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Why Must There Be a Lees-McRae?

A Parable about a Bus Ride by President Scott Colley

In the midst of a global financial crisis, many venerable institutions have failed or merged or simply disappeared. Newspapers are filled with such stories. In such a context, why must Lees-McRae survive? After all, there are many other private colleges in the Southeast and a large number of large public universities. What’s so special about this little college in Banner Elk?

To answer this question, let me ask my readers to imagine a 60-passenger bus which will be loaded with a dozen honors students each from Duke, Wake Forest, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Davidson College. The destination is “What do we hope our best students have learned in college?” The bus is not headed to a place on the map but toward a metaphorical spot also known as “Our best hopes for the future.” Surely we would hope that the best and brightest students in North Carolina will become productive members of society, good citizens, good neighbors, good parents – if that’s in the cards – and frankly, good people. We would hope that they wish to contribute to society and not merely take what is offered. We would want these young people to obtain a broad education in the arts and sciences as a foundation for specialized learning that leads to a variety of professions and careers. We know that life after college is not made up of fill-in the-blank or multiple-choice tests but rather something more like essay questions in which the challenges are complex, puzzling, and ambiguous. Students thus need to have mastered criticalthinking and problem-solving skills even as they have become increasingly articulate and forceful as speakers and as writers. In short, what I hope for our best and brightest is that they become thoughtful moral beings who can draw upon past learning as they work their way through problems that are new to them. And frankly, I would be happiest if these students were able to grow as spiritual beings. Such growth, however, is best achieved through individual engagement and not from mandates from curriculum committees. If readers of this essay will agree that the destination of the bus is a good one, to whom should we assign the twelve remaining seats? My conviction is that we fill those seats with Lees-McRae

students. I want our own students to go to the same place that our bus is taking all of the others. We should want no less at Lees-McRae than is demanded at the best of the other colleges and universities in the state. Indeed, Lees-McRae students can make a strong claim for seats on the bus because similar educational options may not elsewhere open to them. Since our founding, we have been known for giving students a chance. Many students have seen Lees-McRae as their best option and have made the most of it. At a recent meeting of the Lees-McRae Board of Trustees, I looked around the table and saw alumni who have excelled in the corporate world, in the professions, in foundation work and in the field of education, proud graduates who in some cases had been offered an opportunity at our college when no one else would take a chance on them. “Opportunity” was the key word at our founding and remains the defining term all of these years later. Other colleges may or may not make arguments for inclusion on the journey I describe. However, I know for a fact that Lees-McRae belongs on the bus. Not only have I have seen the results, I have also seen this wonderful educational process taking place around me. Lees-McRae must survive when others are failing because this college puts our students in the company of the best and brightest elsewhere, and carries our students toward a future in which they can thrive, contribute, and excel. In this issue of The Pinnacles, readers will encounter the stories of many Lees-McRae students, alumni, faculty, and staff members who have taken seats on my metaphorical bus and have met the challenges that the bus ride entails. The people encountered in this magazine represent the best argument I can imagine for our continuing work in higher education. For such reasons and more, I have no hesitation in asking those who care about this college to support us. Our very future lies in the hands of the readers of this magazine. We will not survive without gifts of reasonable size from a very large number of people. One way to think about these gifts is “a thousand from a thousand.” A thousand donors must contribute $1000 each if we are to succeed. The costs of seats on my metaphorical bus may strike some as a bit stiff, but the journey is a bargain at the price.

Contents Editor Meghan Wright ’06 Contributing Writers Dr. Scott Colley, Megan Hall ’10, Dr. Michael Joslin, Rebekah Graham Saylors ’02, Lella Shaffner ’04, and Kevin Young Contributing Photographers Meghan Hall ’10, 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


10 18 Features 11 Profiles of Excellence 16 A Commitment to Southern Appalachia 18 Acts of Generosity

Departments 4 6 8 20

Campus News Bobcat Athletics News Program Highlights Alumni Class Notes

News and notes from Campus Dr. Scott Colley named president of Lees-McRae The Board of Trustees named Dr. Scott Colley president of LeesMcRae College in June. President Emeritus of Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia, Dr. Colley brings years of experience in higher education administration to the College including strategic planning, capitol fund management and alumni relations. While serving Berry College from 1998 to 2006, Dr. Colley led the college during a successful $100 million campaign. During his tenure, the college thoroughly renovated two major classroom buildings and an alumni center, constructed a new science building and residence hall, and began construction of a new student athletic center. Prior to serving as president of Berry College, Dr. Colley served as Provost and dean of the faculty of Hampden-Sydney College from

1988 to 1998. Dr. Colley also served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University for 20 years. He was a member of the English department from 1968 to 1988. In 1981, he was named associate dean of the college, later serving as chair of the department of English. A graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Virginia, Dr. Colley earned his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Chicago. He has published three dozen scholarly articles and reviews in such publications as Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, Shakespeare Quarterly, and Shakespeare Studies. He is the editor or co-editor of two Shakespeare editions and author of books on 17th-century playwright John Marston and Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Board of Trustees adds six new members Six new members joined the Lees-McRae College Board of Trustees since summer 2008. They are Parker H. Grubbs ’95, Archibald R. Hoxton III ’64, Sherry W. Latimer, Harvey L. Lowd, R. Edwin Shelton ’60/’95, and Paul N. Stephenson ’95. Parker Grubbs ’95 of Greensboro is the senior vice president of investments at Center State Bank based in Winston-Salem. Grubbs serves on the board’s Finance Committee and is immediate past chair of the Board of Visitors. Arch Hoxton ’64 of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, is the owner and operator of The Hoxton Agency, Inc., which for 31 years has specialized in all types of aviation insurance in the eastern United States. Hoxton serves on the board’s Advancement Committee, and he and wife Connie Congdon Hoxton ’64 continue to serve on the Board of Visitors. Sherry Latimer and husband Lane, of Naples, Florida, and Linville, owned and operated Oak Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery in Kingsport, Tennessee, for many years before retiring in 1994. Sherry also directed and taught in a Montessori School for several years. Sherry serves on the Advancement Committee of the board. Lane is a trustee emeritus. Harvey Lowd, of High Point, North Carolina, founded HLL Consulting in 2007, a firm that specializes in the mentoring and coaching of business leaders and CEOs and was president and CEO of Kao Specialties Americas for 17 years before starting his consulting firm. Harvey is the chair of the Finance Committee of the board, and both Harvey and wife Jan continue to serve on the college’s Board of Visitors. Their son Andrew is an alumnus of the Class of 2007.

Ed Shelton ’60/’95, of Dobson, North Carolina, and Banner Elk, is founder and owner of Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, and is a wellknown entrepreneur in the Winston-Salem and Charlotte areas. He and wife Dotti were recipients of Lees-McRae’s Rev. Edgar Tufts Founder’s Medal in 2008. Shelton serves on the Finance Committee of the board. Paul Stephenson ’95 of Apex, North Carolina, is director of dealer operations for Cary Oil and is responsible for all relationships between Cary Oil and branded suppliers including ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, CITGO, and Valero. Paul serves on the Academic Affairs Committee of the board and is the alumni trustee representative on the Alumni Council. Following the leadership of Jane B. Stephenson ’57 from 2006 to 2009, Thomas H. Brigham, Jr. ’72, formerly vice chair of the board, took over as chair and Joseph J. Stahl II assumed the position of vice chair in July. Tommy Brigham, of Birmingham, Alabama, and Banner Elk, is chairman of ARK Real Estate Strategies, a real estate asset management company specializing in assisting banks with the evaluation, positioning, and disposition of residential real estate assets. His wife, Cecile, is an alumna of the Lees-McRae class of 1972. Joe Stahl of Bluffton, South Carolina, and Banner Elk, is retired from an extensive career in the insurance business including serving as president and chief operating officer of Miller Mason & Dickenson and vice chairman of Godwins Booke & Dickenson, now Aon Consulting. He is the chair of the Committee on Trusteeship and serves on the Executive Committee of the board.

Board of Visitors has new leadership Wm. David Carter, formerly vice chair of the Lees-McRae College Board of Visitors, became chair of the board in June. David is president of Emerging Technologies, Inc. in Greensboro. Founded in 1998, Emerging Technologies provides absorbent polymer products and technologies to the technical markets. He succeeds immediate past chair, Parker H. Grubbs ’95. 4 | The Pinnacles Fall 2009

Patricia “Tricia” Argabrite of Kingsport, Tennessee, now serves as vice chair of the Board of Visitors, also effective in June. Tricia works at Bank of Tennessee as a private banking and investment coordinator. Tricia’s husband Bill Argabrite also serves on the Board of Visitors.

Faculty and staff accomplishments Tessa W. Carr ’93, Ph.D., assistant professor of performing arts, serves on the editorial board of Southern Theatre Magazine, the primary publication of the Southeastern Theatre Conference and has an article currently under review with the magazine. Kacy E. Crabtree, Ph.D. associate provost, completed the following continuing education programs during the 2008-09 academic year: the Duke University Non-Profit Management program, the ACA Teaching and Learning Institute, and ATHE Leadership Institute coordinated by the Association for Theater in Higher Education. She was the feature editor for an article titled “Native American Dance Legacy” that was published by the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. In addition, Dr. Crabtree completed her doctoral studies from the Union Institute & University and is awaiting final acceptance of her dissertation “Changing the Blueprint: An Interdisciplinary Framework for Preparing Arts Managers and Leaders of the 21st Century”. Scott Crawford, M.Ed., director of the Global Community Center, has been accepted into a 12-member cohort at Columbia University in New York City to pursue his doctoral degree in education leadership. The four-year program, which condenses coursework into intense summer and weekend sessions, allows Scott to continue full-time with Lees-McRae while applying his graduate study to work he does in the Global Community Center. He began this past summer, spending July in New York where he lived in International House, adjacent to Columbia’s campus, interacting with graduate students from all over the world and absorbing ideas to bring back to Banner Elk. Randy Cromwell, Ph.D., associate professor and director of teacher education, reviewed 27 proposals for re-visioned science education programs for North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction and is a new member of the Department of Public Instruction’s ad-hoc committee on 21st Century Teaching and Teacher Education.

