Linda Dingle Gadson

By John Stabinger
Posted on 13 April 2020 | 12:56 pm

Linda Dingle Gadson ’72

CofC alumna Linda Dingle Gadson ’72, originally from Hollywood, SC, is the Executive Director of Rural Mission, Inc., on Johns Island, South Carolina, where she has worked for 45 years. Rural Mission is a non-profit organization founded to care for migrant farm workers and needy families. Ms. Gadson’s son, Shaytee Gadson, who is also an alumnus of the College, wrote a book about her life called Hallelujah in Hollywood.

Ms. Gadson as a sophomore in 1970
from The Comet yearbook

During high school, she chose to attend St. Paul’s to take part in desegregating the school and graduated in 1967. She spent a year at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, SC, until she moved home and worked at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Nursing School and participated in the 1969 nurses’ strike. In 1969, as a young mother, Ms. Gadson started classes at the College of Charleston.

 While at the College, Ms. Gadson was a work-study student, an Eleanor Roosevelt Scholar, and was active in the civil rights movement at Morris Brown AME Church.

“The greatest thing that happened to me was to go to the College because of the opportunities that were there,” she said. “And I went the year after the College was integrated.” When Ms. Gadson graduated in 1972 with a degree in political science, she planned to go to law school.

In 2010 Former SC State Senator
McKinley Washington presented the
Order of the Palmetto to Ms. Gadson

After commencement, Ms. Gadson started working at Rural Mission as a summer intern, working her way up to Executive Director. In 2010, then-Governor Mark Sanford recognized Ms. Gadson with the Order of the Palmetto, the highest award presented by the Governor of South Carolina to a citizen. Ms. Gadson’s philosophy of life was handed down to her by her grandmother: you can’t understand a person’s life until you have walked a mile in their shoes.