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Lees-McRae College Magazine | Spring 2010

Bobcats finish second in nation NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer In this issue: January-Term Travel & Service Performing Arts at Lees-McRae Meet President-elect Dr. Barry M. Buxton

From the



his year we will celebrate Lees-McRae’s 110th birthday even as we celebrate the arrival of our 15th president. In this issue of The Pinnacles you can read about President-elect Barry Buxton, whose arrival at Lees-McRae is very much a homecoming for him. Dr. Buxton’s inauguration will be held during on Saturday, October 2 during Homecoming for the entire college. We will have more information later in the summer about welcoming Dr. Buxton and observing the college anniversary. My primary goal when I accepted the interim presidency of Lees-McRae last May was to help the college become strong and stable enough to mount a search for a new leader. Getting the house in order was necessary because we were facing a scarcity of funds as well as rumors of our imminent demise. A number of people who know Lees-McRae well remember other times in the past where we had been on shaky ground, and some feared that the spring of 2009 represented the final blow. We should keep in mind that the events I describe took place during a global financial collapse and a recession at home of historic proportions. The trustee leadership and I understood that we had our work cut out for us but were convinced we could restore fiscal health. The first order of business was to balance the budget. Budget assumptions made a few months earlier had been too ambitious, particularly a target for a much larger entering freshman class than was possible. I called a meeting of the faculty and staff and outlined in sober terms the fix the college was in and informed the assembly that we would have to lay off staff members, reduce salaries, and practice other economies. Campus community members appeared to be encouraged by candor. My cabinet colleagues and I then cut salaries between two and eleven percent – a graduated scale that ranged from those who mow the lawn to the president. Yes, we cut some staff members and put on hold the college matching contributions to retirement funds. Discipline, restraint, and sacrifice were the qualities we demanded of ourselves. When the dust settled, our fiscal 2010 budget was 11.26 percent less than fiscal 2009, and it was balanced. Simultaneously, nearby Appalachian State University cut its budget by 10.2 percent – as did the other universities in the North Carolina system. These were hard days. About the same time I appointed an experienced and talented colleague as Vice President for Enrollment Management and secured the admissions consulting services of a prestigious admissions firm. Later, I brought back a former Vice President of Advancement to work with our much-diminished advancement staff as Director of Development. Because of several resignations, I was also able to appoint a new Vice President for Academic Affairs and a new Athletic Director. These new team members – all with significant previous experience at Lees-McRae – came together with great energy and a united sense of purpose.

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The home-grown campus leadership team accounts for most of the success we have experienced over the past year. As all of the above was taking place, we decided to mount a mini-campaign to raise cash by offering “time shares” in the college. The tag line was “A thousand dollars from a thousand people.” Enough gifts of moderate size would provide our friends symbolic ownership of our enterprise and help us buy time. Board Chair Tommy Brigham ’72 and I organized fund raising parties at a number of local gated communities that ranged from 20 to 100 guests. We had a simple message: the college is open and is meeting its educational mission; we are extremely important to the local community; and we need help from our friends. We didn’t achieve our goal, but we did bring in needed funds for our college. An important element of that campaign was our energetic presence in the community. Lees-McRae needed to show our constituents that we were working to shape our future and were not simply reacting to crippling forces. Other projects moved ahead. A new edition of the college alumni magazine appeared in October 2009. The previous issue appeared two years earlier. Monthly e-mail newsletters are now reaching our constituents with the message that “we are worth your investment.” Additional alumni events have been scheduled and we have begun the task of renewing old ties and building new relationships with those who are in a position to support Lees-McRae. With the encouragement gained from the efforts described above, the board then was able to mount a presidential search which ended so successfully. The formula for success in the future is easily outlined but more difficult to execute. We need to keep our house in order, live within our means, and over the next three to five years, work our way out of the financial dilemma in which we find ourselves. Lees-McRae deserves high marks for the quality of our educational program. We will need to earn high marks tomorrow, next week, and the months beyond that. Certainly, we will need to develop an action plan under the leadership of our new president and follow that plan in systematic fashion over the coming decade. Consistency and follow-through over a sustained period will be the key to success. We are fortunate indeed to have attracted Dr. Barry Buxton to Lees-McRae. His experience and accomplishments over a long career have prepared him well for this day. The effort of the past year is merely a prelude to the main event. All of us know the scope of the work that lies before the college. Everyone who knows Barry Buxton sees cause for optimism and a strong conviction that we are now on the right path. Scott Colley President

The Alumni Magazine of Lees-McRae College


Editor Meghan Wright ’06 Contributing Writers Scott Colley, Megan Hall ’10, Dr. Michael Joslin, Michelle Vance Scott ’86/’90 and Kevin Young Contributing Photographers Scott Crawford, Megan Hall ’10, Michael Hughett, Dr. Michael Joslin, Dee Thomas and Kevin Young 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 P.O. Box 128 Banner Elk, NC 28604 or

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President Dr. Scott Colley Board of Trustees, Chair Mr. Tommy Brigham ’72 Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Mr. Tommy Brigham ’72, Chair Mr. Joe Stahl, Vice Chair Mrs. Jane B. Stephenson ’57, Immediate Past Chair Dr. John Blalock ’91 Mr. Al Dickens Mr. Arch Hoxton ’64 Mr. Harvey Lowd Mr. Ed Shelton ’60/’95 Rev. O’dell Smith Alumni Council Executive Committee Kim Garrison Palmisano ’83, President Catherine Button Campe ’91, President Elect Lynn Swisher Neese ’88/’90, Vice President Jennifer Baker ’06, Secretary John “Pat” Monroe ’64, Chair, Decade Representatives Martha McAfee Kreiger ’86/’03, Immediate Past President Paul Stephenson ’95, Alumni Trustee Representative Board of Visitors Executive Committee Wm. David Carter, Chair Tricia Argabrite, Vice Chair Abigail Lord ’01, Secretary Office of Advancement Merritt Yackey, Director of Development Leslie J. Carter, Director of Alumni Relations, Major Gifts and Church Relations Frankie Needham ’55H, Director of Prospect Research Sandy Ramsey ’55H, Director of Internal Relations: Alumni Affairs Michelle V. Scott ’86/’90, Director of the Lees-McRae Fund Abigail Lord ’01, Director of Donor Relations and Special Events, Assistant to the President Meghan Wright ’06, Associate Director of Communications


18 10 Features 10 12 14 15

Performing Arts at Lees-McRae Meet President-elect Dr. Barry M. Buxton The Virtue of Necessity January-Term Travel & Service

Departments 4 9 18 22

Campus News Bobcat Athletics News Class Notables Alumni Class Notes

Cover image by Kevin Finch The Pinnacles Spring 2010 | 3

Board of Trustees adds five new members at winter meeting The Lees-McRae College Board of Trustees added the following members during the winter meeting. Barbara Miller of Banner Elk and Fort Myers, FL, owned and operated Court Reporting Services of Charlotte for nearly 30 years before retiring and selling the business in 1990. She was selected as Woman Business Owner of the Year by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce in 1987 and Entrepreneur of the Year by the Charlotte Women’s Business Owners in 1988. In addition to serving Lees-McRae College, she serves on the board of several apartment complexes in the region and formerly served on the boards of Grandfather Home for Children, Charlotte Women’s Business Owners Association and United Way of Lee County, FL, among others. She attended Appalachian State and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. Ben Trawick of North Wilkesboro, NC, is a Duke University graduate who severed four years as a US Naval Officer, having been awarded the Navy Achievement Medal during his service. In 1990, he left the Navy to attend Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, graduating with distinction in 1993. In 2001, Trawick received his Doctor of Ministry Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has served three congregations since graduating from seminary in 1993 including New Dublin Presbyterian Church in Dublin, VA; Christ Presbyterian Church in High Point, NC, and North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church presently. Active in his community, Trawick has worked with the governing boards of Wilkes Habitat for Humanity and Wilkes Community College. Les Broussard of Banner Elk is a 1990 graduate of Lees-McRae College and owner of the Banner Elk Café and Lodge Espresso Bar and Eatery. An avid soccer enthusiast, Broussard has been coach of Avery County Challenge League Soccer since 2001 and coach of Recreational Soccer of Avery County since 2008. In 2007, he was elected president of the Lees-McRae Booster Club for Soccer helping raise funds for soccer scholarships. In addition to his work with Lees-McRae, his community involvement includes Dreamscape Development for the Town of Banner Elk in 2001,

Board of Sugar Mountain Town Hall Committee in 2005, and membership on the Banner Elk Tourism Development Authority Board of Directors beginning in 2009. Broussard was selected by fellow Lees-McRae alumni to receive the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award from Lees-McRae College. J.T. Rieves of Mableton, GA, is Regional Vice President of Operations for the MidSouth Region for Home Depot, Inc. leading a three-plus billion dollar region of 122 Home Depot stores, 13 districts, and 12,000 associates in and around the corporate headquarters in Atlanta. He has been employed with Home Depot Inc. since 1988. Rieves is a graduate of Florida State University and received an Associate’s degree from Edison College in Fort Myers, FL. His professional affiliations include Board Member of Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce (GA) and board member of Step It Up Fitness. Rieves is the son of Dr. Max Rieves ’49 and the late Phyllis Rieves ’49H. Michael S. Elliott of Banner Elk had an extensive career in the medical field, having served in hospital administration and research for more than 30 years. From 1998 to 2003, Elliott served the University of Miami School of Medicine in several capacities including Associate Vice President of Medical Affairs and Executive Director of University of Miami Hospital Division. From 2003 to 2004 Elliott was Chief Executive Officer of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority. He graduated from Seton Hall University in 1965, earned a Master’s from the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh in 1969, and was Chief Resident at the Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center in Bronx, NY. He has served on the boards of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Greater New York and Consortium for the Study of University Hospitals, among others. His professional affiliations include the American Hospital Association, Greater New York Hospital Association, American Public Health Association, and Boy Scouts of America.