Melinda Davis, Ph.D., assistant professor of elementary education, presented her research on a 19th century female academy in Tennessee at the National Conference for Research on Women in Education in Washington, D.C. in October 2008. Karen O. Fritz, Ph.D., associate professor of business administration, presented “The Multiplier Effect: Partnering with Students in Free Enterprise” (SIFE) at Western Carolina University’s 5th Annual Symposium on Service Learning and Civic Engagement on June 11, 2009. Her presentation was based on a case study that explored the programs and findings of SIFE students who impacted the lives of minority single mothers and children in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with a support group named WE CARE: Women Empowering and Creating Affirmation Responsibility and Employability. Dani Usedom ’07, director of campus recreation, recently earned the American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Certification and is working toward a Group Fitness Instructor Certification, allowing the college to offer more fitness programs to students and the community. Lees-McRae faculty members Dr. Tessa Carr, Dr. Fiona Chrystall, Dr. Randy Cromwell, Dr. Karen Fritz, Dr. Graham Spann and Dr. Chrissy Spencer attended the Appalachian College Association’s Teaching and Learning Institute, hosted at Brevard College June 1-5, 2009. The institute was an opportunity for faculty to focus on improving teaching and learning in a “camp” atmosphere that allows for wide ranging discussions with luminaries in the field. This site is used to disseminate materials, allow the participants to get to know each other in advance of the Institute, to engage in discussions about the materials to be presented at the Institute and to generally build a community of practice.

Alumni Council elects new officers After serving two years as president of the Alumni Council, Martha McAfee Krieger ’86/’03 turned over the title to Kim Garrison Palmisano ’83 during Homecoming 2009 at the annual meeting of the Alumni Association. Palmisano will serve a two-year term. Catherine Button Campe ’89/’91 will move into the position of president elect, Lynn Swisher Neese ’88/’90 will be vice president, and Jennifer Baker ’06 will be secretary. Martha McAfee Krieger, of Marietta, South Carolina, will remain on the Alumni Council as immediate past president. She joined the Alumni Council in 1999 and served in roles including 1980s decade representative, secretary, vice president, president elect and president. She is the recipient of the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2008 Alumni Service Award. Krieger has been a communications specialist, technical writer, project manager and small business owner. Kim Garrison Palmisano joined the council in 2005. She served as the 1980s decade representative, then as president elect. She has chaired both the fund raising and nomination committees of the council. Palmisano is a senior account manager with the Center

for Creative Leadership’s North American Business Development Group based at the Center’s headquarters in Greensboro. Catherine Button Campe joined the Alumni Council in 2003 as the 1990s decade representative. Later she served as the Charlotte area representative. For the past two years, Campe served as vice president and has chaired the special events committee which helps plan and organize events and activities for Alumni Frolic Week and Homecoming. Lynn Swisher Neese, of Greensboro, joined the council in 2005 as the Piedmont area representative and has hosted alumni events at her home for several years. She also serves on the planning committee for Alumni Frolic Week. Jennifer Baker serves as Secretary and is the chair for the admissions committee of the Alumni Council. She helps recruit students at college fairs in her area and is an elementary school teacher in Marietta, Georgia. This slate of officers was presented by the nominating committee for election at the annual meeting of the Alumni Association and approved during Homecoming 2009. The Pinnacles Fall 2009 | 5

Bobcat Athletics: Season Highlights Visit for the latest Bobcat scores and highlights! Men’s Soccer

The Bobcats won the Conference Carolinas Regular Season and Tournament Titles in back-to-back years. The team also made its second consecutive trip to the Southeast Regionals of the NCAA Tournament. The Bobcats had seven All-Conference winners, three All-Region winners and Lee Squires earned his second AllAmerican honors in two seasons. Squires, a sophomore, finished third in the NCAA in goals per game and fifth in points per game. The Bobcats began the fall 2009 season ranked 13th in NCAA Div. II and picked to be Conference Carolinas regular season champions, an honor they earned in the past two seasons. Women’s Cross Country The Lady Bobcats capped off a stellar season where they won the Conference Carolinas title and the Southeast Regional Race with a trip the NCAA National Championship Meet in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. The Lady Bobcats had four runners win All-Conference Honors and three All-Region runners. Head coach Craig McPhail was named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year and Southeast Region Coach of the Year. Men’s Tennis The Bobcats men’s tennis team had the programs best finish in nine years. The team finished 19-7 overall and 8-0 in Conference Carolinas action. The Bobcats earned their first Conference Carolinas Regular Season Title since 2000 and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The squad finish the season ranked 20th in the NCAA. They had three All-Conference honors including Nandor Solymosi earning Conference Carolinas Player of the Year. Head Coach Paul Goode was named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year. 6 | The Pinnacles Fall 2009

Women’s Tennis The Lady Bobcats won the program’s first Conference Carolinas Regular Season Title earning a share of the title by finishing 16-7 overall and 8-1 in the conference. The Lady Bobcats had three All-Conference winners. Gabriela Celi earned Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year honors. Head coach Paul Goode earned Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year. Men’s Track and Field

The Bobcats took home the Inaugural Conference Carolinas Championship Meet title by 117 points. Chris Davis earned Conference Carolinas Co-Track Athlete of the Year and the team had nine All-Conference Award Winners. Jonathan Arthur also received All-Region Honors by winning the pole vault at the Southeast Regional Meet and a trip to the NCAA National Championship Meet. Arthur was also named Southeast Regional Field Athlete of the Year. The Bobcat Coaching staff led by head coach Ley Fletcher, with assistant coaches Craig McPhail and Jason Davis, earned Conference Carolians coaching staff of the year. Fletcher also earned Southeast Region Coach of the Year, and Davis took home Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year. Men’s and Women’s Cycling The Bobcat cycling program claimed its second straight NCCAA Division I National Cycling Championship this season. Carla Swart became the first cyclist in the NCCAA history to win National Championships in all four disciplines, track, cyclo-cross, mountain bike and road.

Bobcats see new leadership in athletics Longtime Director of Athletics Ried Estus takes position in Knoxville, Assistant Athletic Director Craig McPhail takes over as Director of Athletics Distinguished 15-year Director of Athletics Ried Estus departs from Lees-McRae College after 22 years of service and hands the reigns over to 11year Lees-McRae veteran and former Assistant Director of Athletics Craig McPhail. Estus left this August for the Christian Academy of Knoxville in Knoxville, Tennessee, to be the school’s vice principal. Estus came to Lees-McRae in April of 1987 when he started the school’s women’s soccer program that year. In his first three seasons, he took the Lady Bobcats to the NJCAA National Tournament after they were crowned Conference and Region Champions. In 1992, 1993 and 1994 he took his teams to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Tournament, and he was named Regional Coach of the Year four times in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1994. In his 13 years as head coach he compiled a .702 winning percentage, with a 199-82-8 record. He took over as director of athletics in 1994 and helped transition the school from the NAIA to the NCAA. He started seven new athletic programs and saw the restoration of three defunct athletic programs. Since he took the helm in 1994, the school has competed in a staggering 39 NAIA, NCAA or USA Cycling National Championship events. The athletic department won the then Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Joby Hawn Cup for the best overall athletic department in the 2000-2001 year. In his 22 years of service Estus has held the titles of director of athletics, head women’s soccer coach, head women’s tennis coach, head softball coach and physical education instructor. “I’ve been the luckiest man I know for twenty-two plus years,” Estus said. “I’ve had an administration and college that supported my every move, an exceptional staff willing to build their programs within my philosophy of athletics and a community that embraced me from the day I moved to Banner Elk. I told the Board of Trustees [in June] that I can’t imagine any greater honor in my lifetime than to have served them as the director of athletics at Lees-McRae College. “Ried has been a mentor to all of the coaches here at Lees-McRae,” Craig McPhail said. “He has given most of us our first collegiate coaching opportunity and provided us with the resources, guidance and support to be successful. Lees-McRae’s athletic department is a product of his lifelong commitment to this college.” Estus gave McPhail his first coaching position in July 1998 as head men’s and women’s cross country coach and sports information director. In August 2003 Estus put McPhail into his first administrative position as assistant director of athletics and prepared him to become an athletic director. “The future is bright for Lees-McRae athletics,” Estus said. “Craig

has been preparing himself professionally for this opportunity from the day he became our assistant athletic director seven years ago. While I’m confident our department has advanced over the last fifteen years, I can leave here with a sense of accomplishment, and I am convinced Craig has the skill set to take the department to the next level”. “I am excited about this new challenge in my career and thankful for all of those who believed enough in me to give me this opportunity,” said McPhail. “Working with the coaches, faculty, staff and community will be extremely gratifying as we work together to continue to make LeesMcRae a very special place.” While assistant athletic director, McPhail worked with community service projects, managed the awards banquets, handled publicity and marketing of the athletic department, and monitored the student-athlete experience at Lees-McRae. He has served on several committees within the college for retention, judicial review, graduation, and community service. He has also represented the college as a member of CoSIDA , United States Cross Country/Track Coaches Association, USA Track and Field, Conference Carolinas chair for both cross country and track and field and recently finished his appointment as chair of the NCAA Division II Cross Country/Track Craig McPhail and Field Committee. McPhail’s teams have had great success in and out of the classroom with 13 conference championships in men’s and women’s cross country and track and field. He has coached 73 All-Conference student-athletes, 31 of those gaining All-Region honors, while watching them receive Academic All-America honors for the past decade. McPhail’s peers have voted him Conference Coach of the Year 11 times, and he has also garnered Regional Coach of the Year three times. He guided 38 Lees-McRae student-athletes to NCAA Division II National Championships. Head men’s basketball coach Scott Polsgrove will become assistant athletic director for internal affairs with responsibilities of compliance and mentoring of coaches, and head men’s soccer coach Chris Whalley will become assistant athletic director for external affairs with responsibilities in community service and relations. The Pinnacles Fall 2009 | 7

