King Magazine Fall 2021

Page 1



FALL 2021

The King Magazine is published by the King University Marketing & Communications Department in the Advancement Office.

EDITORIAL Alexander W. Whitaker IV President Brent Davison | Vice President for Advancement Jenna Christie | Director of Alumni & Community Engagement Greg Evans Associate Director of Communications Travis Chell Sports Information Director

DESIGN Angie Peterson Senior Graphic Designer


King University students participated in the Grit ’N Wit Challenge on campus to earn the chance to compete in the 2nd Annual Grit ’N Wit National College Championship on ESPN 2 this Fall.

Stephen Fillers Director of Digital Media Marketing David Wood Photography Mhari Reid ’21 Student Marketing Assistant

KEEP IN TOUCH! Letters and comments can be sent to: Jenna Christie | Director of Alumni & Community Engagement

Our Mission We prepare students in our Christian academic community to excel as thoughtful, resourceful, and responsible citizens with a passion for serving God, the Church, and the world. We accomplish this through excellent teaching, high expectations, worthwhile example, and f idelity to our Presbyterian heritage. Our mission is the same for all campuses and sites; for online learning; and for all programs, curricular and extracurricular, graduate and undergraduate.

Get social with King University! Stay updated with stories from the King community. Show your King spirit with #KingUniversity and #KingPride.

Our V ision We aim to be the preeminent small to medium-sized Christian university in the Upper South, with a reputation earned there and beyond as a school serious about its Christian commitment, focused on student success, dedicated to academic excellence, and successful in producing graduates who excel wherever they live, work, and serve.

1350 King College Road Bristol, TN 37620 800.621.5464 |

Why your support MATTERS E

den Foster’s dream is to one day be a missionary in Africa or the Philippines. She talked of her love of photography, seeing the world, and spreading the word of God. She has a strong devotion to the Christian faith and a solid work ethic. While attending a Christian high school in Abingdon, Virginia, she took a tour of King and quickly fell in love with the beauty of the campus, the friendly and welcoming nature of the King community, and she said that there “was a feeling of peace” that came over her. “I prayed about it,” she said, and knew that her decision to come to King was the right one. Beginning her freshman year at the height of the pandemic provided more than a few challenges, though, with Eden’s upbeat personality and positive attitude, she was able to roll with the punches and get as much out of the college experience as she could. Her roommate just so happens to be a friend from high school and back then the two would talk about how fun it would be to one day be roommates. And now they are. It is first-hand evidence of the power of prayer. Eden mentioned how she wouldn’t have been able to attend King had it not been for the generosity of donors who contribute money toward scholarships for students like her. “If I didn’t have a scholarship I couldn’t have come here,” Eden says. Eden says about her time at King, “The smaller class size was something I was looking for. It is a close-knit community, and you can build relationships with your professors where you might not be able to in a larger school.” Eden smiles and says, “I am very grateful for people that give to students that they don’t even know. It helps and means so much.” Because of the generous donations, Eden will be able to continue to pursue her dreams of being a photographer and traveling around the world, spreading the Gospel, and helping people to understand the Lord’s teachings. She is the kind of high-caliber student and person that enrolls at King and that King seeks to recruit.

Eden Foster ’24 To make a gift, mail to 1350 King College Rd., Bristol, TN 37620 or visit FALL 2021 | 3

From the


The Transformative Power of

SCHOLARSHIP GIFTS King is blessed by alumni and friends who give regularly and sacrificially to sustain the important work we do here. Some have particular programs or projects they want to support. Often alumni fund programs they benefited from when they were students. But most often our donors want to know where we most need the funds, and where they can make the greatest impact for students. There are few places where gifts can be more powerful than those that support scholarships. Indeed, almost all King alumni came here with scholarship assistance, so scholarships are a natural place to “pay it forward” to assist the students who come afterward. And scholarships indeed make a profound difference. Almost always our students—past and present—will say that but for the scholarships they received from King, they would not have been able to afford a King education, with all the benefits that flow from that. You’ll read that in most issues of the King magazine—this one included—and you’ll hear it when you talk to our students. Scholarships my parents received changed their lives in profound ways, and those benefits of great


college educations, in turn, benefited their children. My mother’s parents, for example, had not gone to college, but my mother—valedictorian of her smalltown class—was able to get a Vassar education because my grandfather’s boss had secretly (without my mom’s knowledge) funded a scholarship that made that possible. And without that scholarship, there is no way my farm-truck-salesman grandfather could have afforded such an education for her. Not only did that gift benefit her quite directly, but it was also transformative ultimately for the family she was to have. And as a math teacher, she was able, in turn, to transform the lives of many hundreds of her students because of the education a scholarship made possible. I likewise benefited from scholarships that bridged the gap between the cost of education and what I could afford. So it is for many King alumni as well—and the power of those scholarships continues long after the last tuition bill is paid and a degree is conferred. My pastor growing up was a King College alumnus, and he talked often of his gratitude to King and the scholarship that made his studies and career possible. His education enabled him to have a profound positive influence on thousands—the current King president among those. I can hope that I am, in turn, having a salutary influence on King students today, continuing and bringing full circle the power of that scholarship first awarded my pastor some 75 years ago.

So, you see, a scholarship gift is really a gift that never ends—even though the full effect of the gift will rarely be known in full. But there is reward and satisfaction even in that—as we can be confident a scholarship gift will accomplish more than we can possibly imagine.

There are three main ways we fund institutional scholarships at King. •

Our annual fund supports the everyday expenses of King—and general scholarships are a substantial part of that. So unrestricted gifts in fact help us give merit and need scholarships to our students.

Scholarship gifts can also be designated for students generally (always needed) or students in particular fields of study or sports. Those “spendable” scholarships (that is, funds spent in a single year) can be named for the donor or an honoree if they are at least $1200.

Endowed scholarships are started with gifts of $25,000 or more (usually paid over several years) and last in perpetuity. Income from those endowed funds—usually averaging about 5 percent of the corpus paid each year—is used to support scholarships year on year. Often donors who begin with funding spendable scholarships decide to endow a scholarship so that it will continue as long as the school exists.

Scholarships are a natural place, also, for at least some of one’s estate gift to King. Often such gifts enable funding endowed scholarships of a much larger amount than might be prudent or possible while one is still alive. Scholarships can enable donors to meet multiple needs through one vehicle. King has scholarships, for example, for children of those in leadership positions in Presbyterian churches and scholarships for those who belong to particular church bodies. The very generous donors in these cases wanted to help King help students and their families coming from particular backgrounds or places. In the same way, a Bristolian might want to have a scholarship give priority to students from Bristol. These donor restrictions and preferences can be very powerful—although it is important never to so limit a scholarship’s criteria such that funds remain unawarded. Our advancement staff can help design scholarships that avoid that. Chances are you have already experienced the power of scholarships in your own education and that of your family members. King provides you an excellent vehicle for accomplishing the same good things in the lives of our worthy and impressive students. The rewards of being associated with King are many, but there are few things beyond one’s college years here that can be as fulfilling as making the same possible for those who follow. Alexander Whitaker President

FALL 2021 | 5


But Why?

King University Biology student and faculty member took to the streambeds of Appalachia in search of answers. They resemble mere rocks, incongruously scattered on the stream bed. Their appearance is unassuming, and they might seem utterly useless without garlic butter and a San Pellegrino, but freshwater mussels are vital to the ecosystems in which they thrive. And unlike their saltwater relatives, freshwater bivalves are not nearly as tasty. With a lifespan that rivals some of the longest living invertebrates on the planet – reaching up to 100 years in age – one begins to ask serious questions as to what are the underlying causes of their eradication? How is it that mussels are the most endangered organism in the United States? It is this quandary that led Josh Rudd, assistant professor of biology at King University, and student Mark “Austin” Huff ’20, now a graduate student Josh Rudd Mark “Austin” Huff at Virginia Tech, into the streambeds of Appalachia in search of answers. One afternoon Huff approached Rudd about an idea for an undergraduate research project. At the time of his studies at King, he was also working for the Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC), an affiliate of 6 | KING MAGAZINE

the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), along the Holston River. This organization was in the process of learning about and trying to preserve and re-populate a declining freshwater mussel population. As a niche field of study, Rudd stated, “These conservation efforts aren’t generally at the forefront of enthusiasm for the general public.” Many native freshwater mussels are on the verge of extinction. Some say that is just the way of the world – look at the American chestnut, the dodo, or the Tasmanian tiger, names now carved onto tombstones on the walls of history museums. Already 35 species of mussels have left this planet with upwards of 70 others listed as endangered and over a hundred threatened. North America has the most abundant mussel fauna on earth with more than 300 species, a treasure trove of diversity when compared to the entire continent of Africa which has only about 90 known species (Graf and Cummings 2007). On top of that, “one-third of all identified species are found exclusively in riverbeds of Appalachia,” Rudd says. Scientists have pondered as to why so many species have been able to thrive in this area; the most likely cause might surprise most people. The Appalachian Mountain range is ancient and as Rudd explains they are speculated to be the oldest mountain range on earth. They were at one time likely as high as the Alps. But over the millennium they have worn down to what can be seen today. People see a shell and think, “Why should we care

what happens to a mussel?” But mussels are a vital food source for different animals, and they provide nutrients for streams, swamps, and lakes by filtering the water removing bacteria, algae, and other organic matter. They are a link in the great chain of life. Too often people fail to break down the bigger picture. When one looks at a painting, they see a portrait or a landscape but when you look closer to the tree, or the cloud, it consists of numerous strokes. The mussels are analogous to the strokes of paint, a link in the chain of the life of a healthy river. Native Americans harvested mussels upwards of 10,000 years ago as a significant source of food. They also adapted them as useful tools, jewelry, and ornaments for the decoration of burial ceremonies. They even-tempered their pottery with lime derived from the shells. Areas along large rivers have been associated with early Native American settlements. Within these settlements are what is known as “middens,” or “refuse” heaps, where the Native Americans would toss their expended shells. Some middens are quite extensive having been used for, in one location, 560 years (Morey and Crothers 1998). Rudd talked about how archaeologists had explored the banks along the Clinch and Holston rivers in Virginia and Tennessee and discovered camps where Native Americans once had settlements. After carefully combing

through these middens associated with these sites archaeologists were intrigued to find that many of the mussels, consumed and used by the Native Americans, were no longer in existence in these river systems today due to human disruption of the ecosystem. The largest refuse heap to date contains an estimated 45 million mussel shells (Haag 2012). After the European colonization of the New World, mussel shells were used to make buttons. Rudd said, “Notice how most buttons on a dress shirt have an iridescent aspect. Even though the button is plastic today, this is still a remnant of the mussel shell industry and their use as buttons.” This created a niche job market for people known as shellers. For example, along the Holston and Clinch Rivers for a few weeks during the late summer, camps of as many as 150 people would

be established. On some rivers during shelling season, houseboat communities could be found, some containing up to 75 families (Haag 2012). This type of invasion was devastating to the ecosystem. To the Cherokee of the area, the mussels were simply named Dagvna. In Greek mythology, they were Naiads, nymphs that resided alongside rivers or streams whose water had healing powers. As biologists and ecologists began studying these fascinating animals, their names have become as flamboyant as the diversity of their shapes, shell structure, and color. Dig into the streambed and you just might scoop up a fluted elephantear, or an orangefoot pimpleback, fuzzy pigtoe, purple wartyback, or even a pink heel splitter. And no, you have not tripped and fallen into a Dr. Suess picture book. The pink heel splitter was aptly named after killing Johann Boepple, the man that shaped the U.S. button-making industry by using the shells of mussels. One day he accidentally cut his foot after stepping on one of these mussels and died from the resulting infection. The decline of the freshwater mussels is due to a variety of problems nearly all a consequence of human industrialization. Road salting, the construction of dams, dredging, the introduction of foreign species, sedimentation, etc. This leads us down a foggy road and within this gray area lies