Question and Answer with Alumni Council President Kimberly Garrison Palmisano ’83 Kim Garrison Palmisano ’83 became president of the Alumni Council in October 2009. She brings new energy and commitment to the council after two successful years under the leadership of Martha McAfee Krieger ’86/’03. Kim earned her Associate’s degree at Lees-McRae in 1983. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guilford College and later earned a Master’s degree at Philadelphia Biblical University. Kim works at the Center for Creative Leadership, a global top 10 provider of executive education located in Greensboro, NC. She served as an adjunct professor in the graduate school of Philadelphia Biblical University where she was named the Sam Walton Fellow for Students in Free Enterprise. Kim spent 12 years of her career in the healthcare industry in positions including director of sales and training and human resources director. During that time she received awards including the Strategic Framework Champion Award. She is married to Steve, and they have 10-year-old twins, Beth and Mark. Kim resides with her family in Greensboro, North Carolina. What are your goals as President of the Alumni Council? I think one of the primary goals of the Alumni Association is to help unlock the memory and reacquaint each alumna/us with Lees-McRae College. Through this, my hope for alumni of Lees-McRae is that a continued and rewarding dialogue be generated not only between the 4 | The Pinnacles Spring 2010

college and alumni, but also for alumni who find themselves in conversation with friends and acquaintances. What type of conversations do you hope Lees-McRae alumni will engage in with friends, family and acquaintances? Any conversations with college age individuals considering options for higher education should include Lees-McRae College. If our alumni encounter gifted athletes looking for a college with top performing team sports, Lees-McRae should be part of the discussion. My hope is that any conversations involving private colleges, liberal arts education, Christian colleges, and colleges with unique surroundings would always include Lees-McRae. What is the importance of alumni participation? Lees-McRae College has a legacy of providing an intimate learning environment for higher education and alumni participation is of utmost importance to extending this legacy to further students and generations. Alumni participation is a gift of giving back in whatever way best fits each individual, be it time, talent or monetary support. This participation will allow the college to continue to flourish and to nurture those who are yet to come to Lees-McRae, so that they, too, may experience and be a part of the ongoing legacy.

What are some new initiatives you and the Alumni Council will put in place? New initiatives include a greater number of events taking place so alumni have a better opportunity for becoming involved and expanding our outreach efforts via social networking in order to keep alumni up to date on the College and happenings therein. I am excited about the Council and the energy that the individual who serve with me bring to bear in the passion and love for this college. What does it mean to you to serve as President of the Alumni Association? It is a privilege and an honor to be able to serve in this role at this time in history of our alma mater, in service to the alumni and Lees-McRae College. Ghandi said, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ Eleanor Roosevelt put it this way, ‘Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give’. I ask that all alumni join with me as we continue the legacy of Lees-McRae College and make LeesMcRae a part of every discussion of good college destinations.

Students and professor receive research fellowship from North Carolina Biotechnology Center Biologists study genetic predisposition of Carolina hemlocks to woolly adelgid infestation By Megan Hall ’10

Lees-McRae senior Michael Connor and Assistant Professor of Biological Science Dr. Chrissy Spencer recently received an Undergraduate Biotechnology Research Fellowship (UBRF) from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. Connor, along with fellow biology majors, Jennifer Hurd and Stephanie Stewart, will help Dr. Spencer research whether there is a genetic predisposition to hemlock woolly adelgid infestation in Carolina hemlocks. The hemlock woolly adelgid is a small aphid-like insect native to Asia that threatens the eastern hemlock and Carolina hemlock. “Undergraduate research institutions across North Carolina are eligible to compete for NC Biotech grants to support training in biotechnology fields, such as genetics, microbiology, or molecular biology, in the state. Each institution could submit up to three projects, so I recruited three students who wanted to work on their capstone projects over both semesters of their senior year. Together we generated ideas for the grant proposal, and then I honed these ideas Through a grant funded by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Michael Connor, Dr. Chrissy Spencer, Jennifer Hurd and Stephanie Stewart will research whether there is a genetic pre-disposition to hemlock woolly adelgid into a research project that I hoped would catch the eye of the granting agency as being infestation in Carolina hemlocks. sufficiently local and very unique,” said Dr. obstacles along the way such as securing certain equipment, isolating Spencer. the DNA from plant material and analyzing the DNA. I think with Dr. This project is local, indeed. Carolina hemlocks are endemic to the Spencer’s knowledge and experience we will have a lot of success,” said southern Appalachians and found on rocky slopes in western North Connor. Carolina, southwest Virginia, eastern Tennessee, northwest South Dr. Spencer received her Bachelor of Arts from Earlham College, her Carolina and northeast Georgia. Areas of extensive tree mortality Master’s from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her Ph.D. and decline due to hemlock woolly adelgid infestations are found from the University of Georgia. throughout the region. Without treatment, hemlock mortality can “I started my post-doctoral career in research at the University of occur in as little as five years. British Columbia, where I studied the process of diversification, such “I hope our research can provide a new insight into an ongoing as how new species form, but I used a bacterial system to study this investigation in hopes of preserving and developing new conservation long term evolutionary process. Bacteria evolve very quickly and have methods,” said Connor. extremely simple ecological needs, so they are easy to manipulate. I Connor is no stranger to research. He spent the summer of 2009 at hope to move back to this system for undergraduate research at some the University of Georgia where he helped discover and classify a new point, but I enjoy working in the native ecosystem of the Appalachians species of archaea through a research grant funded by the National as well. Institutes of Health. In the spring of 2010, Connor’s work will be “After five years of postdoctoral published as the supporting evidence for why the newly discovered research, I tested the teaching archaea should be classified as a new species. waters at the University of The UBRF NC Biotech had applications from approximately 12 Toronto and just loved it. I colleges across the state. They were not able to fund all the applicants, immediately started looking for so instead they awarded grants to a single project or student from each teaching positions at small liberal college. The Lees-McRae recipient was Michael Connor. Now as he arts colleges. I wanted to find a awaits the publication of his report, he will be helping Dr. Spencer position that recreated the aspects research the Carolina hemlock. of my own liberal arts college education—interdisciplinary Dr. Spencer is the principle investigator (PI) for this study. “The connections, close working research team of three students, Michael Connor, Jennifer Hurd, relationships between students and faculty, and the opportunity to Stephanie Stewart, and I plan to collect genetic material from several conduct research on a small scale with students,” said Dr. Spencer, a stands of trees with high or low levels of infestation. We’ll bring the North Carolina native. samples into the lab and then classify each population as to its genetic diversity,” said Dr. Spencer. What better place for the research to take place than in the heart of the Carolina hemlock’s growth range at beautiful Lees-McRae College? “The research, which will end in May 2010, will culminate in a report which will hopefully be published in a journal. We will face some The Pinnacles Spring 2010 | 5

Faculty Profile Professor Tessa W. Carr ’93 By Scott Colley

Upon entering Dr. Tessa Carr’s snug office in the Lauritsen Building, home to the Performing Arts faculty, one is struck by stunning photographs and impressive examples of ceramic art. I was about to ask if she had an artist friend who had given her these pieces when she casually remarked that they were all hers. “I display these pieces so that students will realize that faculty members are capable of various kinds of creativity, and that they are as well.” Dr. Carr describes herself as a latebloomer who dragged through high school and came to life as a student only when a professor at the local community college inspired her to ask more of herself. About that time she went with classmates to an honors conference and happened to meet Jim Stonesifer, the academic dean at Lees-McRae, who suggested she continue her studies in Banner Elk. “My mentors at Lees-McRae turned out to be some of the most critical influences in my life.” At this small college, she was held accountable. “I couldn’t get lost in the crowd.” Because the most powerful forces in her life had been college instructors she decided to follow a career path in higher education and become a teacher and mentor for students who resemble her younger self. Dr. Carr remarks that she always had been a performer and indeed was in community theatre back in LaGrange. At Lees-McRae she majored in history as well as theatre arts. As she considered graduate study, she looked for theatre programs that combine practice and theory which led her to LSU where she earned an M.A. in theater history and criticism. While at Lees-McRae she had married a classmate, Chris Carr ’93, who today is a professor in the Lees-McRae Art and Design program. After LSU, they headed to Montana where she served a two-year stint as an AmeriCorps volunteer who provided leadership training to non-profit organizations. Later, the Carrs headed to the University of Texas where her plan was to study the theater as a model for radical democracy. Plans changed radically while Dr. Carr was working on her dissertation. She and her husband had returned to Lees-McRae to teach when she became quite ill from the effects of what she much later learned was a rare tumor produced by the adrenal gland. All Dr. Carr knew is that she was desperately ill for two years with no resolution in sight. Finally a specialist recognized the problem and quite frankly, saved her life. Dr. Carr emerged from this extended illness with a major change in her approach to theater studies. She became interested in women who created performances related to debilitating illnesses and even began to develop performance pieces related to her own illness. Descriptive narratives are not uncommon; “but it is much less common for a performer to stand up in public and speak about the ill body.” 6 | The Pinnacles Spring 2010

Fascination with such performance pieces are part of Dr. Carr’s larger interests in communication studies, cultural anthropology, and the political dimensions of the theater of daily life. For instance, she is interested in “cultural performances” such as weddings, funerals, and similar ritual events which tell us much about those who create and stage these performances and their significance for the culture that includes them. Carr’s great motivation is “general wonder and curiosity about life.” Her aim as a college professor is to encourage the curiosity of her students and to inspire them for a lifetime of seeking and searching for understanding of their world. Dr. Carr teaches a number of courses at Lees-McRae including Intermediate Acting, Performance of Literature, and Performance Art and Theory, but behind each class in performing arts is her constant quest to stretch the minds of her students. Each semester she begins once again to challenge her students to question how culture is created and maintained and how our ideas of ourselves are bound within that culture. Both onstage and off, Dr. Carr asks students to examine the performances in which they participate and see those performances not only as entertainment but as representations of the world we know and the world we wish to create.