Campus Ministry nurturing the spirit Lees-McRae said “goodbye” to Campus Chaplain Rev. Kathy Campbell this spring as she moved down the road to become the pastor at Crossnore Presbyterian Church. She will be sorely missed and while she enjoys her new calling, she will still be active in the life of our college community as time allows. In an attempt to fill her ‘very big shoes’ the College has put in place a pastoral care team to provide additional counsel and support for students. The ministers of local churches have graciously agreed to share their time with the College this year while plans are made for a new chaplain. They will be available to students on a weekly rotation basis and will work closely with Jim Taylor who serves as interim lay chaplain. A vital part of campus life is the life of the Spirit. Through the Office of the Chaplain, there are many opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to explore and live out their faith. The College nurtures an open, inviting Christian community that listens to and welcomes other voices and other faiths. We are committed to honoring the College’s Presbyterian heritage and its continuing Presbyterian relationship and to respect and care for one another and for the world as God’s precious creation. Some of the spiritual opportunities include four weekly campus ministry groups, campus forums on issues of life and faith, local church outreach, monthly community and social hours, Staley Distinguished Christian Scholar Lecture Series, Christian conferences and retreats, yoga, weekly Soup Lunch, daily devotions and prayer requests, pastoral care, campus worship, interfaith dialogues, the Peace Garden, the campus feral cat ministry, and wilderness experiences. Soup Lunch is a most popular new tradition at Lees-McRae. Each week on Wednesday, students, faculty, and staff gather at the McRae House to take a moment for fellowship while enjoying homemade soups, salad and bread. Global Community Series There are many events happening at Lees-McRae College this year to enhance and expand students’ opportunities for spiritual growth, reflection, and service. This year, our annual Fall Global Community Series focused on the theme “The Power of Compassion: Crossing Barriers and Bringing Hope”. As the theme suggests, Lees-McRae hosted speakers and events focused on people who cross boundaries of faith and culture to show compassion for others. On September 14, Norm Conard spoke about “Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project” and on September 8 | The Pinnacles Fall 2009

15, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield spoke about his book, You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right. The series concluded with the play The Risks of Heroes: A Drama with Music and Dance written by our own Dr. Janet Speer and performed by LeesMcRae performing arts students October 1-4. The play focused on stories of bravery and defiance during the Holocaust, a call for interfaith dialogue in the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, survival and determination amidst genocide in Darfur, the courage and defiance of young girls attending school in Afghanistan, and several others. Staley Lecture Series Thanks to the Thomas F. Staley Endowment, the College is able to offer two exceptional speakers for the annual Staley Distinguished Christian Scholar Lecture Series. Dr. Tony Campolo was on campus September 28-29, 2009. Dr. Campolo is an internationally known speaker, author of 35 books, sociologist, pastor, social activist, professor emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University, and passionate follower of Jesus. He is one of the foremost spokespersons for conservative evangelical Christianity. In the spring, Dr. Marcus Borg will be on campus February 2223, 2010. Dr. Borg is the Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, OR. He is internationally known as a biblical and Jesus scholar, author of 18 books, and is one of the foremost spokespersons for liberal/progressive Christian theology. These two distinguished speakers who reflect the full theological spectrum will offer a thought-provoking challenge to our students. These lectures are open to the public. Guatemalan Partnership Trip In January 2010 Lees-McRae will be returning to the remote, indigenous village of Chinatal, deep in the Guatemalan rainforest. This will be the fourth mission trip to this village, where a special partnership with the Chinatal villagers and Guatemalan Presbyterian Young Adult Leaders from UNEC has been built. During previous trips, travelers were able to help build a well for the village, sponsor medical services, share learning through VBS, provide village children with shoes and toys, and spend hours together in happy recreation. This trip should be as successful as previous ones. For more information about campus ministries at Lees-McRae, contact Jim Taylor at or 828.898.8842.

Department of Student Success Lees-McRae shares an educational philosophy with some of the best colleges and universities in the country. Harvard, Stanford, and many other institutions, as well as Lees-McRae, recognize that not all students learn in the same ways. Nor do all students possess the same academic skills. Rather than simply allowing students to fall to the wayside, an increasing number of colleges have adopted the premise that students can build skills in areas that don’t come easily to them. At Lees-McRae we do more than skills development, we take a holistic approach to developing each student as a person.

A model to learn by

The Department of Student Success at Lees-McRae, in fact, is an exemplary program in this region. Among the 37 members of the Appalachian College Association, only Lees-McRae has a student success program with such a range of activities. Gathered under the Student Success umbrella are foundation courses in math, reading, writing, academic success skills and learning strategies, academic advising, disabilities services, tutoring, English-as-a-Second-Language, and special support for students in academic difficulty. Moreover, the Office of Student Success also houses the Burton Center for Student Success which offers special instruction to students who want additional help with any of their academic subjects, including writing and mathematics. Students who tutor their peers also receive special training in the Burton Center to improve their effectiveness. This past year, Lees-McRae students took their tutoring skills to Avery High School. Clearly Student Success is making an impression on the campus, in the town, and throughout the Appalachian region.

foundational reading Laura Padgett became Director of the Burton Center in 2007. Padgett trains the tutors who perform so admirably on campus and at the local high school and oversees tutoring scheduling to meet the needs of our students. Lizette Thompson coordinates foundational mathematics and Lella Shaffner is in charge of foundational writing and ESL instruction. Coordinator of Disability Services, Tami Tressler-Blewitt guides students with disabilities upon their college path: “We believe that empowering students with disabilities to advocate for their needs will not only help them at Lees-McRae but after college as well.” All members of the staff have specialized training in developmental education, having completed masters degrees or the program offered by the Kellogg Institute for Developmental Educators at Appalachian State University.

The new Director of Student Success is Dr. Fiona Chrystall, an environmental scientist with much experience in the field gained at the University of Stirling in Scotland. Instructor of

The Department of Student Success and the Burton Center are among the great strengths of Lees-McRae. Increasingly, more colleges are following our good example.

We can’t wait to talk to you...

...about how you can make a difference in the lives of each student. The Lees-McRae Fund Phone-a-thon You can make it happen. Support Lees-McRae College students today, and in the future, by giving generously to the Lees-McRae Fund. We hope you will participate in the 2009 Bobcat Caller Fall Phone-a-Thon! You will be receiving a call from a current Lees-McRae student during the first week of November. Answer the call! With questions, or to make your gift now, contact Michelle Vance Scott ’86/’90 at 828.898.2489 or email scottmv@ To make a secure gift online, visit onlinegiving. The Pinnacles Fall 2009 | 9

Outdoor Programs

Challenging students to be active participants in their environment and their lives

Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains at nearly 4,000 feet above sea level, Lees-McRae College boasts the highest mountaintop college campus east of the Rockies. Banner Elk and the surrounding mountains of western North Carolina are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream in all four seasons, and Dee Thomas, director of Outdoor Programs at LeesMcRae, is converting more and more LeesMcRae students into outdoor enthusiasts. The mission of Outdoor Programs at Lees-McRae is to serve our students by offering opportunities for participation in outdoor educational experiences, challenging them to be active participants in their environment and in their own lives. The program offers outdoor educational classes including Backpacking and Wilderness Adventure Skills, Introduction to Rock Climbing and Advanced Wilderness Skills: Winter Backpacking and Rock Climbing. Three activity clubs also fall under Outdoor Programs: the Backpacking Club, the Adventure Rock Climbing Club, and the Competition Climbing Team Club. These clubs are designed to connect students to the beautiful area in which we live through group hikes, group climbing trips, and other outdoor opportunities. The Competition Climbing Team Club hosts meetings and training sessions at the indoor rock climbing wall in the Carol and Glenn Arthur Student Recreation Complex and travels to area climbing competitions. Trips led by Outdoor Programs explore areas including the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, Pisgah National Forest, Grandfather Mountain, Beech Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Lees-McRae’s campus which boasts a “hidden” boulder that allows for outdoor rock climbing on campus. Service learning opportunities are also a major part of Outdoor Programs. These opportunities connect students with other outdoor organizations in the western North Carolina mountains including the North Carolina Outward Bound School, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain, the Carolina Climbers Association, and the National Park Service, with service opportunities including trail maintenance, working with area youth, volunteering to teach kids with disabilities to ski 10 | The Pinnacles Fall 2009

at the local ski areas, as well as providing presentations for the community hosted by student leaders. “The outdoor adventures offered to students through the Backpacking and Rock Climbing Clubs connect them to each other as well as to the surrounding hiking trails and rock climbing areas in the beautiful mountains near the college,” said Dee Thomas, director of Outdoor Programs. “These connections form a lifelong desire for students to care for themselves, others, and the natural world.” Left: Heather Morrison, president of the Backpacking Club, and Outdoor Programs Director Dee Thomas in the Table Rock area of the Linville Gorge. Below: Student climbers at the Chimneys in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area.

faculty profile

Faculty Profile Professor Ken Craig How many professors of religious studies have played on a high school basketball team that was 79-2 over a three-year stretch and indeed shared the court with a future NBA star? Ken Craig has that honor although, with a chuckle, he notes that James Worthy was on the court for more minutes than he was. About six years ago, Craig became an avid tennis player and practices with the Lees-McRae team. He attends both home and away matches and often has both the men’s and women’s teams to his home for pizza and spaghetti dinners. Professor Craig, raised in Gastonia, was also a musician during his high school days, attended the Cannon Music Camp in Boone, and still plays piano today. Indeed, all four members of the Craig family play instruments. Spouse Niki plays piano and flute. Daughter Alex performs on the cello at UNC-Chapel Hill and recently, as part of her musical education, was asked to critique the playing of Yo Yo Ma! Son Luke is a guitarist and a senior at Watauga High School whose band won the John Lennon Songwriter’s Competition a few years back. The largest mobile recording studio in the country came to Valle Crucis for a taping session that was part of the prize. Craig went to Wake Forest University where he majored in English and developed a fascination with storytelling, an interest he pursued at Southern Seminary in Louisville where he specialized in the Hebrew Bible. “The Old Testament is filled with wonderful stories, and I wanted to study their meaning.” With a year of study in Tel Aviv, he completed his dissertation on the Book of Jonah which he published as A Poetics of Jonah: Art in the Service of Ideology (South Carolina, 1993). Arriving at Lees-McRae in 1995, Professor Craig says he was drawn by the location, a good school system nearby, and the opportunity to teach at a good liberal arts college. Over the years he has developed his course in the Bible into a comparative study of critical religious and spiritual themes, juxtaposing, for instance, Psalms of lament to contemporary songs. Because he believes the Biblical message remains alive today, Craig encourages students to see the living Bible in contemporary culture. Students occasionally bring strong opinions to Bible class.

