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Lees-McRae College Magazine | 2015

INSIDE >> The Business of Bikes p. 09 | Passion for Nature p. 13 | Expanding the Boundaries p. 16 1 | The Pinnacles | Spring/Summer 2013

The Alumni Magazine of Lees-McRae College

Editor and Designer Lauren Foster

Contributing Writers Dr. Kelly Collins, Megan Hall ’10, Ginger Hansen, Karen Gobble Meade ’86, Hayden Moses ’16, Jillian Rosato, Michelle Vance Scott ’86/’90, Brent Thomas ’85

Contributing Photographers Todd Bush, Jason Els ’15, Dr. Michael Joslin, Mandy Loorham, Makoto Miyazaki, Jim Morton, Hannah Trimble

Cover Photo by Sara Harkey

President Dr. Barry M. Buxton ’11H


Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Dr. Harvey Lowd, Chair Mr. W. McNair Tornow, Vice Chair Mr. Tommy Brigham ’72 Mr. Les Broussard ’90 Dr. Edward E. Hood, Jr. Mr. Cary Green ’92 Mrs. Barbara Miller Whitton Mr. Parker Grubbs ’95 Capt. Ken Sullivan ’59 Mr. Chuck Raymond



Alumni Board Executive Committee Karen Gobble Meade ’86, President Deena Powell Chambers ’75, President-Elect Julia M. McCombs ’75, Vice President Susan Jaeger ’13, Secretary Jillian Rosato, Director of Alumni and Community Relations

Office of Advancement Brent Thomas ’85, Vice President of Advancement Jillian Rosato, Director of Alumni and Community Relations Frankie Needham ’55H, Director of Advancement Services Michelle V. Scott ’86/’90, Director of Development

About the Publication The Pinnacles is published for alumni and friends of the College by the Office of Communications. Please send all communications, including questions, class notes and letters to the editor, to: The Pinnacles Lees-McRae College PO Box 128 Banner Elk, NC 28604 or

Features 09 The Business of Bikes 13 Passion for Nature 16 Expanding the Boundaries

Departments 04 07 20 27

Lees-McRae Elevated Bobcat Athletics Elevated Alumni Elevated Generations Elevated

Reflections from the Rock House Amazing Things Are Happening at Lees-McRae On October 2, 2010, I enjoyed the privilege of being installed as the 15th president of Lees-McRae College. My inauguration address was entitled “A Time of Gratitude, Challenge and Opportunity.” I emphasized then what I feel even more strongly about today— “Lees-McRae has been blessed and we are grateful.” As is typical of such moments, the occasion represented an opportunity to take stock of where the College has been, where we should be headed and the challenges that lay before us. When I look back over my five years as president, there is much to celebrate and many to thank for our progress. Brilliant ideas are moving forward because our faculty, staff, alumni, students, trustees and community partners believe in our mission and our shared vision for the future. I believe the foundation of a healthy private college lies in a sound business model. The business model we have in place focuses on being a tuition-driven institution, where basic operating expenses are covered through tuition, fees and auxiliary services. Philanthropy enables Lees-McRae to start new programs, maintain infrastructure and build new buildings. Since 2010 we have reduced our debt by 35 percent while completing five consecutive years with a balanced operating budget. During this time, our assets-to-liabilities ratio of 2.5 to 1 has improved to 4.7 to 1. Forbes magazine rated the financial well-being of Lees-McRae ahead of many of our sister colleges and universities in the southeast. Our number one priority has been to elevate the student experience at Lees-McRae. We have invested more than $10 million in campus infrastructure improvements. This includes everything from renovated residence halls to new sidewalks and a new transportation fleet. Through generous donations, we have built a new home for the wildlife rehabilitation program, restored and adapted a historic building for career exploration, built a critically needed facility for performing arts set design, and added more than 18,000 square feet in the new, state-of-the-art May School of Nursing and Health Sciences. We have strengthened our outstanding faculty by recruiting new scholars, including the College’s first veterinarian. New academic programs have been added, while extended campus and online learning programs are growing at a record pace. We are proud that test scores for entering students have risen and the Honors Program has record enrollment. Our studentathletes were honored with the Allan Sharp Award and the NCAA Division II President’s Award for Academic Excellence. With families and government increasingly concerned about the rising cost of college, we believe Lees-McRae is a real value. We have frozen tuition and decreased the debt of our graduating seniors. Placement rates for graduates in their field of study are more than 80 percent and our students are being accepted into some of the most prestigious graduate programs in America. People are beginning to notice our success. Lees-McRae has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Charlotte Business Journal, Private University Products and News Magazine and UNC-TV’s North Carolina Now. Whether you are faculty, staff, trustee, alumnus, student, parent, donor or another stakeholder, I think you’ll agree, amazing things are happening at Lees-McRae College. Indeed, we are grateful and we are blessed! But more remains to be done, and I remind all those who care deeply about Lees-McRae College that we must keep our “nose to the grindstone”, our sleeves rolled up and our attention focused on the future. Upward and onward!

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Lees-McRae Elevated

Trustee Profile Harvey Lowd, Chairman of the Board

Harvey Lowd may be the chairman of the Lees-McRae Board of Trustees, but he is also a businessman with more than 40 years of experience. After earning his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Tufts University and his MBA from University of Connecticut, Lowd spent the bulk of his career as President and CEO of Kao Specialties Americas, a local privately owned chemical supplier he helped transform into a global supplier of specialty chemicals. “Experience can be a wonderful teacher,” said Lowd. “I worked for three large Fortune 500 corporations during my career and I was fortunate to be exposed to a number of mentors along the way. I wanted to be a unique patchwork of these mentors without becoming a clone or mimic of anyone of them.” His business philosophy – “work hard, drive toward a clear vision and maintain ethical standards” – has served him well over the years and helped him achieve very important professional milestones. For the last eight years, Lowd has operated HLL Consulting, which provides mentoring to senior business executives in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina. He hopes to challenge these leaders to grow and succeed with their own businesses in the state. “Do not try to be something or someone that you are not! Know what motivates you,” said Lowd, “then create a 2-4 year vision for yourself and find an environment that will support your vision. Go! Go! Go!” Lowd and his wife, Jan, live in High Point, North Carolina and are extremely proud of their two children, Andrew, a 2008 graduate of Lees-McRae, and Kristin, a 2008 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. His hobbies include sailing and wood working.

New Leadership | Board of Trustees

Cathy Fields

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Sandra Moss

Elizabeth Roberts

Rep. Mitchell Setzer ’85

Ronald Soldo

May School of Nursing and Health Sciences accepts inaugural nursing class Commencement 2015 Lees-McRae College conferred degrees upon 214 graduates during commencement exercises held Saturday, May 9. The 2015 ceremony marked the first time commencement has been held on Tate Lawn in the history of the College.

In April 2015, the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences began screening applicants for the inaugural class of nursing students, slated to begin fall of 2015. The rigorous application and selection process for entry into the program included review of the applicant’s academic standing, letter of intent, letters of recommendation and panel interview participation. A total of twenty-four students were selected for this historic inaugural class. “The curriculum and the experiences our students will have at Lees-McRae will far exceed the state and national standards. It is an honor to have such highly qualified students apply to this program and I am confident that they will all represent Lees-McRae College with professional and academic integrity,� stated Dr. Laura Fero, dean of nursing and health sciences at Lees-McRae College.

Elevating the Lees-McRae Experience

Campus Infrastructure Enhancements and Renovations With gracious support from alumni and friends, the Historic Commons, spanning from the Bell Tower to Tennessee Residence Hall, has been given new life with 30,000 brick pavers, custom wood doors, enhanced lighting, natural landscaping and restorative stonework on the entrance to North Carolina Building.

Nursing students are accepted to begin the program in the fall of their junior year and will complete 59 credits and more than 1,100 clinical hours in their final two years at Lees-McRae.