Business Administration senior research students create conceptual plan to reopen the Center Theatre in Banner Elk For the last several years, the business administration senior research class has chosen a group project to tackle and gain practical business experience. Rather than each student working individually on a project, the class forms a business of sorts and works through the process of starting up just as a real company would. In the past, projects have included opening a coffee shop on campus, a comprehensive usage plan for 200 acres of undeveloped property in Banner Elk, and opening a movie theatre in the Cannon Student Center. This year the class is once again pursuing the movie theatre idea, but this time they are focusing their efforts on the old Center Theatre that was operational in Banner Elk from 1949 to 1977. The class is charged with creating a business plan to open and operate the theatre, while determining all the details in between from the projection and sound equipment to company uniforms and policies. “The students are doing research, creating a business plan and an implementation plan, and then they’ll determine if it’s feasible – if the theatre has a real chance for success,” said Professor Forrest Pulley, the course instructor. With subgroups including facilities and operations, marketing, finance, and human resources, the class operates as a real company responsible for everything from initial planning to opening the doors for business, although it’s all conceptual at this point. Members are assigned positions ranging from CEO to brand manager to director

of facilities. “The students will conduct surveys and create financial plans – basically everything you would expect any business to do when starting up,” Pulley explained. Kendall Reese, a senior from Hickory, NC, double majoring in history and business administration, has played a significant role in the project by researching the history of the Center Theatre. Her studies in both business and history made her the best candidate to delve into the theatre’s past. “I didn’t have much to start with, so I had to find people to talk to, but the first few people referred me to others and I began compiling many stories,” said Reese. “The theatre was quite the local hotspot in its day.” Students in the class hope to resurrect the theatre, although donor interest won’t be pursued until the business plan is complete in April. With a presentation to the college and greater community planned for May 10, the students hope to gain enough community interest to continue with the project. “I think the college and the community would benefit from opening the theatre. I’d like to see the theatre keep its name as a link to the past,” Reese said. “I would also like to see the theatre utilize ultra modern equipment while maintaining a nostalgic 1940s feel.” If you have stories you’d like to share about the Center Theatre or would like more information about the project, you can contact Kendall Reese by emailing

Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants broaden cultural horizons on campus Over the years, Lees-McRae has become an increasingly diverse campus, with students traveling from the far reaches of the globe to study at this special place. LeesMcRae students, faculty and staff represent 35 states and US territories and 18 foreign countries. In August 2009, another country was added to that group with the arrival of Essia Belaid, a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) from Tunisia, a country in northern Africa. Belaid is the second FLTA to be hosted by Lees-McRae. Last year, Rashid Al-Hinai from Oman, Jordan, taught Arabic language and culture courses. During her stay (which will conclude in May 2010), Belaid taught Standard Arabic and Arabic Culture in the fall and teaches Elementary French and International Relations and World Culture this spring. “Lees-McRae College has been very fortunate to participate in the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program,” said Professor Michael Vines. “In addition to expanding our foreign language offerings with instruction in Arabic and French, both Rashid and Essia have broadened the cultural horizons of our campus community.” The Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant Program, created in 1938, aims to increase the knowledge of foreign languages and cultures by Americans and offers a unique opporunity for native-speaking teachers to increase their knowlege of the customs and cultures of the United States. FLTAs are assigned to host institutions for one year during which both benefit from the exchange. This year 408 scholars were chosen from 49 countries across the world. The scholars are scattered across 230 colleges and universities in 48 states teaching over 31 different languages. Before her American debut, Belaid, who loves to travel and meet new people, already had many accomplishments under her belt. “The Tunisian high school system is set up so that you can graduate high

school with a major, just like in American colleges. I graduated from high school with a degree in mathematics before I went on to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in American Literature. From there I received my Master’s degree in Cross-Cultural Poetics,” said Belaid. Belaid was also able to take a break from teaching to be a student in two fall semester classes: Intermediate Painting and Social Problems. This spring she is excited to continue her education in General Psychology and Digital Imaging. “The number one objective of the program is for the scholars to share their own culture and learn about American culture. I am required to teach my own languages, and also take classes (at least one about American culture). Then when I return to Tunisia I will share my experience and all that I learned,” said Belaid. During her stay, Belaid visited New York and also took a cross-country road trip to California with four other Fulbright participants. She believes that a large part of the college experience happens outside the classroom. “I am not the type of person who likes to plan. I just let things happen. When I heard about the Fulbright Program I did not think much about it. Then a friend tried the program and told me it would be perfect for me. So I did it. It was like it was meant to be. Even though it was a long process of interviews, exams and essays, everything went very smoothly. “To fully appreciate the program you must be open-minded, willing to learn about American culture and willing to share your own. You also have to be curious and patient. You go through lots of hard times when you travel, when you miss your family, and when you are adjusting to the new culture. LeesMcRae has been a wonderful place for me this year. I have learned so much about myself and my culture,” said Belaid. The Pinnacles Spring 2010 | 7

Senior Dane Garvik is president of his own company Business and marketing student gains real world experience running nine7zero by Megan Hall ’10

While his peers secure internships to gain real-world experience before graduation, you might say senior Dane Garvik has an advantage over his competitors when he enters the job market. Garvik already has years of experience under his belt with a very special company… his own. As a junior at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, Colorado (just 30 miles from the resort town of Aspen), Garvik, with the guidance and support of teacher Hal Templeton, created nine7zero, a company that sponsors local action sports athletes. “The name of the company has a very practical origin. My company sponsors action sports athletes such as mountain bikers, kayakers, snowboarders and skiers. The name of the company nine7zero represents the Colorado area code 970 in which lies the action sports mecca these athletes call home. So we [Hal and I] took the idea and created the logo on an old computer in the school library,” said Garvik with a grin. Garvik, a business major with a marketing concentration, whose outgoing personality and quick wit could also qualify him for a job as a stand-up comic, is a four-year member of the cycling team, senior class vice president and a regular on the Dean’s List. At its inception, the company was merely a logo on the helmet of a young mountain biker – Garvik himself. Now the company has expanded into a mountain bike race team for young developing riders. Six action sports companies, including Spy Optic and Fuel Infected Films, sponsor Garvik’s team. The company also has a relationship with the wellknown energy drink makers Red Bull. “During my freshman year at Lees-McRae nine7zero was put on the backburner while I pursued my degree. Then I realized the company needed a renaissance and it needed to be made legitimate. So I bought out my business partner, Hal Templeton, and started the legal process. I trademarked the company name and logo, and was approved for a Colorado business license,” said Garvik. At that point Garvik’s business was primarily clothing and apparel, which was not utilizing his full range of abilities. Garvik has been an active action sports athlete since he could walk, skiing and riding bikes since the age of three. He then became heavily involved in mountain bike racing as a freshman in high school. “I came to Lees-McRae because I was recruited to be on the cycling team. Unfortunately from the moment I arrived on campus I have been plagued with injury, so I decided to focus my abilities on being a coach and a mechanic,” said Garvik. Garvik has worked for Colorado based Ajax Bike & Sport for the past ten years. Initially he used his income from the bike shop to maintain

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nine7zero. With his knowledge of bikes and his experience with racing, naturally the next step was for Garvik to start his own team. So in the summer of 2009, that is exactly what he did. “I realized I wanted to use my talent as a former racer to help coach up-and-coming riders. So, nine7zero is now primarily known as a junior development race team based out of Colorado. It’s used as a positive support system for kids in Colorado and nationwide who want to expand their abilities on and off the bike,” said Garvik. “The best part of owning a business while being a business major is that I have direct application of the theories and strategies taught in the classroom. I don’t have to think about theoretical business situations, because I am already living in the business world,” said Garvik. Marketing Professor Karen Fritz has been impressed with how many strategies Garvik has executed from her Advertising and Consumer Behavior classes. “Whenever we discuss event marketing, collateral promotional items, logo design or unique buzz marketing techniques, I can count on Dane to show us how he has implemented these for nine7zero,” said Fritz. “It is so amazing that he can demonstrate marketing applications targeted to a younger millennial generation—that actually work!” “By building a successful business, I have the opportunity to show how I am applying my education to real world situations. I do not have to take time away from nine7zero or my education at Lees-McRae. Both actions can work simultaneously without pausing or backtracking. It doesn’t get more real world than that,” said Garvik.

Bobcats finish second in nation in NCAA Div. II Men’s Soccer The Lees-McRae College men’s soccer team came up just short in the 2009 NCAA Division II National Championship Match with a 1-0 loss to Fort Lewis in a physical match at Pepin Stadium in Tampa, FL. The lone goal of the match came in the 78th minute when a Kyle Wood cross found David Barden on the back post to give Fort Lewis the 1-0 win. The Skyhawks outshot the Bobcats 14-11 including 7-3 on frame, but Lees-McRae held a 5-3 corner kick advantage. Sean Paradise made six saves for the Bobcats between the pipes and again kept the Bobcats in the match from his back line for the second time in Tampa. Luke Perry had the Bobcats best chance at a goal in the first half but couldn’t settle the ball to get a quality shot on frame, and in the second half, Berin Boracic’s shot was saved by the Skyhawks keeper right to David Palmer whose shot was saved just outside of the goal by a Skyhawk defender. “I am very proud of what we have done this season,” former head coach Chris Whalley said. “There are 200 something men’s soccer programs in Division II, and we don’t have the most scholarships, the biggest budget, or the biggest school, but we are a family and we work hard together. The support we get from the campus community and the town is outstanding,

and I can’t thank them enough. We had people leave at midnight and drive 14 hours through the night to get here and they were loud from 50-minutes before the match to 20-minutes following the match.” Making the Final Four All-Tournament Team for the Bobcats was midfield Sam Kennedy, goalkeeper Paradise and forward Boracic. The Bobcats’ season ends at 18-3-2 and by far the best season in the school’s and Conference Carolinas’ history. Five seniors ended their careers in Tampa. Goalkeeper Dylan Lawrence, midfielder Ignacio Falco, defender Dale Parker, Paradise and Boracic will go down as Lees-McRae’s most winning class in men’s soccer. The five were 64-15-9 with three Sweet Sixteen trips, two Elite Eight matches, one Final Four match and one National Championship match. Matt Thompson, of Slippery Rock University, takes over as head coach of the Bobcat men’s soccer team this year. Whalley took the position of head coach at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee this spring. For more information on Bobcat Athletics, visit