Therefore, rather than prescribing a certain way to read the Bible, Craig suggests analogies which encourage students to free up their imaginations and to approach the text as a student of religion would. He tells his students, “The most accurate way to read the Bible is to read it on its own terms.” Three years ago, Professor Craig became director of the honors program at Lees-McRae. About 80 students – roughly 20 per class – are enrolled in honors. “Some of these students are exceptionally gifted. It is a highly rewarding assignment for me.” He went to a great deal of trouble to earn a commercial driver’s license so that he could use a college bus to transport honors students on their outings. When asked what he didn’t like about his job, Professor Craig replied “Committee work!” What he likes most is watching students grow into their potential. Visitors to Professor Craig’s office will notice photographs of family members, posters featuring artists he likes, a picture of a professor who was particularly influential in his life, a lithograph of St. John’s Church in Valle Crucis, and above all, bookshelves and many, many books. This office is clearly the professional home of a scholar, a teacher, and a proud member of the LeesMcRae community. The Pinnacles Fall 2009 | 11

alumna profile

International student to international law firm Northwestern Law School graduate Femi Solade ’99 finds success after LeesMcRae at Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Attorneys at Law in Minneapolis by Rebekah Graham Saylors ’02 lufemi O. Solade is fondly remembered by one of her former professors as a “determined, tenacious, and dedicated student.” Known to both her friends and faculty as “Femi,” she arrived at Lees-McRae as an international student from Nigeria in the fall of 1996. She graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in English communications with a minor in business administration. She chose Lees-McRae because of the scholarship opportunities she found in a college guidebook at her local library. Femi is a great example of a student who dreamed, dared, and achieved at LeesMcRae College. Dream. Dare. Achieve. “My dream was to attend law school and become a civil rights attorney,” said Femi. She has fulfilled that dream as a senior associate and attorney with Fulbright and Jaworski, L.L.P.’s litigation group in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In terms of challenges, Femi said, “the English Literature classes were especially challenging. Professors like Dr. Michael Joslin were very demanding in terms of student contribution to the class. Thus, it was not enough to write a paper on a particular subject; we had to discuss the subject matter convincingly.” “If Femi wasn’t mastering the material, she would put all her efforts into finding a way to succeed,” remembered Professor Michael Joslin. “She would write, and rewrite, and rewrite, to respond to my criticisms of her papers. She would show up to class well-prepared, and she contributed interesting insights to class discussion.” When asked what was her greatest achievement, Femi responded, “I am still working on that.” She did follow-up by saying her ultimate goal is to work for the Department of Justice and prosecute race crimes. At Lees-McRae During Femi’s time at Lees-McRae, she was a resident assistant, vice president of Phi Beta Lambda, and the organizer of a scholarship pageant. She was also the recipient of the National Collegiate Business Merit Award . Femi’s most memorable part of the Lees-McRae experience was the people and their kindness. “When I was [in school], I did not have a car, but I needed to work to make some extra money.


12 | The Pinnacles Fall 2009

Although I was able to get a job at Food Lion, I did not have a way of getting there. Due to the generosity of my friends, who took turns dropping me off and picking me up from work, I was able to keep my job.” Femi’s education at Lees-McRae was key to her preparation for both law school and a career in law. “Lees-McRae, in the tradition of a liberal arts college, gives its students the freedom to make their own choices in terms of their commitment to their education,” Femi said. “As a result, I had to develop a strong sense of discipline during my time at Lees-McRae. This was critical in preparing me for my law school education, because most law school classes do not require regular attendance, and you get to take only one exam at the end of each semester.” Professor Joslin gave an example of this tenacity from when Femi was a student in his Nineteenth Century British Literature class. “On the first major exam, Femi got an 86; on her first formal essay, she received a B-,” remembered Joslin. “She hounded me to explain each and every mistake she made and how she could correct it. She ended up with an A in the course, getting 100 percent on her final exam.” After Lees-McRae After graduating from Lees-McRae, Femi attended Northwestern University School of Law, graduating in 2003 with her Doctor of Jurisprudence. While in law school, Femi was elected class representative to the Student Bar Association and was a teaching assistant for Professor Victor Rosenblum of Torts. At Fulbright and Jaworski, Femi specializes in intellectual property and technology, business litigation, product liability, business and regulatory, energy, government investigations and enforcement, and labor and employment. Femi’s professional activities and memberships include the Minnesota Bar Association, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, American Bar Association, and Hennepin County Bar Association. To Future Bobcats Femi’s advice to current and future Lees-McRae Students: “To thine own self be true.” “As I’ve gotten older, I have learned I can’t please everyone,” explained Femi. “So, you have to be true to yourself. I believe this is the secret to long term happiness.”

alumna profile

“Pieces of Peace” at work in Northern Ireland Alumna Lindsey Pike ’09 accepts position as long-term volunteer at Corrymeela Community Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Northern Ireland by Megan Hall ’10 hen 2009 graduate Lindsay Pike enrolled in John Mosbey’s interdisciplinary studies course about Irish history and culture in the spring of 2008, she never dreamed that little more than a year later she would accept a position as a longterm volunteer at the Corrymeela Community Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. It all began when John Mosbey, a former instructor of criminal justice at Lees-McRae, outlined a course in which students spent a semester studying Irish history and culture that culminated in a twoweek journey through Ireland where students would gain a better understanding of the topics studied during the semester. The group of six students, two faculty members, and one staff member spent their first week at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in the Republic of Ireland. They listened to lecturers from all over the world share experiences suggesting methods of reconciliation for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The group then made its way to Northern Ireland, the area where the most conflict and violence has occurred. “The trip facilitated by the school opened my eyes to this world of NGO [non-governmental organizations] and non-profit work, and opened the door to a career possibility that speaks to my love of serving others. It was this trip that introduced me to The Corrymeela Community in the first place. Without this initial contact, I would not have been aware of this great opportunity and organization,” said Pike. Before her dreams of working in Ireland became a reality, Pike, a Florida native, was making the most of her time as an


undergraduate. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in the Honors Program, won the 2008-2009 Literature Award, made the Dean’s List each semester of her four years at Lees-McRae, and co-founded Delta Omicron Theta Sorority where she served as secretary, vice-president, and president. Pike, a literature major and philosophy and sociology minor, created a senior research project hailed by faculty and students alike to be ‘a great advancement in the field of humanities’. Her project, titled “Pieces of Peace: A Literary Approach to Reconciliation,” was partially inspired by her time spent in Ireland during the summer of 2008. ”I based my senior research project on a model of reconciliation that was used in discussion during our seminars at the Corrymeela Community Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Ballycastle. “We spent a week at the center as part of the study abroad portion of the interdisciplinary course. The class used the Irish Troubles as a case study in discussing justice studies and peace and reconciliation. Our trip there allowed us to continue to explore these themes and spend time at locations and with people pivotal in the post-troubles peace process in Northern Ireland,” said Pike. “‘Pieces of Peace: A Literary Approach to Reconciliation discussed the applications of literature as a medium for change in the reconciliation process as delineated in the model. Works from all over the world discussing many current and past conflicts were included. Literature was discussed as a teaching tool and a form of healing expression valuable to reconciling people, communities, countries, and the peace process as a whole,” said Pike. As a result of her studies and experiences, Pike is putting her newfound skills to use at the same Corrymeela Community Peace and Reconciliation Centre she visited just over a year ago. “I will be employed there as a long-term volunteer from September 5, 2009 to August 31, 2010. My responsibilities will include facilitating groups that come for courses, camps, and retreats centered on diversity education and dialogue among groups struggling with sectarian issues in Northern Ireland and other conflicts around the world. “I will participate in the running of the center by helping in areas like the kitchen, housekeeping, administration, and reception,” said Pike. “I will also have the opportunity to participate in training and certificate courses that will further my understanding and education in the field of diversity and cultural studies, peace and reconciliation, and conflict resolution.”

