest the mistreatment of school employees. Among other positions, he has served as Chairman of a Tennessee hospital authority, Chairman of the Board of a Georgia technical college, and President of the Chamber of Commerce in Walker County, Georgia as well as in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“So, I have done my civic duty, I’ll just put it that way,” laughed Porter.

Rising from a childhood of segregated schooling to a successful career working with people of all races, Porter’s life has been one of education, service, hard work and social change.

Now retired, Porter lives with his wife in San Antonio, Texas.

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