Bobcats earn All-American honors in fall 2009 season When the fall season came to a close six LeesMcRae College student-athletes were chosen to earn All-American honors for their efforts in the 2009 season. The men’s soccer team finished the season with an impressive 18-3-2 record, which culminated in a loss to Fort Lewis College during the 2009 NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer National Championship. Lees-McRae College was the first Conference Carolinas or Southeast Region member to advance to the national semifinals and finals. Amidst the exhilaration surrounding that incredible game, four players were awarded AllAmerican honors for their performance in the 2009 season: Berin Boracic, Dale Parker, Luke Duffy, and Sean Paradise. Berin Boracic earned Second Team NSCAA All-American and Third Team Daktronics All-American. Boracic was also First Team All-Southeast Region Daktronics and NSCAA selection. The senior had 15 goals and nine assists leading the Bobcats in all categories. Off the field Boracic is a sports management major from Orlando, Florida, and Sarajevo, Bosnia, where he grew up during the conflict in the 1990s. Joining Boracic on the Third Team All-American Daktronics and All-Southeast Region First Team for the NSCAA were defenders Dale Parker and Luke Duffy. Both were stout leaders on the Bobcat back line this season. Parker, a senior from Worksop, England, is a physical education major who is set to graduate in May 2010. After graduation he hopes to play soccer professionally and then give back to sports by teaching and coaching. Aside from

this All-American honor, Parker, a team captain, is a two-time All-American, three-time First team All-Region, three-time First team All-Conference and two-time All-State. Parker is also a member of the men’s golf team. Duffy, a sophomore from Wakefield, England, is a physical education major set to graduate in May 2011. Before receiving All-American honors this season, Duffy was a member of the Doncaster Rovers Youth team. Possibly the biggest star of the season was goalkeeper Sean Paradise. The six foot, 200 pound North Port, Florida, native has become an unstoppable force between the posts, especially during the NCAA Division II semifinals. Paradise, who had .73 goals against average this season, received Honorable Mention AllAmerica from Daktronics and Second Team AllAmerica from the NSCAA – his first time in four seasons earning All-American honors. Paradise was also named All-Southeast Region First Team for the NSCAA. Other previous honors have included First Team All Conference and All Region. However, he is not all play. Paradise will graduate in May 2010 with a degree in criminal justice. Rounding out the award winning soccer team was sophomore midfielder, David Palmer who earned Third Team All-Southeast Region. The women’s soccer team finished the season with a loss to top-seeded Belmont Abbey in the Conference Carolinas Tournament Semifinals, leaving them with a record of 118-1. After the loss, the team received uplifting news. Sophomore outside midfielder Vickie Rich earned Third Team All-American from Daktronics. Rich paced the Lady Bobcats with

fifteen goals and seven assists and was the first Lady Bobcat Women’s Soccer player to earn AllAmerican honors since Lees-McRae joined the Conference Carolinas. Rich was also First Team All-Southeast Region Daktronics and Third Team All-Southeast Region from the NSCAA. An Arlington Heights, Illinois native, Rich is a pre-health major. At home in Illinois she was a member of the peer jury at the Arlington Heights Police Station. The Women’s Volleyball team ended their season with a 29-6 record after they fell to Flagler College in the 2009 Women’s Volleyball NCAA Tournament Southeast Regional. Whitney Justice took home Honorable Mention All-American Honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Justice, who was Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, Second Team All-Southeast Region from Daktronics and First Team All-Southeast Region from the AVCA, led the Lady Bobcats with 386 kills for an average of 3.09 kills per set this season and also led the team with .93 blocks per set with 116 total blocks. Justice was the first Lady Bobcat Volleyball player to earn All-American honors since Lacie Smith was an All-American in 2006. A Connelly Springs, North Carolina, native, Justice is a junior Communication Arts. After graduation she hopes to pursue a career in advertising or design. Also representing women’s volleyball was defensive specialist Luana Rocha, who earned First Team All-Southeast Region honors, as well, from the AVCA. Rocha, who hails from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, is a freshman.

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In the Spotlight Performing Arts at Lees-McRae by Dr. Kacy M. Crabtree

The Early Years: A Brief Overview For nearly 83 years, the performing arts have been an integral part of the cultural environment of Lees-McRae College and its educational mission. As we prepare to celebrate the 110th Anniversary of Lees-McRae College, we, too, recognize and celebrate a long legacy of the arts and its impact on the educational and social development of young men and women. In 1927, the college had a Music Department whose primary focus was on vocal performance and reading music. Students involved in the music department took classes and performed for college events. Students later formed a drama club in October 1932 under the leadership of Ms. Margaret Tufts. The club was later named Green & Gold Masquers which echoed the music and dramatic works of students. During the late 40s and early 50s, the term Thespians was often identified with the Masquers to enhance the status and professionalism of the club. Club sponsorship was always held by a faculty member teaching English. Delta Psi Omega, a national honorary dramatics fraternity, received its charter on September 18, 1940. The chapter was developed with a sole purpose to reward those who have shown special interest and aptitude in the dramatics and theatre production. Membership in this distinguished organization was selectively taken from the Green & Gold Masquers. Play directors, drama and music educators and club sponsors included Dr. Mary Eliason, Miss Laura Bland, Ms. Barbara Evans, Mr. Paul Neal, Mr. Gary Carden, and Mr. Henry L. Martin. Theatre courses between the 1950s to mid-70s comprised of English Dramatics, Drama, Speech, Introduction to Theatre, Oral Interpretation and Drama, Composition and Literature, and performances were more theatrical and classical in nature. While the club experienced a few years of inactivity with minimal dramatic presentations in the early 1960s, music classes and recitals still remained an integral focus of study and performance. Advocacy for the performing arts dates back to the early 70s when faculty member Gary Carden expanded the curriculum by offering a course called Play Production which dealt with all aspects of a dramatic production including lighting, acting, scenery, make-up, costuming and publicity. Theatre productions were used as demonstration workshops, and the course received one credit semester hour that could be repeated one time. However, no more than four hours of drama courses could count towards graduation. After repeated attempts to expand the performing arts curriculum at Lees-McRae College, Mr. Carden resigned in 1974. Educating Lees-McRae students in music and theatre continued to received attention as Dr. Kim Harris and Louis Anne Harris revitalized 10 | The Pinnacles Spring 2010

Delta Psi Omega in 1974 along with the establishment of the college’s first theatre “department.” The dramatic arts continued to have a presence through courses and leadership offered within the Division of Fine Arts and Languages, later renamed the Division of English Language and Literature (70s-late 80s). Productions during this era of time were held exclusively in the Pinnacle Room until the Chaffee Building opened in 1955 where performances, recitals, lectures and special presentations were held. For almost 20 years, Chaffee raised the curtain on four productions per year until Hayes Auditorium was built in 1974, paving way for the next era of performing arts at Lees-McRae College.

Speer Moves the Performing Arts into the 20th Century Janet Barton Speer arrived to the High Country from Louisiana State University in 1976 to be a “Third Century Artist,” which was a Federal Government program. The next year, she filled a one-year vacancy in the Department of Theatre at Appalachian State University. Dr. H.C. Evans, president of Lees-McRae College and Mr. Jim Stonesifer, Academic Dean had observed Dr. Speer’s artistic work and teaching at Appalachian State University , Blue Ridge Community Theatre, public schools, and Horn in the West. Shortly, thereafter, Evans and Stonesifer invited Dr. Speer to join the Lees-McRae faculty and start a performing arts program. Upon her arrival to Lees-McRae College on May 31, 1978, there were only a couple of theatre-based courses, two interested music students and two interested theatre students. Speer’s first course assignments during the 1978-79 academic year included Composition, Chorus, Band and Drama. Majoring in theatre or related arts was not an option in the late 70s and 80s said Speer, “but lots of students from across campus participated in productions including faculty and staff.” Chaffee gradually changed its position on campus and was turned into an administrative office building; however, some play practices still took place in vacant spaces in Chaffee before moving to Hayes Auditorium for performances. On July 17, 1985, Lees-McRae Summer Theatre opened the doors to its first summer production series with I Do! I Do!, The Mousetrap, Coming of Age, and a children’s production, Where Are Friends When You Need Them?, two of which were written by Janet

Speer. The performances were held in Hayes Auditorium, with 3,403 audience members in attendance. The average summer audience has grown to 7,000 people over the years. Under Dr. Speer’s visionary leadership focused on creating a performing arts program that prepares artists to be better mankind, the theatre program grew; the curriculum strengthened to become inclusive of all aspects of theatre, and performance opportunities were wide-spread from the college campus to public schools, from churches to community events. Fiscal, staffing, facility and material resources were enhanced by a supportive administration and a committed group of friends of the theatre, allowing the newly formed Division of Performing Arts to flourish as a flagship program in 1990. For the next ten years, five academic programs were offered within the Division of Performing Arts including Arts Ministry, Dance, Musical Theatre, Theatre Arts and Theatre Arts Education.

A New Era for Performing Arts The year 2000 marked a turning point when the Division of Performing Arts chose to consolidate its majors into two specific majors: Performing Arts Studies and Theatre Arts Education. This decision was made to better prepare our students for an ever-changing job market in the arts and to capitalize on the value of being a generalist, a model that fosters creativity, adaptability and flexibility in society. The Performing Arts Studies program is a competency-based program that is unique in concept, structure, practice and outcomes. Students are prepared to work successfully as creative artists, directors, performers, educators, technicians, arts managers and leaders. Our Theatre Arts Education program has a 100% job placement and continues to provide students with the knowledge and skills to teach theatre in public schools, grades K-12. To capitalize on the uniqueness of the Performing Arts Studies program with a desire to bring back a musical theatre focus, Lees-McRae College and the performing arts faculty sought NAST accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre. Additionally, there was a renewed interest to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre. In March 2007, Lees-McRae College was awarded associate membership making its Musical Theatre, Performing Arts Studies and Theatre Arts Education programs NAST accredited. This is a tremendous milestone for a small liberal arts college. In 2009, the B.F.A. program was fully implemented, and Lees-McRae Summer Theatre celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Through administrative

changes, the Performing Arts Department is currently placed within the Division of Creative and Fine Arts and joins faculty from the Art & Design and Communication Arts programs to create a new collective voice for the arts at Lees-McRae College. The arts are a significant part of the educational and cultural environments on campus and within the local and regional communities. Regardless of the major students choose, studying a broad-based interdisciplinary performing arts curriculum rooted in a liberal arts foundation is valuable to develop skills not only to position students in the workforce but to also become productive members of society. Our graduates are able to engage successfully in the community in which they live and work, while having opportunities to embark on creative and artistic projects. You will find Lees-McRae performing arts graduates working in states known for the arts and in cities including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Since the first class of eight students, Lees-McRae College has graduated over 200 aspiring artists who have obtained employment in some of the most recognized theatre companies across the nation. Graduates have worked in community theatres, dance companies, public schools, arts agencies and other businesses where their arts knowledge and skills have given then a competitive edge in the job market. As we move through the next decade of performing arts at Lees-McRae College, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to the educational mission of the college in preparing young men and women to create and pursue a life of meaning and purpose, focusing on how their craft can serve humanity. The performing arts and Summer Theatre at Lees-McRae College will continue to serve as a catalyst for education, tourism, activism, and community building. Exploring ways to network with other programs on campus and in Banner Elk and Avery County communities remains high on our priority list. And in keeping with the foundation on which the performing arts were built at Lees-McRae College, we are committed to teaching our students to become more socially conscious of how the creative and performing arts are a vehicle for addressing the array of social issues that continue to shape our world. Photos clockwise from top: The cast of Summer Theatre’s peformance of Damn Yankees on stage in summer 2007. This shot is from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a Summer Theatre performance in the 1980s. Lees-McRae students are pictured in an undated photo of an early performance.