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Haigler Athletic Center Lees-McRae is pleased to announce plans to enhance Bobcat athletic facilities by adding three new venues to the existing athletic complex by fall 2015, including a media room, indoor training facility and the Haigler Athletic Center (HAC). The HAC, a 3,200 square foot facility, will provide 80 additional lockers and dressing rooms for women’s softball and men’s and women’s lacrosse, in addition to a captain’s meeting room, study lounge and outdoor covered picnic area. Follow Lees-McRae Athletics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to catch up on recent renovations in athletics.

Conceptual Renderings (top to bottom): study lounge, team locker room, captain’s meeting room

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Bobcat Athletics Elevated

Bobcat Pride Bobcat, Bobcat, Bobcat... Oy! Oy! Oy! With 19 teams and more than 300 Bobcat athletes, Bobcat Pride is always in full-swing on campus. This year, there is much to be proud of. The Lees-McRae cycling team finished their season by placing sixth overall in USA Cycling National Division I team rankings. Freshman Phil Kmetz won two national titles at the Mountain Bike National Championships. Emily Shields claimed the national title in the women’s Division I cyclocross. Men’s volleyball player, Brady Markle, won Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, the first men’s volleyball player to earn the honor. Markle was also the first Bobcat to garner the recognition of American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American Honorable Mention. In addition, the women’s team celebrated a successful season with 19 wins—up from only two wins in 2013.

James Smith, a captain of the men’s soccer team, earned a spot on the Capital One Academic All-America FirstTeam. Both men’s and women’s soccer teams earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award. Lees-McRae was one of 206 schools to have both teams recognized while being the only Conference Carolina representative. Most importantly, Bobcat athletes not only performed well in their respective sports, they earned top spots in the classroom. An impressive 125 student-athletes were named to the Fall 2014 Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll for their achievement of a GPA of 3.2 or higher. Men’s basketball won the hearts of many fans and set a school record for 15 wins this season, sparked by a fivegame winning streak where the Bobcats averaged 99 points per contest.

Together, We Win! Show your Bobcat Pride by joining the Bobcat Club! Learn more at >>

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What does Bobcat Pride mean to you? Check out what fellow Bobcats describe as their true meaning of Bobcat Pride >>

A Win to Remember: Men’s Basketball Breaks School Record On February 10, in front of a capacity crowd, the men’s basketball team claimed their 14th win of the season, the most wins in a season since Lees-McRae College became a four-year institution in 1990. The Bobcats were only three years removed from a 3-23 season and only won seven games last year. What’s the difference between then and now? A coaching staff who wouldn’t sleep until they brought a product to this campus community worthy of filling “The Den”. A student section who would go home hoarse after home games from cheering so loudly. An administration who understood the power of a quality intercollegiate athletics program and an alumni and friends donor base that believed they were making a difference. Dunk Mountain became not just a catchphrase this season, but a fraternity of believers in the fact that we can have a quality basketball program at Lees-McRae. View more of the celebration and post-game interviews at >>

As if only yesterday, I remember action shots of Coach Haithcock yelling out onto the basketball court to a star player like #33 Elijah Shaw; Coach Hostetter, the “Sultan of Slow Down,” leading men’s basketball to the 1986 WCJCC Championship; players like #30 Peltre Williams and #22 Barry Mayo; pictures of the bleachers in Williams Gym or Tate Field filled to maximum capacity; and cars parked alongside Hickory Nut Gap Road from the Mill Pond to Grandfather Home and back. In my mind, I can see Coach “Soupy” Campbell on the sidelines of Tate Field with #38 Andre Powell scoring touchdowns or #66 John Coker sacking a quarterback on the field; tennis greats like Murat Erden and Nikki Baker Crain; ski team stand-outs like Donovan Carroll and the Moretz twins, Veronica and Monica; and watching #40 Monica Shomaker Hicks, #23 Pam Greene and #42 Angie Henderson rule women’s basketball. It’s memories like cheering the football team to national championships and the basketball teams to victory that define Bobcat Pride for me. Nowadays when I am sitting on Bobcat Bank at Tate Field, I’m joining in the passion of our current students and our collegiate teams – Oy! Oy! The true meaning of Bobcat Pride is being present to support our student-athletes, our teams, our coaches, our Lees-McRae. -Michelle Scott ’86/’90, Director of Development

Bobcat Pride is the incredible responsibility to be a difference maker in a young person’s life. It’s fulfulling knowing the impact can last long after they leave Banner Elk. -Craig McPhail, Vice President of Athletics and Club Sports The definition of Bobcat Pride is the constant support of fellow Bobcats. Since we are a small school, we count on each other to have such a high standing in Lees-McRae’s various pursuits. Our school counts on intra-program communication and collaboration. We all count on each other at Lees-McRae so we can have the best experience possible. -Rachael Nobbs ’15, Women’s Soccer

Bobcat Pride encompasses so much. Simply put, it is being proud to be a Bobcat. What it really means to me is knowing where I came from, where I am now and how Lees-McRae College helped me get here. It includes having pride in Lees-McRae regardless of the changes that it goes through. I give back in whatever way I can to the College that gave me so much because I am proud to be a Bobcat! -Justin Bulla ’08

Bobcat Pride is something larger than school spirit. It is the obligation to give back to the place and people that have given more than can ever be repaid. The connections and

memories that started my freshman year will last until the day I die. I call my teammates my brothers and I mean that in the most profoundly sincere and legitimate sense of the word. The connections also include members of other teams, students and faculty members. Bobcat pride is something larger than school spirit. -Alex Poole ’15, Men’s Lacrosse It is an honor to be an alumna of a unique place like Lees-McRae! I am grateful to my alma mater for contributing to my success and I cherish my memories there by creating new ones. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing fellow Bobcats come together on campus. Bobcat Pride is about honoring the legend and continuing the fellowship forever! -Martha McAfee ’86/’03 To me, Bobcat Pride is something that one can only experience by playing, competing or supporting on the Lees-McRae stage. As soon as I arrived in Banner Elk, I knew I had come to a very special, unique and proud place. I was eager to win games for the community. It was an absolute privilege to have the captain’s armband on one sleeve and the Bobcat paw on the other. The feeling of pride I received from playing soccer is something I will cherish forever. Once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat. -James Smith ’15, Men’s Soccer

Photo by Todd Bush (

The Business of Bikes The Importance of Career Preparation By Dr. Kelly Collins

Due to an increasingly competitive job market, Lees-McRae College and the new Robb Center for Career Exploration are providing students with quality professional experiences and hands-on career preparation. TJ Trotter, a graduate of the class of 2015, benefited tremendously from his time at Lees-McRae and the professional experiences he gained. Earning a degree in business administration and one of the College’s first minors in cycling studies, TJ secured an internship as the Ride School Director at Beech Mountain Resort working under the tutelage of Lees-McRae graduate Talia Freeman ’06, director of marketing. This prestigious position was a new addition to Beech Mountain as they sought to expand

their mountain biking services. As the Ride School Director, Trotter played an integral role in marketing and managing the newly developed Beech Mountain Ride School, which debuted under his supervision in the summer of 2014. Throughout his internship, TJ’s responsibilities included creating and managing budgets; implementing a training curriculum; organizing special events such as races, clinics and camps; developing strategic partnerships in the local

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to network with important individuals in the cycling industry as well as congressmen and women interested in creating bicycle-specific legislature. Trotter exemplifies how a focused, driven student can take advantage of their surroundings and resources to aid in creating their own career opportunities and advancements. With the new Robb Center for Career Exploration, which officially opened this past fall, Lees-McRae aims to advise and prepare students in all fields of study to take charge of their career paths as effectively as Trotter. After approaching ten cycling industry companies in the United States, interviewing with five of them and receiving two job offers, Trotter secured a job with Rotor Bike Components in Ogden, Utah, as the company’s first U.S. hire. This Spanish company offers advanced engineered solutions and components for cyclists.