FALL 2021 | 7

a conundrum. Everybody loves the comforts of the modern world, but there are consequences to having such luxuries. Mussels living in the sand on the bottom of a riverbed: unseen, unheard, mostly unknown except to scientists; these misunderstood organisms don’t carry the same kind of media publicity and push, like elephants being slaughtered by poachers in the African bush or the giant river otters or manatees being exterminated in the Amazon, but their fate is the same. The process of reproduction in mussels is complicated and rather peculiar. As with any complicated life cycle, subtle environmental changes have large consequences. Mussels begin their lives as a parasitic larval stage known as a glochidium. At this early stage, they must “infect,” a host fish by parasitizing the fish’s gills. They encyst on the gills and draw necessary nutrients from the fish’s blood. The process of infecting the host fish is different depending on the species of mussel. Some mussels release the glochidia into the water where they are exposed to an applicable host, while others use a more direct approach. One genus of mussel uses an extension of the mantel tissue that extends outside of the shell and resembles a

small fish. It twitches and lures in a fish host intent on making it a meal. The host fish will attempt to eat the mantel tissue rupturing the marsupial gills of the female mussel releasing a cloud of glochidia into the fish’s face. Rudd and Huff were primarily interested in working with the Cumberland Moccasinshell or Medionidus conradicus which is “endemic to the drainages of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.” This bivalve mollusk was discovered in 1834. Huff was curious as to whether variations in salinity levels were affecting the reproductive process. Specifically, would increase salinity trigger the glochidium to close their jaws prematurely, before encountering a host fish, thus rendering them inviable. To accomplish this, he organized a study using host fish and glochidia. The research facilities and organisms were generously provided by the Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Center in Adwolf, Virginia, and handled under the supervision of Tim Lane, the Southwest Virginia Freshwater Mussel Recovery Coordinator. Huff first made sure to use host fish, the red line darter, that had no larvae on them by holding them in isolated tanks for five weeks. He planned to use 8,000 glochidia with 200 fish with a different treatment of salt per test. Each test was meant to stimulate the runoff effect of varying road salting seasons. Through careful observation, Huff was able to measure the rate of successful glochidia attachment in the different treatment groups, and after collecting the data he realized that salt truly did affect the reproduction process. Whether the effect is enough to generate the rapid extinction of this species still needs to be investigated further. The preservation of mussels is an ongoing process and not always at the top of the list for ecologists and preservationists. Yet thankfully, there are people like biologists Professor Rudd and Austin Huff, making a difference out there.  K

s m i le. am azon. com Choose King University as your charitable cause and help students achieve their dreams.


Through the

DARKNESS The Dawson Sanders Story Dawson glanced over and watched in horror as the cyclist beside him disappeared beneath the oncoming eighteen-wheeler…

Dawson Sanders ’22, Cycling Team Captain A misty morning drive into Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, Alabama, resembles a rainforest. Pristine forest stretching for miles toward the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains were once the fertile hunting grounds of the Chickasaw. This beautiful patch of “You’re not smart enough.” He was told that he Northern Alabama has undergone numerous transformations. should enroll in trade school, but that wasn’t Settled by John Hunt in 1805, the man who Huntsville is named what he wanted for his future. At a young age after, the town has grown over the years into a city. It was Hunt that he had been diagnosed with dyslexia and had gave the city its current name, Huntsville, built over a vast network been treated for it for a while, but after his of mysterious caverns, the city holds the oldest building in the parents got divorced they no longer wanted state, as well as a railroad depot that housed Confederate soldier to pay for the treatment and because of it his prisoners of war, whose ghostly graffiti can still be seen today. grades suffered. At the age of sixteen, he took It was in Huntsville that Dawson Sanders’ story begins. Growing up cycling and found that it helped him focus. up in a troubled and broken home, surrounded by rampant He joined a cycling club run by a lady named drug abuse, physical violence, emotional torment, neglect, and Grace Ragland. Dawson said at first he wasn’t sadness, Dawson more or less raised himself while caring for his particularly good at cycling but Grace took older brother who had a substance abuse problem. His mother him under her wing and encouraged him to was rarely around. And when she was, she was with her boyfriend improve. He was determined to work hard and who also had a pernicious drug habit and for several months become the best cycler that he could. One day slept under a tarp in the back yard. “They were abusive,” Dawson Dawson decided that he wanted to participate says of her mother’s boyfriends. “I never knew how they were with several others in a 100-mile race. They going to be, ‘What’s up Champ,’ or ‘You are a disgrace,’ while were about 17 miles into the race, “I was in punching holes in the walls. I was terrified,” Dawson said, “It the lead pack with about thirty-five others,” made my dad furious that she would bring addicts around.” Dawson said. “It was a two-lane backroad. The Dawson’s parents had gotten divorced when he was in the group turned a corner and heading straight fifth grade. “It was essentially a custody war being shuffled back for them was an eighteen-wheeler semi. “The and forth in between homes,” Dawson remembers. “My dad lead guys started to break.” A brake wave then was very aggressive. Especially about grades and sports. My occurred, when the front begins to brake, the mother, I didn’t see very much. My older brother was a bad riders in the rear push into them. I braked drug addict. He was in pain, going in and out of jail and rehab fast enough but the guy next to me wasn’t centers, and let everyone know he was in pain,” Dawson said. able to and to avoid the cyclist in front of him Dawson had to grow up fast, forced to fend for himself he swerved,” Dawson recalls. Right at the while trying to take care of his brother. But though sick, his moment when a man named Brian swerved brother was also extremely manipulative as so many addicts as the semi was barreling past them. “He got can be when they are feigning for a fix. “My older brother used sucked under the truck. His bike went flying. I to get me to do things I didn’t want to, like ride with him got thrown to the opposite side of the road. while he was on drugs, in case of an accident, I could take I was safe and ran over to the injured cyclist the fall. It hurt to have a sibling like that,” Dawson said. who was lying on the ground unconscious.” To make matters even worse Dawson struggled in school. Early “As a 17-year-old kid, I thought, ‘What do on he had been told that he would never go to college because I do?’” Dawson said. “I didn’t move at all. FALL 2021 | 9

People were screaming. Two doctors participating in the race quickly started treating him. “I remember I was still just standing there looking at the man on the ground. I was in shock. A few minutes later a coach rode up beside me and saw the man on the ground and alarmed, asked what happened. I explained what happened, and while I was still in shock, he got me back on my bike and we rode on,” Dawson said. At every rest stop, the others in the race that weren’t involved didn’t yet know what had happened. Dawson said that he couldn’t stop talking and thinking about the incident, “I kept reliving that moment over and over.” At the mile 86 point it had become too much, and he passed out. “Two people found me and brought me back to another rest station. “My teammates helped me through that day,” Dawson said. The traumatic experience scarred him and would stay with him long after he returned home. But despite it, he didn’t stop training. He would go on to win the cycling state championship race. “I had all this confidence. I shared my story with people. I’m not perfect. I have had troubling moments and got through them just like everyone else did,” he said. Despite the struggle, Dawson was able to graduate. Realizing that to be successful and get accepted to a reputable school, he would have to raise his grades. He enrolled in community college and became dedicated to his studies. Because of dyslexia he had to work harder than the other kids but accepted the challenge that life had thrown his way and earned a 3.5 GPA. Along with his stellar academic record at the community college along with the cycling prowess he was offered a scholarship to attend King which he accepted. “Without the scholarship money, I couldn’t have come to King. It is a privilege to have this, I try not to take it for granted,” Dawson said. Dawson’s freshman year was an eye-opener to how competitive college racing was, barely making the top 20s. He continued to be determined to succeed and traveled out to Colorado to train over the summer with Grace. Sophomore year he finished 3rd in the first cross-country race of the season. It looked like it was going to be a great season for him.” He decided that it was time to compete in another 100-mile race. “I wanted to finish the bike race for Brian,” Dawson said. But it hasn’t been easy. One day while riding near campus, within proximity of the King College Road gate, a car traveling approximately 40 mph didn’t see him and struck him. “I remember being thrown from the bike. I tried to protect myself and landed on the ground. I covered my face with my arms and barrel-rolled.” One thought that ran through his head was that he had been the target all along, it hadn’t been 10 | KING MAGAZINE

Brian, the cyclist that was killed. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the semi wanted Dawson. Between experiencing the tragedy during the race and being hit by the car, Dawson was diagnosed with PTSD. “I had to fight to get back to the top of my fitness,” he said. It was difficult to get back on the bike and get that competitive mindset. But he was able to get back on the bike and continue pursuing his ambitions to be the best cyclist that he could be. “I try not to let the trauma keep me from biking. It’s hard to be on a cycling team when I have these experiences running through my head,” he says. It is tough to deal with the psychological trauma while riding but it also affects him at night, when he is alone with hours to

think and reflect. He has had many difficult nights trying to come to terms with all that has happened. But he is resilient and says that should the opportunity present itself for him to ever ride on a semi-pro team he would jump at the chance. “I live my life according to that,” he says, taking opportunities as they come, being able to get back up when you are knocked down, and always staying positive and working hard toward a goal. One of the things that helped him through so many of the adversities that he faced was his relationship with Grace. “Grace helped me get back on my bike each time. She’s the strongest person I have ever met. She was like a mom to me,” he says, “We traveled across the southeast to race.” She believed in him, supported him, and taught him how to be a competitive athlete and a standup human being. “I was closer to her than either of my parents,” Dawson said.

Grace and Dawson were out on an expert trail deep in the woods training on a four-hour ride. At some point, they reached a slippery spot beside a small waterfall and started to cross when Grace had an accident and fell off the side of the waterfall seriously injuring her leg to the point that she couldn’t walk. Help was miles away. “If I had to guess we were about nine miles deep in the woods,” Dawson recalls. In a feat of heroism, Dawson picked Grace up onto his back, and while carrying both bikes, he headed off on foot in search of help. He walked for miles. Eventually, they stumbled upon a couple who were able to assist by taking the bikes off his hands. “I was so dizzy. I held her in my arms and sprinted up the hill to the car and took her to the hospital.” Despite the medical attention, she never fully recovered from the accident. She was able to heal enough to ride again but the knee caused discomfort after a while during rides. It bummed her out that she had a bad knee, but she continued to ride and stay positive. A few months later, Grace decided to ride a race from Canada down to Mexico. It was a grueling 2,745-mile ride. Grace, now in her 50’s and suffering from multiple sclerosis, and with her bad knee, completed the race and caught a flight home. Dawson was there to pick her up from the airport. Once in the car, she told him, “I feel funny,” and pointed out that she had developed a knot on her neck. A month later she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She was in and out of chemo and fought hard to live but they had caught the cancer too late. After Grace died, Dawson was crushed. She had been his friend, confidant, and mentor and now he had to continue, on his own without her. But she wouldn’t have wanted him to quit. Dawson traveled over to Colorado for a 100,000-foot bike climb challenge, a trip that he funded himself. And while there he worked for his room and board while training on difficult trails. He was able to complete the challenge in a little over 800 miles. On the last day of the bike trip, Dawson rode up to the highest peak in the area and spread some of her ashes so she would always have a place in Colorado. Dawson is doing well now as a collegiate athlete studying business management, marketing, and finance with aspirations of becoming a financial advisor so that he can help make people feel safe. “I’m the captain of the men’s cycling team,” Dawson says and then goes on to explain that it didn’t happen by accident or overnight. “I have worked very hard. Dawson continues to move forward in his life, remaining positive and not allowing the tragedies of his past derail him.  K FALL 2021 | 11

Being an INTERN in the D.A.’s Office...

King University Student Profile



Not quite like the movies! It was sitting around as a young girl watching episodes of Matlock that Morgan Buchanan first became infatuated with the law. “I decided at the age of seven that I was going to be an attorney,” she said. Academics came easily, and so did sports. By the time Morgan reached Sullivan East High School located in Bluff City, she was at the top of her class academically and a star tennis player.   Morgan, a Criminal Justice major, took an internship position in the District Attorney’s office in Bristol. “As an intern, I prepared the dockets for the day, every day that we had court in session. In the Bristol General Sessions court system, the judges hear various types of criminal cases three days a week.”

said. It is what led her to her next internship with The Branch House Family Justice Center. This institution provides resources to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Wednesday in the Bristol General Sessions courts is dedicated to hearing only domestic violence cases. Morgan became very aware of the prevalence of domestic violence, “in my region, in my community, and my city,” she explains disheartened. The stories are gritty, terrifying, and often hard to stomach. “I worked on several cases that were full of torn families, shattered hearts, and broken relationships. This was a sobering reminder that I have been blessed to not experience these crimes, but others around me are not as fortunate,” Morgan says.