The Pinnacles Spring 2010 | 11

Photo by Dr. Michael Joslin

Dr. Barry M. Buxton becomes fifteenth president of Lees-McRae College A proven leader in higher education, Dr. Buxton brings experience to Lees-McRae from a diverse career spanning 35 years during which he has been a teacher, researcher, publisher, editor and community leader. He will leave the Savannah College of Art and Design where he serves as Vice President for Special Projects to assume the presidency of Lees-McRae on June 1, 2010.

“I view this as a special moment in the history of the college. We have a critical opportunity to strengthen the college’s core programs and activities and to articulate a vision for Lees-McRae’s future.” Dr. Barry M. Buxton The Board of Trustees announced the appointment, effective June 1, 2010, of Barry M. Buxton as president of Lees-McRae College. Dr. Buxton becomes the fifteenth president in the 110 year history of the College. Buxton currently serves as Vice President for Special Projects at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he is responsible for major gift solicitation, leadership development, and foundation relations. He also serves as executive liaison to the Savannah, Atlanta, and European Boards of Visitors. “To be part of the Lees-McRae family, working in partnership with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, while providing continuity, stability, and leadership in the president’s office, is an honor and sacred trust. I am especially grateful to the Board of Trustees, Chairman Tommy Brigham ’72, and Interim President Scott Colley, for the support and friendship extended to Debbie and me,” said Dr. Buxton. A native of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, Dr. Buxton has a long history of involvement with institutions of higher education in Appalachia. During the decade of the 1980s, he served as Executive Director of the sixteen-member Appalachian Consortium. In this capacity, he worked with faculty on research projects, scholarly conferences, and publications related to Appalachia. In 1987, he received a distinguished service award from the Blue Ridge Parkway in recognition of the historic studies he conducted of Mabry Mill, Moses H. Cone Estate, Davey Farm, and Brinegar Cabin. Dr. Buxton has served as president of science and history museums in North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia. In Houston, he worked with former President and First Lady George and Barbara Bush and the Harris County Medical Society to establish the Museum of Health and Medical Science. He was vice president of the

North Carolina Grass Roots Science Museums and a co-founder of the Houston Museum District Association. An award-winning author who has written and edited over a dozen books, his centennial history of Blowing Rock, A Village Tapestry, was recognized as the best local history in North Carolina in 1989. In a diverse career spanning 35 years, he has been a teacher, researcher, publisher, editor, and community leader with extensive international experience. He has served as a consultant to such diverse organizations as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Tennessee State Board of Regents, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Texas A&M University. Dr. Buxton is a past member of the North Carolina Humanities Council and the Nebraska Humanities Council. Buxton holds two degrees from Appalachian State University, where he received his teacher certification and was an E.F. Lovill Fellow. His Ph.D. is from the University of Nebraska, and his dissertation was titled “Job Satisfaction of College and University Presidents.” Tommy Brigham, chairman of the Lees-McRae College Board of Trustees, commented that “Dr. Barry Buxton is a proven leader in higher education. With his roots in Appalachia and a strong sense of calling, Dr. Buxton will bring dynamic energy and passion to shaping LeesMcRae now and in the future. I truly believe we have found a remarkable person to lead the college, serve the community, and transform our destiny.” Interim President Scott Colley added, “Our trustees have made an inspired choice. President Buxton will lead us into a great new era.” Throughout his career, Dr. Buxton has received high marks for rolling up his sleeves and

getting involved in community projects. In 2003 he was chosen to serve as Chairman of Savannah’s powerful Convention and Visitors Bureau. When the G-8 Summit of world leaders was held on Sea Island, Georgia in 2004, Buxton was a member of the Host Committee. He was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce executive committee and served on the boards of Bethesda Home for Boys, YMCA, the Lucas Theatre, Historic Savannah Foundation, and the Savannah Economic Development Authority. In North Carolina, he was statewide Chairman of Project Assist (a smoking cessation initiative), and a board member of United Way and the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Buxton is a veteran of the Army National Guard and has been active in his support of military veterans. Dr. Buxton is married to artist Deborah Keyes Buxton and they have two sons: Loren, a technology executive in Nebraska, and Peter, who lives in New York City and works in television and commercial production. Dr. Buxton’s avocational interests include tennis, bicycling, and landscape architecture. “The opportunity to serve as Lees-McRae’s president is a calling I could not ignore. It’s where God wants me to be. It’s where we’re intended to serve next and we’re thrilled to be returning to our roots in Appalachia. This is a wonderful chance to give back to the place and the people we love,” said Dr. Buxton. To learn more about Dr. Buxton, log on to our website at Mark your calendars for the Inauguration of Dr. Buxton as fifteenth president of Lees-McRae College Saturday, October 2, 2010, during Homecoming Weekend.

Photos from left: Dr. Buxton, an avid cyclist, is shown after climbing the famous Mount Ventoux in association with the Tour de France. Dr. Buxton and wife, Debbie, at a SCAD event. Dr. Buxton pauses for a photo under a cherry tree in Lacoste, France, during a visit to SCAD’s campus. Also avid tennis players, Barry and Debbie Buxton were mixed doubles champions in 2001. Dr. Barry Buxton addresses the audience at SCAD’s graduation ceremony.

Lees-McRae and the Virtue of Necessity Academic programs boast creativity and quality through synergy Dr. Michael Joslin examines how maximizing resources often gives Lees-McRae’s graduates a competitive edge. Throughout the country, colleges and universities are experiencing profound shifts in how they do business. Present day economic realities have required drastic cutbacks and layoffs from the Ivy League to huge state universities. While Lees-McRae is not immune to recession’s effects, years of experience have created a culture in which often less is more. From the beginning of Edgar Tufts fireside school, our founder adapted his teaching to the resources available, and his lessons have become part of the institution’s heritage. Later, when the boys’ department at Plum Tree burned down, becoming co-ed solved the problem, maximizing resources and eliminating duplication. Today two programs at Lees-McRae exemplify the “less is more” heritage of the college. The communication arts major and the English major show creativity and quality through synergy. Both are excellent bargains for the school and wonderful preparation for future careers for the students. Each major maximizes our resources while giving students significant advantages over their peers in more well-endowed institutions. Faculty, administration and staff collaborated in 2000 to create the communication arts major. Before the word “convergence” became the buzzword in the communications industry, we designed a major built on the concept. Integrating courses we already had in the catalog, such as writing courses from English, web and electronic publishing courses from technology, and art and design courses from the art program, we constructed a major that gives students strong theoretical grounding in interpersonal and mass communications and art and design on which to add specific skills and knowledge needed. Courses in writing, photography, digital imaging, videography, film production, electronic publishing, web design and multi-media presentations provide the students with expertise in a broad array of marketable skills. In addition, each student must serve an internship in the communications industry and develop a creative senior project. Unlike other schools where students must choose a single path in the communication field to follow, Lees-McRae sends its graduates into the world well-prepared to evolve with a constantly changing profession. You are looking at an excellent example of the success of our communication arts major; this and the last edition of The Pinnacles, have been created by one of our graduates, Meghan Wright ’06. “I use skills I learned in almost every class I took in the program,” says Meghan, as she sits at her desk surrounded by the tools of her trade—a Mac computer, other monitors, pens, papers, tear-sheets, etc. “For instance, putting together the alumni magazine, The Pinnacles. I have to write, edit, design, layout, and take and edit photographs. “Each course gave me important skills. For example, journalism. Everything I learned in journalism I use on a weekly basis, from feature writing to press releases to interview skills and layout.” Meghan also works with the IT staff to keep the school’s web presence strong, and she plans to create an end-of-the-year video to send out to 14 | The Pinnacles Spring 2010

major constituents to highlight college achievements. Communicating clearly is highly prized by today’s employers. Communications skills are ranked first among the traits employers look for in job candidates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2009 report. With this fact in mind, LeesMcRae’s English faculty revised the major this fall to emphasize writing and speaking as the foundations for the program. While students still have a broad array of traditional literature courses to choose from, the required courses emphasize writing and speaking. And to achieve maximum efficiency, the courses duplicate requirements in the communication arts major, the education major and the business major. One course required by the English major, the communication arts major and the education major is Advanced Research and Composition. The course is taught by Russell Taylor, director of the Carson Library. Besides his training which led to a Master’s of Library and Information Systems degree, Taylor has a strong background in technology, having served as director for institutional technology and as a corporate support technician for Microsoft. He teaches students all facets of research, including Internet, databases and traditional library research, as well as requiring three written research papers and oral presentation through a debate. The communication arts major, the English major and the business administration major also share a writing course. Business Communications prepares students for using their skills in the workplace. According to Forrest Pulley, chair of the Business Division, such collaboration among majors is an excellent use of resources by having a course serve multiple objectives, allowing students from different majors to share a variety of perspectives, and increasing efficiency for the college by having a higher number of students in classes. While many higher education institutions have responded to the recession by cutting programs, Lees-McRae has simply followed the paradigm established by Edgar Tufts and increased synergy by encouraging collaboration across campus to achieve maximum efficiency of college resources.

