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MAGAZINE STAFF: Editor: Teresa Buckner, Media Relations Coordinator Associate Editor: Mike Thornhill ’88, Director of Communications Contributors Dr. Jason Pierce, Asst. VP for Academic Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness Nick Petrone, Asst. Director of Sports Information Kristie Vance, Asst. Director of Marketing & Research, Admissions Samantha Fender, Director of Marketing & Admissions, Adult & Graduate Studies


President: Dr. Dan G. Lunsford ’69 Executive Vice President: Dr. John Wells VP of Institutional Advancement : Bud Christman VP of Finance: Neil Tilley Executive Director of Planning & Auxiliary: Dr. Grainger Caudle

Mars Hill  [mahrz hil] noun

1. A site in Athens, also known as the Aeropagus, where Paul used persuasive reason and logic to preach Christ to the intellectuals of 1st-century Greece, as detailed in Acts 17:21 of the Bible. 2. A town in the mountains of North Carolina known for the beauty of its surroundings and its welcoming, small-town atmosphere. 3. A college in the town of Mars Hill which strives to provide the best in liberal arts education for its 1300-some students.

4. A concept (esp. for faculty, students, staff and alumni of Mars Hill College) signifying that place where faith meets reason, to lay a foundation for a life of character and compassion.

Mars Hill, The Magazine of Mars Hill College is published regularly by the Office of Communications. It is distributed, without charge, to alumni, donors, and friends of the college. Notices of changes of address and class notes should be addressed to the Alumni Office, Mars Hill College, P.O. Box 6792, Mars Hill, NC 28754. Phone 828/689-1102. Fax 828/689-1292. E-mail Letters to the editor and all other correspondence regarding the magazine should be addressed to the Office of Communications, Mars Hill College, P.O. Box 6765, Mars Hill, NC 28754. Phone 828/689-1304. Fax 828/689-1105. E-mail Postmaster: Send address changes to the Alumni Office, Mars Hill College, P.O. Box 6792, Mars Hill, NC 28754. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

In This Issue: 4

From the President


National Champions! Cycling Team Completes Road Race Season with Three National Championships


Mars Hill College Launches Graduate Program with Master of Education


Homecoming Will Be Out of This World


Looking Good... Positive Reports on Enrollment and Accreditation


MHC Receives President’s Service Honor Roll... Again


Awards and Recognitions


MHC Students Excel in Research


A Life of Ministry: Rev. Sue Fitzgerald Leaves Mars Hill After 48 Years


Lion Athletics: The Year In Review


New Chaplain; Other New Faculty and Staff


Points of Pride: Faculty Publications and Achievements


Ms. Reba Williams is Young at Heart at 100


Alumni News; Class Notes; In Memoriam

From These Stones – Fall 2007

The name “Mars Hill” conjures many a memory for alumni of Mars Hill College. For those of us blessed enough to be associated with the institution, the words signify a location, but also a time in our lives, as well as friends, professors, and new ways of growing, thinking and being. The name of Mars Hill College originated from the passage in Acts 17 of the Bible, where Paul stood on Aeropagus (Mars’ hill) and used persuasive logic and reason in his defense of the Christian faith. For alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the college the name Mars Hill is more than a location. It is a concept incorporating the belief that a quality liberal arts education begins at the intersection of faith and reason. With an eye to all these associations, we offer Mars Hill, the Magazine of Mars Hill College. We hope you will enjoy this premiere issue of the college magazine in its new format. A new look is especially fitting as we enter the 2011-12 academic year, and with it, a new era of graduate education. This summer, for the first time in the 155-year history of Mars Hill College, the institution welcomed its first cohort of master’slevel students. It is our sincere hope that the Master of Elementary Education will be the first of many graduate degrees in Mars Hill’s future. Our new graduate program, however, is only one of the points of pride for those of us who love Mars Hill College. Our cycling team, still in its youth, has already placed Mars Hill “on the map” in the world of collegiate cycling, with three national championships in the spring. Together with the graduate program, new strategies for offering financial aid and contacting potential students have led to the largest summer school population in recent years. In addition, current inquiries and deposit numbers indicate that the coming academic year could show an increase in new student enrollment of as much as 20% over recent years. You can read about each of these topics, and many others, in this premier issue of Mars Hill, The Magazine of Mars Hill College. We hope you enjoy the magazine. And we hope to see you soon, the next time you visit your home away from home, here on “The Hill.” Dr. Dan Lunsford ’69 President


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


Photo by Casey B. Gibson Story by Mike Thornhill

Lions Complete Road Race Season with Three National Championships The Mars Hill College Mountain Lions cycling team reinforced its growing reputation as a force to be reckoned with during the spring road race season, coming away from the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in early May with the Division 2 team national championship and two individual national titles for senior Kyle Knott. Knott took first place in the criterium, coming off a strong leadout by fellow senior Paul Webb. Combined with his strong finish in the road race, the win placed Knott at the top of the Division 2 individual omnium competition. Strong performances from the rest of the team added to Knott’s performances to give Mars Hill 428 points in the Division 2 omnium team title race, besting second place Mesa State College by 12 points. Massachusetts Institute of Technology finished third, with Duke University in fourth and the United States Military Academy taking the final podium spot. Hugh Moran, Mars Hill College cycling coach, told USA Cycling that he had come to nationals competition hopeful that the Lions could maintain their first-place national ranking and come away with the top podium

spot, but after the first two days of competition (which included team time trials), that goal appeared to be almost out of reach. “We thought it was nearly impossible to win the team omnium,” said Moran. “We knew our women had to do very well; they ended up second in team points and that gave us a shot. We had to come from behind and beat MIT and stay ahead of Mesa. Everything just worked to perfection. All of the women rode well and with Kyle (Knott) winning the criterium and the individual omnium—I couldn’t be happier.” Read more about the MHC cycling team at www. Cycling Terminology Criterium: A road race run using a lot laps on a short loop course. Leadout: The last rider, usually a teammate, in front of a sprinter before the finish. Omnium: A stage race or series of races scored on points rather than overall time. Podium: The stage on which the top finishers are honored. Road race: A mass start race that is ridden on the open roads. Team time trial: A time trial (race where riders individually ride the same set distance) in which two or more riders work together. Source: taken from and other sources

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


Mars Hill College launches

a new era of graduate education with a

Master’s Program

in Education

by Teresa Buckner

This summer marked a turning point for Mars Hill College, as it left behind its status as a baccalaureate-only institution and began offering its first graduate degree: the Master of Education (M.Ed.) Prospective students for the program are recent education graduates who hold a teaching license or practicing teachers who wish to add the master’s degree to their credentials. “This is a logical step for an institution of our size to take,” said Executive Vice President John Wells. “For quite some time, we have been receiving requests from both students and alumni to explore this direction, and we’re trying to respond to those needs.” The graduate program will be administered through the adult education program, formerly known as ACCESS. In concert with the opening of the graduate program, the ACCESS program changed its name to Mars Hill College Adult and Graduate Studies, effective February 1. Traditionally, education has been one of Mars Hill College’s most popular