“I’ve worked on several cases that were full of torn families, shattered hearts, and broken relat ionships.” – Morgan Buchanan Morgan would pull the individual files for each of the cases that would be heard the following day. “The Assistant District Attorney and the victim-witness coordinators could read over the affidavits and case details for the upcoming cases to prepare.”  In Bristol, the court starts around 9 a.m. Roll is called by the magistrate for those in the gallery that has a case to hear that day. It was then Morgan’s job to check the attendance of the participants. She would also call the officers, victims, and witnesses to remind them of the date and time their case would be heard. “I also worked closely with the victim-witness coordination throughout the day, Morgan says. “Before my internship, I did not know the vital role that these individuals play in the execution of the judicial process.” The victim witness coordinators act as the middlemen between the victims and what they want for the case’s outcome. This position is fairly new and provides a voice to the victims. “The connection between the victims and the outcome of their cases is something I became very passionate about throughout my internship,” Morgan

Relationships that are abusive vary in the type of abuse, and each one is equally troubling. There is physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse.  Listening to the stories in court was heart-wrenching for Morgan. She would take notes and dictate the decisions being made regarding the case and then enter the information into the online databases. There are dozens of cases heard every day ranging from drug violations to DUIs to the occasional kidnapping and murder. “The wide range of cases that I got to hear while interning allowed me to become well versed in the Tennessee state laws and how all types of criminal cases are handled,” Morgan said. Due to privacy issues, she isn’t able to share details of the cases. “I am thankful for King preparing me for this opportunity. If I had not had Chief Wade, retired Chief of Police in Bristol, Tennessee, as an adjunct professor, I would not have been directed to the internship opportunity at the DA’s office. This solidified my desire to attend law school and pursue a career seeking justice while also having a balance of mercy.”  K

FALL 2021 | 13


Power of

HEALING Ana Valente ’10 was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. When she was around a year old, her parents decided to relocate to Bristol, Tennessee. So, it was in Bristol where Ana grew up, surrounded by the lush forests in the Appalachian foothills of Northeast Tennessee. She was a local girl whose parents both escaped the poverty of the Northeast Brazilian slums determined to provide their family with more opportunities than they had growing up. When Ana’s parents were young, a missionary named Charles Alexander traveled to the favelas in the Northeastern section of Brazil looking to help people and spread the word of God. It was there amongst the hardship and scarcity that his life and that of the two teenagers would collide. The kids didn’t know each other, and they wouldn’t meet until later on, but both were taken under the wing of Charles Alexander. He saw potential in them. They were smart and driven, but opportunities were scarce for kids in the slums. Alexander, like he had done so many times before, put forth his time and resources to help them escape the perpetual existence in a state of virtual penury. The children gave up their lives, left friends and family behind, and traveled to America to enroll at King. Despite the vicissitudes they faced in this brand-new world, unfamiliar with the culture and unable


“My undergraduate educat ion was so strong. I was very prepared for this difficult and compet it ive field.” – Ana Valente to speak the language, they both prospered. It was at King where Ana’s parents met. They realized that they came from the same region in Brazil and quickly fell in love. They would both graduate and temporarily return to Brazil, where they married and gave birth to Ana. At a year old, Ana began her life in Bristol and enjoyed a wonderful and fulfilling upbringing in a loving and supportive home. During her formative years, her father, who today is a prominent Doctor in Charleston, South Carolina, was the soccer coach at Tennessee High School. As Ana grew, she too found a love for the sport and would become a soccer standout at Tennessee High in Bristol. But it wasn’t only on the field that she persevered; Ana was also an exceptional student with an overwhelming desire to spend her life helping people. While still in high school, Ana decided that one day she would become a doctor. Like her parents before her, she enrolled at King and pursued Pre-Med with a major in Cell and Molecular Biology. Though her major was biology, she explained that her favorite class was Dr. Pickard’s organic chemistry. “I really loved it!” she said. For Ana, science was more than just another subject. It was her passion. When she wasn’t studying or playing soccer, she worked in a neurotoxicology lab. “I loved working in the lab.” Her positivity and high energy helped her be proficient at everything she touched. Ana graduated from King and enrolled at the University

of Tennessee for Medical School. “I loved Med School too,” Ana said with a smile. “I realized how great of an education I got at King when in medical school because med-school seemed easy compared to the rigorous courses I took in college. King prepared me so well.” And it was in class at medical school that she met her future husband. Together they plunged into the world of medicine, supporting each other, both moving forward toward their dreams. They would graduate and get residency positions in New Orleans together. Everything was working out. The hard work, the dedication, the belief in God’s guidance were paying forward. Ana became an OBGYN and delivered many babies. She loved the work. It was rewarding and needed, but there was still something else calling to her. There is a specialized field within medicine, an obscure branch of medicine where she felt she could make the greatest impact, female reproductive oncology. Her goal became to study and help women who are suffering from rare gynecological cancer. It is a specialized field that takes extra years of study. It is a division that is extremely competitive to get selected. This pursuit requires functional training, and there aren’t very many programs that offer it and only about 58 openings per year nationwide. Ana got admitted into the program through the University of Oklahoma, where she is currently studying. It has been a long road but a very rewarding one. “A lot of my success I owe to that great foundation I received at King,” Ana says. “My undergraduate education was so strong. Once again, as in medical school, I have found that I was very prepared for this difficult and competitive field,” Ana says. She is nearly finished with her studies and looking forward to a long and pleasing career of service.  K

FALL 2021 | 15


Dr. William Wade is one of the most beloved professors to have ever taught at King. He was informed that the police were looking for him. He’d recently graduated from the University of North Carolina and was residing in Chapel Hill. When the officers located Dr. Wade, they informed him that a Dr. Robert Liston from King College in Bristol, Tennessee, had contacted them and wished to connect with him. Dr. Liston said he was going to give him a call at 6:30 that evening. Dr. Wade had been looking for a job as a history professor and had sent out many letters inquiring about job openings. King was one of the schools that he had contacted. As a young student at Southwestern at Memphis College, Dr. Wade had walked into his first history class at Southwestern Memphis College (now Rhodes College), the professor introduced himself to the class using a slideshow of different places and historical sites where he had traveled. This slideshow ignited within Dr. Wade’s imagination an interest in history and travel that would stay with him for a lifetime. 16 | KING MAGAZINE

He knew that he wanted to be a history professor and would earn his bachelor’s from Southwestern at Memphis before enrolling in North Carolina Chapel Hill for his master’s and Ph.D. After some time of not hearing anything back from King, he’d forgotten about the school, since before writing to them, he hadn’t known much about them and had never been to the Bristol area. Looking back on it, Dr. Wade recalls, “Dr. Liston didn’t believe in writing letters.” Dr. Liston was different in his approach to leadership. He was a hands-on type and would often call recruits personally or travel to meet in person. Using his incredible power of persuasion, he would convince them that coming to King was the right decision. It was in this

manner that he was able to entice young scholars, like Dr. Wade, to accept faculty positions at the college. And hiring such adept instructors significantly enhanced the quality of the academics of King. At 6:30 that evening, Dr. Wade was waiting by the phone when Dr. Liston called. And with his Alabama twang with a hint of old Europe, Dr. Liston apprised him of his philosophy of where he saw the college headed. Dr. Wade took the train from Chapel Hill to Bristol, arriving at a busy platform to be met by Dr. Liston. Gradually the platform emptied, and no one approached him. Soon, there were only two men left on the platform, and it was at that moment Dr. Liston and Dr. Wade met in person for the first time. Dr. Wade said, “Apparently, he didn’t think I looked much like a history professor, but then I suppose I didn’t think he looked much like a college president either!” According to Dr. Wade’s wife Margaret, after they conversed for a while, Dr. Liston said, “You’re coming, aren’t you?” And Dr. Wade agreed that King would be a great place to teach. When Dr. Wade first arrived at King, he said that he was “the” history teacher. “I taught all the history classes,” he said. But Margaret indicated that this fits his personality and interests. “Teaching was his calling. He loved the broad

DR. BILL WADE expanse of history. And he was able to do it at King,” Margaret said. He began his career teaching out of Bristol Hall. The year was 1952. “The structure is one of the older buildings on the campus. Dr. Liston put the main emphasis on education, not fancy buildings. I found the college very appealing,” Dr. Wade stated in an interview in the early 1980s. It wasn’t long before he built himself a reputation as a wonderful storyteller. And over the years, it would become increasingly difficult to get a seat in his class. He was a talented orator, communicating information, entertaining his students, and providing slivers of insight into who he was as a person. “My father was a magnificent storyteller and used to tell us stories at bedtime. He is so good that you felt like you were there,” said his daughter. She recalled one family trip they had planned. They were going to visit a plantation, and Dr. Wade had told them such grand stories about the place with its ruins and past that when they finally arrived, his story about the location was so much more exciting than the actual place. Dr. Wade was not only a storyteller, he was a visionary and was active in many aspects of the school. In 1962, Dr. Wade would become the dean of the college. He would hold that title for the next fifteen years. Though he enjoyed being dean, he said his first love was still teaching, but “one can make either job fill the day or empty it.” Dr. Wade preferred to focus on history, both the history surrounding the school. He was very interested

“Teaching was his calling. He loved the broad expanse of history. And he was able to do it at King.” – Margaret Wade in the history of the college. King was central to his life, and to that of his wife Margaret, as well, who has stood by his side along this incredible journey of service and selflessness. One day Margaret and Dr. Wade attended a wedding in Cincinnati and visited a nearby Presbyterian Church to worship. Upon returning to campus, Dr. Wade penned a letter to the president explaining how King could establish a relationship with the church and recruit its students. “There is a four-lane highway straight to Cincinnati from Bristol,” he said. He was a student of fundraising opportunities and recognized the importance of nurturing relationships. Dr. Wade worked on building the budget, he was involved with Continuing Education programs including holding the position of Director of Institutional Research, and he directed the Elderhostel Program where his hard work and dedication were recognized. “You have established a tradition for excellent management and thoughtful direction which not only gratifies those who attend but establishes our reputation for highquality programs,” the president at the time, Reverend Donald Mitchell Dr. Wade and Jewel Bell at Dr. Wade’s 90th Birthday Celebration

said. Bill admired his co-workers and would often praise them and King for establishing an environment to work amongst so many people of high dedication and integrity. “I am surrounded by people who, in their own particular and often quiet way, witness to their faith and give of themselves without stinting.” Creating an institution for students to grow was very important to Dr. Wade. “In most ways, the college is still an institution that tries to

FALL 2021 | 17

President Whitaker and Dr. Wade at Dr. Wade’s 90th Birthday Celebration

“That scholarship has helped me so much to afford tuition. It helps with my dad’s financial situation.” — Jenah Cooper ’22

keep three things foremost. It’s still an academic college that tries to prepare its students for whatever career they may choose. So many colleges are just glorified high schools, but I think King honestly makes an effort to prepare its students professionally,” Dr. Wade had told the Bristol Herald Courier. Christianity had always been important to Dr. Wade, and King’s devotion to a Christian-focused culture is what he believed made King stand out from so many other schools. “I can’t think of anything more important, more central to the very being and purpose of this college, than instilling in our students a vibrant sense of personal integrity that is grounded in Christian faith.” He was an eloquent speaker and communicator and regularly shared his time to become involved in activities to benefit the school, for example, teaming up with faculty members over the summer to work on the college’s academic and student life programs. He became well-versed in pulling, analyzing, and sharing data from his new computer system. He was always learning, enthusiastic, and devoted to his students, co-workers, the King Community, and the world. On March 12, 1985, in a letter to President Mitchell, Dr. Wade writes, “I enjoy being at King College, I love my teaching, and there is no place I would rather be. That is what King is all about and those that have worked here. There is no place I would rather be.” On May 31, 1998, Dr. Wade retired from teaching. Though he left the stage, he never lost his wit and continued to write letters, emails and participate in guest lectures. In one email to Professor of History Martin Dottereich, Dr. Wade said, “It’s been so long since I have had any communication with the college that I’m starving for information! Is it true that Dr. Tadlock has finally retired and is farming near Jonesborough? He was referencing Dr. James Doak Tadlock, King’s first president, who died in 1899. His legacy at King can still be felt, and his influence on so many lives has helped make this world a more vibrant and interesting place to live. He deserves every accolade and award that should be bestowed upon him.  K 18 | KING MAGAZINE