January-Term Travel and Service Bobcats boarded planes and hit the road, learning and serving in other parts of the world I don’t often quote framed inspirational wall-decorations, but according to one in my colleague’s office a guy named Confucius once said: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Well, this Confucius character would have been pretty happy to be a Lees-McRae student in January. As temperatures dropped and snow fell in Banner Elk, four groups of students took off to four different countries on three different continents, seeking just the kind of “doing” that would lead to better understanding of our world. These were January-Term travel courses and service trips, offering students the opportunity to earn academic credit and/or perform service while engaging with another culture and environment. Such trips serve a vital role in helping students broaden their horizons, think expansively, make connections across disciplines, and ultimately, discover more about themselves. This year, thanks to our ambitious faculty and staff, we were able to offer four stellar trips to diverse locations: • Dr. Fiona Chrystall led students to Fiji to conduct biology research on the world’s fourth largest reef and enjoy a cultural experience they won’t soon forget. • Caroline Garrett, a former Lees-McRae faculty member, and Kathy Campbell, Lees-McRae’s former chaplain, led students to Prague, where they explored the subtle interaction of art, culture, politics and spirituality. • Coach Jamie Petrik led a group to Guatemala to continue the relationship Lees-McRae has developed with the remote village of Chinatal. This was the fourth such trip, continuing a wonderful tradition of service, spiritual development and fun. • Dr. Janet Speer led a group of Performing Arts students to New York (that’s a different country, right?) to engage in theatre workshops, attend live theatre events, and explore the museums of one of the world’s most exciting and diverse cities. Read more about Fiji and Prague on the following pages, and enjoy the photos and reflections from all the trips! Scott Crawford, Director of the Global Community Center

“Our trip to NYC was great! It was my first time in the city, and staying at the Big Apple Hostel was fun. The trip allowed us to experience everything from meeting Anne Bogart (pictured above) to making a Broadway stage debut with the cast of Hair and so much more!” Tonya Patterson

“This opportunity to travel to Fiji opened many doors for me including tropical island adventures and a potential job with a south pacific tour guide agency. It was the trip of a lifetime!” Brandon Marks

“On this trip I discovered that I am more comfortable in varied situations than I thought. It also confirmed that I really enjoy using my hands to help others. The time spent in Guatemala allowed me to reflect on who I’ve become as a person, and I’m really happy with who that is.” Karissa Sampson

“The Prague trip was amazing. We were there for ten days, and we were able to go into several museums along with the Old Jewish Cemetery. The ten days wrapped up with meeting Dr. Henry Kabat. It was so much fun, and I am glad that I have made new friends from the trip.” Megan McClellan The Pinnacles Spring 2010 | 15

Life on the Reef

A January-Term Trip to

When Lees-McRae natural science professor Fiona Chrystall led a travel course to January…student recruitment was not the problem. Twelve students (and I) had rushed to sign up. The harder part was convincing everyone else that the trip was not just an elaborate scheme to escape the Banner Elk winter. “It looks like you snorkel every day,” my wife pointed out, perusing the itinerary. “Well, we’re researching life on the reef,” I replied, a bit defensively. “And there’s an awful lot of sea kayaking.” “Kadavu has no roads. That’s how we’ll get around.” “And cliff jumping?” “Well, you know, geology and stuff…” (raised eyebrow) “…well, we have to have some fun while we’re there.” “Uh-huh. And Day Five: swimming under a waterfall?” Okay, I see their point. But as someone who has led travel courses for fifteen years, I had no doubt about the academic value a trip like this would offer. How better to study marine life than to snorkel the fourth largest barrier reef in the world—especially when supplemented with pre-departure prep meetings and lectures at the University of the South Pacific once we arrived? But what I hadn’t counted on—and what the printed itinerary could never convey—was the depth of the cultural experience we would receive. For this, we have to thank the people of Kadavu, the remote island where we spent much of our trip, and our guide company, Tamarillo Tropical Expeditions. With no roads or permanent power sources and few tourists (we saw six in ten days), Kadavu consists of traditional villages subsisting on surrounding forests and reefs. For fourteen years, Tamarillo has cultivated relationships with Kadavu’s villages and families. The company invests in the local economy, hiring native guides and even having their t-shirts manufactured in Fiji. The result of such an approach in such a place is one of unparalleled authenticity. For ten days on Kadavu we lived like locals, experiencing the island through the lives of the people, not through someone else’s filter. We stayed on a farm where we slept on mats in a bure (a thatched hut), camped at local “resorts” (not the right word, but I’m not sure what to call a collection of family-built huts powered by a generator), and slept on the floor of a chief’s house in the village of Vacalea. We gathered food in the forest, spearfished on the reef, and learned that the village would be wise not to rely on us for food. We wove baskets, prepared meals in a traditional lovo (earth oven), and studied Fijian language. We played volleyball with the men and frisbee with the children. We held a feast to celebrate the circumcision of a chief’s son, and sang and drank kava—a drink made from a root and served in a 16 | The Pinnacles Spring 2010

coconut shell—each night with our hosts. And, yes, we snorkeled and kayaked, but we did so with Fijian guides who showed us more than where we were going. And, yes, we went cliff jumping, but as I told my wife: It is one thing to jump off a cliff beside a waterfall. It is quite another to do so with local children, whose fathers had just invited you to a kava ceremony to welcome you to their village. Don’t believe me? Just ask Brandon Marks, a Lees-McRae senior lacrosse player and business major, who so embraced Fijian culture he was offered an internship by Tamarillo, which he will fulfill this summer. Finally, you know a travel course has been successful when upon returning students continue to engage in work related to the experience. To return the kindness shown to us, our students are raising funds to purchase needed farm equipment for the village of Vacalea—adding a service-learning component to complement their academic research. Not bad for something that started out as an elaborate scheme to avoid the Banner Elk winter. Wait, did I say that? Photos clockwise from top: James Schreiber relaxes in a hammock and reads over notes in his reflection journal. Senior Brandon Marks helps prepare a celebratory dinner, braiding fish inside of a palm frond to be placed on the fire. Part of the group hits the clear, blue water to snorkel for the afternoon as part of their research.

In January, five Lees-McRae students, a pastor, and an art professor left freezing weather in Banner Elk and arrived in Prague to find – would you believe it? –snow! Indeed it was cold, and our luggage would be lost for two more days, but we had arrived in Prague and nothing could freeze our excitement! The students came from different majors, but shared a willingness to broaden their perspective on art, politics, culture and spirituality. For academic credit, they responded to site-specific assignments in a sketchbook, gathered insights for a final essay, and created an expressive art project related to their experiences. We stayed at the International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS), an 18th century estate which served as an interrogation post for Nazis and Communists before being purchased in 1996 by IBTS. Each day started in our classroom, where we previewed that day’s visits to specific sites. Reverend Kathy Campbell, Lees-McRae’s former chaplain, provided us with prayerful guidance before I led us in meditation and the art of creating a mandala (a technique using a circle as a sacred space in which inspired imagery forms) related to some spiritual aspect of our itinerary. For example, we focused on the illuminating aspect of light before a tour of St. Vitus Cathedral, with its famous stained glass windows. We focused another morning on the uplifting quality of sound and vibration before attending an organ concert at the Strahov Monastery. We focused on the power of a symbol or word the day we visited Prague’s Jewish Quarter, where we toured the Pinkas Synagogue, reading the names of 80,000 Holocaust victims written on its walls. We created mandalas expressing gratitude for our American freedoms before spending two days with Dr. Henry Kabat, a cultural psychology professor who was raised in Prague during the Communist regime, witnessed the famous “Velvet Revolution” of 1989, and later served in the government and helped recover works of art lost or stolen during the two previous regimes. Dr. Kabat’s stories demonstrating the Catholic Church’s role in protecting people of faith while keeping the appearance of conformity to Communist demands revealed the courage and compassion required of Czech citizens. Visits to the Communist Museum and Lennon Wall highlighted art’s

role in propaganda. “Socialist Realism” was the preferred Communist style, depicting strong, heroic people laboring for the “betterment of the society.” The Lennon Wall, a tribute to the Czech love of freedom of expression, was a phenomenon of the 1980s when John Lennon was a folk hero for Czech youth, and it remains a palette for public comments today. Two of our students added their names to the wall while we were there. Prague boasts a unique architectural history spanning centuries. Despite multiple invasions most buildings have survived intact. Thus, it is possible to stand in one spot and view architecture from Romanesque, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau periods with one panoramic sweep — a thousand years of history visible to the eye! As we trudged over snowy cobblestones, marched to the Metro, and jumped aboard trams, we recorded our impressions. We passed 14th century monuments and bridges interspersed with contemporary art, such as hand-carved marionettes, glass designs, a statuary homage to Franz Kafka, a building that curved like a dancing couple called the “Fred and Ginger building,” and a series of bronze figures disappearing up a hill entitled “In Memory of Communism.” Our travels invested us with an understanding of history and politics embodied in art, viewed through a lens of spirituality. We looked deeply and saw the art of a culture that values freedom and expresses its values through humor, intelligence and beauty. As for the immediate impact of our travels, our two history majors remain excited about history, while one wants to further investigate World War II. Our education major plans to incorporate mandalas into her teaching. Our undeclared major is now considering a career in art, and our International Studies major will return to Prague this summer to study Czech! Meanwhile, Reverend Campbell and I will continue our journeys in art and spirituality, making connections to the global community. The Pinnacles Spring 2010 | 17

Mastering the

Art of Photography by Meghan Wright ’06 Photography by Watson-Studios

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the camera’s ability to capture emotion in a way that no other medium can. The camera has the power to freeze time and emotion, no matter how fleeting. And sometimes the viewer is able to feel something too. That’s what first attracted me to the art of photography and is what continues to inspire the work we do today. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity, to witness insanely beautiful and personal moments. Natalie McGuiness Watson ’00, Watson-Studios blog-site entry, January 17, 2010

18 | The Pinnacles Spring 2010

There’s something to be said for finding your calling. That’s one of the reasons why Natalie McGuiness Watson, class of 2000, feels so blessed. Although now she is one half of the husband and wife team behind Knoxville, Tennessee’s WatsonStudios, Natalie didn’t always know that photography was her destiny. But Lees-McRae helped her get there. “Growing up I guess I had always been curious about photography. On a whim, the summer after high school, I bought a brand new Pentax K1000 with the money my uncle gave me for graduation,” said Natalie. “It was about $400, which was definitely a big purchase for me then – plus I had no clue how to use it. It was 100 percent manual! Looking back I feel like that spontaneous or instinctive moment was the start of everything for me.” When Natalie came to Lees-McRae in the fall of 1996, she enjoyed photography as a hobby, but credits her experience at Lees-McRae as helping her find her niche. “Lees-McRae was one of the best decisions I ever made. I got average grades in high school and I didn’t have the most academic reason for wanting to go there,” said Natalie. “I went for the skiing,” she added, with a guilty grin. Natalie was a member of the college’s ski team for a couple of years. But after her mother threatened to bring her back home to Knoxville and make her attend the University of Tennessee if she didn’t keep her grades up, Natalie knew she had to work harder. So, after a high school career in which her effort would come and go with little difference in results either way, as she remembers it, she worked really hard in all of her classes at Lees-McRae and it paid off. “I had no idea that with hard work and the right learning environment with small class sizes and teachers that showed a genuine interest in my success, I could achieve the goals I set for myself. That gave me the confidence to go further,” Natalie continued. While her efforts increased, so did her love for photography. And although purchasing that first manual Pentax film camera mentioned above may have been the start of her love for photography, the course she enrolled in at Lees-McRae sealed the deal. “I really fell in love with photography when I took Dr. [Michael] Joslin’s class for the first time my sophomore year. Like many others who have the now rare privilege of working in a darkroom, the first time I saw an image come to life in the developer tray, I felt like I had seen magic.” Natalie went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in English Communications at Lees-McRae and continued with photography after graduation, working for two newspapers in the area. “During my senior year, Dr. Joslin suggested I do an internship at the Avery Journal, which later turned into a job. He also recommended me for my first job at the Mitchell News Journal – he was a pretty pivotal person in helping me start my career,” Natalie said. “During the first week of my internship at the Avery Journal they put one of my photos on the front page of the paper with a