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

majors. Among traditionalage students, education majors (including elementary, middlegrades, English as a second language and special education) form the

second largest major group at the college. Nearly half of Mars Hill’s adult students are pursuing education majors at some level. According to Dr. Tom Destino, Mars Hill College professor of education, the master’s program at Mars Hill has a concentration in elementary (K-6) education and consists of 36 required credit hours (12, 3-hour courses). A unique aspect of the Mars Hill master’s program is an optional seminar for those students

who wish to prepare for national board licensure. Dr. Deb Morris, chair of the Department of Education, said that the master’s program may draw even more undergraduate education majors to Mars Hill. “The presence of a master’s program raises the prestige of the undergraduate program in education by demonstrating to undergraduate students and their parents that they will encounter advanced options here at Mars Hill,” she said. Students will be admitted to the master’s program based on a cohort model, rather than on a rolling admissions model, Destino said. That means that a “cohort” of students will enter the graduate program each summer, and that group of students will move through all classes and phases of the program together. According to Marie Nicholson, dean of MHC Adult and Graduate Studies, all classes for the graduate program will be offered in the

evening, making them convenient for teachers in area school systems. “The M.Ed. program will enable already dedicated, excellent teachers to become even more effective as they enhance their knowledge and skills,” she said. Administrators say they hope the master’s in education will be the first of several graduate-level programs to be offered at Mars Hill College. “We are currently in conversation regarding other possibilities for graduate programs including, specifically, master’s programs in social work and counseling,” Wells said. Tuition for the master’s in education program will be affordable and comparable to competitor institutions in the region with similar programs, according to Wells. For more information about the master’s of education program, contact Mars Hill College Adult and Graduate Studies, 828/6891166, or email Marie Nicholson at

Left: Dr. Chris Cain ’99, associate professor of education, taught this summer’s introductory class to the first master’s program cohort. Above: Dr. Tom Destino, professor of education and Marie Nicholson, Dean of MHC Adult and Graduate Studies, address the inaugural class of this summer’s session. Right: the MHC Education Dept.: (front) Destino, Dr. Deb Morris, (back) Cain, Dr. Barbara Cary, Dr. Jim Brown.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


Thursday, October 6, 2011 7:00pm: Chili Cook-Off, Wren Patio Make your favorite chili recipe and join in the eating and judging for most delicious dish 8:00pm: Lion’s Growl/Pep Rally, Meares Stadium Let’s get the SPIRIT and cheer on our Lions! 10:00pm: Dance, The Loft Friday, October 7, 2011 1:00pm: Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament, Grove Park Inn 11:30am: NAB meeting, Sams Dining Room, Pittman Hall National Alumni Board members meet for activity planning and MHC informational time 2:00 - 5:00 pm: Registration, Blackwell Hall Lobby 6:00pm: BBQ, Chambers Gym Lobby, Tickets available at registration, or at the event: $10 adults; $5.00 (4-11yrs) 3 and under no charge 6:00 - until: Music by the Imperials, Chambers Gym Join your friends for a delicious North Carolina BBQ meal and enjoy the great beach music sounds of the Imperials, a band composed of MHC alumni. 6:00 - 8:00 pm: Bonner Alumni Reception, The Feed and Seed, 30 N. Lexington Avenue, Asheville Saturday, October 8 9:00 am -1:30 pm: Registration/Coffee, Blackwell Hall Lobby 9:00-10:00 am: Alumni and Faculty Coffee, Ferguson Lobby 9 :00-1:00pm: Festival on the Quad, with performance by the national champion Bailey Mountain Cloggers. Have fun on the Quad as students showcase their organizations and vendors provide wares for viewing and for purchasing. There will also be games for children, and lunch available for purchase after 11:30 am, $8 for adults; $5 (4-11yrs) 3 and under no charge.

10:00 am -12:00 noon: 20th Bonner Anniversary Celebration, Redway Dining Room 10:00-11:00 am: Class Reunions Class of 1971, 1986, 2001, Ferguson Building 11:00am: MHC Choir/Alumni Choir, Broyhill Chapel 1:30 pm: HOMECOMING FOOTBALL GAME, Meares Stadium (tickets available at the gate)* Halftime Show: Alumni Band performance with Mountain Lion Marching Band w Recognition of Alumni of the Year w Homecoming King and Queen crowned 5:30pm: Alumni of the Year Dinner, Redway, Pittman Hall: Please reserve your dinner ticket by calling Ophelia DeGroot at 828-689-1438 or by email at fdegroot@ $17 for adults; $8 (4-11 yrs) 3 and under no charge. Sunday, October 9, 2011 11:00am: Homecoming at Mars Hill Baptist Church Dr. Robert Seymour, former pastor of the church and retired senior pastor of Binkley Memorial Church in Chapel Hill, NC, will be the guest speaker. * ** Other events will be added as they are scheduled to the Homecoming page online.


Positive Reports on Enrollment and Accreditation

Enrollment Shows Signs of Increasing ...For Traditional-Age Students by Kristie Vance In comparison to the last five years, numbers of admissions applicants, acceptances, and deposits (enrolling students) have risen significantly. In addition, Mars Hill College is experiencing record high numbers in on-campus housing, in campus visits and at orientation. As the lead in applicant and acceptance numbers continues to grow steadily, the growth in deposits is most notably evident. Preliminary numbers indicate that new student enrollment could increase by over 20% compared to last year. Several factors have driven these numbers to the record highs: •

New and improved direct mail pieces and electronic communications

Addition of a Telecommunications division of the Admissions Office

New and improved financial aid awarding system

A significant financial aid agreement made with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Implementation of early spring orientation dates

...AND For Adult and Graduate Studies by Samantha Fender Summer 2011 showed a marked increase in the number of students enrolled and especially the number of credit hours those students were taking. In fact, the total credit hour enrollment was the highest it has been since 2003. As Adult and Graduate Studies administers summer school for both traditional and AGS students, the growth of both programs is represented in the increase. A flexible schedule and additional online course offerings drove the increase. Additionally, our first graduate program got underway this summer. The initial M.Ed. cohort of 13 students provided a very strong addition to enrollment numbers. We will begin an additional cohort in Summer 2012. We expect to see continued growth into the fall for undergraduate and licensure students in adult studies.

Accreditation Reaffirmed By SACS by Dr. Jason Pierce At its June 2011 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges voted to reaffirm the accreditation of Mars Hill College. This accreditation covers all bachelor’s degrees offered by the college, both on campus and at locations served by the Office of Adult and Graduate Studies. The college’s first graduate degree, the M.Ed. in Elementary Education, was initially approved by the SACS board at its December 2010 meeting; a SACS committee will visit Mars Hill this fall to review the program in detail in preparation for full approval in December 2011. The Commission on Colleges of SACS is the regional accrediting body for institutions of higher education in the southeastern United States. Its members include nearly 800 colleges and universities in eight states from Texas to Virginia, plus six institutions from outside the U.S. Mars Hill College has been accredited by SACS since 1926; the college will next prepare for reaffirmation in 2021, with interim reports due in 2016.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


MHC Receives President’s Service Honor Roll...Again

For the second consecutive year, Mars Hill College has been named to the President’s Community Service Honor Roll. Mars Hill has received the distinction four times since the honor roll was launched in 2006. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll annually recognizes institutions of higher education across the nation for their commitment to and achievement in community service. The President’s Service Honor Roll increases the public’s awareness of the contributions that colleges and their students make to local communities and the nation as a whole. According to Travis Proffitt, Director of LifeWorks at Mars Hill College, the President’s Service Honor Roll is an important distinction for colleges and universities because it showcases institutions that are answering the important call of exploring societies’ biggest needs, both in and out of the classroom. “Institutions of higher education have a responsibility to be good neighbors, thoughtful allies, and resources for our communities,” Proffitt said. “We also have a responsibility to understand our communities and neighbors as rich in resources as well, as co-educators for our students who are engaging in service work. When students engage in communitybased service, many things happen: they gain a deeper sense of ownership and place, they gain invaluable ‘real world’ experiences that better prepare them for graduate school or the workforce, and most importantly they develop an

www Above: MHC students Michael Holcombe (left) and Jameson Donnell (right) clean at Mars Hill Elementary School on the MLK Day of Service. Lower left: dozens of students turned out to participate in MHC’s Day of Caring last fall. Middle right: Campus Ministry Associate Debra Huff accepts a cup of soup during MHC’s Empty Bowls Dinner, a part of Hunger Week. Upper right: Ashley Rockell Bridges and Adam Wheeler hang up t-shirts during MHC’s Clothesline Project to promote awareness about domestic violence.