TJ Trotter pictured at Beech Mountain Resort Photo by Mandy Loorham (Random Start Photography)

community and managing eight mountain biking instructors. “I think flexibility, confidence and time management are the keys to a successful internship,” said Trotter. “Time management is one of the best things I learned while attending Lees-McRae.” Not only was Trotter actively involved with the daily operation of the Ride School during the season, he was central to the development and implementation of the options and pricing for lessons of different levels and experiences. Trotter also obtained his Level One Mountain Bike Instructor certification. TJ’s biggest accomplishment as Ride School Director came in the form of the Youth Ride Program, a one day mountain biking camp for 15 kids ranging from 8 to 14 years old that Trotter organized, marketed, implemented and instructed. TJ transferred from nearby Warren Wilson College after learning of Lees-McRae’s cycling team and has taken full advantage of the opportunities offered by Lees-McRae and the surrounding community to prepare him for his future. As a member of the Lees-McRae cycling team, Trotter had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Bike Summit, a national conference sponsored by People for Bikes, an organization that brings together bicycle advocates and promotes bicycle awareness. As the only college participants at the National Bike Summit, the LeesMcRae cyclists, including Trotter, had a unique opportunity

10 | The Pinnacles

To help his fellow students, Trotter suggests, “Reach out into the community and make Lees-McRae your own… You have some time here, so do something with it… There are a lot of great people here… Become part of the community and not just part of the school.” Working with the faculty and staff, the Robb Center helps students take full advantage of Trotter’s advice. This past year, the Robb Center hosted career seminars with different experts in the local and surrounding areas, took advantage of local career and graduate school fairs and brought in recruiters from a variety of fields. The College subscribes to the TJ Trotter philosophy, believing that you can never start too early or take advantage of too many opportunities. The Robb Center works closely with students in the sophomore seminar course, which focuses on career preparation. As part of the class, students do research on values and ethics that are important to them in the work place, what type of impact they want to have on society, and ultimately, what types of careers fit their individual goals. One of the most important exercises in the class is the development of a resume and cover letter. Using these materials, the course culminates in a mock interview where students obtain direct feedback from a panel of interviewers representing different professional fields. This ensures that students can more appropriately anticipate what it will be like to interview for internships and jobs in the coming years, and that they are properly prepared with an appropriate resume and cover letter. Through these collective opportunities, the Robb Center is devoted to helping individual students take full advantage of all that Lees-McRae and the surrounding community has

to offer. Being proactive and self-motivated are essential qualities for success and the Robb Center aims to ensure that students have plenty of opportunities to practice these skills. Trotter’s collegiate tenure serves as a great example of how to effectively use your resources and use a stealthy combination of strategy and determination to make your dreams come true. Trotter’s dynamic experience in the bike industry, devotion to academics, open-mind and proactive attitude will, no doubt, lead to a very bright future in the cycling industry.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, The Robb Center for Career Exploration hosted a number of notable guest speakers and networking opportunities. Each of these individuals shared stories of how they started their careers and offered advice for how Lees-McRae students can make the most of the resources available to them.


Wine to Water (media coordinator)


Grandfather Mountain (executive director)


Edward Via College of Ostepathic Medicine (recruiter)


Duke Marine Lab (academic program coordinator)


Sugar Mountain (president and director of marketing)


Edward Jones (financial advisor and recruiter)


Peace Corps (recruiter)


Children’s Hope Alliance (managing director)


Grant Thorton, LLP Auditing Firm (senior associate)



By The Numbers

88% post-graduation placement rate acceptance in graduate school or major-specific careers within six months of graduation

54.3 million

retail dollars spent in the region as

a result of the College’s presence

Reduced debt

35% since FY 2010

(approximately $5 million)

$3.5 million in Capital Improvements completed since 2010

ETSU (professor of microbiology)

Building on legacies such as Trotter’s, the Robb Center will continue to offer meetings with recruiters and guest speakers to ensure students have ample opportunity to discover all the career opportunities awaiting them after graduation.

marks the highest

spring enrollment in College history

A Journey of Endless Opportunities As a result of excellent career preparation and an 88% placement rate, the new graduates of the class of 2015 are embarking on a journey of endless opportunities. Follow their journeys below and read more graduate success stories at Carter Luck, a graduate of the biology program with a concentration in pre-professional science, received a prestigious research fellowship to study cardiac physiology at Penn State in Hershey, PA. The grant is with the American Physiological Society (APS) and it is a ten-week study on patients with peripheral arterial disease. Carter plans to present his study at the APS Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, CA in the spring of 2016. Sydnie Taylor, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts and design with a concentration in creative marketing. She secured a new position as food and beverage marketing

administrator at Linville Ridge Country Club in Banner Elk, NC. After working in the restaurant at Linville Ridge during her time at Lees-McRae, Sydnie saw an opportunity to revamp the menus of their dining venues. After presenting her menu ideas to a team of core staff and serving for three months on a contract basis, Sydnie was offered a full-time position with the company. Jamison Carrigan, an honors student, earned a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in both psychology and religious studies. Carrigan was awarded a fellowship to begin doctoral studies at the University of Texas at Austin College of Education this fall, where he will pursue a degree in educational psychology.


to the Robb Center for Career Exploration The Robb Center for Career Exploration encourages each student to explore a variety of career avenues to determine which post-graduate occupation will provide a meaningful, fulfilling life. With access to the Robb Center, students can explore the array of careers that are available and also obtain career guidance and planning resources to help students attain their professional aspirations.

Help Lees-McRae College students succeed in their careers! The Robb Center hosts several events throughout the year that provide students an opportunity to learn about different careers, practice important networking skills and acquire important business etiquette skills. You can volunteer in any of the following ways:

• Mentor a Lees-McRae student • Participate in Lees-McRae’s annual Career Symposium or host a table at the Career Services Formal Dinner

• Host a career seminar on campus or in your area • Notify Career Services of internship or job opportunities available at your company or organization

To learn more about Career Services at Lees-McRae and how you can volunteer, visit >>

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Photo by Jim Morton

Passion for Nature By Megan Hall ’10

Taking the Scenic Route Through Life

A dream career for most students comes with a pre-existing title – doctor, graphic designer, chief executive officer, historian, professor, and the list goes on and on. However, every once in a while a student will come along who strives for more, even if they don’t initially realize it. Jesse Pope ’02 is one of those students. Pope, who is the newly appointed Executive Director of Grandfather Mountain, did not set out to achieve this position. As all students do, he merely started with a passion. Those who have met Pope know that he is overflowing with passion tempered by quiet determination, fierce loyalty, a kind spirit and a keen eye. Instead of rushing through his career in pursuit of a catchy, pre-determined job title, he took the scenic route and allowed his passion to develop and, alongside it, an opportunity to create a position tailored to his goals. Having grown up on a 40-acre farm in rural Virginia, Pope always had a love of the outdoors. Though it’s hard to picture now, as a child he couldn’t wait to get off the farm and try something new. “I was a three-sport athlete in high school,” said Pope, “and my plan was to teach and coach, so I began studying science education at Lees-McRae. My freshman year I took a field biology course with Dr. Stewart Skeate and changed my path to wildlife biology. The course was amazing, especially seeing that you could get paid to implement science in the outdoors. I knew it was perfect for me. So if anybody gets credit for the path that I’ve been down, it’s Dr. Skeate.”

During his time at Lees-McRae, Pope not only gained direction for his future career but also met his wife and fellow classmate, Michelle. After graduation, in the summer of 2002, Pope started his career at Grandfather Mountain working with several of his Lees-McRae classmates as backcountry rangers responsible for maintaining and patrolling hiking trails on the mountain. As luck, or perhaps fate, would have it, an animal keeper position became available at the end of the summer and Pope was chosen. Over the course of the next two years, Pope began to notice that more and more teachers were inquiring about educational programming, but at that time there was not an area of Grandfather dedicated to developing and marketing programs of this nature. Zookeepers were presenting, but since their skills focused more on animal care, they often lacked the training necessary to make the experience engaging and memorable for the visiting students. Pope began having discussions with teachers about their aspirations for educational programming at Grandfather Mountain. Through his contacts, more than 100 teachers agreed that they would bring their classes to the mountain if dedicated programming were available. “I also began to realize that we needed a better plan for resource management,” said Pope. “We did not have staff focused on keeping track of species, endangered species, or managing resources. There were people who were dabbling in those tasks, but it was no one’s dedicated job.” In 2004, Pope developed a proposal, which was approved by the senior leadership, for a naturalist program at Grandfather. “In my career, I am most proud of the naturalist program,” said Pope. “In just a few years, we went from 2,000 visiting students to 17,000, which is a huge amount considering we are only able to offer programming for about four months out of the year because of the unpredictable weather on the mountain.”