In high school, Jenah Cooper was a standout athlete who dreamt of playing collegiate sports and one day becoming an elementary school teacher. In sports, it was tumbling where she excelled, and it was evident that her talent was going to possibly take her a long way. When it was time to decide on a college, she knew early on that King would be the school. She had been attending King Acro and Tumbling competitions since she was in middle school, and loved the small, picturesque, faith-based campus.  But her athletic journey would be cut short when her family fell upon difficult times

Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholar JENAH COOPER

financially. Jenah being the oldest of the children caught up to her Lettie decided it was time to sell her recognized that it was her duty to help out her father and bottling company that had grown to 1,000 plants the family. “I stopped playing sports after my freshman by 1934. Coca-Cola was the buyer and Lettie was year because I had to step up. I needed to help out.”  appointed to the Coca-Cola Board of Directors, one In life sometimes you have to sacrifice for those of the first women to serve on the board of directors you love and Jenah is the definition of hard work and for any major American company. She would hold sacrifice. “I work two jobs, one as a server at the Olive a chair in the boardroom for over twenty years. Garden in Kingsport and the other is in Student Affairs.”  Along with working multiple jobs, Jenah is also Along with being blessed as an astute businesswoman the recipient of the Lettie Pate White Foundation Lettie was also blessed with a charitable heart and scholarship. This incredible foundation is a public donated millions of dollars to numerous organizations. charity that provides support for the education of In 1945 she created the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation female students. The Foundation awards annual which received her entire estate upon her death in 1953 grants for the education of Christian female students at the age of 81. Donations from her life and those of at 200 accredited institutions throughout the south.  Letitia (Lettie) Pate was born in Thaxton, Bedford the foundation since her death, have added up to over County, Virginia in 1872. She lived a comfortable life a billion dollars contributed to help those in need.  and received a private education as a member of one of Jenah says about receiving the scholarship, “That Virginia’s more prominent families. In 1894 she married Joseph Whitehead, a Mississippi attorney, and a year later scholarship has helped me so much to afford tuition. It helps with my dad’s financial situation.” She is very the couple relocated to Chattanooga, Tennessee to build grateful to the foundation for providing money so a life. They had two sons and lived comfortably. In 1899 Joseph and an associate came up with an idea for bottling dedicated and determined students like her can reach their goals and see their dreams come true. And being Coca-Cola beverages and approached The Coca-Cola Company with their idea. The company was intrigued and a part of the Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship helped her learn more about the community. “I got to know the granted Joseph and his associate an exclusive contract.  community better,” she said. “Part of the scholarship The bottling business, Whitehead Holding Company, requirements is that we have to do community service. I was becoming successful so Joseph and Lettie decided have done my community service in retirement homes.” to move to Atlanta where the Coca-Cola Company was She says that her work in the community has been headquartered, so they could expand. They established very rewarding. “I love the people of Bristol. They are the Whitehead Realty Company and were becoming very sweet.” Her mentor was Wendy Traynor, Assistant established in Atlanta as successful business owners Professor of Mathematics, and Jenah says that she is such when Joseph contracted pneumonia and died. Lettie an influential person. “I really look up to her,” Jenah said. then took over the business affairs, 80 bottling plants “Her personality is amazing. I wish there were more as well as the realty company, while trying to raise two people in this world like her.” The Lettie Pate Whitehead boys all at the age of 34. Seven years later in 1913 Foundation scholarship has allowed this remarkable she met and fell in love with a retired officer in student to pursue her studies and with everything she the Canadian Army, Colonel Arthur Kelly Evans.  touches, she thrives. Her work ethic, determination, and The family decided to leave Atlanta and set up enthusiasm are the characteristics of the type of student a homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. Around that the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation hopes to help 1919 Coca Cola sold its operations to the and the very students that enroll and succeed at King.  K Woodruff family who embraced Lettie, working closely with her for nearly twenty years. As the years

FALL 2021 | 19

A Nurturing Hand

King University Alumni Profile



Snow falling was nothing new to Trent Snyder. It was Montreal after all, the largest island in the Hochelaga Archipelago. Snow there is as common as Stanley Cup victories, with an average yearly snowfall hovering around 82.5 inches (as tall as LeBron James), it snows a lot, more than 60 days a year. And that is just the average. Trent was born in Georgia, but after only a few days on this Earth, his parents relocated to Quebec, first Trois-Rivieres and then Montreal. Growing up in the maple syrup capital of the world, the education system was different than most other places in the Northern Hemisphere. Montreal is a bilingual city where native residents speak both French and English. In Trent’s private Christian school, half the day is spent in classes taught in French and half in English. The next semester the language of the classes would switch, so one semester you are taking geometry in French and the next in English. Some public schools were similar, but many are not, and you have specific classes in one language (French or English) and then the other classes in the other language.   Trent said he enjoyed growing up in Montreal and never thought much about the cold winters because that was all he knew. “I liked the snow,” he said. Summer would bring heat sometimes over 100 degrees, a sweltering temperature no matter where you live. It was a place where you truly enjoyed four seasons and Montreal is a large, bustling city with a lot of offer.  One evening Trent was sitting with his parents perusing a Christian college catalog trying to decide which school to attend and they came across King. It was a Christianfaith-based school, with strong science programs, smaller in size with a close-knit environment, and perfect for Trent. He and his family got in the car and made the drive to the King campus. “I knew nobody at King,” Trent said. They walked onto campus and nearby there was a tour about to take off. The tour guide called out to them, “Would you like to join us?” The family did and afterward, Trent’s decision was sealed. He enrolled at King and says it was the best choice he could have made. “I loved it, the people are so friendly and welcoming, and having the smaller size school, everybody knows each other,” he said. “The professors were also very approachable, and they cared about you as opposed to being at a bigger school where you are just a number,” Trent said. He liked how the faith-based curriculum was built into the academics and provided a sound structure for learning and growth. “I felt like I was able to grow in my faith,” he said. Trent initially enrolled at King to study pre-med and excelled in science receiving an award for achievement in chemistry. But he soon realized that he didn’t want to pursue science and medicine and decided to switch to humanities where Trent majored in English

and French. His experience at King was very memorable and he distinctly recalls his time with his buddies in the 2nd North Liston dormitory. “We were referred to as ‘The 2nd North Freaks,’” he says with a chuckle. “We were an oddball collection of guys that formed a great bond with each other.” The environment at King makes it easy to make friends and they turn out to be friends for life. Upon graduation, he was hired by the French government to teach English as a Second Language.  He found himself in the small town of Clamecy in the Province of Burgundy, as a first-year instructor in an elementary school, creating his own curriculum and learning the ropes essentially through trial and error. “I had a lot of freedom,” Trent recalls. But after a year he returned to the United States. His parents had moved to South Carolina and he took a job across the river in Georgia with the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc., where he continues to do his part providing visitors to Augusta a wonderful experience.  It was also in Georgia where Trent met his wife and the couple decided that they were going to adopt a child.   Trent said that before the adoption they did a tremendous amount of research. It is a scholarly pursuit. Adoption is complex, it is an emotional rollercoaster for all the parties involved, and it often, as in Trent’s case, isn’t just about the adoptive parents and the child, but the child’s birth mother and her family. “Being educated on adoption braced us for a worst-case scenario or with any potential issues the child might have. But God guided us through the process and was always three steps ahead.”  The ability of a loving couple to adopt a child is a wonderful thing. Children that need a home, structure, love, and a place to grow and develop arrive in homes all across the United States by way of foster care, domestic or international adoption agencies. There are approximately 135,000 children that get adopted in the U.S. each year. It isn’t uncommon for an adoption to take up to two years to be finalized. “We got very lucky with ours,” Trent says. “Our process from start to finish was about nine months. It was completely smooth.” That is almost unheard of and Trent recognized that they were blessed. “God was watching out for us,” he says. “God was with us for each step of the way and clearing the road of obstacles,” Trent explained that he and his wife had received a great deal of emotional support from their church and it meant so much. “There were always a lot of people to talk to and get advice from when we needed it.” The couple is in contact with not only the birth mother but her family as well. They want to be a part of the child’s life still and Trent thinks it is wonderful and will be very beneficial to his child and his development.  K

FALL 2021 | 21

Announcing King’s New Online



The rumors are true! King University is developing a fully online Master of Social Work (MSW) program designed to accommodate working adults. Building on the strong foundation of our long-standing, highly successful, and nationally recognized (CSWE-accredited) Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, King University is proud to share with you the current status of this proposed MSW program.




The inspiration behind the planning and development of our MSW program is found within King University’s mission:

The MSW degree will be offered in two enrollment options: • Foundational • Advanced Standing

“We prepare students in our Christian academic community to excel as thoughtful, resourceful, and responsible citizens with a passion for serving God, the Church, and the world. We accomplish this through excellent teaching, high expectations, worthwhile example, and fidelity to our Presbyterian heritage.” King University and the Social Work programs are committed to meet the needs of our students as well as the clients and communities of the Appalachian Highland region and beyond. The mission of our new MSW program aligns both with the King University mission as well as the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics:

“We prepare thoughtful, resourceful, and responsible advancedlevel social work practitioners for far-reaching service and leadership. This mission is achieved through a commitment to the values and ethics of the Social Work profession, and a focus on service and justice for vulnerable and oppressed populations in the context of a Christian academic community.” DEMAND In the 2019-20 Academic Supply and Occupational Demand in Tennessee Annual Report, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) listed Master’s prepared social workers as one of the “top 25 highdemand occupations with the greatest number of annual openings.” The report noted that the “occupational demand” for social workers in the state is far greater than the current “academic supply.” These THEC employment projection f indings mirror the national and regional (Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky) data.


FOUNDATIONAL • For candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than social work. • Full-time students may be able to graduate in as little as 22 months. ADVANCED STANDING • For candidates with an undergraduate social work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited program. • An alum of the King University BSW program may be eligible for this option. • Full-time students may be able to graduate in as little as 12 months. Licensure and accreditation-related matters dictate the timing of Foundational and Advanced Standing student enrollment. Our current plans are to enroll the f irst cohort of Foundational students in fall 2021 and Advanced Standing students in summer 2022.



The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the accrediting body governing social work education in the United States. All 50 states and the District of Columbia require that a social worker sitting for a licensing exam be a graduate of a CSWE-accredited program.

The MSW program’s founding coordinator is Dr. Clifford Rosenbohm. Dr. Rosenbohm is wellrespected in the Social Work academic community and has served signif icant leadership roles in the discipline including as Director of Field Instruction, Department Chair, MSW Program Director, and Director of a School of Social Work. He has also worked extensively on the accreditation side of social work education and currently serves as a Commissioner on the executive committee of the Commission on Accreditation, CSWE. Additionally, he serves on Social Work Professional Accreditation Council of the Council of Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).

Achieving CSWE involves a 3.5-year incremental candidacy process that concludes with an Initial Accreditation (full accreditation) decision. A dedicated team of King University faculty and staff began laying the groundwork for this signif icant undertaking in 2018. Students admitted to the social work program during the academic year in which the program is granted Candidacy will be recognized as having graduated from an accredited program, once the program attains Initial Accreditation. King expects to achieve Candidacy status during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Dr. Rosenbohm is leading King’s national search to bring well-qualif ied, Christ-centered, and student-focused faculty to the program for both leadership and teaching roles.