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Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

understanding of their role in making communities safe, healthy, and just places for all people.” Approximately 600 students at Mars Hill College were involved in service projects off-campus during the 2010-11 academic year involving about 50 community partner organizations in Madison and Buncombe counties. In addition to regular volunteerism on the part of individual students, various planned events during the year— such as MHC’s Day of Caring last fall and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in January—provided opportunities for students to engage in service activities. In addition to these opportunities in the community, hundreds of

MHC students participated in campus-based programs to raise money or awareness to address significant social issues such as hunger, illegal drug use, or bullying. Additionally, Mars Hill College is a host campus for the Bonner Scholarship, through which students receive scholarship monies in exchange for an ongoing, demonstrated commitment to community service. Bonner Scholars completed nearly 16,000 hours of service in the community this past year. According to Proffitt, these service experiences are an integral part of a healthy characterbuilding educational experience. “Students come to understand they can have a tremendous impact on the lives of others NOW and in the years to come,” he said.


Many Hands Make Light Work, taken by MHC Religion Professor Marc Mullinax.

Mars Hill College was the winner of the 2011 MLK photo contest, sponsored by Campus Compact, with a photo called “Many Hands Make Light Work,” taken by professor of religion Marc Mullinax ’77.

into a community and cultural center.

Mullinax took the photo during MHC’s celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. The photo shows eleven young men working together to move a 1000 pound log, beginning the revival of a trail at the Anderson Rosenwald School in Mars Hill. The school, which served hundreds of African American students in Madison County, is currently being restored

The Campus Compact Photo Contest was designed to showcase activities which represent the spirit of the MLK Day of Service, including meeting community needs, encouraging diversity and honoring the legacy of a man who committed his life to service. Campus Compact presented Mars Hill with a cash award of $200 to support future MLK Day of Service efforts.

Mars Hill’s entry captured 47% of the 11,296 votes cast from 43 states in the nationwide contest.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


THE G. McLEOD BRYAN CARING AWARDS Dr. Marc Mullinax ’77, professor of religion and philosophy, and senior student Kristina Rathburn of Burnsville, NC, have received the 2011 G.

Tina Rathburn and Dr. Marc Mullinax

McLeod Bryan Caring Awards at Mars Hill College. The Caring Award recognizes recipients who have made a positive impact on the community, whose involvement in the community is ongoing, whose action in the community is directed at serious social challenges and who work to connect the campus and wider community. During her time at Mars Hill College, Kristina Rathburn has been active in planning, promoting and participating in many service activities and events on campus. She also volunteers off-campus at A Hope Day Center and Three-Streams Family Health Center.

Tara Jo West, a senior majoring in Business Administration from Urbana, OH, received the Michael Emory Award from Mars Hill College. The Michael Emory Award is presented annually to an individual who demonstrates Christ-like compassion, loyalty and service to the economically, socially or emotionally oppressed and diligent pursuit of truth and justice even when such pursuit may be unpopular. West, an athletic intern for the Spring, 2011 semester, took on the Division II athletic department’s fund-raising for Make-A-Wish as a personal mission. She also organized fundTara Jo West raising events for Kayla Davis, a student at Madison High School, whose dream of seeing the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders was accepted for funding by Make-a-Wish.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

The Bryan Caring award was named in honor of Dr. G. McLeod (“Mac”) Bryan, a member of the MHC class of ’39, and a professor at Wake Forest University, who worked tirelessly for the cause of peace and justice and influenced countless others to join the cause through the years.

In addition to being an engaging professor, Mullinax serves as a



mentor to numerous students. He is a participant in numerous campus service opportunities, and a frequent volunteer at A Hope Day Center, Room at the Inn, Manna Food Bank, and other local ministries. He is also the faculty sponsor of Ethos, a campus inter-spirituality group which focuses on finding the connection between spirituality and social justice.

OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE AWARDS Fifteen students at Mars Hill College received the Outstanding Leadership and Service Award. Students were selected for this award for modeling lives of service and for their leadership in creating positive change through both action and accomplishment. Recipients of the Outstanding Leadership and Service Awards are: Adam Wheeler, James Whitt, Annie Sutton, Samantha Oldham, Ciara Felder, Samantha Rybicki, Misha Price, Jameson Donnell, Breanna Mason, Clint Lawing, Lacey Davis, Yonatan Arnold, Kaitlyn Allen, C.J. Tate and Patrick Cash)

THE NORTH CAROLINA BAPTIST HERITAGE AWARD In addition to his service to the college, Higgins has provided leadership to a myriad of denominational and civic organizations. Since its inception, for example, he has been chair of the Mountain State Fair Ministry Team, an outreach of the Buncombe Baptist Association. He has held numerous positions within the association, including Brotherhood Director and board member of N.C. Baptist Men. He was also the first layperson to serve as the association’s moderator.

Wayne Higgins of Weaverville, NC, received the 2010 North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award from Mars Hill College during an April 5 ceremony in Greensboro. The North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award recognizes individuals and couples who represent exemplary giving and service to organizations associated with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Higgins is an alumnus of Mars Hill College, having graduated in 1975. He became a member of the Board of Advisors for the college in 1993. After five years on that board, including service as chair, Higgins joined the MHC Board of Trustees in 1998. He has served numerous terms as a trustee and is the former board chair. Higgins and his wife, Patty, also fund a scholarship for North Buncombe High School students attending Mars Hill.

An active member of First Baptist Church of Weaverville, Higgins is involved with the church’s ministry at Craggy Prison, serves as chair of the deacons, teaches Sunday School, and leads the Denominational Relations Committee. For several years, he was a board member and chair of Western Carolina Rescue Ministries.

In 2002, Higgins was inducted into the North Carolina West District Optimist International Hall of Fame for his active participation with that organization. Professionally, he is a Senior Vice President with Carolina Farm Credit in Asheville.

Wayne Higgins (left ), pictured with his wife, Patty, and Dr. Milton Hollifield, President of the NC State Baptist Convention.

THE I. RUTH MARTIN AWARD Pauline Cheek, a resident of Weaverville, NC, has received the I. Ruth Martin Award for Christian Service. The award was established by I. Ruth Martin, class of 1938, to be given to a Christian individual who has served faithfully without any spotlight recognition. Cheek was chosen for the award for a myriad of ways that she serves the community and individuals in Mars Hill. She teaches a Sunday school class and a discipleship class for children at Mars Hill Baptist Church, and serves on the church’s Board of Christian Education. She has used

her skills as a researcher, writer and editor to compile the history of Mars Hill Baptist Church and to assist many individuals with dissertations or manuscripts for publication. She teaches English as a second language through her work on the Slavic Ministry Board in Asheville, and volunteers with the Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill College. Before her retirement, Cheek was an adjunct English professor, and the coordinator of the Appalachian Room in the Mars Hill College archives.