Jesse conducts a crayfish workshop during Naturalist Weekend on the Watauga River. Photo courtesy of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

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In 2009, after several years at the helm of this wildly successful educational program, Pope was promoted to Director of Education and Natural Resources. Through this position, Pope had oversight over two distinct areas: naturalists, which now offered formal programs, and interpretation, which was an informal program that transitioned former backcountry rangers into trail educators prepared to assist patrons.

Friends of Become a Friend of Wildlife and show your support for the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Lees-McRae College. Charitable donations are put to work immediately for the treatment and care of injured wildlife. In addition, your support helps to educate and train students who are committed to being stewards of the natural environment. Did you know? Students rehabilitate more than 1,400 animals annually at the Center. For more information, contact Jillian Rosato, director of alumni and community relations, at or 828.898.2534.

For Pope, the rise from backcountry ranger to Director of Education and Natural Resources was the actualization of a dream he didn’t even know he had just a few years earlier. However, his progression was far from over. With the support of Grandfather Mountain, Pope began pursing a master’s degree in environmental biology from Montreat College. Through this program he earned the opportunity to visit Alaska and, as part of a National Science Foundation grant, also visit Peru to study climate change with students from Appalachian State University and collaborate with professors from Colorado State and University of Maine. With climate change in the forefront of his studies and impacting his everyday work life at Grandfather, Pope developed a statewide climate change workshop for teachers, part of which is taught on Grandfather Mountain by Pope, himself. “The program is designed to help teachers overcome the barriers of teaching climate science in the classroom,” said Pope. “The end goal is to change attitudes toward climate change by educating people about the science behind Earth’s climate.” Then came perhaps the two biggest changes in his career. In early 2015, Pope was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Grandfather Mountain, which came with several significant changes including more administrative and operational responsibilities, but also included several perks

such as working in the former office (and at the former desk) of Grandfather Mountain founder Hugh Morton. “It’s hard to imagine how many important decisions have been made at this very desk,” said Pope. “It has been a crazy journey, that’s for sure, and I’m excited for this next phase of my career. My new position is requiring me to learn more about the administrative side of things, which I also love, but I will always be a naturalist — it’s the core of who I am. The passion our Board of Directors and staff have for the future of Grandfather Mountain is so infectious. We’re going to protect and serve this mountain for a long time to come.” Little did Pope know that the next phase of his career would come sooner than anticipated. In May 2015, at the heels of his promotion to Assistant Vice President, Pope was chosen from a pool of 63 applicants to become Executive Director of Grandfather Mountain. In this position, he will be responsible for the entirety of the mountain including staff, programming and the strategic plan. Pope’s progression from Lees-McRae student to Executive Director was not a planned journey. Instead, Pope applied his passion for nature and wildlife in areas where it was desperately needed. He is proof that determination, an open mind and a little bit of well-placed gumption can take your life in directions you never knew existed. Pope currently resides in Newland with his wife, Michelle, and their three children.

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Expanding the

Boundaries A journey of education and global inspiration


By Hayden Moses ’16

Hannah Trimble ’11 is a rare breed. Those that have been witness to her infectious personality sense her perfect balance of humor, grit, ambition, candor, humility and positivity, with a dash of sweetness for good measure. She isn’t afraid to question the world around her, appreciate even the smallest details in her life and allow each day to be an adventure. As a graduate student living in Tokyo, she’s enjoying her greatest adventure yet and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “Living here has been one big lesson in design,” said Hannah, flashing her signature playful smile. “Japan overall seems much more sophisticated than the United States. Everything is designed more intentionally for people.” A graduate student in the Industrial Design program at the prestigious Pratt Institute in New York City, Hannah was one of only twelve students to be chosen for Global Innovation Design (GID), a collaborative new program between Pratt, Keio University in Tokyo and the Royal College of Art and the Imperial College in London. Each semester, the representatives from each institution rotate to a new campus while tackling global issues. With her time in Tokyo drawing to a close, Hannah is looking forward to the next chapter of GID in London. “[Studying abroad] is really hard,” said Hannah. “You get really homesick, but you grow as a person, and you find things out about yourself that you didn’t know. If you’re thinking about [studying abroad], do it. Travel with purpose.” While at each location, the students spend their time taking major-specific classes, but also focusing on the creation of a broader project that will, hopefully, impact the global market. During monthly updates, the students connect from around the world to discuss their progress and offer support to each other.

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The Hitachi Gardens in Japan boasts beautiful fields of kochia shrubs, which are a seasonal flower. (Photo by Hannah Trimble)

Hannah said, “I didn’t apply to [graduate] school because I wanted a degree, which sounds kind of counterintuitive; I was applying to school because I wanted time, I wanted a space to create and I wanted to figure out where I wanted to put my energy.” Strong intuition has always been a staple in Hannah’s wheelhouse. “The way I applied [to Pratt] is the same way I applied to Lees-McRae. [I knew] this was the only school I would apply to, this was the only school I wanted to go to; and if I didn’t get in, then I wasn’t going to school.” Hannah began her career at LeesMcRae in the wildlife biology program and though she later found her home in the communication arts program she continues to allow her wildlife background to inform how she approaches design, including a strong focus on biomimicry. “Lees-McRae was such a huge part of my life and what defined me,” said Hannah. “It taught me that everything has value.”

“It wasn’t that I knew exactly what to do,” said Hannah. “It was more like a series of events that led me to where I am.” While living on Sugar Mountain, Hannah’s brother made an interesting proposition. He was organizing the Red Hook Crit in Brooklyn, one of the biggest cycling races in the country, and he needed help. Hannah made the decision to move to New York City and work on the race. With typical 20-hour workdays, the demanding pace turned out to be a perfect precursor to her extremely demanding graduate program at Pratt.

I was applying to school because I wanted time, I wanted a space to create and I wanted to figure out where I wanted to put my energy.

Hannah’s move from undergraduate student to international traveler was not a seamless transition. While planning her next move after graduation, she spent a year living on Sugar Mountain and riding her bike, an ode to her cycling career at Lees-McRae.

“After working on the race for two years, I [began to feel] like I was living my brother’s life, and not my own,” said Hannah. “I needed to figure out what I wanted to do. That’s when I decided to apply to Pratt.”

Reminiscent of her long workdays on the Crit, life in the Global Innovative Design program is exciting but exhausting. On a regular day, Hannah begrudgingly wakes in the wee hours of the morning for an early morning workout. “I race on the Keio Cycling Team,” said Hannah. “It’s basically me and a bunch of eighteen-year-old boys who don’t speak English, but I love it!” After a quick shower and a dash through her dorm, which houses students speaking at least 16 different languages, Hannah begins her short walk to her classroom building.

(left to right): Bundling rice with the designer of the Nikon logo; The famous snow monkey onsen; Hannah filming a short action film for her Digital Media Innovation class (photo by Makoto Miyazaki); Demonstration of Mazda designers collaboratively sculpting a concept car.