JOSEPH HARRIGAN - Winner of the Tennessee Bachelor of

Joseph Harrigan ’20 is an inspiring young man! He has overcome many challenges in this life. Because of growing up in extreme poverty and having witnessed the death of his father at the hands of his mother in self-defense during a domestic violence situation, his

Social Work Student of the Year Award

childhood was quite challenging. He developed a deep empathy for hurting people and an understanding that hardship can bring a deeper realization of the important things in life, faith, love, and forgiveness. Joseph knew then that he wanted to become a social worker. He knew that this path would lead him to a deeper fulfillment than he had ever known. The love that poured from his heart for vulnerable people needed to be fully embraced. There was no more doubt. The driving force of Joseph’s desire for college was the certainty of his cause to be a force for good! Because Joseph’s fiancé could not move to America as she had planned for a visa denial, this Kingsport, Tennessee native shifted his plans away from traditional classes on campus and moved to Bulgaria where he has

pursued and is near completion of his BSW courses online. Joseph spent 400-hours working in a refugee camp in Bulgaria. Here he worked with war-torn populations fleeing from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. He provided intake services for these populations and assisted them in allocating resources such as housing, food, education, and clothing. Joseph said “All in all, I believe that my strengths are born of weakness. I truly believe that as long as I can show compassion and love to those who hurt, struggle, and to those who know pain, that I am where I need to be. I want to be an example of Christ’s love, of change, of hope, and shine a light into the same shadows which once held me.” K

FALL 2021 | 23

A King University Student Profile


It was in 1819 that the Army ROTC began. The former superintendent of the U.S. Military at West Point, N.Y. established the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy in Norwich, Vermont. The idea came about to produce “citizen-soldiers.” In the years following other schools began emphasizing military instruction and by 1840 some of the schools added obligatory military training as well. Throughout the centuries the program has morphed and developed continuing to focus on the production of top-quality lieutenants. “This program has developed leaders and shaped character,” said former President George Bush in 2002. To be a contracted Army ROTC Cadet you must be a United States Citizen between the ages of 17 and 26. You must have a high school GPA of at least 2.50 or a cumulative college GPA of 2.0 and have a high school diploma or equivalent. You must pass the Army Physical Fitness Test and have no medical issues preventing you from serving. And lastly you agree to accept a commission and serve in the Army on active duty or in a Reserve Component (Army Reserve or Army National Guard). Nick Valentin is from Huntsville, Alabama, but 24 | KING MAGAZINE

throughout his life, his family moved eleven times. Nick’s father spent 28 years in the army. “I was born into the army life, raised in it. That is all I ever knew,” Nick says of his upbringing within the U.S. subculture as an affectionately labeled “military brat.” It is a different kind of life, somewhat of a nomadic existence. It is not uncommon for children in this environment to have no ties to a hometown, though, for Nick, Huntsville is home. Nick never lived on an army post. Instead, his father wanted to live in a town nearby so the family could assimilate into the local culture, both domestic and foreign. Living on a military post is essentially like living in a city within a city. A post refers to an Army installation, whereas the term, base, is used primarily when discussing the Air Force or the Navy. But it is not uncommon for all military non-combat installations to be referred to, albeit inaccurately, as a base. For those who live on or nearby a non-combat installation, the military culture is prevalent and different than the civilian culture stemming from the armed security and high-security areas along with language variations including military acronyms and slangs that the civilian world wouldn’t necessarily


understand. But his father’s involvement in the Army, and his upbringing in the military culture, was only part of why he decided to pursue the military. It was in his sophomore year of high school that he joined the junior Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps). His dad asked him at the time, “When did you ever want to be in the military?” Nick told him that he always had. “I signed my paperwork saying I am owned by the army in September of 2019. Now I am a contracted Junior. I go to classes and continue enhancing my ability to lead.” Nick matured and developed through repetition, determination, and focus. Every class, each exercise that he has had to do, he has tried to learn as much as possible and apply what he learns to his training and his life. “I teach freshman and sophomores practical exercises, land navigation, leadership skills, and more. Nick is also a member of the soccer team and explained that during his freshman and sophomore year he wasn’t very vocal. Ever since contracting in ROTC and learning how to be a leader and learning how to practice being a leader, he became more vocal on the soccer team. “I realized I am a leader,” Nick said. Being a leader and seeing how he can help people is a big motivating factor to continue to improve and hone his leadership skills.

“Freshmen would approach me with their problems. I have these kids coming to ask me questions on everything from Army questions to current events,” Nick says. He says that if you want to learn about the Army ROTC program and King’s affiliation with ETSU, connect with Jon Harr ’87, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “I have been in constant contact with him. He gets things done. Any time there is an issue he is the communicator between King and ETSU.” Nick is in his junior year and this summer will head off to advanced camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky. This stint should last 38 days. He will then come back to King for one more year and hopefully get commissioned. “I got to meet Major General Rodney Fogg, a twostar general,” Nick said. “I received a call from Dr. Harr. He told me that the last graduate of the ROTC program wants to talk to you. I knew he had been out of it for 30 years. He was a really nice guy.” And as it happened, Nick learned that General Fogg, a King alum, had been his Dad’s boss. It truly is a small world. “I think the biggest thing I learned from the Army ROTC is communication, knowing when to communicate when you have a problem and how to get it fixed.” Nick plans to continue his dream of being in the military. His drive, dedication to learning, hard work, and devotion to service for his country and his faith are the characteristics of the type of leaders and successful professionals that King produces.  K

“I think the biggest thing I learned from the Army ROTC is communicat ion, knowing when to communicate when you have a problem and how to get it fixed.” – Nick Valent in FALL 2021 | 25

THROUGH A Beautiful Lens

Assistant Professor of Photography and Digital Media, Joe Strickland of King University, discusses photography and its place in the world.


The black and white prints of industrial workers from a steel factory in South Carolina and a galvanizing facility in North Carolina, part of a collection titled, “Ghosts,” are haunting, beautiful, oddly tranquil, men hard at work in dangerous conditions, exposed to extreme heat, arduous labor, and fatigue. Their persons are protected by heavy clothing, thick gloves, and masks. The photographs represent values, work ethic, putting food on the table, and a roof over the heads of the family at home. The scenes are gritty, dirty, and exhausting, yet wholesome and honorable. Scorching steam billows from unknown sources, steel bars and chains, machinery, and industrial fortitude portray a life of sacrifice and obeisance. It is being able to capture that perfect moment, “in the moment” the nuances of humanity, the complexities, factoring-in the angle, and the lighting, the energy, and the movement.  To Joe Strickland, photography has always been a part of him, in a way an extension of who he is and the way he views the world. Born and raised near Charlotte, North Carolina in Cabarrus County, Joe was intent on becoming a photographer, but not just the eye behind the lens, he also wanted to share his knowledge and experience with others.  When Joe was in the fifth grade, he picked up a Polaroid camera for the first time and his world changed forever. “It was a very emotional connection,” Joe remembers. Being raised in a home with two parents heavily involved in advertising and the media, he was provided a fertile environment for growth and development. “It was encouraged,” he says regarding his creativity. And he has used his creativity to express himself and earn a living in multiple fields of photography. Joe earned his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State and an MFA from Utah State before accepting a position with King to teach photography. When it comes to photography as a curriculum, commercial pursuit, or the “artistic (in the sense of Ansel Adams) quest” for creating fine art, Joe expresses his discontent with the constant labeling of photography discriminating against commercial photography as lacking artistic qualities.

FALL 2021 | 27

People are endlessly comparing and contrasting the different photographic styles, arguing that commercialization takes away somehow from the art as a form of craftsmanship, but Joe contends that commercial art requires just as much creativity as fine art. “It is the same use of visual elements and viewer experience that has to be taken into account, and I love both and do both for different reasons.” When it comes to teaching students about photography in the classroom, Joe is very careful not to undermine either fine art or a more commercialized art, teaching both as equal in importance. In modern society, we couldn’t fathom a world without photography. It is nearly everywhere you look at any given time. And there are many different approaches to this intriguing profession. What is it that makes a great photograph? “There are a lot of things that can make a great photograph,” Joe says. “Composition and content are the first that spring to mind. The effective use of light is probably as, if not more, important than those things. Beyond basic exposure, light creates depth, guides the viewer’s eye through the composition, and it drives mood.” Joe has also photographed formerly prosperous industries that are now abandoned. They are eerie, quiet, yet so alive. It is as if one can picture the buzz of activity that had once occurred. Joe’s photography represents hard work, industrialization, and a blue-collar discipline that represents the areas from where they were taken.

“I often tell my students that a truly successful photo can be measured by how well anyone remembers it above all the visual noise that we see every day. That level of success requires something about the photo to catch the viewer’s attention and to keep it. The viewer must engage with the photo for more than just a few seconds. A truly great photo does this and impacts the viewer in a meaningful way.” — Joe Strickland


Joe’s varied collection of photography and his eclectic interests lead us to his series of photographs of restrooms. The pictures are austere, yet vibrant, they are delicate yet severe, man-made yet organic, and they seize the eye.

His unique take on a subject matter that we regularly encounter and rarely stand back to observe is intriguing. They are facilities that we use regularly and most of us look at them as a room with use, but most of us have probably not “truly looked,” as in studied them closely. The color usage and symmetry. The linear, hypnotic designs are often simple, soothing, yet not too welcoming. It is necessary for the customer to be comfortable but on a short-term basis. The photographs of the restrooms appear aseptic in their presentation. Yet they are also used, tired eyes that have seen a lot but still maintain a glimmer of life. Joe’s eye is incredibly unique and original. His conception is transferred to the photograph forcing the viewer to think, possibly reflect, wonder about people that have come and gone, and even experience a tinge of nostalgia from restrooms depicting past eras. The lone urinal, clean and sterile, and beside it a sink, also clean. The gray wall appears painted to resemble marble behind the urinal leading up to a chic blue, providing the viewer with a modern feel while the retro, tiled-looking floor creates an appealing contrast. The color scheme was well thought out, and the spacing of the colors was astutely placed.

FALL 2021 | 29

Joe’s eye is exceptional, and it comes through in his photography. The photographs are hard to pull away from, and you can’t help but mull them over in your head later on. And now, when I see an abandoned factory or walk into a restroom, my mind comes alive, and I notice so many details I never would have before.  K


“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” – Ansel Adams

Make a Name for Yourself at King University 30 | KING MAGAZINE

The goal of the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Art & Design (DMAD) program prepares students to enter the quickly expanding and evolving field of digital media. The degree focuses specifically on how visual media such as digital photography, videography, and graphic design are used to promote ideas in the contemporary world of visual language and media communication. Understanding both the technical and the conceptual processes to produce captivating and affective imagery allows students to enter the job market through a variety of positions according to the strengths of the individual. Through a uniquely designed progression of courses, students become fluent in both conceptual visual language and efficient technical practices, which build the foundation necessary to compete in an industry that is continually evolving. #King #DMAD #MakeANameForYourself #Photography



“Wrestling is fun. This is something we do for fun. This is something we didn’t start because we wanted to win all these medals. We started this because when we were little, we thought it was fun.” — Allison Petix ’21 Over the last decade, the King University women’s wrestling program has been one of the most prestigious in the country. And this is not only on the collegiate level but on the international stage as well. In 2016, the Tornado had their first wrestler qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, out of thirteen King wrestlers that qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials. “This year has been weird. We knew that coming into this year things were going to have to be done differently in our sport because we are so close contact,” said Allison Petix ’21. “The whole year we were grateful for every opportunity we had to compete because we didn’t know if we were going to get a season. We weren’t able to be on the mat as much, but it helped us appreciate when we were.” The journey to get to the trials was more challenging than in years past with the COVID-19 pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped this resilient Tornado team.

Typically, the season starts in October, but this year the start was pushed back to January with teams mainly wrestling duals instead of open tournaments. Despite the trials and tribulations, seen barriers and unseen obstacles, the Tornado found ways to improve. “There is a lot of pride that comes with our success this year,” Ashlynn Ortega ’22 said. “I think we handled COVID the best, and our coaches made that a point this season.” King may have proven that in late February and early March, winning a National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling (NCWW) regional championship and taking national runner-up finish. At the national championships, the Tornado had 13 All-America honorees and one national champion. “As a team, we talk about adversity a lot, and it’s how we handle it,” Cheyenne Sisenstein ’22 stated. “COVID is a form of adversity, and we were the most successful at it. We’re built

“There is a lot of pride that comes with our success this year. I think we handled COVID the best, and our coaches made that a point this season.”