President Dan Lunsford presents the I. Ruth Martin Award to Pauline Cheek

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


MHC Students Excel at


by Teresa Buckner

Numerous initiatives in recent years have underscored the importance of undergraduate research across the curriculum at Mars Hill College. According to Dr. Marshall Angle, former director of the Research Scholars Program (and now Upward Bound director) at Mars Hill College, undergraduate research is vitally important because it engages students in “the highest form of academic inquiry.” To Angle, Mars Hill’s Research Scholars Program, which awarded students $750 mini-grants for self-written research proposals in various disciplines, was evidence of Mars Hill’s commitment to integrate research across the curriculum. Monies for grants were provided through the federally-funded Title III program. Angle said, “Research teaches students how to investigate problems, how to create, how to transform their inspired ideas into real-world projects that matter. In particular, our undergraduate research program teaches project management, critical thinking and analysis, creativity, leadership, and effective communication.” Another example of the research emphasis at Mars Hill College is SLAM, Student Liberal Arts Mosaic, an entire day devoted to the presentation and celebration of student research. In addition, most majors culminate with a senior seminar requirement, the centerpiece of which is an in-depth, semesterlong research project. Students work with faculty mentors who are experts in their fields, learning how to conduct research and manage projects. Such research is student-initiated and facultymentored, to afford the best in educational opportunities for MHC students. Three students during the 2010-11 year gained recognition, either nationally or locally, for outstanding research.


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

Clockwise from far left: Yi Lu, winner of two national research awards; Rebekah Crockett takes water samples; Josh Corbin works in the lab with Dr. Kari Loomis, biology professor; Patrick Cash in Washington D.C. with Dr. John Gripentrog, history professor.

Yi Lu, a history and mathematics major from Wuhan, China, received two national awards for her research about the event that has come to be called the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The paper, Struggle and Massacre: China’s Leadership in the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, has received the Robert W. Sledge fellowship from the prestigious national college honor society Alpha Chi. The Sledge Fellowship is the society’s highest honor for written work. Only two Sledge Fellowships, worth $3,500, are awarded each year. In addition, the paper was selected as the Best Undergraduate Paper at the 23rd Annual Graduate History Forum held at UNCCharlotte in April. History major Patrick Cash of Morganton, NC, channeled his life-long interest in Sen. Sam J. Ervin, Jr., into a research project which he had the honor of presenting at the Council on Undergraduate Research’s “Posters On the Hill” event in Washington DC in April. Of more than 700 presentations submitted for consideration from around the country, Cash’s research project was one of only 34 selected for the event. Though Ervin is well known for his work in the Watergate hearings of the ’70s, Cash’s research focused on his role as the unofficial “lawyer” for the southern opposition to the civil rights legislation of the ’60s.

Joshua Corbin, of Franklin, NC, whose career goal is to be a physician, completed his senior biology research project on the characterization of the expression and cellular localization of beta-catenin in canine skin tumors. According to Dr. Kari Loomis, assistant professor of biology, Corbin’s research was of a quality and complexity that is unusual for an undergraduate student. His research was chosen for presentation at the “Science in the Mountains” event at AshevilleBuncombe Technical Community College in April. Though there were no awards involved, three other Mars Hill students were part of a cooperative research program earlier this year that not only taught them research methods, but may have far-reaching benefits for water quality in Madison County. Science majors Rebekah Crockett, Blake Sanders, and Aki Masunaga participated in a cooperative research project between Mars Hill College and the Madison County Soil Conservation office, which seeks to analyze and chart data on water quality in the county. Data will be used to apply for grant funds for water quality improvement projects in Madison County. This is the second year the project has been incorporated into Dr. Meredith Newman’s chemistry classes at Mars Hill.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


Rev. Sue Fitzgerald Leaves

Mars Hill After 48 Years Of Ministry

by Teresa Buckner

It is at the decisive points in life that people ponder the big questions of life and purpose. It has been the same for Rev. Sue Fitzgerald, who, in mid-July left Mars Hill, the town she has called home for 48 years. At 80 years old, she moved to Winston-Salem to be nearer to her extended family. “I always wondered if I really did anything,” she said recently, as she considered the move. Like everything else Fitzgerald says, the statement is made with genuineness and humility, but for anyone acquainted with her history, it seems laden with irony. Since coming to Mars Hill in 1963, Fitzgerald has held pivotal and trailblazing roles as the founder and only Director of the Christian Education Center at Mars Hill College, as one of the first ordained female Baptist ministers to serve in North Carolina, as Minister of Education and interim pastor at Mars Hill Baptist Church, as a teacher of seminary extension courses which gave both pastors and laypeople throughout the 16

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

region access to religious education, as the founder of a program for handicapped children and adults in the late 1960s in Madison County, as a mentor and teacher to hundreds of college students, as chaplain for Hospice of Madison County, and as the most recent president and director of Madison County Neighbors in Need.

her to walk with the aid of a cane for the rest of her life.

To everyone but Fitzgerald herself, it seems obvious that she has, indeed, done something with the almost five decades she spent in Mars Hill. But, then again, if these titles and honors were the stuff of success in Fitzgerald’s mind, she would not be the woman that the people of Mars Hill have grown to love and admire.

In 1963, Fitzgerald came to Mars Hill Baptist Church as minister of education, a position that would last for 12 years. There, she continued writing curriculum for the church and worked with the enormous collegiate Sunday school department, filled each Sunday morning with students from Mars Hill College. Always the educator, she developed an internship program with college students to help direct the program, and she met with them weekly.

“Success to me is ministering to people where they are and helping them to grow and opening myself to them so they can help me too,” she said. “I always prayed, ‘Lord help me to help one person today; help me to listen.’ Because if I listen, I get more, but I also know how to be able to help.” Even after 48 years in the mountains, the gentle southern lilt of Fitzgerald’s speech gives her away as a native of Virginia. Born and raised in Gretna, Virginia, she attended Meredith College in Raleigh, where she not only double-majored in religion and education, but she also played four varsity sports: softball, basketball, field hockey and soccer. Though she continued to play all four years, a leg injury suffered in her freshman year would never fully heal, forcing

After graduation, Fitzgerald taught in the public schools of Virginia for one year, worked as a minister of education in Franklin, Virginia, and then attended seminary at Andover-Newton Theological School in Boston, Massachusetts.

“The interns would have to come to my office for weekly meetings, and I pushed them. I just felt it was my job to help them grow,” Fitzgerald said. “If we don’t think, we never grow.” Rev. David Smith ’69, a former trustee of Mars Hill College and current pastor of First Baptist Church of Lenoir, N.C., was a sophomore in 1966 when he began his internship with Fitzgerald. The ostensible purpose of his weekly meeting with Fitzgerald was to plan for that week’s lesson. Smith had not at that point decided to be a pastor, but he now credits Fitzgerald’s mentoring with guiding him toward a more mature faith. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be,” he

said. “She was very kind to me, but she was also very challenging. She did not believe in sloppy thinking or shallow faith. She was always just pushing me to grow.” In addition to her exhorting mentorship, Smith said Fitzgerald was “always giving me something to read,” and it tended to be cuttingedge, weighty material, written by theologians like Neibuhr, Cox, Bonhoeffer, and others. “Mars Hill had a very strong religion faculty, but Sue held her weight with those academicians and challenged us to go as far as we could go,” Smith said. Another of those students was Rev. Glenn Graves ’70, now the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Mars Hill. Graves calls himself “one of Sue’s boys,” because of the mentoring relationship he enjoyed with her as a student at Mars Hill College. Even while she was teaching and influencing college students, Fitzgerald began teaching pastors and laypeople throughout the region when she instigated the establishment of seminary extension courses through the French Broad Baptist Association. Edith Whitt ’72, now the registrar of Mars Hill College, has been a close friend of Fitzgerald’s for many years. She first got to know Fitzgerald as a 17-year-old girl, when she took her first seminary extension course. According to Whitt, Fitzgerald started courses not only in the

French Broad Association, but across western North Carolina. “She taught courses in Bryson City, Asheville, Weaverville, Spruce Pine and other places. I went with her to some of them,” she said. As Fitzgerald got to know people in the small churches that dotted the hills of western North Carolina, she saw that small, rural churches did not have access to the kinds of materials, ideas and resources that larger urban churches had. Furthermore, it seemed that the state Baptist organizations that provided such materials had forgotten about the westernmost areas of North Carolina.

