United Methodist Committee on Relief

Keynote Speaker Announced for Sager Brown’s 150th Anniversary

By Benny J. Druilhet*

Sager Brown, now home to the UMCOR Relief-Supply Depot, will celebrate 150 years of service to Baldwin, Louisiana, and the world on September 17, 2017. Founded in 1867, Sager Brown was originally established as an orphanage and school for African-American children and youth orphaned by the Civil War. Since that time, this sacred ground has transformed many times over while consistently providing outreach ministry in Baldwin and the surrounding communities. Sager Brown’s sesquicentennial “The Homecoming” will be celebrated October 21, 2017 at the Sager Brown Campus in Baldwin. All former students, staff, and volunteers are invited to join us as we mark 150 years of Sager Brown’s service.


The keynote speaker for the celebration is Dr. Wanda L. Nelson. Nelson is a native of the St. Joseph Community on the outskirts of Franklin, Louisiana. Her formative education began at Sager Brown Home and Godman Industrial School in Baldwin, where she remained through eighth grade. She graduated from Park Avenue High School in Franklin, then pursued higher education, including a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University. Her career in education spans 43 years. It began at Bicester American Elementary School in England and concluded at the University of Texas at Austin, where she rose to the position of associate vice president.

Nelson is active in her community and has been recognized for her work for her role as an educator and her service on numerous boards. Currently she is mentoring girls living in a foster care home as well as four refugee children from Rwanda. Additionally, she is an associate musician and deaconess at Mt. Olive B.C. in Austin, Texas. She is married to Elridge Nelson, of Charenton, Louisiana, and they are the parents of two sons and three grandsons.

*Benny J. Druilhet is Associate Director of Outreach Ministries for UMCOR Sager-Brown. Contact information for Benny J. Druilhet (337) 923-6238 ext-204.