The Pinnacles Fall 2009 | 13

student profile

In the boardroom in South Beach by Megan Hall ’10 he lights and sounds of South Beach, Miami are a far cry from quaint and quiet Banner Elk, but that’s exactly where Lees-McRae senior Ignacio “Iggy” Falco found himself this past summer as he worked for MTV Networks Latin America as a production management intern. Falco, who will graduate in December of 2009, was born in Caracas, Venezuela, but has resided in Weston, Florida, for the last nine years. During his time at Lees-McRae, Falco was a midfielder on the men’s soccer team, an active part of the Banner Elk Clean-Up Project and a resident assistant in Tennessee Residence Hall. However, this business administration major has dreams far larger than Banner Elk can accommodate. “I have a couple post-graduation goals. I want to find stability in a secure job; and even if the first job I get is not the one that best suits me, I can learn from it and get the most I can out of it. Another goal is to obtain a job in one of the cities in which I would like to live. My first choice is Milan, Italy; but cities like Miami, New York City, and Los Angeles attract me a lot too. I am very open about relocating anywhere in the U.S. and Europe,” said Falco. Real world experience in a large city is exactly what Falco received through his summer internship. From May 19 to July 31, Falco worked for MTV Networks Latin America as a production management intern. His tasks ranged anywhere from handling budgets from companies (mostly based in South America) to general office chores to assisting the vice president of production management in any way possible. Falco’s most significant project while working at MTV Networks was analyzing budgets from candidate production to produce the MTV Latin Music Awards 2009, which take place simultaneously in Los Angeles, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina in October, a task that would be nearly impossible to learn in a classroom. “I was challenged to learn different computer software used in the field of production management. The most significant one is called EP Budgeting. This software is starting to replace Excel in the production management field since it is dedicated only to budgets. Another challenge I faced was receiving Excel budgets from foreign companies, verifying there were no mistakes in the formulas used and then converting everything to American dollars,” said Falco. For a business administration student concentrating in marketing and management, this internship was an opportunity for Falco to


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do some serious networking in his field. “I believe gaining professional experience before graduating will make obtaining a job easier. Networking in a professional environment should make the transition a bit smoother after graduating from Lees-McRae. During my internship I used tools I learned in my business classes, and I also learned new tools a person can never learn in a classroom,” said Falco. How does a student from Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina end up working a summer internship in Miami, Florida with MTV Networks Latin America? “I found out about this internship through my sister’s friend and I did my Internet research on the company, the positions available, the job descriptions, the qualifications required. Once I applied I was very consistent in showing my interest to the company. I also had a job interview a few weeks before the spring semester was over. MTV Networks offers internships to college students all year long. However, it takes a bit more than just applying for one. You have to be willing to make some sacrifices and to show that you really want the opportunity,” said Falco. And sacrifice he did. Falco’s internship was unpaid, which meant he had to simultaneously work two part-time jobs to make ends meet. But with the experience he gained, and challenges he conquered, he said he would definitely do it all over again. “Even before I found an internship I always knew the summer before my last semester in school I would be working on one. I believe it is so important for every student to go out there and learn things that are not taught in the classroom. My advice is to search for an internship, commit yourself to it, network with the company’s employees, and prove that you can be an asset to the company you are working with,” said Falco.

student profile

Lyle studies headwaters of Appalachian Kentucky Senior biology major Krista Lyle participated in a research experience for undergraduates at the University of Kentucky examining the impact of coal mining on streams in Appalachia by Megan Hall ’10


enior wildlife biology major Krista Lyle participated in a prestigious summer research program through the University of Kentucky in Lexington called “In the Headwaters of Appalachian Kentucky: Coal Mining’s Impact on Soil Carbon Storage and Erosion in Appalachian Headwater Streams.” “Dr. Craig, director of the honors program, sent an email to all the honors students with summer research and scholarship opportunities. I saw that the University of Kentucky was offering a summer research program in which the students would help conduct a study of the effects of coal mining on soil, erosion and the water shed. I knew that program was something I wanted to do, so I figured there was no harm in trying. “The program was very competitive, more than I initially expected. I am very lucky to have been accepted. (More than 60 students applied for eight available positions.) I had to submit an application, an essay about myself, a proposal for my mini-project, three letters of recommendation and a résumé,” said Lyle. The focus of the 10-week program was to examine carbon activity in soils and water in terms of aquatic and environmental health especially in relation to residential development, mining, and mining reclamation practices. In order to do this the students compared various samples from four areas: an old growth, nevermined forest of Lilley Cornett Woods near Eastern Kentucky University; an area that was mined 30 years ago but not since; an area of active mining; and an area reclaimed about a decade ago. “Most of the combined research gathered this summer will go toward helping a graduate student finish their degree… it was nice to be able to help. I learned so much while I was there, from how to give a poster presentation to how much work really goes into a research project like this one. “Although I spent plenty of time rain-soaked in the woods, I learned how to work in different circumstances and with the people around me. It was a wonderful experience!” said Lyle. “I would recommend a research experience for undergraduates to everyone in the field of science. Learning in the classroom is very different than experiencing it first hand in the field. I think it’s very beneficial to get out there and learn hands-on.” After the completion of her senior research project, Lyle will graduate and plans to continue using the knowledge she gained both at Lees-McRae and during her time at the University of Kentucky.

“After graduation I hope to do field research in Wyoming and Colorado. This program gave me opportunities for experience and networking. Also, in wildlife biology we don’t study too much about the ecology side of the equation, so this was a wonderful experience to broaden my knowledge. This way I can better understand every facet of my field. The state-of-the-art equipment was fun to work with as well!” said Lyle with a grin. Lyle, 20, a native of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, joined the LeesMcRae family in the fall of 2006 and is set to graduate in May 2010 with a degree in wildlife biology. “I have always had a passion for animals and their habitats, which made my major the natural choice for me. The way I look at it is if the animals go, we go; therefore, I wanted my life’s work to focus around field research to help ensure the continuation of the animal populations,” said Lyle. Although the summer research program didn’t directly relate to animals, Lyle hopes to tailor her senior research project to relate to the findings of the project and how animals in the area are affected. Lyle recently received approval to incorporate her summer research in her upcoming senior research project, which will be due in May. The program at the University of Kentucky’s lasted 10 weeks and participants were given free on-campus housing and a $450 per week stipend to help with other expenses. “It was a great summer job!” Lyle said. Top Center: Dr. Alice Jones, Director of the Eastern Kentucky University Environmental Research Institute, and student participants Lee Penwell and Krista Lyle outside an exhibition coal mine. Above: Lyle in the field gathering research data. The Pinnacles Fall 2009 | 15

Article and photography by Michael Joslin hen Lees-McRae’s founder Rev. Edgar Tufts chose the named for John B. Stephenson, former president of Berea College motto “In the mountains, of the mountains, and for the who began his academic career at Lees-McRae College in 1961. In mountains,” he both created a mission and celebrated what makes a letter he wrote, “I love the mountains and their people. I have felt Lees-McRae unique. He recognized the rich environment and a completeness, a sense of fulfillment here that I haven’t known in the worth of the staunch folk of the high valley where he made other places.” his home and where he created the educational institution that When John left Lees-McRae in 1964 to pursue his doctoral degree continues to fulfill his vision of liberal education and service. at Chapel Hill, he brought with him his wife, alumna Jane Baucom Over the years this motto has echoed resoundingly from the Stephenson ’57, and young daughter and left behind a legacy of surrounding mountains, like thunder rolling through valley and devoted teaching. With his Ph.D. in medical sociology in hand, cove. These words define what is special about the college. John moved to Kentucky in 1966 to work at the University of Kentucky. He spent the rest of his life in the Bluegrass State, rising “In the mountains” is indisputable, as the college is set in the high from scholar-teacher, to Appalachian Center director, dean, and valley under Beech, Sugar, and Grandfather Mountains. “Of the eventually president of Berea College. mountains” is also clear; the very walls of the campus come from the surrounding fields and were laid by area farmers and craftsmen. Scholar, teacher, humanist, administrator, and caretaker of Southern Many of the faculty and staff come from Appalachia, or have chosen Appalachia, John B. Stephenson left an enduring legacy of devoted to live in Appalachia because they recognize the value of place. stewardship. Jane Stephenson, a Lees-McRae trustee, and her Also the experience of over a hundred years has formed the college, family have funded The John B. Stephenson Center for Appalachia creating its unique mission. “For at Lees-McRae College to the mountains,” describes the encourage students, faculty and function of the college, not the community to experience and simply to educate mountain study the unique environment, people, but to bring students to the rich culture and the history the mountains to show them the of our mountains. The Center importance of environment and houses the Appalachian Studies heritage. The institution is also Minor, supports campus speakers important to the community, and outreach for highland topics, both the local and the larger and provides service to the Appalachian community as a college and region. cultural center and repository of With the appointment this year of knowledge. Dr. Michael Joslin as director, the The John B. Stephenson Center Center has become the focus for for Appalachia of Lees-McRae the college’s commitment to its College provides inspiration to heritage. A professor of English David Holt and Doc Watson entertain a full house in Hayes Auditorium. and communication arts for 20 live the motto. The Center is 16 | The Pinnacles Fall 2009

years at Lees-McRae, Joslin has published five books and hundreds of articles about the region and is dedicated to celebrating the human and natural heritage of Appalachia through his writing, photography, and teaching. Joining him on the committee of the Center are several others who have strong ties to the region in their lives and scholarship. Dr. Allen Speer has published two volumes of his Appalachian family history and teaches History of the Appalachian Region. Biologist Dr. Stewart Skeate has published A Nature Guide to Northwest North Carolina, and Dr. Gene Spears conducts research in wood frogs, the rare and endangered Gray’s lily, and American chestnuts. In the field of creative literature and art, Dr. John Keener, an Appalachian poet, and Melissa Ball, a studio artist, both teach and practice their art forms as they encourage recognition of the vitality of the mountain experience. Education professor Dr. Warren Doyle is the world-record holder among Appalachian Trail hikers, and Donese Preswood maintains the Appalachian Collection of the Carson Library. The committee collaborates to offer the Appalachian Studies Minor which includes a variety of traditional and non-traditional courses. Each summer special concentrated classes immerse students in mountain studies: for example Stewart Skeate’s Appalachian Ecology, Warren Doyle’s Appalachian Trail, an intensive feet-to-the-ground study of the trail; Melissa Ball’s Appalachian Arts and Crafts, a hands-on class in weaving, quilting and assemblage; Michael Joslin’s Integrating Photography and Writing in Appalachian Features, a practical exploration of presenting Appalachia through photography and writing and Allen Speer’s Autobiography as History, a course exploring how writing memoirs relates to regional and universal themes. The courses followed one another sequentially, so a student can take as many as he or she has the energy to complete. In addition to offering innovative courses, the Stephenson Center brings regional scholars and creative artists to campus to allow students, faculty, staff and community to experience the richness of Southern Appalachia. In 2008-2009, nationally known authors of best-selling novels, award winning poetry and biography­—Robert Morgan, Lee Smith, Fred Chappell, Gurney Norman and Don Johnson—have shared their work and ideas on the Lees-McRae campus. Scholars such as Dr. John Inscoe from the University of Georgia, Dr. Roberta Herrin from East Tennessee State University, and Dr. Dan Barron from the University of South Carolina also presented programs. Some packed Evans Auditorium for their presentations; others met with students in intimate settings where they interchanged ideas in free-wheeling discussions. Both formats gave students the opportunity to experience world-class authors that have developed from Appalachian roots. Further cultural education came from musical groups Beech Mountain Echoes and Bloodroot, who engaged and entertained audiences with their authentic mountain music, showing students the Appalachian roots of such popular contemporary forms as bluegrass and country. Last but certainly not least, Appalachian