Mars Hill College, mentioned in informal conversation his desire to hire a person to engage in church/ community relations at the college. He felt that Mars Hill, a Baptist college, needed an individual whose job would be to build relationships with people in the churches of Madison County and western North Carolina. Immediately, Fitzgerald said she saw how the needs of the college and of the churches could work together. “I said, ‘I have what you


“A lot of people who worked in state Baptist work thought the state kind of stopped in Asheville,” Fitzgerald said. “They didn’t think about how far it is from Asheville to Murphy.” Slowly, with much thought and prayer, a plan for meeting the educational and resource needs of small churches began to germinate in Fitzgerald’s mind and heart. Unable to put the idea down, she began to realize that it was more than an idea; it was a calling she could not ignore. Fitzgerald believed the opportunity to meet the needs of small churches in the region would come through a future church position. But she was wrong. One Sunday morning after service at Mars Hill Baptist Church, Dr. Fred Bentley, then-president of

Sue Fitzgerald, as she appeared in The Laurel in 1978.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


Sue Fitzgerald

want to do; I already have a plan.’ And Fred Bentley said, ‘See me in the morning in my office.’” Fitzgerald went home and spent most of the night reworking her plan to be based out of a college, rather than based out of a church. The next morning, she went to see Dr. Bentley, and the Mars Hill College Center for Christian Education Ministries was born. For twenty years, Fitzgerald was Director of the Center, which provided leadership and ideas as well as an ever-growing and extensive library of audiovisuals, background reading, study materials and guides covering every imaginable church need, and all free for the asking for pastors and laypeople all over the region. “The joy that I had at the college was that it was so creative. I did all these things, not because I knew it all, but because I knew that I could give them resources and I could open up the ideas, and then they could figure how to do it,” Fitzgerald said. “If you had a problem, my philosophy was that if I give you ten ideas, you will think of the eleventh that will be your answer.” The Center for Christian Education Ministries succeeded in fostering the college/community relationship that Bentley had envisioned. It also fostered a relationship of respect between Bentley and Fitzgerald. “Fred just had the greatest respect for Sue and for the way she worked with people,” said Doris Bentley ’56, widow of Dr. Fred Bentley. “He


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

respected how she could handle situations and the way she was able to go out into the community and just bond with community people, which was rather difficult with her being a woman. But Sue was just able to in her gentle but straightforward way, to make inroads,” she said. Fitzgerald visited innumerable churches, offering the services of the center, taking samples of the resources available, directing pastors on how to rewrite the literature to meet their needs, researching new resources and even providing church workshops and Bible studies when asked. Though Fitzgerald was widely appreciated for her help to churches, many of those same churches were reluctant to accept a woman as a minister. “I have been able to go into most churches and be accepted,” Fitzgerald said. “But if they didn’t accept me, I never worried about it. I could accept them and accept who they were, and not worry about it, and still help the ministers, even the ones who didn’t want me. I feel like the important thing is not whether I agree with you politically or theo-

The Mars Hill College Christian Education Center was often a busy place in the mid-1970s.

logically, but whether at the center of life is Jesus. That’s the important thing.” Whitt believes that refusal to take offense is one of the primary reasons for the success and longevity of Fitzgerald’s ministry. “She didn’t let rejection affect her ability to minister,” Whitt said. Fitzgerald’s tenacity, and her unwavering sense of calling may help explain her refusal to be deterred. “My philosophy of work is that I’m first a person, a Godcreated person,” she said. “And I’m second a female. I just feel strongly about that. And if I’m first person, I don’t have to show off that I’m female, or make an issue of it.” At the time, the MHC Christian Education Center was unique in North Carolina, and even across the country. The center made Sue Fitzgerald well-known among Baptists across the state and earned her many honors, including two honorary doctorates, and invitations to preach baccalaureate sermons at Meredith College and Wake Forest University. When Dr. Wanda Kidd first met Sue Fitzgerald in 1983, she was already renowned in the region for her work with the Christian Education Center. Now the Collegiate Ministry Consultant for the North Carolina Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Kidd initially came to western North Carolina as the collegiate ministry intern at Western Carolina University. On the very day that Kidd drove into town, Fitzgerald was scheduled to speak at a local Baptist meeting.

But a disagreement had erupted because Fitzgerald was listed on the program as “Reverend Sue Fitzgerald,” drawing the ire of a conservative pastor in the area. Later, Fitzgerald did come to a similar meeting and chose not to stand in the pulpit.

And quietly, without fanfare, she does very, very important things. One person at a time, she seeks to help. She comforts the sick and the dying; she speaks at funerals; she marries those who are in love; she counsels the hurting and she teaches, in both word and deed.

“She just stood down there in front of the congregation with such a presence and such a humility, and she never let where she was going to speak interfere with what she was going to say,” Kidd said. “Most people would have been mad or hurt. Her demeanor did not change. Here’s a woman in the maelstrom of this controversy and she gave no acknowledgement at all that there had been any kind of issue.”

Speaking of his mentor and friend, Rev. David Smith said: “Only the heavenly accounting will measure the impact of one person’s life that has blessed thousands of people.”

The moment was profound for Kidd. “Just that image of her, from that moment on, I thought, ‘that’s what I’m going to do as a woman in ministry in western North Carolina. I’m not going to let anyone deter my call but I’m also going to be respectful in the process.’” When Fitzgerald retired from Mars Hill College in 1995, the Center was discontinued. So, she closed in her carport to create a library in her home where pastors and laypeople continue to be welcome for research and study. In “retirement,” she served as Hospice Chaplain in Madison County for ten years. Most recently, she has been the volunteer president and director of Madison County Neighbors in Need, a ministry that provides food to families in crisis. She continues to teach a Sunday School class at Mars Hill Baptist Church and she preaches from time to time.

Sue Fitzgerald served as President of Madison County Neighbors in Need until July of this year.

19 Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


LION ATHLETICS: The Year in Review by Nick Petrone

In 2010-11, Mars Hill finished seventh in the South Atlantic Conference Echols Athletic Excellence Award standings. The Lions had 33 All-South Atlantic Conference recipients from 12 conference sports. In all, Mars Hill had six AllAmericans, three players of the year,

one freshman of the year, and one coach of the year.

the conference tournament in his first two seasons.

The MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY TEAM won its 14th consecutive SAC championship, while Mike Owens was recognized as the Coach of the Year for a 15th consecutive season. The team advanced to the national championship meet for the second consecutive year.