byline, and I was hooked!” She went on to work at the Avery Journal where she moved from sports editor to assistant editor and then to managing editor. “From the time my first photograph was published, I worked hard on my photographs, and after a couple of years, I had won a few NC Press Association awards for photography and design. That’s where I started to feel like I wanted photography to be my primary job – so I just went for it!” And went for it she did. Natalie set her sights on the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she earned a Master’s degree in photography and met her husband and business partner, Dan. However, it wasn’t smooth sailing from day one. “I had only taken two classes [in photography], and those were years before. Also, I had been working in digital for the last few years at the paper. Almost everything I did [at SCAD] was film, traditional darkroom and alternative processes.” Realizing she needed a refresher course to get on track with classmates who had undergraduate degrees in photography, Natalie called on her resources at Lees-McRae. “I definitely cried a lot the first week when I realized what I had gotten myself into. I came back to Banner Elk a week or so after the first day of class and actually had Dr. Joslin give me a crash course in developing film again! Once I felt comfortable, SCAD was great. I worked really hard and feel like I grew a lot as a photographer there, but the best part was meeting my husband Dan.” Embarking on their third season in business together, the husband and wife team of Watson-Studios looks forward to another successful year. “Everything is going better than we could ever have hoped for. Our business has grown exponentially over the last two years. We were voted Best Photographer in Knoxville in just our second year in business, and we are currently finalists in an international wedding photography competition, Top Knots by PDN Magazine. The best part is that we’ve both been 100% self-employed for almost three years now!” So what gives Watson-Studios an advantage over other wedding and portrait photographers? “I think what sets Dan and me apart from others is that we are a collaborative team,” Natalie said. “We never get stale because one of us is always bringing ideas to the table and pushing the other to go further. I think that is the secret behind our success. We need each other.” Both Natalie and Dan tried their hands at other types of photography but found that wedding and children’s portrait photography are the most rewarding. “People seem to appreciate it so much, and the photographs truly become precious heirlooms for our clients,” Natalie said. “I am constantly reminded that we are capturing truly important moments for people that will hopefully be passed down from generation to generation, and I just love that!” You can see more examples of Watson-Studios’ award-winning work at

The Pinnacles Spring 2010 | 19

Class Notables

Macon Dunnagan ’81 pens second novel about Mount Kilimanjaro, departs for thirteenth ascent of his beloved mountain When Macon Dunnagan ’81 was a student at Lees-McRae sitting in Mary White’s class, little did he know that her powerful words of encouragement would actually come true someday. She told him that once he found something he could “truly believe in and be inspired by” he’d be able to write about it. Dunnagan never forgot Mary White’s words. He is a published author, and the name of his first book is Sons of Kilimanjaro. Dunnagan made his first climb to the top of Africa’s tallest mountain ten years ago and in February 2010, made his 13th accent—now as a guide for others. He is motivated by experiencing Mt. Kilimanjaro through the eyes of others discovering it for themselves. As a guide, Dunnagan is quite thorough with his clients about what to expect, but says, “I try not to take away the mystery of the accent— we have fun.” Sons of Kilimanjaro is an account of his first climb. When reading it, he makes you feel like you are on “the mountain” with him. While Sons of Kilimanjaro is an accurate account of his first climb, the book has been updated to fit the cultural climbing changes that have occurred on the mountain since his first accent. One of the changes is stunning—ten years ago, he had to use a landline to call back to the US at $32 per minute. Nowadays, everyone in Moshi, Tanzania, has a cell phone. Sons of Kilimanjaro ends in such a way that Dunnagan has been asked numerous times about what happened to the guys in his group, which was the inspiration for his second book, Sons Rising.

Dunnagan details in this second book what happened after the first climb and how the experience changed their lives. Even with his travels back and forth and around the world, Macon has fond memories of his time at Lees-McRae: snow skiing and the opportunity to hear and learn from speakers during College Programs. Yes, College Programs! If Dunnagan were speaking to students during a College Program he would tell them to “get out of their comfort zone, think outside the box with their lives.” Macon lives in Charlotte with his wife, Nancy, two teenagers and pets. They bought their home from one of his Lees-McRae classmates. He works for USAir and claims he has no intention of ever retiring! He will be traveling back to “his” mountain in September to guide three climbs through Zara Tours. Macon is reachable through his Facebook account—be sure to identify yourself as connected to Lees-McRae. Read the critique of his book on Mary White would be proud.

Greg Paulson ’02 will earn Ph.D. in New Testament and Christian Origins from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland For one Lees-McRae alumnus, the desire to follow in the footsteps of his college professors has taken him on an academic journey of divine proportions. Greg Paulson, a Florida native and 2002 graduate of Lees-McRae, will soon be granted his Doctor of Philosophy degree in New Testament and Christian Origins from New College School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. “The personal interest in the subject matter that I saw reflected in my religion professors sparked my own curiosity in the subject,” said Paulson. “When I began to seriously consider my career options, I couldn’t help but want to attain the same level of pedagogy I saw in them and other professors at Lees-McRae. I knew I was interested in teaching and in critical study of the Bible, so the best fit for me was to teach biblical studies. I began communication with [Professors] Kenneth Craig and Michael Vines, and they answered any questions I had about how to pursue such a career,” Paulson continued. His journey began with a Bachelor of Science degree in religious studies from Lees-McRae. Paulson knew then he would need to save money in order to pursue graduate and postgraduate degrees. In 2003 he moved to Atlanta and began saving by working at a photo shop to finance graduate school. Although he was primarily interested in an academic route, his desire to combine critical study of the Bible in a Christian environment steered him to the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program at McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta. “I was also keen on McAfee because the M.Div. offered there had an option for a concentration in academic research, where I would write a Master’s thesis,” Paulson said. After three years at Mercer that included taking a wide array of theological, pastoral and historical Christianity courses, Paulson set his sights on a European Ph.D. primarily because he wanted to focus on writing rather than several more years of classes. “At the University of Edinburgh, and most European post-graduate programs, the degree consists of dissertation only and no required coursework, although competency must be proved. I found a school with professors whose areas of interest were similar to mine and were enthusiastic about my dissertation idea. The school itself is rich with history and the amount of resources was great enough for me to complete my proposed 20 | The Pinnacles Spring 2010

dissertation topic: scribal tendencies in early manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew,” Paulson said. Research students such as Paulson are encouraged to offer papers at seminars and conferences in the UK and overseas. Paulson has presented four such papers, which he considers his greatest academic achievements to date. He has presented papers at a post-graduate conference for biblical studies students from Scottish Universities; at the European Society for Textual Scholarship conference in Brussels, Belgium; at the annual Society of Biblical Literature conference held in New Orleans last year; and most recently at a seminar in Tübingen, Germany. “Each paper that I presented at the conferences was a portion from my dissertation. The feedback and engagement of the attendees has helped shape my research,” Paulson explained. “I hope to continue to present my work at similar conferences in the future.” Paulson is currently in the middle of a six-month exchange at the University of Tübingen in Germany. “Those who pursue a degree in post-graduate biblical studies are expected to be proficient in modern German and/or French,” said Paulson. “My first extended trip to Germany was in 2006 when I spent two months at the Goethe Institute, a German language school in Göttingen.” The exchange is intended for Paulson to further develop his German language skill and utilize resources at the libraries. When Paulson earns his Ph.D. this fall, he plans to return to the states and apply for a teaching position at a college or university. “My ultimate goal for academics is twofold: teaching and researching. I would like to help educate students about the New Testament and the Bible in general and instill in them the ability for critical thinking. In my research, I would like to continue to analyze biblical manuscripts because so little is known about their origin,” Paulson said.

Class Notables

Adaptive Snowsports Natalie Burns ’08 makes dreams come true on the slopes When nearly 200 people converged at Ski Beech for the 29th Annual Adaptive Snowsports Learn to Ski Clinic this past January, Lees-McRae alumna Natalie Burns ’08 couldn’t have been more excited to be in attendance. Although it wasn’t her first time participating in the event, her involvement this year was much more meaningful. Burns took over as director of the Beech Adaptive Snowsports Center last winter, and taught adaptive ski techniques during the four-day clinic alongside some of the country’s best instructors including the event’s coordinators Gene Gamber, ski program director of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, and Al Kaye, director of the Patricia Neal Innovative Recreation Cooperative out of Knoxville, TN. The Adaptive Snowsports Learn to Ski Clinic at Ski Beech, sponsored by Disabled Sports USA, gives individuals of all abilities the chance to learn to ski. Many individuals with disabilities and/or special needs are able only to experience the excitement and freedom of skiing in a form adapted to their needs with the use of equipment including mono-skis and bi-skis. Burns, who has worked as a ski and snowboard instructor at Ski Beech for the last five years, began working in adaptive snowsports at Ski Beech when she was introduced to it by Dee Thomas three years ago. Thomas was then the director of the program at Ski Beech, and was working part-time as director of Outdoor Programs at Lees-McRae. Last winter Burns, who was then a volunteer with the program, and Thomas traveled together to Breckenridge, CO, to attend Ski Spectacular, hosted at the Breckenridge Ski Resort, where they received training in adaptive skiing. Burns knew right away she wanted to continue with the program. When Thomas began working at LeesMcRae full-time, she knew she wouldn’t be able to continue in her role as director of the program. Burns voiced her interest in taking over the program, and Thomas knew she was ready for the job. “When Natalie said she was interested in taking over the program, I was thrilled. Because of her personality and her drive, she was the perfect choice to take over the program,” Thomas said. Although Burns is much younger than most of her counterparts at other ski resorts, her passion and commitment make up for the seeming lack of years in the industry. “Teaching is a passion for me. I believe in the idea of making dreams and possibilities limitless,” said Burns.