legend Doc Watson with historian and performer David Holt enthralled a standing room only crowd in Hayes Auditorium, sharing traditional mountain music with students. Another service the Stephenson Center offers is the annual hosting of the New Opportunity School for Women. Lees-McRae’s program builds on one offered at Berea, Kentucky. Founded by Banner Elk native Jane Baucom Stephenson, the innovative programs at Berea and Lees-McRae have enabled middle-aged women bypassed by success to find through education their share of the American Dream. Rose Hampton, who graduated from the Lees-McRae NOSW in 2007, knows the value of the three-week course of study. She had attended Mars Hill College earlier to study elementary education, but when she was told that she spoke poorly with a mountain accent, that she wasn’t skilled at crafts, and wasn’t a good teacher, she dropped out to return home. She then lost both parents and her job. “When I came here I was in a state of despair. I felt like my life was falling apart—that nothing good would ever happen to me again,” said Rose recently. “I came, and my life was completely changed. The NOSW taught me that even though it’s good to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself. It encouraged me to go back to school to pursue my degree.” This spring she graduated from Lees-McRae with a B.S. in psychology and entered the University of South Carolina this fall to pursue a Master’s degree in social work. Rose spoke at the NOSW graduation ceremony this summer, leaving graduates with a three-fold message: “Believe in yourselves. Pursue your dreams. Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Rose Hampton is one more example of how “In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, and For the Mountains” continues to provide direction for faculty, staff, and students at Lees-McRae. Edgar Tufts would be proud that his words continue to echo through his beloved hills. The sense of purpose implicit in the motto provides direction and distinction to today’s Lees-McRae College. Whether students come here from around the corner in Avery County or across the globe, they will benefit from our sense of place “In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, and For the Mountains.” Top Photo: Melissa Ball and students in Appalachian Arts and Crafts display their work from the summer course. Bottom photo: Rose Hampton, a 2007 NOSW graduate and 2009 Lees-McRae graduate, receives the Woman of Excellence award at the 2009 reunion of NOSW graduates. The Pinnacles Fall 2009 | 17


Acts of

A story of remarkable people who believe in the gift of higher education

by Megan Hall ’10 he vision, the belief, and City, Tennessee, to finish his the understanding are the education. true gifts of generosity. Then the Bakersville, North Generosity is not only the money,” Carolina native headed to the said Leslie Carter, director of sunshine state, where he settled in alumni relations, major gifts, and the town of Lutz. There Johnson church relations at Lees-McRae. spent the majority of his career as These simple words express an idea a science teacher and principal in that has been passed down through the Hillsborough County School generations, and at Lees-McRae System. College it is no different. Without “Royce was a good teacher and the monetary and emotional principal. He always wanted to support of alumni and friends make sure students used their of the College, the spirit of this abilities to the fullest extent institution would cease to exist. possible. He truly understood what Whether the gift results in a new a blessing it was to go to college coat of paint or the continued and have those opportunities, so education of a student, the he wanted every child to have that student body and College as a option. That’s just the kind of whole are affected, because with person he was,” said Johnnie Street each donation comes a piece of ’53, a close friend and classmate of that person’s story, that person’s Johnson. experience with Lees-McRae. Although his career was in Florida, “In the ’50s we were so grateful and his heart was in North Carolina. appreciative to Lees-McRae for Whenever he had a chance, what they gave us - a start in the Johnson would come back to right direction and a chance for a Bakersville and stay in the family career. We felt like one big family; home. While in town, one of his Royce Johnson as pictured in the 1953 Ontaroga it was our home,” said Johnnie Grant favorite pastimes was to load up his Street, an alumna of the class of car full of friends and drive through 1953. the campus of his alma mater, telling anecdotes from his ‘old Bobcat days.’ Every once in a while we are lucky enough to come across a person who His passion for Lees-McRae was will remind us to never take for granted so tremendous that his friend Ron the gift of a higher education and a Normandeau, a native of New home away from home. A few years Hampshire, also fell in love with the ago Johnny Royce Johnson ’53 did just spirit of the College. that. Johnson and Normandeau both loved Piano loving Royce Johnson was to travel and owned properties in known by classmates as a likeable Bakersville, Lutz, and Mexico. At person who loved to learn, teach, and their home in Lutz, they had over 88 could ‘really make the piano keys rock.’ of properties with cattle and Johnnie Street ’53 acres a greenhouse for orchids. Johnson While attending the campus in the even owned a cactus shop named clouds, Johnson was a very active Dangerous Curiosity and Other Thorny Things. member of the student body. He was in the camera club, folk dance club, Delta Psi Omega, choir and more. Before Johnson passed away in August of 2004, with Normandeau following just months after, the two set up the After the completion of his Associate of Arts degree, Johnson Johnson-Normandeau Living Trust in which Lees-McRae was headed to East Tennessee State University (ETSU), in Johnson named the sole beneficiary.


“In my opinion, Royce left his estate to Lees-McRae because he was so appreciative for what they gave him. They gave him a start. He felt that LeesMcRae was a home for him.”

18 | The Pinnacles Fall 2009

This amazing gift, totaling $5.3 million, gave Lees-McRae the ability to continue to foster the ideas of its founder Edgar Tufts. It has also given those at the College a chance to reflect on what truly unique and wonderful people they call alumni and friends. “In my opinion, Royce left his estate to Lees-McRae because he was so appreciative for what they gave him. They gave him a start. He felt that Lees-McRae was a home for him. He could have given his money to the high school he worked for, or ETSU where he continued his education, but instead he gave his money to the place where he felt at home - Lees-McRae College,” said Street. “I’m inspired to hear of these two men who were so touched by Lees-McRae that they chose to leave their entire estate for the betterment of the College. I’m sure the gift helps with physical improvements and provides financial support for students, but that is not why the gift is amazing. It is amazing because of the intentions behind the gift,” said Megan Hall, a senior at LeesMcRae. “These men felt that Lees-McRae was a home, a place for a fresh start, an opportunity to gain enough knowledge to begin a career. They had a belief in and a vision for the College that could make any student sit back and take a minute to remember how much their lives are being and have been changed by the opportunity Lees-McRae has given them. Royce and Ron have done a wonderful thing for the spirit of this institution,” she continued. Sometimes we underestimate what a profound impact an institution can have on a young mind, and even more how profound an impact a young mind can have on an institution. Royce Johnson and Ron Normandeau showed Lees-McRae that there are people who believe so deeply in the institution that they give the unconditional gift of understanding and trust. Barr Family Scholarship To hear of a legacy family at Lees-McRae is not entirely rare, but to hear of a legacy family who has donated so much time and money to ensure that students from their area continue to have the same educational opportunities they did is very rare indeed. Generosity can often come in legacy form, and no family epitomizes this more than the Barr family. With four alumni (Robert ’30, Russell ’31, Wilson ’60, and Rusty ’88) spanning three generations, LeesMcRae College has been part of the Barr family for more than eighty years. The Barrs of Ashe County, North Carolina, are well known for their work in the community. In 1981, the North Carolina Board of Transportation dedicated 7.4 miles of Highway 221 as the Robert G. Barr Expressway. Russell spent thirty-three years as

a volunteer fireman with the West Jefferson Fire Department. Wilson owns Barr Evergreens, a Christmas tree farm, in West Jefferson, and Rusty was a member of Order of the Tower while at Lees-McRae and then graduated from Appalachian State with a degree in business management. Through the generations of time spent at the College, the Barr family has experienced Lees-McRae in many different eras. “The only way you could take a girl out over here [at LeesMcRae] was to take her to church. I always liked the season when it gets dark early; walking from the dining room to the girls’ dormitory, you could snatch a little kiss without anyone seeing you,” said Robert. Russell recalled that they used to walk to Newland, watch a movie, and then walk back, which is a far cry from the automotive dependent generation of today. To honor and commemorate the Barrs’ history with Lees-McRae, the family established the Barr Family Scholarishp in 1990, a scholarship that is awarded to students in good academic standing from Ashe County. “The Barr Family is very pleased to play a part in helping an Ashe County student obtain their education here at Lees-McRae,” said Rusty Barr. As impressive as the men of the family might be, the women, of whom none are alumnae, are just as generous. Charity Vannoy Barr, wife of Robert, was an Ashe County native herself. After graduating from the University of Delaware in 1933 she returned to West Jefferson where she taught at West Jefferson High School and Beaver Creek High School until 1962. When “Chattie,” as she was known, died in November of 2008, she bequeathed an additional $60,000 from her estate to the endowed Barr Family Scholarship. Her gift shows that you did not have to attend Lees-McRae to be impacted by the spirit of the College. Sometimes just being associated with Lees-McRae, hearing the stories, meeting the students, faculty, and staff, and visiting the campus, makes you feel like a Bobcat, like you are part of the family. And the truth is that each and every person associated with the College is a member of the LeesMcRae family because each person has their own part to write in the story of this institution. As Denny Wolfe ’63 said so eloquently to the 1989 graduating class… ”Through the years you will hear the whisper. It will blow down the Elk River and through these pines, among the mountains, to the highways wherever we are. It will always be the same message for us, the message from Lees-McRae. It will say, ‘do something remarkable with your life.’ And it will say, ‘come back, come back.’” Lees-McRae Fund Director Michelle Vance Scott ’86/’90 accepts the latest contribution to Barr Family Scholarship from Russell “Rusty” Wilson III, Linda, and Russell Wilson Barr, Jr. ’59. The Pinnacles Fall 2009 | 19

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.

1940s Kitty Roberts Lee ’42 is involved with Fitzhugh Lee Realty in the Wilmington and Scotts Hill areas of North Carolina.