The MEN’S SWIM TEAM finished its season undefeated (11-0) and is 32-2 in the previous four years. Hudson Tucker became the first swimmer in school history to advance to the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships. He became the program’s first All-American after finishing 10th in the 100 Yard Backstroke.

The LACROSSE TEAM won the Deep South Conference regular season title for the third straight year. The Lions placed seven players on the All-Conference Team and two on the league’s All-Tournament Team. The WOMEN’S TENNIS team finished second in the SAC regular season standings. In only his second season at the helm, Jarod Camerota guided the squad to the championship match of the conference tournament.

Abby Martin


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

The MEN’S SOCCER team finished second in the SAC Tournament and was ranked as high as 13th in the nation and first in the Southeast Region. Head Coach Ian Clerihew has taken the team to the championship match of

The WOMEN’S SWIM TEAM finished the 2010-11 campaign with a 10-4 mark. In the previous four seasons, the Lions are 38-6. In FOOTBALL, Jon Richt, Luis Cruz and P.J. Gore combined to break eight individual game and season records. Gore became the first player in school history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season. Jonas Randolph led the league in rushing for the second straight season and became the first Mars Hill player to be a two-time American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II All-American. The WOMEN’S BASKETBALL team finished fifth in the league. Brittini Young became the school’s fourth all-time leading scorer (1,731

DEAN ED HOFFMEYER RETIRES; TAKES ON GOLF PROGRAM Ed Hoffmeyer ’68, who announced his retirement from Mars Hill as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid effective August 31, has been named the new men’s and women’s golf coach at Mars Hill College. Hoffmeyer will begin his duties immediately.

Brittini Young

points) and set four new career records. The WOMEN’S SOCCER team finished fifth in the conference. Abby Martin set new Mars Hill women’s soccer records for most career goals (39) and points (92).

Hoffmeyer is no stranger to Mars Hill. He served as the Athletic Director from 1990-98, coached the men’s golf team at MHC from 1995-98 and served as the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid for Mars Hill College from 2007 until August of 2011. During his tenure as the Lions’ golf coach, Hoffmeyer was named the 1998 SAC Coach of the Year. As Athletic Director at Mars Hill, he directed MHC through the final stages of transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, increased sports sponsorship at MHC from eight to 13 and worked on major facility improvements including Stanford Arena, Hart Tennis Center and the acquisition of Ponder Fields.

During his college days at MHC Hoffmeyer was a three-year letter winner in track and field. He held school records in four events upon graduation. Other accolades include being inducted into Mars Hill’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008 and in the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame, also in 2008. Hoffmeyer also served as Chairman of NCAA DII Women’s Golf Committee from 2000-2003 and was the NCAA DII Women’s National Golf Championship Tournament Director from 2000-2003.

P.J. GORE SIGNS WITH ATLANTA FALCONS Former Mars Hill wide receiver P.J. Gore has signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons. Gore, an undrafted rookie, becomes the fourth former Mars Hill football player to reach the National Football League, joining a list that includes Michael Grant, Khalid Abdullah, and most recently Antwon Murchinson. Gore was a two-sport star for the Lions in football and basketball. In his only season on the field for the Lions, he became the school’s first player to record over 1,000 receiving yards in a season with 1,086 yards on 51 catches while scoring nine touchdowns. On the court, Gore scored 1,143 points, ranking 17th in school history.

P.J. Gore


CHAPLAIN After an exhaustive search, Mars Hill College has hired Rev. Stephanie McLeskey as Chaplain, effective mid-summer. McLeskey comes to Mars Hill from the University of Georgia, where she served in two positions, as academic advisor and as campus minister through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia. McLeskey is an ordained Baptist minister and a member of Milledge Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, GA, where she was a supply preacher, Sunday School teacher, Wednesday night teacher and chair of the Outreach Committee. She also held missions-related committee positions with CBF/Georgia and national CBF. Dr. John Wells, Executive Vice President of Mars Hill College, said, “After an extensive search, Rev. McLeskey emerged as a superior choice from an impressive pool of candidates. She brings a unique complement of gifts to the position. With experience as a counselor and with years of experience in higher education, she will make a fine addition to the College’s religious life.” McLeskey said she has felt called to serve God in the campus setting for many years. She describes herself as drawn to the ecumenical outlook of chaplaincy, along with the pastoral care and worship aspects of the position. “I am attracted to chaplaincy because I enjoy the practice of hospitality, welcoming people in to catch a breath from the pace of life, and walking with them as they navigate the unexpected twists and turns our travels take,” she said. “The college campus in general is such a place of transition, and I am blessed to be able to minister within that constant movement, providing a safe and stable place for students as well as the rest of the campus community to explore who they are in relationship to the world and to God, and to dream about who they might become!” McLeskey said she was attracted to Mars Hill College because of the size of the community, as well as the college’s devotion to liberal arts ideals and its ongoing


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

“I am attracted to chaplaincy because I enjoy the practice of hospitality, welcoming people in to catch a breath from the pace of life, and walking with them as they navigate the unexpected twists and turns our travels take.” --Rev. Stephanie McLeskey commitment to its Baptist heritage. She said that, from the time she first set foot on the campus, Mars Hill College “felt like home,” and seemed to be “a place where people truly care for one another.” McLeskey fills the position left vacant by Rev. Todd Boling, who now serves as a hospital chaplain and pastoral care supervisor in Cleveland, Ohio. Rev. Monroe “Monk” Ashley of Brevard served as interim chaplain at Mars Hill College during the 2010-11 academic year. Stephanie is married to Ken McLeskey, a painter and woodworking artist. They enjoy “getting out into nature,” gardening, hiking and camping, and romping with their two dogs.


Dr. Laura P. Adams Assistant Professor of Psychology B.A., Psychology, University of North Carolina at Asheville, 2002; M.A., Psychology, University of Arkansas, 2007; Ph.D., Psychology, University of Arkansas, 2010

Appalachian State University, 1997; Ph.D., Physical Education Pedagogy, University of South Carolina, 2011

Dr. Adrienne V. Akins Assistant Professor of English B.A, English, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 2004; Ph.D., English, Baylor University, 2011

Dr. Laura L. Steil Assistant Professor of Mathematics B.S., Mathematics, Samford University, 2005; M.A., Mathematics, University of Kentucky, 2008; Ph.D. Mathematics, University of Kentucky, 2011

Dr. Belinda L. Eggen Associate Professor of Education B.A., English, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1973; M.Ed., Curriculum & Instructional Supervision, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1988; Ph.D., Education, University of South Carolina, 2001

Dr. Susan E. Stigall Assistant Professor of Education B.A., Psychology, Mars Hill College, 1984; M.A., Special Education Behavior Disorders, University of South Florida, 1987; Ed.D., Child and Youth Studies, Nova Southeastern University, 1993

Beth Hardin Alumni Associate, Office of Institutional Advancement. B.A. Philosophy and Religion, Mars Hill College, 2008.