18 | The Pinnacles

“On the way to campus there’s a little sushi stand where these older ladies make fresh sushi and vegetables every morning,” said Hannah. “They know which one I like, so they always have it ready for me.” A full day of classes is often followed by a night filled with homework. However, it’s very important for her to integrate herself into the Japanese culture, so she makes sure to take a break every now and again. “Japan has a lot to do, and I like to get into all of it,” said Hannah with a laugh. “I went to the Mori Art Museum the other day, a contemporary art museum, and I’m going to Kyoto soon. The train system is amazing – the trains are so clean and they’re always on time – so it’s easy to travel around Japan.” Despite the quirky and exciting adventures in Japan, acclimating to a foreign culture is anything but simple. Common American behaviors are often considered rude in Japan. “Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly offending people, because there are so many rules,” said Hannah, with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, “but I think I’m learning to behave. People respect the rules, and they follow them. People wait in line to get on the train. It’s rude to blow your nose so they just sniffle all day, which I think is ruder. If you’re eating noodles, it’s okay to slurp because that’s considered a compliment. Most people don’t walk and drink – I break that one a lot. There are hardly any trash cans, yet the city is incredibly clean. You’re expected to take your trash home with you. Sometimes, if I’m in a hurry, I just play the foreigner card and break the rules.” With striking blue eyes and blonde hair, Hannah is destined to stand out in Japan regardless of her propensity for rule breaking. “It’s like I’m living this alternate life,” said Hannah. “I have been completely removed from this other life that I attached my identity to. It’s been a process to figure out who I am as a person and what I want to end up doing. I had to

learn to survive on my own, which I think takes a lot of grit.” Experiencing life in a city known for innovation and design has helped Hannah see her GID project in a new light. The project, which will consist of a product, a video and a presentation, will continue from Tokyo to London so long as the group feels their idea still has merit. If not, the students are allowed to switch to a new idea in London. As a parlay into their project, Hannah and one of her teammates have started a podcast called Dazed in Design that will be debuting soon. “We can do anything focused on mobility, which is very broad,” said Hannah. “After a lot of discussion, my teammates and I decided to focus on what it means to be a global citizen. It’s much more common for people in our generation to globetrot. We started thinking about what that will mean for relationships, specifically the relationship between adult children and their parents. Right now, there are many ways that you can verbally communicate to someone across a geological distance, but when people are physically together there are many more subtle ways that we connect—feeling someone’s heartbeat, energy, breath or just the feeling you get when you sit quietly with someone. We set out to design something that will allow people to sit quietly together at a geological distance.” From Banner Elk to Tokyo and all the stops in between, Hannah Trimble is showing the world what a positive attitude, ambition and a little grit can accomplish. There is no doubt that global innovative design has met its match.

Since completing her session in Tokyo, Hannah has been studying at the Royal College of Art and the Imperial College in London. Through her studies, Hannah has grown an interest for medical design and its influence on patient care and experience. She had developed an asthma management system for children that is more engaging and holistic for both the child and parent.

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Alumni Elevated Meet your Alumni Board President

Karen Gobble Meade ’86


Deena Powell Chambers ’75

Vice President

Julia M. McCombs ’75


Susan Jaeger ’13

Hello Bobcats! Tommy Byerly ’66 Catherine Button Campe ’89/’91 Bill Cochran ’54 Matt Debnam ’07 Kelsey Stevens Dolan ’11 Robin Wiseman Evans ’86 Stuart Fowler ’75 Meredith Fox ’12 Talia Freeman ’06 Dawn Dukes Grimaud ’91 Megan Hall ’10 Cassie Herre ’13 John Hinnant III ’93 Jenny Hix ’72 Michelle Lucas ’12 Aaron Martin ’93 Marth McAfee ’86/’03 Gail Miller ’72 Gary Moss ’99 Jean Ogburn Neal ’52 Benjamin Ray ’11 David Small ’74 Ken Sullivan ’59 Evan Webb ’14 John Williams ’14

20 | The Pinnacles

It is with pride, honor and personal joy that I serve Lees-McRae and the Alumni Association as your president. It is such a pleasure to work with an Alumni Board that is well organized, equipped with the most dedicated and committed alumni, engaged and passionately works together for the advancement of Lees-McRae College. As president, my primary role is to maintain a close relationship with the board members and encourage alumni to engage in activities that promote and strengthen the College. Many changes have occurred on campus within the past five years and what’s happening at Lees-McRae is nothing short of extraordinary! Our fearless and faithful leader, Dr. Barry Buxton, and his team have worked diligently to beautify campus, put a huge dent in deferred maintenance issues on our historic buildings and preserve our heritage without using money from the operating budget. He has renovated residence halls, classrooms and major facilities while strengthening Lees-McRae’s finances. In that time, more than $5 million has been paid on the College’s long term debt. I encourage you to visit campus, become a class agent, mentor a current student or reach out to me to learn how to get involved. I challenge you to elevate your level of engagement. Make a gift every year to The Fund for Lees-McRae in an amount comfortable to your budget. Host an event in your city, participate in Homecoming and ESCAPE or cheer on the sidelines at an athletic event. There are so many ways to participate in the Alumni Association. One of my proudest moments was seeing my son, Brandon, graduate and continue the Meade legacy at my beloved alma mater. Karen Gobble Meade ’86 Alumni Board President

Show Your

B bcat Spirit! Get involved in the life of Lees-McRae College!

• • • • • •

Recruit a student Register to be a mentor Participate in a career fair Become a Class Agent Host an event in your area Participate in Homecoming

Remember Me? Dear Friends, It is a privilege and pleasure to reach out to you as an alumnus of my alma mater, Lees-McRae College. I write to you to share a heartfelt thank you to those who have elevated the learning and teaching experience for our students and faculty here at Lees-McRae. As an alumnus and now vice president, I have so much gratitude for all that members of our Lees-McRae Family have done to nurture and advance the important mission of our beloved College. Over the years, Lees-McRae transformed from a two-year degree-granting institution, into a College that has nearly 1,000 students who are pursuing baccalaureate degrees in twenty majors and thirteen minors. Our students continue to grow intellectually, physically, socially and spiritually on this beautiful and scenic campus. Under the dedicated and inspired leadership of Dr. Barry Buxton, Lees-McRae is positioned for even more positive, transformational growth and continued success for our students, faculty, alumni and community. Lees-McRae College has a strong and solid foundation on which we are prayerfully and strategically continuing to build. Our trajectory for growth is upward and onward. I would encourage you, when given the opportunity, to invest in our students and faculty with your time, talent and treasure. I sincerely invite you and yours to visit us here in the Alumni House. We always welcome the opportunity to visit with our friends. Respectfully yours,

Brent L. Thomas ’85 Vice President of Advancement

The Pinnacles | 21

Homecoming & Family Weekend 2014 Despite cold temperatures, Bobcat Nation traveled from all over to celebrate Homecoming and Family Weekend. From reunions and athletic events to tailgating and a tent party, Bobcats united together to form a nation. Relive the memories and view the photos on the following pages.


22 | The Pinnacles

Bobcat Honors Homecoming 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award

Martha Stone Penny, Class of 1959 Martha was an excellent student and honor graduate, and was active in numerous campus organizations. Her early professional career was in Medical Administration at Duke University and Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington, D.C. She and her husband Donald were long time proprietors of a successful family business in the Durham-Chapel Hill area. She has served on the Alumni Board of Directors and was a major donor in the revitalization of the Lees-McRae Historic Commons, funding the entrance refurbishment at Tennessee and Virginia Residence Halls. Her fierce loyalty to the LeesMcRae legacy and warm sentiment for her classmates are truly inspirational.

Alumni Service Award

Virginia Gail Miller, Class of 1972 Gail is one of those people you can always count on. Whenever an event is coming up, she is the first person to call and ask to help. She is always positive, happy to help and present from start to finish of any event. Gail gives consistently of her time and is a loyal donor to the College. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the Alumni Board and she serves as Class Agent for the Class of 1972. She is recently retired and is looking forward to volunteering her time on campus over the summer.

Captain’s Class Agent Award Ron Current, Class of 1953

Known to his classmates as “Ronnie”, he is an outstanding alumnus. He and his classmate, Wilma Bleynat Jones, have built a communication network with their 1953 classmates with enthusiasm and passion for strengthening The Fund for Lees-McRae. Mr. Current accepted the Captain’s Class Agent Award during the Green & Gold Brunch at Homecoming, but that is not the end of the 1953 story. Ron is going for an even higher participation rate this fiscal year! There are a couple of other class agents who are trying to outdo Ron and his efforts. Regardless of which class ends up with the highest of achievement, Lees-McRae will be the real winner.