1950s George D. Fawcett ’50 has written a new book Human Reactions to UFOs and UFONAUTs and What We Have Learned from UFO Repetitions. He is a veteran UFO investigator and researcher for 68 years. Tonita Wadelle Bulla ’55 retired from GE after 40 years as an administrative assistant. She is active in her church and has been married for 52 years. Dorothy Shumate Sebastian ’59 retired as director of health information management at Wilkes Regional Medical Center after 45 years of employment there. Ken Sullivan ’59 is enjoying retirement after 28 years of service in the US Navy as a naval aviator and subsequent career with BJS International in military operational management and consulting services.

1960s Bill Haggard ’60 retired after thirty-plus years in the North Carolina education system as a high school teacher. Gwen Herbert Crane ’61 recently retired from St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, after 25 years as Director of Medical Staff Services. Samuel E. Shumate ’61 is a retired high school principal and has published a book The Bridge Crew, Growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1940s & 50s, published by Parkway Publishers of Boone, North Carolina. James T. Watson ’61 retired after 20 | The Pinnacles Fall 2009

38 years in the paper industry. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Miller Home for Girls in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is president of Big Island Athletic Association. Lane Hurley ’64 was inducted into the Ashe County Sports Hall of Fame. He was a three-sport letterman at Ashe County High School, a five-sport letterman at Lees-McRae and went on to play basketball as a 49’er for UNCCharlotte. He currently lives in Jefferson, North Carolina. Stephen Blankenship ’66 is a 26-year veteran selling major appliances at Sears, currently in Carolina Place Mall in Pineville, North Carolina, selling refrigerators. He graduated from Campbell College in 1973 after serving in the US Army Security Agency in the Philippines during the Vietnam Era. Thomas Byerly ’66 is retired from a position of sales manager at WSW Co. in Sanford, North Carolina. Joyce Williams Bergin ’67 has been selected to serve as Assistant Dean in the College of Education at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. She holds rank of full professor in the Department of Special and Adult Education. Barbara Edris Anders ’69 lives outside of Indianapolis, Indiana, with her husband and two dogs, where they operate a State Farm Agency. Herb Bacon ’69 is entering his 28th season as head varsity softball coach at Pennsville Memorial High School. In June 2008, the team won its third State of New Jersey softball title for group one schools with a record of 21-4. He hopes to capture his 550th career win during the 2009 season, needing

only four wins to reach that goal. After 32 years coaching, 2009 may be his final year at the high school. Jim Berry ’69 retired from public education after 36 years of service. In those 36 years, he taught physical education for eight years, worked one year as a high school counselor, worked seven years as an assistant principal, and 20 years as a high school principal in three different high schools. He currently owns and operates Woodnut, LLC, where he refinishes furniture and does carpenter-related projects. Stanley Mead ’69 lives in the Netherlands, and recently presented a lecture on Trauma, Torture and Relationship Therapy at the First European Conference for the International Association for Analytical Psychology on June 25 in Vilnius, Lithuania, a result of research he has done on the subject. He completed teaching as an adjunct faculty member at University College Utrecht which is an American style liberal arts college that is all in English. They only accept honors students and have students from 54 different countries.

1970s Eddie W. Campbell ’70 is the assistant director of the Upward Bound Program at Surry Community College in Dobson. Mary Portwood Artley ’72 lives in Durham, NC, with her husband Steve. They have two sons, Michael and Jeff. She retired in December 2007 after more than 35 years as a medical secretary, staff assistant, and office manager to a variety of general surgeons and pediatric surgeons at Duke University Medical Center’s Department of Surgery.

Jim McIntosh ’72 is the Director of Public Works for the Town of Ramseur, in his 19th year. His daughter attends University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his wife is a dental hygienist in Asheboro. Toni Naples ’72 works for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools as a high school counselor. She is a part-time musician and has had her own band since college, the Toni Naples Band. Daniel Aldridge ’74 retired from the US Navy in 2001. He is communications officer for the city of Cocoa Beach, Florida. Dorita Boyd ’75 still lives on the family farm in Washington, NC her husband 25 years. They have a business raising herb bedding plants with five greenhouses. She travels all over the state during March, April and May selling plants. My daughter, Sanne, is a senior at UNCP and my son, Jakob is a sophomore and plays basketball at NC Wesleyan. Robert F. Cobb ’75 just completed 32 years with Citifinancial, and is currently working out of the university doctor’s office in Durham. He enjoys vacations and weekends at his retirement condo in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, where he hopes to move to in a few years. Terry Williams ’75 was recently chosen as North Carolina’s Social Studies Teacher of the Year. An educator for 31 years, Terry teaches at Ashe County High School. James Land ’76 retired July 1, 2009, after 29 years in public education. He retired as principal of Union Cross Elementary School. He was a teacher for six years, an assistant principal for four years, and a principal for 19 years. He worked in Mecklenburg County, Virginia,

Tarboro City Schools, Elkin City Schools, Surry County Schools, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth Co. Schools. He is beginning a second career as a real estate broker with Carolina Farms & Homes in King, North Carolina. Dean Sprinkle ’76 is the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services at Wilkes Community College. He is married to Janie Hardin and has two sons, John and Nicholson. Grace George Stanley ’77 will retire soon. She has been teaching since she left LeesMcRae and graduated from UNC-Charlotte. She was in the first Lees-McRae class that had student teaching as an elective at Banner Elk Elementary School.

1980s Don Johnson ’80 holds a business degree form Georgia Southern University and has worked with GA Pacific in management for 23 years. Mary Gibbons Traner ’80 has been with the Digestive Disease Center, PC in Huntsville, Alabama, for 25 years. Jeffrey Walker ’80 is the director of Nuestra Culinary Ventures teaching entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses. He lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Mike Baker ’83 is founding pastor of Bluefield Community Church in Bluefield, Virginia. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from East Tennessee State University and Master of Divinity from Southeastern Theological Seminary at Wake Forest. His wife Beth is a speech language pathologist and they have three children - Cayla, Gray and Toby. Darryl Cummings ’84, tennis director at Old Dominion University, earned his 500th coaching win while serving as the head coach for the men’s and women’s tennis team at ODU, in Norfolk, Virginia, where he has coached for 17 years. Katrina Seitz ’84 is an Associate

Professor of Criminology at Appalachian State University in Boone. She is a retired law enforcement office and death row correctional officer in Raleigh. She just completed a book on the history of capital punishment in North Carolina. Jun Tsuruta ’84 lives in San Antonio, Texas, where he is the director of supply chain for Lockheed Martin. He received his MBA from Texas A&M University. Sidney Yarbrough IV ’86 started a new career in March 2008 with Donjoy Orthopedics, covering central and southwest Georgia.

1990s Kymm Elliott ’90 attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro after graduating from Lees-McRae where she was also a member of the women’s basketball team. She was the leading scorer and rebounder on their first DI team, and still holds records in the women’s program to date. Kymm has been an active member of the youth AAU organization and has coached girls aged 9-18 for the past 16 years, with over 70% of her athletes attending college on athletic scholarship, 100% furthering their education, and three playing in the WNBA. Most recently, Kymm has completed her third season coaching volleyball, girls basketball and track at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh. Currently Kymm is a member of the IWFL Carolina Phoenix Women’s Tackle Football Team. Catherine Button Campe ’91 lives in Charlotte with husband Rich and children Camden and Lawson. She coordinates events and keynotes at Rich Campe International, their company that sepcializes in corporate coaching and people performance. Troy Tarpley ’91 moved to Macon, Georgia, with wife Amy in 1998 to start Dent Tricks, a paintless dent removal business.

Elizabeth Banner ’93 is a teacher of theatre arts in Johnston County, North Carolina, near Raleigh. Noel Gressner ’93 is a physical therapist living in Miami. David Teague ’93 works as a fish biologist for Erwin National Fish Hatchery in Erwin, Tennessee. The hatchery rears broodstock rainbow trout to supply eggs to hatcheries nationwide. Dena Moyer Holman ’94 is currently the Director of Enrollment Management Services at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. Fred Petke ’94 works as a police and court reporter for The Winchester Sun. His wife Shawna is a middle school teacher in Lexington. Kevin Teeter ’95 is a high school math teacher at Sun Valley High School in Monroe, North Carolina. Matthew Treski ’96 is the freshman head men’s basketball coach and “Big Man/Defensive” coach for all of men’s basketball levels at South Lake High School in Groveland, Florida. Jason Annas ’98, a Thomasville, North Carolina, police officer, was recognized at a national law enforcement conference for preventing a potential terrorist attack. A master police officer who is a member of agency’s highway interdiction team, Annas received the National Criminal Enforcement Association 2008 Terrorist Apprehension Award at a conference in Atlanta. Jason Garrett ’98, professor of mass communications at Campbellsville University in Kentucky produced, directed and edited his own original movie “To Fly” that was screened September 7, 2009. James Murdock ’98 is a physical trainer in the Spartanburg area and has one child. Ashley Rogers ’98 is an athletic trainer and teacher in the Orlando area.

Christopher Coyle ’99 recently returned from Diyala Province, Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star for service and plans to move to Washington D.C. in January 2010. Lisa Dunham ’99 teaches high school mathematics in Silver Spring, Maryland, and is currently in grad school at the University of Maryland pursuing a Master’s degree in human development for the educational professional. She married Vinnie Whatley in July. Jeff Melton ’99 teaches history at Crest High School in Shelby, North Carolina, where he is the head men’s basketball coach.