Dr. Alan J. Theisen Assistant Professor of Music B.M., Music History and Literature, University of Southern Mississippi, 2003; M.M., Music Theory and Composition, University of Southern Mississippi, 2006; Ph.D., Music Theory and Composition, Florida State University, 2010

Dr. Amanda Knapp Assistant Professor of Chemistry B.S., Chemistry, Xavier University, 2006; Ph.D. Candidate, Organic Chemistry, The University of Akron, Expected August 2011 Dr. Colleen May Assistant Professor of Business B.S., General Studies/Social Sciences, Louisiana State University, 1974; M.A., Education – Therapeutic Recreation, University of South Alabama, 1979; Ed.D. Recreation and Leisure, The University of Utah, 1988 Dr. Matthew R. Milnes Assistant Professor of Biology B.S., Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, 1996; Ph.D., Department of Zoology, University of Florida, 2005 Dr. Kimberly Reigle Assistant Professor of English B.S.N, Winston-Salem State University, 2000; M.A., Department of English, Appalachian State University, 2005; Ph.D., English, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2010 Dr. Anthony S. Smith Assistant Professor of Physical Education B.S., Physical Education and Health, Mars Hill College, 1992; M.A., Physical Education,

Caroline Twiggs Field Coordinator , LifeWorks B.A., Spanish, Berea College, 2006; M.S.W., The University of Georgia, 2008. Lenelle Wyche Director of Accounting, Business Office B.S., and M.Ac. Western Carolina University, 2011.

wwwwwww Dr. Craig Goforth will succeed retiring Dean Ed Hoffmeyer as Assistant Vice President for Student Enrollment Services, effective September 1. Goforth has served Mars Hill College since 1990, as dean of student life, director of security, and, most recently, as assistant vice president of student life. He is also an instructor of criminal justice. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville; a master’s degree in education from Western Carolina University; and a doctorate from Northcentral University.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


POINTS OF PRIDE FACULTY PUBLICATIONS, ACHIEVEMENTS Dr. Carol Boggess, Professor of English, Coordinator of Regional Studies •

“Letters of Content, Common Understanding: James Still’s Correspondence with Marjorie Rawlins and Katherine Anne Porter, 1936-1945”, Appalachian Heritage, Fall 2010.

“James ‘Lucky’ Still: A Fortunate Man”, James Still in Interviews, Oral Histories and Memoirs, 2009.

Fraterrigo, J. M., S. M. Pearson, and M. G. Turner. 2009. The response of understory herbaceous plants to nitrogen fertilization in forests of different land-use history. Forest Ecology and Management 257:2182-2188.

Fraterrigo, J. M., S. M. Pearson, and M. G. Turner. 2009. Joint effects of habitat configuration and temporal stochasticity on population dynamics. Landscape Ecology 24:863-877. • Albright, T., D. Anderson, N. Keuler, S. Pearson, and M.G. Turner. 2009. The spatial legacy of introduction: Celastrus orbiculatus in the southern Appalachians, USA. Journal of Applied Ecology 46:1229-1238.

Dr. Rick Cary, Professor of Art, Chair of the Division of Professional Programs •

Credo: A Photographic Documentary of Signs Followers, Abron Center, New York, 2010

Dr. Greg Clemons, Professor of Spanish •

“The Use of Humor in Manuel Mujica Láinez’s Crónicas Reales”, Hipertexto, Summer 2008.

The Small Man on the Tile, translation of Manuel Mujica Láinez’s El hombrecito en el azulejo, Ediciones Maizal (Argentina), 2010.

Dr. John Gripentrog, Associate Professor of History •

“The Transnational Pastime: Baseball and American Perceptions of Japan in the 1930s”, Diplomatic History, April 2010.

Dr. Noel Kinnamon, Professor of English; (retired, 2011) •

The Correspondence (c. 1626-1659) of Dorothy Percy Sidney, Countess of Leicester, Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2010

Dr. Scott Pearson, Professor of Biology, Chair of the Division of Math and Natural Sciences


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

• Clark, J. S., D. Bell, C. Chu, B. Courbaud, M. Dietze, M. Hersh, J. HilleRisLambers, I. Ibanez, S. LaDeau, S. McMahon, J. Metcalf, J. Mohan, E. Moran, L. Pangle, S. Pearson, C. Salk, Z. Shen, D. Valle, and P. Wyckoff. 2010. High-dimensional coexistence based on individual variation: a synthesis of evidence. Ecological Monographs 80:569-608.

Seated, l-r: Dr. Joanna Pierce, Dr. John Gripentrog, Dr. Greg Clemons; Standing, l-r: Dr. Noel Kinnamon, Dr. Rick Cary, Dr. Carol Boggess, Dr. Scott Pearson

• Kuhman, T. R. S. M. Pearson, and M. G. Turner. 2010. Effects of land-use history and the contemporary landscape on non-native plant invasion at local and regional scales in the forest-dominated southern Appalachians. Landscape Ecology 25:1433-1445. Dr. Joanna Pierce, Associate Professor of English, Chair of the English Department and Director of Advising • “‘Nothing can happen nowhere’: Elizabeth Bowen’s Figures in Landscape”, Out of the Earth: Ecocritical Readings of Irish Texts, Cork University Press, Ireland, 2010

YOUNG AT HEART AT 100 by Teresa Buckner At 100 years young, Reba Williams is still witty, still full of memories, and still has more friends than anyone can count in Newport, Tennessee, and on the campus of Mars Hill College.

never bothered us a bit,” she said. “It worked out just fine.” Though she has no children of her own, Ms. Reba keeps up with many of her former students, shows their pictures and brags on their accomplishments with a mother’s pride. Among the former students who continue to contact Miss Reba is former NFL quarterback Steve Spurrier, the current head football coach at the University of South Carolina (and yes he remembered her birthday!)

Spend an afternoon with “Ms. Reba” and you will learn about her 50-year marriage to Floyd Williams, who served on the MHC Board of Advisors in the 1990s. You will also learn about her relatives, the farm that has been in her family since the late 1700s, the great-great-great grandfather (William Neilson) who founded Hot Springs, NC, her basketball team (the UT Vols!) and the hundreds of students she taught during her 39 years as an elementary school teacher. “I’ve taught, and spanked, everybody in this town…almost,” she said recently. Ms. Reba was born in Parrotsville, TN, on January 14, 1911. She attended Asheville Normal School for teachers (which later became part of Warren Wilson College), graduating in 1932.

Reba Williams

She began teaching school soon after her graduation, and taught for two years in Parrotsville, followed by one year in Tuxedo, NC. In 1937, she married Floyd Williams, whom she had known for much of her life as a friend of her brother’s. Floyd, four years her senior, had graduated from Mars Hill College (then a junior college) in 1929 and from Furman University in 1931. The Williamses lived in Newport for all of their marriage. Floyd spent most of his career as director of the local Employment Security Commission, and Reba taught at Newport Grammar School for the remainder of her career. She retired in 1971 after 39 years of teaching. Though the Williamses were always regular churchgoers, they rarely attended church together. Floyd, a staunch Baptist, was a member of Newport First Baptist Church. Ms. Reba, on the other hand, describes herself as “a hardshell Methodist,” and has been a member of Newport Methodist Church since early in her marriage. According to Ms. Reba, what may have seemed like a source of inconvenience or even contention for other couples was just part of the Williamses’ life together. “It

Though Floyd Williams passed away in 1987, Ms. Reba has maintained her commitment to Floyd’s beloved alma mater, and when she is able, she attends functions on the campus of Mars Hill College. She especially enjoys theatrical productions in Owen Theatre. Through the years, she has come to be regarded as an “honorary alumnae” and friend of Mars Hill College in her own right.