— Ashlynn Ortega ’22

FALL 2021 | 31

Justin Hoch |

Allison Petix

to destroy adversity and that’s what we did.” Sisenstein was one of two Tornado to earn her spot at the Olympic Trials with her finish at the national championships, winning her first national title. Aleeah Gould ’20 finished runner-up, earning a spot in the Olympic Trials. Along with them, Ortega will represent the Tornado in April as she had already qualified. The biggest takeaways from not having as much mat time for the Tornado were focusing on their technique and refining each wrestler’s style. There was a lot more time for individual work with the coaches and that helped the team be more adaptive and flexible. As in the past, some of the toughest matches this year came in the Tornado practice facility. Even though King opened the season against three of the nation’s top-ranked teams, some of their best competition came in practice sessions. “Some of our best competitors at the collegiate level are our teammates,” said Petix. “We may not be competing against other teams as much, but we are still competing against each other.” That proved to be a valuable experience as the Tornado had 13 individuals earn All-America honors on the final weekend of the season. That marked the fourth time in program history King has had at least 13 All-America honorees. The Tornado had 14 in each 2013 and 2014 and 13 honorees in 2015. In all three of those seasons, King won the National Wrestling Coaches Association 32 | KING MAGAZINE

(NCWA) National Duals title and the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) national championship. Leading up to the culmination of the season, the trio of Ortega, Gould, and Sisenstein, along with assistant coach Julia Salata was selected to participate in the inaugural Captain’s Cup, and even that pitted the nation’s top wrestlers against each other in a dual meet format in February. “The Captain’s Cup was a really good opportunity for publicity and a tune-up before the national championships,” Ortega said. “It exposed a lot of areas for us to improve, but we also had a lot of fun doing it because it was a big production.” Ortega was looking a step farther than the national championships as she faced the competition she will be competing against at the Olympic Trials. “Getting more information on how they wrestle and how I need to improve definitely sets me up for success leading into that tournament,” Ortega finished. Gould enjoyed being part of the first Captain’s Cup as well, as she echoed Ortega’s comments about learning things to improve. “It exposed weaknesses, and it pointed out key parts of what I needed to work on to get ready for the national championships,” said Gould. “It was a good experience because we got to meet a lot of people and it was cool to be a part of the first one ever.” Sisenstein attended the Captain’s Cup but was unable to compete due to an injury, but she still enjoyed her time in Iowa City. “Just sitting there watching was crazy because these are the highest-level girls in the country,” stated

Cheyenne Sisenstein

Aleeah Gould

Sisenstein. “I was able to learn just by watching, not even competing. At first it was disappointing not being able to compete, but then I realized there is so much more to wrestling than just competing. One of the major things is visually learning and that was a big opportunity for that.” Off the mat, the program and student-athletes have been helping grow the sport of women’s wrestling. In January 2020, the NCAA membership voted to classify women’s wrestling as an Emerging Sport beginning in the fall of 2020, and studentathletes and administrators at NCAA institutions are actively involved in promoting the sport to increase the number of NCAA programs in the country. In January, Petix was selected to speak at the NCAA Convention to more than 300 NCAA administrators


about women’s wrestling becoming an NCAA Sport. “As a sport, we need to come together because our community is so small,” Petix said. “To see how many people are pulling for us to get these opportunities and to have more women involved in the sport was cool to see.” Currently, 30 institutions are competing in women’s wrestling at the NCAA varsity level. When that number reaches 40, women’s wrestling will be under consideration as an official NCAA championship sport. This year has helped the Tornado have perspective about the sport they love.  K

KING ALUMNA WINS BRONZE Sarah Hildebrandt, a King University alumna, represented the United States in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She competed in the 50-kilogram female freestyle weight class earning a bronze medal.

Congratulations Sarah! FALL 2021 | 33

A COHESIVE UNIT Like all athletic programs, the King Acrobatics & Tumbling team was experiencing a world that nobody could have predicted. A sport dependent on human contact and closeness was now resigned to social distancing and being broken up into smaller groups to train and practice. It was unorthodox and tedious, but the girls understood that it was going to be a different kind of year, there would be a learning curve, but all of the programs were experiencing the same barriers. The girls looked past the obstacles and focused on improvement with the goal to win the conference. They were short on athletes compared to their competitors. They knew they would have to be perfect in order to win while in competition. Last year the girls were undefeated before the season was cut short due to the pandemic. They picked up where they left off this season and had an undefeated season winning the conference championship. But for the girls that participate on the team, the experience isn’t just about competing and winning. They learn life lessons, are passionate about eliminating bullying, and building strong relationships with each other. They are able to do this by recognizing that everyone is different. “We get many compliments on and off the mat from parents and other teams,” Elizabeth White says. “When the pandemic hit, we didn’t stop practicing. We just were very careful. Being in the small groups and not being able to train as a whole unit was a kind of adversity.” The girls pride themselves on camaraderie. When the seniors first arrived, the infrastructure of the team was somewhat fractured. The girls were in small groups and the lack of unity was apparent when they performed. “We changed all of that,” Elizabeth said. “We changed the atmosphere of the team.” Despite the challenges the team faced, they thrived, and members of the program were 34 | KING MAGAZINE

recognized for individual accolades by The National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA). Tornado standout, Catherine Reynolds was selected NCATA All-America after a memorable season. Catherine is the third Tornado to earn individual NCATA All-America honors, joining Ashley Berlin in 2019 and Sonia Stone in 2016 and 2017. She was also selected the inaugural Conference Carolinas Athlete of the Year and first-team All-Conference


Carolinas. In the Championship title meet, Reynolds recorded the firstever perfect tumbling score in program history posting a 10.00 in the open pass. For the third consecutive year, a member of the team was named National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) All-Academic team. This season it was Caroline Versluis who maintained a GPA of 3.93 majoring in Finance and Economics.  K

After winning the conference championship to end the year 5-0, the team entered the regional playoffs winning their first match. They finished runner-up with a record of 6-1. It was an excellent year both on the mat and off. What the girls mentioned was the most important to them was the camaraderie that they had, the relationships that were formed, and how they developed as a unit.

FALL 2021 | 35



Athletic Accomplishments ALL-AMERICA AWARDS Women’s Wrestling - NCWW Jaclyn McNichols, Aleeah Gould, Sophia Mirabella, Meleanie Mendoza, Cheyenne Sisenstein, Makayla Welch, Phoenix Dubose, Allison Petix, Ana Luciano, Ashlynn Ortega, Tory Torres, Nia Crosdale, Tavi Heidelberg-Tillotson Men’s Wrestling - NCAA Christian Small Women’s Volleyball Conference Carolinas Champions Women’s Wrestling Tornado Women’s Wrestling finished second at the NCWWC National Championships overall in team points. Individually Cheyenne Sisenstein led the way with an incredible 4-0 performance for a first-place finish. Aleeah Gould, Ana Luciano, Ashlynn Ortega, and Tavi Heidelber-Tillotson would all take second-place finishes.

Acrobatics & Tumbling - NCATA Catherine Reynolds

REGION AWARDS Christian Small - National Wrestling Coaches Asst. Super Region II Rookie of the Year

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR Alexis Wynn - Acrobatics & Tumbling

Acrobatics & Tumbling The team finished 5-0 during the regular season



Jordan Keith (men’s cross country) Meg Davis (women’s cross country) Stephanie Dansie (women’s swimming, 400 IM) Dale Bruce (men’s swimming, 100 butterfly) Katy Neubert (women’s indoor track & field, 800m) Catherine Reynolds (acrobatics & tumbling) Jayden Nelson (acrobatics & tumbling) Lindsay Bowles (acrobatics & tumbling) Elizabeth White (acrobatics & tumbling) Alexis Wynn (acrobatics & tumbling) Joshua Kim (men’s volleyball) Noah Melendez (men’s volleyball) Julie Ward (women’s volleyball) Nikole Counts (softball) Rikkelle Miller (softball) Meg Davis (women’s outdoor track & field, 800m) Drew Moore (baseball)

Following the fall semester, Conference Carolinas has announced their Academic All-Conference Awards Presented by Barnes & Noble College. (# from each sport) 36 | KING MAGAZINE

King Tornado on Social Media

Baseball - 8 Men’s Basketball - 1 Men’s Cross Country - 2 Men’s Golf- 2 Men’s Soccer - 8 Men’s Swimming - 2 Men’s Tennis - 1 Men’s Track & Field - 4 Men’s Volleyball - 7 Acrobatics & Tumbling - 9 Women’s Basketball 5 Women’s Cross Country - 2 Women’s Golf - 3 King University Athletics

Women’s Softball - 5 Women’s Soccer - 9 Women’s Swimming 3 Women’s Tennis - 1 Women’s Track & Field - 4 Women’s Volleyball - 2





Katherine Paterson ’54, the two-time winner of the Newbery Medal for “Bridge to Terabithia,” and “Jacob Have I Loved,” and the author of more than 30 books, was inducted into the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association Hall of Fame. Born in Huai’an, Jiangsu, China, while her father was doing missionary work. It was during World War II that her family was forced to evacuate and return to the United States. They settled in North Carolina and have stated that her British accent and odd foreign-style clothing made her somewhat of an outcast. It was because of this she became an avid reader getting lost in the fantasy worlds she reads about. Katherine is known in her books for touching on difficult subjects that she feels are beneficial to her young readers. “Books give you practice doing difficult things in life. In a way, they prepare you for things that you are going to have to face or someone you know and care about is going through.” Katherine is very much in touch with the emotions and feelings of her readers and the reality that life is difficult. The books that she has always loved were those that opened her eyes and mind to the world around her and those are the types of books she wanted to write for her audience. “The books I loved the most are the books that make me experience the entire spectrum of life. They make me laugh and cry and worry. They frighten me. Everything that a person would normally experience in a lifetime is encapsulated between the covers of such a book.” Katherine has also always been an enthusiastic

ambassador for her alma mater. She has returned to campus repeatedly as a graduation speaker, honorary degree recipient, or reunion attendee. She has also voiced her indebtedness to the university for her development as a writer, praising in particular Pat Winship, longtime professor of English. Her strong Christian faith has always been a focal point of her life evident in her many experiences and roles as a servant to the Lord through her writing, missionary work, teaching, sharing the pastoral work of her late husband as well as being an advocate for children’s literacy and libraries around the world. She describes this best, “The challenge for those of us who care about our faith and about a hurting world is to tell stories which will carry the words of grace and hope in their bones and sinews and not wear them like a fancy dress.” She has called on generations of King alumni to serve God and others with similar care and passion. Katherine’s work can best be summed up by the Library of Congress, which at its bicentennial in 2000 pronounced her a “Living Legend.” Katherine has modeled the institution’s values in her life and vocation. Humble, generous, and gifted, she models the “thoughtful, resourceful, and responsible citizen” that King’s mission statement describes.

1990s Titus Ball ’95 was promoted to Vice President of Finance for Carlisle Fluid Technologies. With his public accounting, internal audit, and SEC reporting expertise, combined with a comprehensive understanding of the Carlisle business plan and goals with more than a decade with the company, he is perfect for the position. Titus began his accounting career at PricewaterhouseCoopers before moving over to Duke Energy Corporation. Upon arriving at Carlisle Companies in 2010, he has held multiple finance leadership roles including Director of Internal Audit, Manager of SEC Reporting, and Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer. Titus holds a B.A. in Economics and Business Administration from King.

We’d love to hear from you!