The Pinnacles | 23

Ken Sullivan ’59 Men’s Cross Country

Ken Sullivan ’59

Men’s Cross Country Sullivan was a two-time track captain while leading the Bobcats to the 1959 conference title, where he was the individual high scorer. He was unstoppable in the 880-meter, mile and two mile events after going undefeated for two years. Sullivan set and held school and conference records in all three events at once. Sullivan continued his storied cross country career at High Point University, and was a member of the 1959 NC State Cross Country Championship team. In 1962, Sullivan returned to Lees-McRae as cross country coach and assistant track and field coach, at which point the cross country squad went undefeated and won the conference title.

Jessi Blackwood Miller ’00

Jessi Blackwood Miller ’00

Women’s Cross Country

Women’s Cross Country

Miller represented the student as well as the athlete in extraordinary fashion. She was a four-time academic All-American during her stint at Lees-McRae while earning first-team all-conference recognition in Carolinas Virginia Athletic Conference cross country competition all four years. In 1997, Miller was the CVAC Individual Champion before leading the Bobcats to consecutive CVAC team titles (1998 & 1999). She finished in the top five at all four CVAC Championship meets she ran, including three top-three finishes with a victory.

Clyde Frank “Soupy” Campbell ’69 Football

Clyde Frank “Soupy”Campbell ’69 Football

24 | The Pinnacles

In 1967, Campbell and the Bobcats went 8-0-1 and won the football conference title by snapping Ferrum College’s 28-game winning streak with a 20-6 victory. In 1968, Campbell led the Bobcats to an 8-1-1 record, with their lone loss coming to eventual champion Ferrum. Upon graduation, Campbell went to Mars Hill on a football scholarship. Following a stint in the Marine Corps, Campbell returned as an assistant coach to Mike Cook. LeesMcRae posted its best record under Cook and Campbell with a 7-2 mark in 1973. Campbell became a head coach in 1980 in the Coastal Carolina Football Association and sported a 30-27-1 record over the next five years.

The Pinnacles | 25

Estate Planning

Bobcat Super Note Dick Weaver ’57

Make a difference at Lees-McRae College

Please consider one of the many ways you can leave a lasting legacy at LeesMcRae College. Regardless of which method you select, you will have the personal satisfaction of knowing you are strengthening Lees-McRae College and benefiting young men and women for generations to come.

Bequests This is the easiest way to make an estate gift to LeesMcRae College. Your estate will receive a charitable deduction and tax savings may be realized by your heirs.

Life Insurance A gift of your life insurance policy is an excellent way to leave a legacy at Lees-McRae College. If your policy is no longer needed or will not benefit your survivors, please consider gifting it to Lees-McRae College.

Retirement Assets A gift of your retirement assets, such as a gift from your IRA, 401k, 403b or pension, is an excellent way to make a gift to Lees-McRae College.

Gift Annuities Are you looking for a secure source of fixed income for now or for the future? A Charitable Gift Annuity to the College is a great solution.

Trusts Many people believe that trusts are for the wealthy. While trusts can be very beneficial to the wealthy, often those with limited assets establish trusts to preserve their capital and increase the earning derived from it. You may establish a trust that will permit you to make a gift to Lees-McRae (and receive a charitable deduction) while increasing your income. To learn more about estate planning, visit >>

26 | The Pinnacles

Dick Weaver grew up hearing factory whistles twice a day as a mill-village kid. He said he heard people whisper that he would not amount to much and he wanted to prove them wrong. So he worked hard by excelling in sports and school. Mr. Weaver graduated with honors from Rankin High in 1951 and then went on to play for the Leesburg Packers in the Florida State League, a breeding ground for prospective baseball players. He was then drafted, joined the Marines and ended up in Korea where his life changed on March 28, 1953. While trying to rescue one of his fellow Marines, Mr. Weaver was hit and blown at least three feet in the air, falling face first on a rock in the mud. He knocked out two teeth and found his arm was held on by nothing more than his biceps. His baseball career was over but by rescuing his friend, he was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. Mr. Weaver has since gone on to do many great things. He graduated from Lees-McRae College in 1957, which he discovered while dropping off some friends to attend here. Dean Lafferty greeted them upon arrival and talked Mr. Weaver into coming here as a student. He signed up that very day. After LMC, he went to UNC-Chapel Hill where he was a Morehead Scholar. He ran his own consulting firm, and in 2013, he was awarded a Congressional Award for his service to his country. Not bad for a boy who just wanted to prove a few people wrong.

Generations Elevated Your news matters! Have you changed jobs? Retired? Welcomed a child? Celebrated a milestone? We want to celebrate you—and we might even shout it from the mountain top! With more than 7,000 alumni, we find it important that you cherish the memories you had at Lees-McRae, connect to fellow classmates and engage in the life of the College.

Tell us what you have been up to at >>




Rebecca Blair Smith (Lexington, SC) recently moved to an assisted living facility in Lexington, SC to be closer to family.

Richard Soderquist (Columbia, SC) is retired and enjoys spending his time teaching, fishing, traveling and trekking.

Alice Taylor Harrill (Bostic, NC) is an account executive at Northland Cable Television.



Sarah Moore Province (Silver Springs, MD) is a fiber artist and recently had her hooked fiber art shown in Cape May, NJ, Ocean City, MD and California.

Robert Cooper (East Bend, NC) graduated from Appalachian State University after attending Lees-McRae. Robert and his wife, Leasa, have two children and grandchildren. He worked for the Virginia Department of Corrections as Chief Probation and Parole Officer, Regional Manager and Local Facilities Manager, and ended his career as a director of a county department of social services. After retiring in 2008, he and Leasa moved to North Carolina where he taught high school social studies until his second retirement in 2013. In their spare time, they enjoy raising blueberries and kiwis.

1958 Samuel Lee Tesh, III (State Road, NC) works with an environmental group to save our water and land from fracking. He enjoys spending his time building wheelchair ramps for the eldery and building churches overseas in different countries.

1959 Richard Jones (Spartanburg, SC) is a retired Sr. Customer Service Engineer from Unisys Corp.

1963 George Spransy (Vienna, WV) is a honorably retired minister of the Presbyterian Church, USA. Ann Barlow Williams (Davenport, FL) enjoys spending eight months of the year in Florida and the summers at their home at Smith Mountain Lake near Roanoke, Va.

1964 Bennie Dietrichsen (Ninety Six, SC) is a retired nursing professor.

1965 George Holleman (Taylorsville, NC) was the mayor of Taylorsville, NC in 2011.

Joe Elkins (Ringgold, GA) is a retired Systems Control Engineer. Barbara Lewis Williams (Moseley, VA) retired in 2013 as Practice Manager of Cave Spring Family Practice in Roanoke, VA. Robert B. Woodson, Jr. (Raleigh, NC) is the Senior Vice President for the State Employees’ Credit Union in Raleigh, NC.

1973 Thomas Gambill (Mount Airy, NC) works in radio broadcasting for a private network.

1975 Michael David Kurtz’s (Oak Ridge, NC) latest book, Michael’s Musings: A Pastor Blogs on Life, was published and released in October 2014.

1977 Jon Morris (Ellicott City, MD) has been teaching in Maryland for 25 years. He has one grandchild.

1979 Kimberly Brady Bandy (Burlington, NC) is the Director of Medical Records for Ashton Place Health and Rehabilitation in McLeansville, NC. Roger Pruette (Las Vegas, NV) accepted a new position as Treasurer for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Civilian Union.

1981 Kenneth W. Dusenberry (Summerfield, NC) is principal at Innovative Product Sales. Lisa Pekame Lowe (Lilburn, GA) is a personal chef for Caregivers LLC.

1984 Anne Reynolds Brock (Apex, NC) is in her 15th year working in Construction Management with the Town of Apex. Her husband, Gerald, is in his 26th year at the US Postal Service in Cary, NC. Their oldest daughter, Kelli, 19, finished her second year at UNC-Pembroke, studying Public Relations and Broadcasting, and their other daughter, Sydney, 11, will be entering middle school in August. Heather Forbis-Grice (Greensboro, NC) is the President and Funeral Director at Gate City Cremations.