And that’s exactly what she does on the slopes at Ski Beech. One volunteer with the program is George Gillespie, a Lees-McRae student who is confined to a wheelchair. Without adaptive snowsports, Gillespie would not have been able to experience the thrill of skiing. “My favorite part is going fast,” he said. “I also really like the view from the top of the mountain.” Burns enjoys the lessons equally as well. “Each new lesson is a new challenge and great experience!” said Burns. She traveled again this winter to Breckenridge for more training in adaptive snowsports, working toward her Level I adaptive ski instructor certification. Burns got her start with disabled sports with her youth group many years ago. They would visit nursing homes and rehabilitation centers and work with patients. It was during that time that Burns realized she had a passion for working with people with special needs. “Working with people who don’t have able bodies, and taking them beyond their limits is awesome,” she said. “I learn so much from the students I work with. It reminds me how fortunate I am.” Burns, who graduated from Lees-McRae in 2008, majored in pre-veterinary biology, and ultimately wants to pursue a career in massage therapy for large breed animals. But those dreams will have to wait because she’s really happy with what she’s doing now. “The students keep you going, and the smiles are so rewarding. The first time you take a student down the slopes and they feel the freedom of skiing, you can see how happy it makes them.” After the ski season ends, Burns hopes to work with other types of adaptive sports including wakeboarding, cycling and white water rafting. She has opportunities to go to Tennessee, California, Utah and Colorado to work in adaptive sports. “I really feel like I am living the life!” she said. Burns, who describes herself as a born athlete, credits her family for her active lifestyle, and Lees-McRae for her independence and helping her find who she is. “You’ve got to love what you do! I couldn’t ask for more. I’ll work in adaptive sports as long as I’m able, then I’ll figure out what to do from there,” Burns said. “I live my life without fear, because fear can cause you to miss out on a lot of things!” The Pinnacles Spring 2010 | 21

Alumni Class Notes Lees-McRae alumni are doing so many great things we couldn’t share them all in this issue! Visit for news on other friends and classmates. We want to share your latest news and accomplishments too! Visit to submit updates for the next issue of The Pinnacles.

1950s Harry B. Blevins ’55 became principal of a high school after teaching and coaching for 11 years, and retired after a total of 34 years. He is currently a member of the Senate of Virginia, having served since 1998 in the General Assembly.

1960s Bill Harrold ’60 worked for the Wilkes County Board of Education as a high school teacher at East Wilkes High School for 31 years. He has now retired to his farm and occupies his time by traveling and fishing. Ronald Leon Moore ’62 is chairman, president and CEO of Bank of Floyd in Floyd, VA, chairman of Virginia Small Business Finance Authority appointed by former Governor Tim Kaine, and is a member of American Bankers and Virginia Bankers Government Relations Councils. Donald C. Wall ’64 is the Director of Iredell County Department of Social Services. He has worked 42 years with North Carolina state employment. Dr. Joyce Williams Bergin ’67 has been named Assistant Dean for the College of Education at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) in Savannah, GA. Dr. Bergin is also a full professor in the Department of Special and Adult Education. She has been a member of the faculty at AASU since 1992.

1970s Bill Rudisill ’70 resides in Wilmington, NC, and is a co-owner of hotels including Hampton Inn Medical Park Wilmington, Hampton Inn Wilmington University, Residence

Inn Chapel Hill and Hilton Garden Inn Southpoint Durham.

1980s Frank Thomas ’81 is a former high school football coach and economics teacher and was success coordinator for 17 years. He is now the owner of Innovations Fitness South of Atlanta in McDonough, GA. Michael Eades ’83 was recently inducted into the Princeton (WV) High School Hall of Fame for basketball. He has been a respected basketball referee for 11 years in the Atlantic Coast Conference and other conferences and was named “Referee of the Year” in the ACC in 2006. He played collegiate basketball at LeesMcRae and UNC-Greensboro. Lynn Vance Hinshaw ’83 was named Registrar at Lees-McRae College in December 2009. She formerly served as Director of Extended Campus Programs and Director of Admissions. Anne Reynolds Brock ’84 and Gerald Brock ’84 reside in Apex, NC. Gerald just celebrated his 24th year with the Cary Post Office, and Anne has worked for the Town of Apex for more than 11 years. Jun Tsuruta ’84 lives in San Antonio, TX, with his wife Kim and daughter Kinsey. He now works as the Director of Supply Chain for Lockheed Martin. They moved to San Antonio after 11 years in Kingwood, TX, near Houston, where Jun worked for Continental Airlines. Nick Farr ’87 of Anderson, SC, made the long list of nominations for the Grammy for Best New Age Album this year for his sixth album called “The Ever Present Now”, that

debuted at No. 1 in January 2009. Chris Heagle ’89 lives in Cary, NC, where he works as a Communications Officer for the Cary Police Department, a position he’s held for 15 years.

1990s Tamara Brown Levi ’97 graduated with a Ph.D. in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2006. She is assistant professor of history at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL. Erick Bayne ’98 is a Correctional Lieutenant for the Department Of Corrections in the largest facility in Delaware. He performs in local events and community theater in the area, including starring as Juan Peron in EVITA and recently auditioned for America’s Got Talent.

2000s Brandon Young ’02 recently moved from Spruce Pine, NC, to Hampton, TN. He works as a school counselor at Buladean School and Tipton Hill School in Mitchell County, NC. Adam Roberts ’04 has been the Activity Manager for the Parks and Recreation Department for the Town of Carrboro for the past two years. He is also a member of the Great Atlantic Lacrosse Club. Jaime Workman ’04 received a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in May 2008. She currently works in Toronto, Ontario, as an inpatient physical therapist, specializing in neurology rehabilitation. Randy Ragland ’05 was named head football coach for West Johnston High School in Benson, NC.

In Remembrance


Jean Brown Palermo ’26 – 1.28.2010 Cleo Pannell Phillips ’35 – 12.3.2009 John C. Winegar ’31 – 5.29.2009 Sarah Palmer Cottrell ’39 – 7.9.2002 Cyrus J. Wilson, Jr. ’40 – 8.12.09 Rosamond Bartlett Clay ’43 – 10.15.2009 John W. McNeely, Jr. ’49 – 1.26.2010 Donald Leroy Allen ’51 – 10.25.2009 Fred C. Miller ’51 – 12.10.2009 22 | The Pinnacles Spring 2010

William D. “Bill” Troxler ’48 – 12.2.2009 Helen Elrob ’53 – 11.15.2009 Martha Minter Terrell ’53 – 1.12.2010 Trula Bennett ’56 – 10.28.2008 Becky Setzer Biggs ’58 – 12.31.2009 Ralph Fortune ’78 – 10.4.2009 Robert Harold Wellman ’64 – 4.19.2009 Lee Richard Herrmann ’86 - 6.11.2008 Amy Frizsell Cockerhand ’10 – 12.4.2009

Mackenzie Clevenger ’07 and a friend received a $20,000 grant given through Community Partnership for Arts and Culture in Cleveland, OH. With the grant, they plan to travel to Thailand and Cambodia where they will partner with organizations to help combat the issue of sex trafficking and help provide opportunities for young girls to live in safe environments. They will perform choreographed dances for children in schools and private homes hoping to open doors of discussion. Justin C. Hall ’07 recently appeared as a lead actor in Twin City Stage’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in Winston-Salem. Tyler Steiber ’08 is employed with the United States Secret Service. Sara Travis ’08 is currently working at the Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach, FL, as an education specialist. She develops and presents animal education shows to young children at the Zoo and at schools. Samantha Waisner ’08 is working as a full-time substitute teacher at E. Lawson Brown Middle School. She is also coaching softball there and going back to school to get her teaching degree at Catawba College. Shaquera Alls ’08 accepted a position as an Admissions Specialist at Lees-McRae on June 25, 2009. She is currently pursuing a Master of Education degree in School Counseling at Liberty University and serves as the Youth Director at Crossnore Presbyterian Church in Crossnore, NC.

Friends Charles T. “Thad” Herndon III – 1.23.2010 Kay L. Mauchin – 1.9.2010 Sally Bergman Robb – 12.26.2009 Dr. S. J. “Sam” Whalen – 11.10.2009

Summer at Lees-McRae We have several opportunities for entertainment, enrichment and enjoying the mountains this summer!

Alumni Frolic Week July 9-18, 2010

Come and spend a week with us and enjoy the beauty that is summer in the mountains! We have events planned for each day including trips to Blowing Rock and historic Jonesborough, TN, the annual Alumni Banquet, the Alumni Arts and Crafts Show, blueberry picking, class reunions, a Tate Lawn cookout, and so much more! We have day camps for kids and teens, and there is plenty of free time to relax and enjoy the wonderful summer weather. Look for information in the mail in April with a full schedule of events, or log on to our website at

Summer Courses at the Stephenson Center for Appalachia The Stephenson Center for Appalachia offers summer courses for credit or enrichment that explore the mountains and culture of Appalachia. For information about registering for the couses, contact the Office of Academic Affairs. Appalachian Ecology Dr. Stewart Skeate May 24 - June 4

Integrating Photography and Writing in Appalachian Feature Stories Dr. Michael Joslin June 7-11

Appalachian Documentary Production Mr. Jesse Knight June 14 - August 12

Appalachian Women: Keepers of Tradition Ms. Kathy Olson June 14 - July 2

Comparative World Civilization Dr. Allen Speer June 15 - August 12 The Stephenson Center for Appalachia will also host a lecture series this summer. Check the website later in the spring for more information.

Summer Arts and Entertainment

Lees-McRae Summer Theatre presents

FORUM at Lees-McRae College Tuesday evenings beginning June 22! opening July 28! FORUM begins its 41st season this summer with a Join us for one of ten performances July 28 - performance by Big Ray and Kool Kats on Tuesday, June 22. August 6. For ticket and box office information, Visit our website at for membership visit information and to see the entire schedule.

Ragtime The Musical

Save the Date for Homecoming 2010 and the

Inauguration of Dr. Barry M. Buxton as President October 1-3, 2010 Mark your calendars now and plan to come back to campus for Homecoming Weekend 2010 and the inauguration of our 15th President, Dr. Barry M. Buxton! We’ll celebrate with the annual parade down Main Street, enjoy men’s and women’s NCAA Division II soccer games, and much more! The classes of 1955, 1960, 1975, 1980, 1990, and 200 will all have class reunions during Homecoming. Look for information in the mail later this summer. The Pinnacles Spring 2010 | 23

The Pinnacles Magazine Office of Communications P.O. Box 128 Banner Elk, NC 28604 Change Service Requested

Parting Shots

This young bobcat called the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute his home this winter for rehabilitation. He will be released this spring near his real home of Mt. Pisgah.

Photo by Dr. Michael Joslin

The Pinnacles - Spring 2010  

A magazine for alumni and friends of Lees-McRae College.

The Pinnacles - Spring 2010  

A magazine for alumni and friends of Lees-McRae College.