Send your updates to Jenna Christie at FALL 2021 | 37


Born to Serve, Destined to Achieve The Jason Mumpower Story Jason was born to serve. It was on September 22, 1973, in Bristol, Tennessee that Jason’s journey began. And it would be one for the ages. He was a man of the people, ever since he was young working at a Food City in Bristol bagging groceries and running the cash register. You deal with everybody, from all different walks of life. Jason affectionately refers to the grocery business as, “the clearinghouse of life.” You learn about people and the importance of building rapport and nurturing relationships with repeat customers. You never know what someone might be going through, or how they are feeling at that particular moment on that day, and Jason always understood that and approached them like a lost best friend. He understood at a young age the importance of creating a shared experience with his customers, finding that common ground regardless of race, gender, or creed, remaining unwaveringly positive. He explains that he wouldn’t give up his experience working at the grocery store for anything. This dedication to learning and providing the best possible service to his customers was a snippet into the mind and characteristics of an innate leader, a lifelong learner, and someone destined for greatness. Jason had always been an achiever. He joined the Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout. He attended Bristol Tennessee High School in 1991 and decided upon graduation that he was going to attend college at King. The summer before his first semester, he agreed to help promote the political race for Ron Ramsey’s run for state representative by handing out promotional cards. At the time, Jason didn’t know much about politics, but it opened his eyes to it. Later he was asked again to help hand out political promotion cards. He once again agreed and got to know Ramsey on a more personal basis. He also became involved in the Sullivan County Republican Party’s college Rotary Acts program and the Chamber of Commerce government relations program. His interest in politics soared, and within two years, he was Ron Ramsey’s reelection campaign manager. His duties were primarily organizing door-todoor campaigning, a big step for a college student, but Mumpower was a hard worker, quick learner, and able to make a difference. While at King he took a work38 | KING MAGAZINE

study position in the Office of Advancement assisting in raising money for the school. This experience was incalculable when he decided to run for political office a few years later. “King is a fundamental part of who I am and what I have achieved,” Jason said. His time at King was one of growth and development. The close-knit environment and friendly, welcoming atmosphere made it easy for him to assimilate. “Also, my family was integrated into the King Community. My mother worked in the Advancement Office while I was a student at King.” Jason graduated from King in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a minor in Political Science. He worked in the Office of Advancement for four years before taking a position at Corporate Image Inc., a marketing and public relations firm located in Bristol, while simultaneously working as a registered real estate appraiser. Less than a year after accepting the new position, in 1996, Congressman Jimmy Quillen, the 17term incumbent, retired. Mumpower was just 22-years old when he decided to run for the seat and won. The district, located at the Virginia and North Carolina borders, couldn’t have hoped for a better candidate. Jason worked his way up to Deputy Comptroller before being elected to the comptroller position by the Tennessee General Assembly. “I have a great tradition to uphold, I have learned from the best,” Mumpower said of his predecessor Justin Wilson who is retiring.

ALUMNI NEWS Mumpower manages the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury comprised of 12 divisions and over 560 employees. He also serves as liaison to the General Assembly speaking on behalf of the comptroller office on various commissions and boards. He is the recipient of a number of honors and awards during his long and distinguished career including the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Guardian of Small Business Award, as well as being named Legislator of the Year multiple times. He was also named Outstanding Young Man by the Kingsport Jaycees. In 2013 he graduated from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. He is very active in the communities of Northeast Tennessee and serves as a member of King’s Board of Trustees.  K

2010s Michelle Moffitt ’19 was recently promoted to the executive director for Regency Retirement Village. After 25 years at Asbury Place in Kingsport, where she worked tirelessly enhancing the lives of the elderly in senior living communities, she joined Regency Retirement Village in 2019. Her responsibilities now include overseeing independent living, assisted living, and memory care. “I welcome the opportunity to be at Regency Retirement Village as it leads the way in a retirement community that provides exceptional care to the senior community in Morristown and surrounding areas,” Moffitt said. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare administration from King University. She resides in Surgoinsville, Tennessee with her husband Bobby and son Nolan. Andy Wheeling ’19 was hired as the new principal at West Forest High School. A graduate of Maplewood High School, and a Veteran of the United States Air Force, he then earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Studies from Clarion University, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Gannon University, and his MBA from King University. He would take this knowledge and share it with the world teaching Social Studies while coaching basketball and softball for 7 years at Titusville High School. He also held the position of Assistant Principal for 3 years. After a decade at Titusville he moved to Penncrest School District where he served as Assistant Principal and Supervisor of Curriculum K-12, and then Director of Personnel. Two years later he accepted the Assistant Principal position at Virginia High School in Bristol, Virginia. Two years after that he went abroad and accepted a position with the Department of Defense and served as High School Principal on Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. Though in time he returned to the United States and became the Principal at Lucy Addison Middle School in Roanoke, Virginia. Andy is married to his wife Robin and the proud father of three children, a 4-year-old daughter, a son, Drew, who is currently a sophomore in high school, and daughter Kierstan a junior at Clarion University.

FALL 2021 | 39


ALUMNI AWARDS Distinguished Alumni Award

From the start, it was apparent that Todd Yelton ’91 had a talent for soccer. And it wouldn’t just be a childhood activity, it would become a successful career. Growing up in Piney Flats, Tennessee he had been a star player and enrolled at King on a soccer scholarship. After graduating he decided to take on the challenges and rewards of being a coach, a teacher, and a motivator, and with the support of his wife Shauna, a successful life was inevitable. After the couple relocated to Atlanta so Shauna could pursue graduate school, Todd took a job as a high school soccer coach and would hold the position for a decade. In the subsequent years, he would work his way up to head coach of


Samford University becoming the he was able to raise $200,000. winningest coach in the school’s The young adults who move into history. But despite all his success Shauna’s House are mentored, in soccer, there was another aspect instructed in the teachings of of his life that would outshine it all. Christ, and loved as all children Over the years Todd and Shauna need to be. And children thrive participated in multiple mission because of one woman’s devotion to trips. During one trip to Ukraine, service, incredible love for orphans Todd and Shauna spent time helping and vulnerable children, and her orphaned children and teaching the husband’s commitment to honor gospel. This work was something her incredible life and legacy. Lives that pulled on Shauna’s heartstrings. have been and continued to be Helping the orphans became a changed every day. One orphan says, passion, working with them to “I was helping with construction overcome the challenges that life through the process and I’m very had thrown their way and follow the glad that we’ve finished and I’m teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2012 moving into this beautiful place.” Shauna would face her own obstacle. Matt Yelton ’96 says of his brother, “I had returned home from a “I know that many King graduates recruiting trip and Shauna told me have gone on to have great careers, that she had been diagnosed with but I believe my brother has not cancer. For three years we fought it. only achieved great heights in his We did everything we could,” Todd professional career, but he has also, said. While she was in the hospital in the face of tragedy, made an Shauna had indicated to Todd that impact on eternity by showing the she wanted to become even more love of God to individuals who many involved with the Ukrainian orphans. have never heard about Jesus Christ Sadly, Shauna lost the battle with had it not been for Shauna’s House.” cancer in November of 2015. To When asked about receiving the honor her wish, Todd established Distinguished Alumni Award Todd Shauna’s House, an orphanage that says that “It’s a little bit difficult houses around 35 kids and cares for me to wrap my head around. I for them until they graduate. It then am deeply humbled by it. There helps place them in institutions of are more deserving people than higher education. “Kids that aren’t me. You know, all the good things helped, more than 80% turn to drugs, I’ve done in my life, are because of prostitution, experience neglect my wife.” Todd explained. “What and abuse and even suicide,” Todd I learned from all of this is that explains. To start the orphanage, relationships are so important.


Many of these relationships that I made at King helped me through the darkest days of my life. “Although Todd is a successful soccer coach and has impacted many players’ lives during his career, it is his love and dedication for Shauna and his work with Shauna’s House that will make a lasting impact on many lives,” says a friend, Trevor McMurray ’89.  K

He remembers being told that King was one of the four highest-rated schools academically in Tennessee. “I realized it was going to be a challenge, but I liked the people I met,” Tom said looking back on his visits to the campus. Tom entered into a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree program in Forestry. A year before arriving at King, Tom says, “I was awakened spiritually. I’d always gone to church, but at King people prayed out loud, they spoke biblically. I had never experienced that before. It positively affected me since I didn’t grow up around it.” “King was a very good fit for me at the time,” Tom remembers. And while at King Tom experienced a call to the ministry. “After I graduated, I attended Columbia Seminary in Atlanta,” he said. “And while I was there, I participated in a summer internship at a church camp and that is where I met my wife, Hope.” The camp provided the guests with spiritual growth as well as outdoor activities like hiking and camping, both of which he enjoyed doing. Tom received an offer to minister at three small churches. One of them was at Tom Sullivan ’70 was born in the edge of Glade Spring, Virginia. Athens, Georgia, and grew up in He would serve his community Chattanooga, Tennessee. He learned for forty-five and a half years about King from an older cousin who ministering as well as counseling attended the school and influenced high school kids, other individuals, him that it would be a good place for and couples, impacting many, him to go. She invited him to come many lives. “It was a little white up for Dogwood and stay with two church with a red roof,” Tom said. of her male friends in their dorm to Tom’s friend and classmate Jim get the college experience. When Jordan ’70 spoke fondly of Tom, “His he arrived on campus for the first service to proclaiming the gospel of time, he realized that the school Jesus Christ has been his life’s calling. was small, a tight-knit community His love for the Lord and others is where everyone seemed to know each evident to all who knew him.” King other. It had only about a third of the had prepared him for his life in the number of students in his high school. ministry. “King was the place where

Christian Service Award

I had to grow up,” Tom recalls. Upon receiving the Christian Service Award, Tom humbly says, “I can think of others who were more deserving.” But Tom’s dedication to the faith and spreading the word of the Lord to his community for decades represents the definition of the Christian service award. Former professor of music Pat Flannagan ’74 said, “Tom has spent all of his career ‘under the radar,’ while he cared for others: his congregants, his counseling clients, his friends, and especially his family. Tom is the embodiment of what we hope to find in all of our alumni.”  K

We are now accepting nominations for the

2022 Alumni Awards Award categories include: Young Alumni Achievement Award Legacy Award Volunteer of the Year Award Christian Service Award Distinguished Alumni Award

For more information about the awards and for a list of past recipients visit:

FALL 2021 | 41


ALUMNI AWARDS The Legacy Award

Will Hankins ’98 was born in rural central, Powhatan County, Virginia. He was still in high school when he was first introduced to King, a school that would become a large part of his life. It was during his junior year of high school that his sister enrolled at King. The family took trips often to visit her and attend popular events like Dogwood. “I loved it,” Will said of the campus. “Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I got to know the campus and some of her friends.” Will enrolled at King two years after first visiting the campus. He studied piano majoring in music and pursued a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. He sang in the choir and a few other smaller groups around


campus. He was also very active in the King theater and participated in every production they had during his time at King. He was most interested in the technical side of things in the theater, what went on behind the scenes. “The quality of the education was very high,” Will said. Today Will is the technical director at Emory and Henry College. “My years at King were very special. Those are critical years in a young adult’s life. The small-college setting was what I needed,” Will said. He felt like making connections and getting to know people was easier in the smaller environment. Upon learning of his receiving of the Legacy Award, Will says, “It is such a humbling experience to have others say, we want to recognize you, that my family and myself deserve to be recognized. I’m very grateful. King continued to play an important role in Will and his family’s life over the years. Each year beginning in 1997-98 his family would hold their reunion on the King campus. “Back then, we used to stay at the dorms, eat in the dining hall, and swim in the pool,” Will remembers. King was always so generous to its alumni and made everyone feel like they belonged. In the summer of 1996, his family planted a tree outside of the Fine Arts Building in memory of his grandfather who began having the reunions. The tree is no longer

there, but the memories will last forever. And for Will and his family, that is what it is about, creating those priceless and unforgettable moments that will live on.  K