2000s Joey Souder ’00 has been employed with the Watauga County Project on Aging in Boone since 2004, currently serving as the In-Home Services Supervisor. Ann-Marie Thomas ’00 is living in New York City and working in the Trump Towers. Ken Howell ’01 teaches high school at Jesuit College Prep of Dallas, Texas. Emmie Patterson ’01 graduated from a medical technology program in 2005 and is working for the American Red Cross in an Immunohematology Reference Lab in Charlotte. Elena Aguilar ’02 is working as a veterinarian technician in Asheville - a position she’s held for six years. She is considering pursuing a Master’s degree and certification for vet technicians. Christina Cope Anderson ’02 is a senior environmental planner specializing in NEPA compliance, public involvement, and environmental impacts of military training living in Kodiak, Alaska. Terrence “TD” Donohue ’02 is a construction project manager building banks and other financial institutions in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area. The Pinnacles Fall 2009 | 21

Greg Paulson ’02 is in his final year of his Ph.D. in Edinburgh, UK. He will soon go on a 6-month exchange to the University of Tubingen in Germany. In November he will present two papers, “The effects of a Latin scribe on a Greek text: textual alterations in codex Bezae” at the European Institute for Textual Scholarhip in Brussels and “Singular readings: harmonizations in codex D in Matthew at the Society of Biblical Literature in New Orleans. Rebekah Graham Saylors ’02 accepted a position as Senior Director of Admissions at LeesMcRae July 15, 2008. Rebekah married Wes Saylors October 31, 2008. Brandon Young ’02 is working on his Master’s degree in school counseling at Western Carolina University. He teaches fifth grade at Dayton Elementary School in Spruce Pine, and is seeking a counseling position for the next school year. He is also pastor at Harmony Free Will Baptist Church in Hampton, Tennessee. Natalie Ellison ’03 graduated with Master of Arts in Dance Studio and Related Studies from Florida State University. She will be traveling with Cornerstone Dance Company, a Christian dance ministry based in Melbourne, Florida. She also

works as a travel agent at Cloud 9 Escapes in Florida. Kristina Mitchell ’03 earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Elon University in December 2006 and moved to Oregon where she works as a physical therapist. Bobbie Miller Sigmon ’03 is employed as an on-call and intake social worker with the Catawba County Department of Social Services. She and husband, Brian, have a son, Braxton. Lori Lewis ’04 graduated with an MBA from King College in May 2009 and is the Director of Financial Aid at Salem College. Caesar Morales ’04 is living and working in Kansas City, Missouri, as a system engineer for the Cerner Corporation. Rhiannon Ruth Manis ’05 was named Conference Coach of the Year for her work with the Avery County High School Lady Vikings tennis team. Meghan Meier ’05 recently accepted the position of program analyst at the Greenville Housing Fund, a non-profit housing trust fund that assists low-income and first-time home buyers with down payments and closing cost assistance. Meghan serves as president-elect for the Main Street Kiwanis Club in Greenville, South Carolina. Ashley Carson ’06 graduated

with a Master’s degree in occupational therapy from Milligan College in Johnson City, Tennessee, in December 2008. She recently moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to begin her career as an occupational therapist at Coastal Carolina Hospital. Mary Anne Millinder ’06 is working as a ninth grade math teacher at Northside High School as well as coaching football cheerleading. Tonika Gillis ’07 began working as a police officer for the Greensboro Police Department in July 2008. Chris Saxton ’07 completed the Navy’s Primary Flight Training at NAS Whiting Field on April 30, 2009. He will remain at NAS Whiting Field for Advanced Flight Training, upon completion he will receive his Wings of Gold. Sheena Allen ’08 is living in Raleigh and pursuing her Master of Arts degree in English and language arts through the University of Phoenix. Justin Bulla ’08 is teaching theatre and chorus at North and South Stokes high schools in Stokes County, North Carolina. He received his theatre arts licensure in December. Kirsten Davis ’08 has been promoted to regional director

of the northern Austin area for the company Just Imagine... She is responsible for recruiting new school contracts as well as teaching in those schools. Meghan Rey ’08 recently completed an audiences’ services apprenticeship at Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is now employed as director of after school care at the YMCA in Marion, North Carolina. Samantha Waisner ’08 works as an Emergency Medical Technician in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Give every year. Make a difference every day. Support the Lees-McRae Fund. Contact Michelle Vance Scott ’86/’90 to make your gift to Lees-McRae. or 828.898.2489.

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Call: 828.898.8748 E-mail: Write: Alumni Relations Lees-McRae College P.O. Box 128 Banner Elk, NC 28604

In remembrance


Mursetis Young Hyatt ’31 – 10.31.2007 William M. Farrington ’36 – 4.9.2006 Ann Lucile Peters ’36 – 9.16.2009 Carl G. Howie ’38 - 2.11.2009 George T. Matheny ’38 – 8.11.2009 Ida Jackson Robinson ’38 – 6.4.2008 Wade Wright ’39 – 4.14.2008 James W. Holt ’39 – 2.13.2009 Dr. Hugh Lee McKinney ’39 – 8.15.2009 L. Yale Miller ’39 – 2.28.2009 Virginia G. Schertz ’40 – 12.28.2007 Robert Carson ’41 – 1.5.2008 Julius Lewis ’41 – 8.20.2008 John R. McNeely ’41 – 4.14.2008 Catherine Davis Brown ’43 – 1.21.2008 James Alexander Hagerty ’43 – 11.28.2007 Adrian Stout ’44 – 11.3.2007 Lila Aven Smith ’45 – 4.15.2008 Marie Ragan Caskey Harmon ’46 – 6.14.2008 Frankie Mitchell Cross ’48 – 6.27.2008 Mary Frances York Florence ’48 – 9.4.2009 Samuel D. Rea ’48 – 3.27.2008 Barbara Carter Blake ’49 – 5.15.2009 Hazel Zimmerman Cadick ’49 – 5.10.2008 Joe F. Greer ’49 – 4.26.2009 Okle McQueen Greer ’49 – 1.29.2006 Thomas E. Jackson ’49 – 7.12.2008 Phyllis Rieves ’49H – 12.31.2008 Pauline Necessary ’50 – 8.12.2009 Anna Ruth Smith ’51 – 5.6.2009

Fred Smith ’51 – 3.9.2009 Martha Craven Lawrence ’52 – 2.3.2008 Charles Ray Gregory ’53 – 4.25.2009 Lynn Hughes ’53 – 5.16.2009 Nancy Cook Michael ’53 – 5.26.2008 Royce Frederick Baughn ’54 – 12.1.2008 Betty Keeling Love ’54 – 9.5.2008 Dr. David Thomas Powell ’54 – 1.6.2008 Dale K. Sigmon ’54 – 6.11.2009 B. Alphonso “Fonzie” Hendrix ’55 – 11.14.2007 Robert “Bob” Patchett ’55 – 5.21.2009 Peggy Lawrence Russell ’55H – 10.29.2008 Leonard Newton Harmon ’56 – 9.12.2009 Lillian Roth Jordan ’56 – 8.2.2007 Rev. J. Max Smith ’56 – 1.13.2008 Judy Weaver ’57H – 1.13.2008 Frank Jones Shuford ’58 – 4.2.2009 Dr. Russell C. “Jack” Taylor ’58 – 12.14.2008 Andy G. Harman ’59 – 5.1.2009 Weldon E. Brigman ’60 – 4.8.2009 Kenneth G. Masters ’62 – 6.10.2008 William “Buddy” Wright, Jr. ’64 – 10.20.2007 Carr Newton Benfield ’65 – 7.6.2009 Susan Carpenter Morris ’65 – 6.4.2009 James R. “Skip” Thompson ’66 – 8.21.2009 Ann Boyd Brown ’67 – 3.29.2008 Michael Lanier Timmerman ’70 – 2.12.2009 Jean Marie Miller ’75 – 9.22.2009 Dennis Roland ’76 – 12.30.2007 Cathie Lacey Smith ’76 – 2.5.2008

Elizabeth Lenoir Forester ’78 – 6.30.2009 Ralph Benjamin Fortune ’78 - 10.4.2009 Mark L. Seward ’79 – 3.1.2008 Jack E. Statham ’81 – 5.29.2009 Mary Beth Phelps Driscoll ’83 – 8.11.2009 Russell Lewis “Rusty” Hall ’84 – 6.24.2008 Kathleen Denise Blackburn ’86 – 4.21.2006 Douglas Scott Woodward ’94 – 12.22.2007 Tim Duncan ’01 – 9.20.2008

Friends Caroline J. Abernethy – 12.15.2008 Dorothy Blair – 5.20.2008 Louise Chandler Coble – 11.23.2007 Mary Elizabeth Guy Gentry – 12.1.2007 Paul J. Hanna – 2.26.2009 Anna Brooke Hurdle – 12.26.2008 Louise Jackson – 4.25.2007 Richard Jackson – 4.23.2008 Danny McKinney – 6.18.2008 Barbara J. Robbins – 6.13.2009 Harry Robbins – 10.1.2007 Pat Smith – 11.24.2008 Nancy McKinney Teague – 1.1.2009 Romulus “Rom” L. Teague, Jr. – 12.17.2008

In remembrance of Alonzo V. Clark II September19,1990 - September 29,2009

Lees-McRae College track and field studentathlete Alonzo Clark died September 29, after suffering severe head injuries in a single-car collision in Banner Elk. Alonzo was a sophomore accounting major from Fredricksburg, Virginia. He was a member of the track and field team and Beta Omega Kappa. “Alonzo represented everything we want in a student-athlete – dedication to his teammates, classmates and friends, as well as the loyalty of a son and brother,” said Athletic Director Craig McPhail. “Alonzo was the type of student-athlete you always dream of coaching,” Head Track and Field Coach Ley Fletcher said. “He worked hard on the track and in the classroom and had great

success in both areas. I will miss Alonzo, along with everyone else on the team. In our hearts, he will always be a big part of Lees-McRae Track and Field and Lees-McRae College.” “In the short time we were able to spend together, ‘Zo’ impacted so many people on our campus and in our community,” said McPhail. “He truly lived life to its fullest and for this I am thankful to have had him on our team.” Clark was a sprinter on the Bobcat track team, helping guide them to the first Conference Carolinas Track and Field Championships last spring. Clark is survived by his mother, Cheryl Cook, father, Alonzo Clark, Sr. and siblings Felicia, Ben and Michelle.

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

Parting Shot Lees-McRae students on a picture-perfect fall day

The Pinnacles - Fall 2009  

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

The Pinnacles - Fall 2009  

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