The Pinnacles | 27

1985 Paul Repik (Myrtle Beach, SC) is a registered nurse with the Department of Health and Environmental Control in Myrtle Beach, SC. Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Darryl L. Verrett (Columbus, GA) is working as a Senior Project Manager for SAIC in Columbus, GA. He proudly served in the United States Army for more than 24 years.

1986 Rebecca Brown Miller (Boone, NC) and her family relocated to Boone, NC in 2010 after exploring different careers overseas and in the states. She is employed at Samaritan’s Purse, working with the International Projects and assisting Ben Walker, USMC (Ret.). She has two wonderful boys - Russell, 12, and Joseph, 10.

residential and forestry land. He is also part of a family farming business, Southern Gin & Grain Company, a farm and garden supply store in Fayetteville.

2002 Chandra Huscusson Brewer (Sun Prairie, WI) is currently living in Wisconsin, working at Community Living Connections, supporting individuals with disabilities in their homes. Greg Paulson (Atlantic Beach, FL) on July 1, 2014 began his three-year post-doc in Münster, Germany at the INTF (Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung). Joel A. Ritter (Lawrenceville, GA) has worked in banking since graduating from Lees-McRae. He is married to Alina (Boykova) Ritter ’03, whom he met at Lees-McRae.



Jeffrey Staley (Louisville, KY) is the Plant/ Terminal Manager for Holland Motor. Jeffrey attended Appalachian State and the University of Louisville after Lees-McRae. He graduated from the University of Louisville with a BA in Political Science and Communications. Work has allowed him extensive travel through the years, having lived in Albany, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; Cincinnati, OH; and Lousiville, KY. He was married in 2012 to Beth Ann and he has a stepson named Braxton.

Megan Webb Harrison (Knoxville, TN) recently moved to Knoxville, TN. to take the position of directorship of the Clinton Public Library.



Patrick Medley, Sr. (Louisville, KY) was named the first Dean of Students in the history of Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School.

Mary (Beth) Bruder Cali (Morganton, NC) is pursuing a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling through Montreat College. She is employed by South Mountain Children and Family Services as the director of the Burke County Child Advocacy Center.

1993 John Hinnant (Wilmington, NC) works as a commercial real estate broker at Maus Warwick Matthews and Company. Mark Presnell (Burnsville, NC) is the coowner of Bubba’s Good Eats in Burnsville, NC.

1994 Samuel Mumpower (Powder Springs, GA) is a private practice endodontist in Rome, Ga.

1999 Daniel Turner (Fayetteville, NC) works in the Fayetteville area as a Broker at National Land Realty, selling commercial, agricultural,

28 | The Pinnacles

2004 Lori Lewis (Asheville, NC) is the Director of Financial Aid at UNC-Asheville. Edison Derr (St. Joseph, MO) recently relocated to St. Joseph, MO to work in Sports Medicine.

Meghan Meier (Greenville, SC) was named one of Greenville, South Carolina’s Best & Brightest under 35 for 2014.

2006 Jennifer Baker Shiers (Atlanta, GA) was married in March 2013. She is in her 8th year as an elementary teacher and her husband, Brandon, is in sales. Morgan Wood Suddreth (Spruce Pine, NC) is employeed as the vice president/city executive with State Employees’ Credit Union at the Newland branch.

Donna K. Joyce (Hudson, NC) is a special education teacher in North Carolina. She holds a masters degree in K-6 Elementary Education.

2008 Shaquera Alls (Bluffton, SC) was married in September to Brandon G. Clawson in Valle Crucis, NC. She is a Customer Sales and Service Representative/Loan Originator at Wells Fargo Bank in Hilton Head Island, SC. Courtney Ashley (Lexington, SC) graduated from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy and is now a CVS Pharmacist. Trevor Bruffy (Staunton, VA) is pursuing a MA in Higher Education at Appalachian State University. Stacy Bess Davis (Statesville, NC) is working as an athletic trainer for Iredell Health Systems. Keri Austin Magaña (Seattle, WA) attended graduate school and moved around the country several times, eventually settling in Seattle, WA. She married her college sweetheart, Kiko Magaña. Angel Whigham (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) will guest star as a lawyer on Law and Order season 15 in the coming months.

2009 Matthew Barrett (Chelsea, AL) is working for an auto finance company in Birmingham, AL. Matthew and his wife, Shelley, have a young son named Noah. Dakota Marie Beck (Garner, NC) has been a member of the Durham Police Department since 2010. Amanda Elliott (Lewisville, TX) is working as a Behavior Analyst for children with autism and is pursuing a Masters in Education through Arizona State University.

2010 Daniel Hogbin (High Point, NC) serves as the canine handler for NC A&T State University. Jose Chavira (Raleigh, NC) graduated from North Carolina State University with a MA in Nonprofit Agricultural Development. He currently works at NC State as the Conference Coordinator for the National Sustainable Agriculture Education Association. He serves on the Advisory Board for Third Millennium

Alliance, a nonprofit organization based out of the USA and Ecuador, whose mission is to preserve and rehabilitate Pacific Equatorial Rainforests. Jose is currently pursuing a second MA in International Relations with a focus on International Sustainable Development at American University in Washington D.C. Kathleen Wilkerson Peil (Sumter, SC) is a kindergarten teacher at Crosswell Drive Elementary School in Sumter, SC.

2011 Brittany (Yates) Cornish (Waldorf, MD) was married in October to Randy Cornish. Jerissa Monk Mitchem (Swords Creek, VA) has been teaching kindergarten for a year and has a young son.

2012 Megan McClellan (Owens Cross Roads, AL) is enrolled at the International Montessori Training Institute of Atlanta, GA. She is dual enrolled with Loyola University working on her MEd for Montessori Primary Teaching.

In Remembrance

2013 Holly Webber Buchanan (Spruce Pine, NC) is a detention officer with the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office in Burnsville, NC. Holly and her husband just purchased their first home in Spruce Pine, NC. Catherine Elizabeth Hanby (Dallas, TX) recently moved to Dallas, TX to take a position as an Audit Associate with Grant Thornton in September 2014. Jim Hart (Jonas Ridge, NC) was appointed to serve two churches in the Avery Parish of the United Methodist Church, Appalachian District. He serves at Jonas Ridge and Altamont United Methodist churches as he attends seminary at Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, NC.

coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University, where they were regular season conference champions. He is currently the head coach at Hickory High School, leading his team to win the conference.

2014 Hadyn Beatty (Norman, OK) works with the NC Wildlife Resource Commission in district two, the southeastern NC counties. Cassandra Kay Schulz (Weldon, NC) works at KIPP Pride High School as a college counselor, where they focus on closing the education gap and fighting for social justice. She already has three seniors interested in Lees-McRae! She also enjoys working in theatre (performance, costuming and props) in her free time.

Heather Millsaps (Garner, NC) was awarded the Diane Kent Parker First Year Teacher Award in Wake County Public Schools. Derin Vacca (Wake Forest, NC) is an agent for Century 21 Elliot Properties in Blowing Rock, NC. He was previously an assistant

| John Wilson On September 7, 2014, Dr. John Cyril Wilson passed away. Banner Elk and Lees-McRae College lost a great soul. John was born on April 3, 1931 in Clarksville, TN. He earned several degrees including a Bachelors in Nursing from New York State University and a Doctor of Ministry from Union Theological Seminary. He served as an officer in the Navy and was on active duty during the Korean Conflict. While living in Radford, VA he was a pastor for a number of small churches and began a tent making ministry. Later he settled in Banner Elk, NC where he worked at Lees-McRae College for more than 30 years. During his time at Lees-McRae, he was an Associate Professor of Religion, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology. He also spent eight years as the Health Services Nurse at the College.