Honorary Alumni Award

Dr. William Wade (Feature story honoring Dr. Wade can be found on pages 16-18) K


Young Alumni Award

Rachel Barker-Asto ’08 grew up in Bristol. As a young girl, she loved music. It was always important to her that everyone sing, even if you don’t think you can. While a senior in high school, she was invited to join the symphonic choir. Her dream was to pursue music in some form or fashion, but she knew how difficult a music career could be. In high school, she knew she wanted to attend King, but didn’t know right away if she would pursue her dream of music or find something more traditionally stable, like science. After enrolling at King, she initially studied physics and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t where her heart was. She couldn’t get music off her mind and often would visualize what life in the arts could look like. “I thought it was either make it or break it,” Rachel said. But she had to give it a shot. “My physics adviser was instrumental in that decision as well. ‘Go on and pursue the arts and study music,’” he said. He recognized that her love was music and the arts and supported this dream. Within the smaller,

close-knit community, the King professors get to know their students as individuals. It is part of what makes coming to King so special. Her adviser encouraged her and told her that everything would be okay. “I would have a lot of options open to me. I ended up studying performing and visual arts as my concentration and double-majored in French.” She even spent six weeks in France. Her first experience as a soloist with an orchestra was when she was still a student at King in a performance of the Symphony of the Mountains during King’s 150th-anniversary celebration. She also appeared in numerous theatre productions. Upon graduating from King, she earned her Master’s in Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College located in Princeton, New Jersey. “My physics classes came in handy learning about voice science.” Rachel would eventually relocate to New York to perform. She participated in multiple operas singing bel canto and coloratura roles including Queen of the Night, Adina, Pamina, Drusilla, Gilda, and Susannah. In 2018 she performed in the American premiere of the comic opera, “la Cifra,” by Salieri and not long after opened a studio where she has embraced teaching and sharing her knowledge and love of music with the community. She frequently hosts recitals, specializing in music of the 20th and 21st centuries and she has featured composers and musicians of the Tri-cities region, never forgetting where she came from. She has performed with the Paramount Chamber Players and performed

solo engagements including various oratorio work such as Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Brahm’s Ein Deutsches Requiem. The former professor of music, Pat Flannigan ’74, alludes to the entrepreneurial spirit as the co-founder of Princeton Opera Alliance, a group that seeks to foster collaboration in the greater Princeton community through the art of Opera. Most recently Rachel has become involved in the CommunityWord Project, an organization dedicated to fundamentally changing the lives of kids through art. She has dedicated herself to a life of service and spreading a love of the arts that she has acquired at King with the support and guidance of special people in her life, including Beth McCoy, Mark Owen Davis, and former King faculty member, Evelyn Thomas. “I discovered a love of music education. Teaching and opening my own studio. Contributing to the community. We have this perception that either you can sing, or you can’t. But you can learn. People need to sing to their kids,” Rachel says. “It is a great honor to have been nominated for the Young Alumni Award and it was wonderful that they thought I was deserving.”  K

FALL 2021 | 43


Inocencio (Ino) Martinez ’62 9/22/1935 — 1/13/2021 Inocencio was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. When he was in high school, his father enrolled him in the Tex Mex, now known as Presbyterian Pan-American School, a high school for boys from Mexico located in Kingsville, Texas. After graduating from high school, he learned about and enrolled at King. And it was at King where he met his wife of 59 years, Lucy Anne Roberts ’63, of Knoxville, Tennessee. Inocencio then attended the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Food Science and Food Technology. After graduation, he worked for the Heekin Can Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, and subsequently, worked for General Foods Corporation in Dover, Delaware, and multiple other companies. Over the years he became an expert in food packaging and machinery. He was instrumental in designing many innovative packages, one of them being a 32-ounce Gatorade bottle, for which he received an award in New York City. Sometimes when he was out at dinner, he would mention to the server that the squeeze cap on the ketchup bottle was his idea and one that earned him a patent from Coca-Cola. He was a member of the Episcopal Church and very faithful to the Lord and the Church. He was a Licensed Lay Reader for many years, taught Sunday school, and served on several vestries while participating as an Altar Guild member. An interesting man with unique hobbies, Inocencio was a stained-glass artist, making lamps and sun catchers for the whole family. Inocencio was the man that couldn’t miss, whether it was securing patents or creating his stained-glass art. His crowning achievement in stained

glass was crafting nine windows for St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Canton, Georgia, where he was a member for 23 years. While living in Canton, he volunteered for an after-school program that had been formed by an Episcopal deacon for underprivileged elementary school children called “Path to Shine.” He was proud of the work he did there. He was a loving man and devoted to his family. His grandchildren affectionately called him “Abu.” Ino was also an excellent storyteller and could spin a yarn keeping the attention of all who heard him. He was a lover of food and enjoyed creating recipes and sharing his dishes and the secrets to their preparation with his family. For the entirety of his life, he remained devoted to his ten brothers and sisters in Mexico and visited them whenever he could. When he moved to Savannah, he made it a priority to become ingratiated with the community and establish a social life. He was especially fond of the Grumpy Men’s Coffee group on Saturday mornings. He is survived by his wife and daughters and multiple grandchildren and many family members in Mexico.  K

In Remembrance

James “JB” Bennet Collins ’40 May 5, 2021

Maxine Lee Miller ’52 June 30, 2021

Carolyn Jo Bailey ’57 February 20, 2021

Billie Wright Elliot ’49 December 14, 2020

Norman Bane ’55 April 30, 2021

Geraldine Whitner ’57 February 17, 2021

Jean Adams ’50 January 26, 2021

Sylvia Lee (Gray) Edgar ’55 June 13, 2021

Bill English ’58 February 25, 2021

Roberta Louise Franklin Childress ’52 April 5, 2021

Eugene Haskins ’55 January 1, 2021

Cheul Weun Kang ’58 July 11, 2020



Dr. Elmer Perry Mobley ’63 3/16/1927 — 12/3/2020 Dr. Mobley was born in Bainbridge, Georgia. He married his childhood sweetheart, Jeane Duke, who lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The couple had six children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Perry is survived by his sister Mary Nell and predeceased by two sisters, Mrs. Claude Hughes (Valeria) and Mrs. Armond Ouimette (Bernice). He served in the Navy during World War II, after which he prepared himself for ordination in the Presbyterian Church by attending Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, Georgia; Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina; and Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He received his honorary doctorate from King where he later served on the Board of Trustees. Perry pastored six churches as Senior Pastor and under his leadership, the King’s Academy came into being through the inspiration of diligent mothers of home-schoolers and the support of the Elders of the church. The vision of dedicated, faithful servants has brought the Gospel and love of Jesus to the Hispanic community. This ministry which began in an open field is now housed in a new facility at Trinity Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Florence, South Carolina. In 1987, Dr. Mobley was elected Moderator of the General Assembly, the highest church court position of the EPC denomination. He would retire in 1992 and

continue this ministry work as an interim at Central Evangelical Presbyterian, St. Louis, Missouri, and several others. He would come full circle, returning to Trinity EPC in Florence serving as Director of Pastoral Care and Visitors before retiring and becoming Pastor Emeritus. In 2005, a golden cross was installed in honor of Dr. Mobley during the completion of the construction of the Trinity’s Church’s present sanctuary. He was recognized as a founding Pastor who “has served the people with authority, compassion, humor, and love. Whatever his role – Senior Pastor, Moderator of the EPC General Assembly, Interim Pastor at other churches, Pastoral Care Director, Pastor Emeritus – his life exemplifies that of a servant leader.” Dr. Mobley was an avid football fan, playing in high school and refereeing in the little league as well as officiating in Triple-A high schools. He also enjoyed tennis, golf, fishing, and hunting. His hobbies included tin-smithing, rug-hooking, and birding with Jeane.  K

In Remembrance

Jerry Allen Noe ’76 September 18, 2020

William M. Randolph Sr. ’58 March 27, 2021

Sue Ella O’Dell ’63 December 17, 2020

Melanie Hyatt Rodenbough ’77 June 30, 2021

Franklin “Conley” McCauley ’59 June 30, 2021

Charles Louis Priddy ’64 January 10, 2021

Nancy Helen Blankenship Hillsman ’81 June 11, 2021

John Kirkland ’61 August 11, 2020

Charles Eugene (Gene) Caldwell ’70 July 31, 2020

Jena Layne Rickard ’11 November 8, 2020

Beverly Jo Booher ’63 March 15, 2020

Diane Lynn Whittaker ’72 June 7, 2020

William Swatos Jr. November 9, 2020 FALL 2021 | 45

Why your support


“King was my first choice,” Haley Mullins said when it had been time for her to decide on a college. Two of her family members had graduated from King and she loved its beautiful campus and how welcoming everyone was when she visited. But like so many students in the Appalachian region, money was an issue. But King wanted Haley just as much as she wanted to be a student, and she was awarded the C. Bascom Slemp Scholarship. “I wouldn’t have been able to come to King without financial assistance,” she said. She is very grateful that donors are willing to give money to help students that they don’t know, supporting someone’s dream to succeed and make a difference in the world. Haley is working toward becoming an elementary school teacher, particularly in kindergarten and first grade. She said that research shows that kids who fall behind in kindergarten and first grade often are not able to catch up as easily with their peers and this can even affect them throughout all their years of learning. “I want to make a big impact on the lives of children,” Haley said. Along with devoting her life service and bettering her community, she dreams of traveling and being able to see the country and the world. She very much wants to visit Utah and the enchanting Zion National Park where native Americans and later pioneers tried to carve out a life amongst the massive amaranth pink, buttermilk yellow, and russet brown sandstone cliffs that rise like steeples on the horizon. She is curious and enthusiastic about the world and the people within it. Haley is a junior and plans to graduate early and matriculate straight into King’s graduate program in education. It is her work ethic, passion for learning, and dedication to helping others that are representative of what King stands for and the kind of person that King not only recruits but who seek out King to advance their lives and careers. But none of this can be achieved without the generosity of those that give to help these extraordinary students.

Haley Mullins ’23 To make a gift, mail to 1350 King College Rd., Bristol, TN 37620 or visit 46 | KING MAGAZINE


Lori Byington, associate professor of English & Director of the Speaking Center had a short story published last fall. “The Phantom Skier” is in the anthology These Haunted Hills: A Collection of Short Stories, Book 2 published by JanCarol Publishing. The book is available from JanCarol Publishing or Amazon. Kim Holloway Ph.D., Professor and English Composition Program Coordinator and Director of the Writing Center had her review of Sharyn McCrumb’s most recent novel, The Unquiet Grave, published in the Spring/Summer 2020 edition of Appalachian Journal: Crime and Punishment Special Edition. Erin Kingsley Ph.D., associate professor of English was recently promoted to Managing Editor for the international journal Feminist Modernist Studies (www. after serving as Guest Editor and writing the introduction for Issue 3.2: Ecological Feminisms in Summer 2020. Erin continues to serve on the board of the Feminist (inter)Modernist Association and the International Virginia Woolf Association. She is currently writing biographies of modernist writers Beatrice Hastings and Olive Moore for the Modernist Archives Publishing Project ( Laura Ong Ph.D., associate professor of Biology served as a science consultant for the January 26th episode of the popular YouTube series “Good Mythical Morning.” Dr. Ong and King University were both mentioned during the episode, which had nearly 900,000 views in its first week online. Dr. Ong provided background knowledge and scientific context for a game show-style episode focused on microbial growth on frequently touched surfaces.

How to Support Scholarships at King

Dr. Michelle Cash, DNP, MSN/ed, RNBSN program coordinator, received the Outstanding Alumni Award from Roane State Community College. Dr. Cash had always wanted to teach. Her hard work, devotion to service, and commitment to lifelong learning made her the perfect choice to be honored as the winner of Roane State’s prestigious Outstanding Alumni Award for 2019. Nominated by the coordinator of King University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Dr. Rhonda Morgan, Cash joins a distinguished group of Roane State alumni recognized each year for their accomplishments and their leadership. Dean of Roane State’s Health Services Division, Dr. Patricia Jenkins, worked with Cash at Roane State and says of her, “She is absolutely a delight.” After Roane State Cash earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing from Kaplan University’s online program and her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from King University. Erin Kingsley Ph.D., associate professor of English and Kelly Vaughan Ph.D., associate professor of Biology have students who have been selected as 2021 Ledford Scholars by the Appalachian College Association. The Ledford Scholarship, named for Colonel B. Ledford, offers financial assistance for summer research projects to undergraduate students enrolled at ACA member institutions. Undergraduate students from all disciplines, applying various methodologies, are eligible. Students working under Dr. Vaughan are Caroline Hawkins, Sydney Bailey, and Rebekah Thomas. The student working with Dr. Kingsley is Stacey Horton.

1. Annul Fund for Scholarships and Programs: Gifts of any size to this fund

3. Named Endowed Scholarships: Donors

provide more than $1 Million in scholarship support annually to students. 2. Named Annual Scholarships: Donors who commit to a gift of $100 a month may establish a scholarship named for the donor, a loved one, favorite professor, or friend.

who make a gift of $25,000 funded in 5 years or less ($5,000 per year) may establish a permanent scholarship fund where approximately $1,000 to $1,250 in scholarships are awarded annually to students. This scholarship may also be named for the donor, a loved one, favorite professor, or friend.

Named scholarship donors receive an acknowledgement annually from the student recipient of the scholarship.

13 5 0 K i ng C ol l ege Road B r is t ol , Tennes s ee 376 2 0 kin g.e du/ al umni

You are Invited October 16, 2021 For more info, contact Jenna Christie at 423.652.6399 or