John was a beloved member of the Lees-McRae family. Numerous alumni can tell you many stories of how he guided them on their journey while they were students. One alum, William Mark Harvey, Class of 1979, says John deserves all the credit for him staying at Lees-McRae. “I failed my first two college exams, zoology and religions of the world. Based on these two failures I quickly came to the conclusion that I was not college material. So, with a heavy heart, I went to see Dr. Wilson to tell him that I did not think college was for me. I stood before this distinguished professor with a lump in my throat trying to make my point. I still remember the exchange we had. He told me that my conclusion was flawed! He instructed me to go straight to the library and ask for Pat Smith. I took Dr. Wilson’s advice. Pat Smith taught me how to study. College was always hard for me, but I made it through with a degree in history.” John was an active member of Arbordale Presbyterian Church. He sang in the choir and taught Sunday school. John loved the outdoors, gardening, beekeeping, hiking, camping, music and especially his family, friends and God. He will be especially missed around the town of Banner Elk and the campus of Lees-McRae College.

The Pinnacles | 29

In Remembrance of Alumni & Friends Gifts made in remembrance of a fellow classmate or friend of the College are listed in the Honor Roll of Donors which can be found online at >>

Alumni Alex McCann Woodruff ’44 Mary Lou Ellis Bobbera ’41 John Penninger, Jr. ’49 Warren H. Taylor ’43 Thomas Franklin Hite ’75 Nancy Paisley Davis ’63 Quida Gaddis Nickles ’49 James Thomas Coan ’52 William Hammond Kibler ’75 Jerry L. Smith ’74 Jack Everett Matthews ’40 Wayne Setzer Barlow ’52 Harry 'Star' Guinn ’56 Dorothy Bartley Cordell ’41 Peggy Jones Lutz ’54 Cephus Waren McCall ’60 Carolyn Bare Gibbs Nicholson Smith ’54 Robert Maxwell Walters ’53 Margaret 'Maggie' Boyd ’42 Frances Dowd Clowers ’49 Joseph Craig Thompson ’76 Joe Henry Nickels ’53 Martha June Lamb ’44 Frank R. Warren, III ’94 Joyce Martin Slate ’67 Robert D. Howell ’53 Miller Wright ’74 Roy Reynolds ’51 Ramona Allen Richardson ’54 Clark Gardner ’48 William 'Leck' Willett ’71 Selby Allen Shaver ’63 Carolyn McCormick Huggins ’60 Pat Daniels McJunkin ’43 C. Ed McDonald ’49 Lewey Glenn Alexander ’47 Norma Jean Robinson Battista ’57 Roger T. Glance ’43 Joan Hinson Garrison ’55 Helen 'Pete' Doughtery Dare ’40 Sue Hughes Memory ’72 Elizabeth Chester Smith ’46 Randall 'Randy' W. Smith ’77 William S. Tiffany ’65 Walter McRay 'Mac' Lentz ’65 Jerry Wilson Williams ’64 Amy Lou Welborn ’51 Margaret Banner Mortimer ’41

30 | The Pinnacles

Friends 10.12.2006 8.16.2008 9.22.2008 2.26.2009 8.8.2009 8.26.2010 11.30.2010 Dec. 2010 3.12.2011 1.11.2012 4.16.2012 6.15.2012 11.11.2012 11.23.2012 11.29.2012 1.22.2013 2.4.2013 2.20.2013 4.9.2013 4.29.2013 4.29.2013 5.18.2013 6.8.2013 6.11.2013 6.30.2013 7.5.2013 7.18.2013 7.23.2013 7.28.2013 8.9.2013 8.9.2013 8.18.2013 8.21.2013 8.24.2013 9.1.2013 9.21.2013 10.2.2013 10.17.2013 10.22.2013 10.27.2013 11.17.2013 11.18.2013 11.27.2013 11.27.2013 12.13.2013 12.16.2013 12.17.2013 12.21.2013

Allen Gordon Finley ’50 Jean Dulin Long ’47 Luther Ashby ’56 Mildred Porter Hankemeyer ’36 David Cook ’51 Kathryn Roberts Lee ’41 Sandra Allen Cashion ’61 Edna Byrd Watson ’40 Stephen O. Hamrick ’55 Frank 'Bud' W. Phillips, Jr. ’56 Garland 'Bud' Glenn Warren, Jr. ’56 Hilda Jane Ladd ’50 Edsel Ray Hiatt ’59 Dayton Ray Payne ’58 Christina Gail Shook ’93 Peggy Reece Ruppe ’78 Mary Joan Graham Carpenter ’51 Betty Pickett Maness ’62 Barbara Stancill Barnett ’70 Charles J. Hornbuckle ’68 John Combs ’47 Elizabeth Wellborn Rash ’42 Sarah Crawford Hennessee ’42 James G. Adams ’54 Teddy Cline 'T.C.' Farthing ’35 Billy C. Slemons ’42 Mary Lou Wiles Smithey ’43 William E. Gilbert ’65 Elaine Beard Mainer ’65 Charles D. McLeod, Jr. ’56 Vaughn Sprinkle ’69 H. Paul Troxler ’48 James Albert Burnsed ’62 Fred W. Lowry ’56 Floyd Ramsey ’56 Willie May Linker Knox ’40 Stuart McRimmon ’43 Joan Ashcraft McFarland ’55 Jane Ormand Fairfax ’56 John D. 'J.D.' Williard, Jr. ’61 Bill Owens ’64 Anita Bulla Cox ’65 Catherine Joan Weiner ’66 Lorene Hunsucker Dresser ’42 Jerry Douglas Harr ’65 Harry Garland ’48 John Michael Coker ’86 John O. Citty ’53

12.27.2013 1.23.2014 2.14.2014 2.16.2014 2.21.2014 2.23.2014 2.25.2014 2.26.2014 3.1.2014 3.1.2014 3.19.2014 3.21.2014 3.26.2014 4.12.2014 4.14.2014 4.17.2014 4.20.2014 5.5.2014 5.14.2014 5.19.2014 6.5.2014 6.5.2014 6.9.2014 6.11.2014 6.22.2014 7.17.2014 8.3.2014 8.5.2014 8.5.2014 8.17.2014 8.18.2014 9.3.2014 9.5.2014 9.7.2014 10.19.2014 10.22.2014 1.9.2015 1.18.2015 1.24.2015 1.26.2015 2.2.2015 3.4.2015 3.27.2015 4.2.2015 4.4.2015 5.18.2015 5.20.2015 6.6.2015

Stanley Etkin Sid Bearak Phyllis Alley Carter Barrett Gilmer Paul F. Dietzel Frank J. Tepper Louise M. McKittrick Caroline Woodruff Mary Hart Stephen Chandler Laurie O. Poindexter Martin L. Rosen Mildred Whalen Barbara Jones Loflin Patricia S. Neely Buster Burleson Daniel May Marguerite Cooper James E. Fox Lynne Bass John C. Wilson Renee Miller Doris Rosen Ruth Kleinman Etkin Robert J. Boyer Steven L. Alley Wayne A. Davidson Thomas Henry Severt

7.15.2013 8.31.2013 9.3.2013 9.21.2013 9.24.2013 11.28.2013 1.17.2014 2.6.2014 3.1.2014 3.4.2014 4.15.2014 4.18.2014 5.8.2014 5.20.2014 5.23.2014 6.11.2014 6.24.2014 7.3.2014 7.27.2014 8.5.2014 9.7.2014 9.18.2014 9.27.2014 10.10.2014 11.7.2014 12.4.2014 12.24.2014 1.12.2015

1987 What’s the Story?

The year is 1987 and the Lees-McRae Student Government Association sponsored its annual Spring Fling. This year however, the elements were uncooperative and the rain added a unique ingredient to the frolic. Think back to your Lees-McRae days and tell us about your favorite Spring Fling memory!

Share your story with us at >>

The Pinnacles | 31

Office of Advancement PO Box 128 | Banner Elk, NC 28604 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED Parents: If this issue is addressed to a son or daughter who no longer maintains an address at your home, please send the correct address to Lees-McRae College, Office of Advancement, PO Box 128, Banner Elk, NC 28604, or contact Jillian Rosato, director of alumni and community relations, at or 828.898.2534.

October 2-4


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The Pinnacles | Summer 2015  

The Pinnacles | Summer 2015