Ms. Reba continues to stay active. She attends church as much as she is able and until three years ago, she and a friend led a weekly program at a Newport nursing home for the residents. Ms. Reba would play hymns and her friend would read reminiscences from days gone by. The program ended when Ms. Reba’s friend passed away. Though she no longer plays for nursing home residents, she continues to find inspiration in playing the piano. “I don’t play as much as I ought to, but especially if I feel sort of down I go in and play, and it makes me feel better,” she said. When possible, she also attends events and class reunions for Asheville Normal School at Warren Wilson. This coming fall, Ms. Reba plans to attend homecoming at Mars Hill College if she is able. It is one more way that she stays true to the commitment she and her husband, Floyd, made to support Mars Hill College throughout their lives. And it is one more way that Ms. Reba continues to inspire those around her with her persistent enjoyment of life.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011



Several Mars Hill College Alumni and Friends had “An Ireland Adventure,” June 24 through July 5, 2011. The twelve-day adventure included visits to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, Glendalough, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Woolen Mills, Ring of Kerry, Muckross Gardens, Cliffs of Moher, the Dan O’Hara Homestead, Connemara Celtic Crystal Factory, and Clonmacnoise. The group also enjoyed a catamaran cruise of Killary Harbour, a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle and a meal in historic Abbey Tavern. The group is pictured in front of Killarney Avenue Hotel. First Row: Marie Giles, Kate Fitzgerald, Doris Bentley, Fifi DeGroot, Sadie Wallin, Murt O’Shea (tour guide), Carolyn Ferguson, Jack Ferguson, Barbara Berry, Betty Smith, Nancy Mitchell, Ann Long-Jones; Second Row: Bonnie Adams, Dorothy Welling, Jill Scruggs Moore, Beverly Lunsford, Charlotte Norton, Dan Lunsford, Pam Hollodick, Susie James, Deana Holland, Clarence Adams, Jim Holland, Donna Eason, Wylie Berry, Lucy Daoust, Darryl Norton

CLASS REUNIONS There were lots of laughs, hugs, stories and memories at two class reunions held this spring at MHC. The Class of 1951 celebrated its 60th reunion over the weekend of May 10-11 (top photo) and the Class of ’61 celebrated its 50th reunion over the weekend of May 27-28 (bottom photo).


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

Class Notes 1940s


Eleanor Fokes Redding ’41 and her husband, Howard, have moved to a new home in Buena Vida Estates, Melbourne, FL. The Reddings remain active and Eleanor coordinates a Christmas stocking program for underprivileged children each year.

Capt. Ivan Joslin ’55 and his wife Marjorie became great-grandparents in January of 2011 with the birth of Addison McHugh of Knoxville, TN. The Joslins also have nine grandchildren. They live in The Villages, FL.

Dr. Ron ’45 and Evelyn Pittman Hill ’45 retired earlier this year after 41 years on the mission field in Thailand. The Hills have four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They live in Greensboro, NC. Carlos Cooper ’45 and Louvene Jordan ’46 were married on March 14, 2010. The Coopers got reacquainted after their former mates passed away. They each have four children and seven grandchildren. They live in High Point, NC. At age 94, Franklin Thompson ’46 will serve as juror of The Pickens County Museum of Art and History’s 32nd Annual Juried SC Artists Competition. Thompson has been the curator of the museum since 1990.

Carolyn Roberts ’55 retired in January from Rockingham Community College (Wentworth, NC) where she had served as a library circulation clerk for 30 years. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Central Carolina Community College commissioned artist Jerry Miller ’57 to create a print montage of drawings of buildings from its campuses.

1960s Kenneth Bell ’66 and his wife, Pat, were named the New Jersey Tree Farmers of the Year in 2009 by the American Tree Farm System. The Bells and their family have operated the Cedar Knoll Tree Farm in Greenwich, NJ, for over 20 years.

1970s Marcia Gay Perry ’70 was named as the western North Carolina Principal of the Year earlier this year. Perry is currently in her

fourth year as principal of Haw Creek Elementary School in Buncombe County, NC. In April, Jim Wikle ’71, was featured in The Dispatch (Lexington, NC) for his volunteer work as a senior advocate. For the past several years, Wikle has served on the Davidson County Planning Committee for Services to the Elderly, the Davidson County Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee and as a volunteer counselor for the NC Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program. Dr. Charles Aldridge, Jr. ’75 retired as the Exceptional Children’s Director of McDowell County Schools (NC) in March. His retirement plans include hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. Phillip S. Ashley ’76 has been named Assistant Professor of Education/ Coordinator of Education Field Partnerships at Anderson University (Anderson, SC). He retired in 2006 from Anderson Co. Public Schools, Dist. 2 (Belton/Honea Path). Dr. Doris Brown ’76 has received the Virginia Clarke Gray Award for excellence in teaching and commitment to valuecentered education at Greensboro College in

Greensboro, NC, where she is an assistant professor of education. Brown was a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent for Guilford County schools before her retirement in 2008. Mary Tomblin Taylor ’78 recently obtained her NC Funeral Directing License and has joined the staff of Crowe’s Mortuary & Crematory (Rutherfordton, NC). Taylor pursued a career in funeral directing after 30 years with Rutherford County Schools.

1980s Danny Miller ’80 retired in February after 10 years as principal of Pisgah High School (Canton, NC). Rev. Dave Byrd ’82 is working with Iowa Hospice as a Chaplain. He is married to Becky Byrd ’82 and lives in New Hampton, IA. Rebecca Cornwell ’83 was selected as Teacher of the Year for District One of Spartanburg County Schools (SC) earlier this year. She teaches sixth grade at Inman Intermediate School. Dr. Michael Murray ’84, has been hired as Superintendent of Jackson County Schools (NC). Previously, he was Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


Class Notes

Associate Superintendent of Operations and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for McDowell County Schools (NC). Melonie Rust Rector ’84 has been named Teacher of the Year in Lexington (NC) City Schools. She is the choral director at Lexington Middle School. Dr. Tony Tipton ’84 has been hired as the Superintendent of Yancey County Schools (NC). His wife, Dr. Barbara (Deyton) Tipton ’81 is currently principal at Madison Middle School. The Tiptons live in Burnsville, NC. J. Dwayne Buckner ’85, has been hired as the head boys’ basketball coach at Mountain Heritage High School (Burnsville, NC). Buckner is in his 27th year of teaching at MHHS. Charles Holland ’85 was recently elected to the Henderson County Educational Foundation Board. Holland currently leads the Henderson County Public Schools’ (NC) Helping All Teens Succeed Program. Elizabeth Ferguson Miller ’85 retired from Mitchell County Schools (NC) in June of 2010 after 32 years of service. She is looking forward to spending more time with


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

her two grandchildren and other family. Marla Cox Christie ’88 was named the Executive Director of the Foundation of Caldwell Community College & Technical Institution in February. Formerly, she was the organization’s public information officer. Gib and Nancy Reep Campbell ’89 of Hendersonville, NC, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on January 28, with a cruise to Panama and other Latin American counties. They have 2 sons and 2 grandchildren.

Madison County Schools (NC). Gosnell is the principal of Hot Springs Elementary School. Mark Bowling, M.D. ’94, a specialist in pulmonary and critical care medicine, has joined the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and its group medical practice, ECU Physicians. Michael Houston ’94 has been named head football coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University (Hickory, NC). Houston has been LRU’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach for four years.


1990s Connie Metcalf Harris ’90 was hired as the Director of Madison County Social Services in March of this year. Lisa Gahagan Gosnell ’92 was named the 2010-11 Principal of the Year in

Megan Hall McKinney ’02 married Cody McKinney in June of 2010. The couple resides in Bakersville, NC. Aaron Slate ’04 was promoted to business services officer at BB&T Bank, Asheville, NC.

Sharon Woodrow ’07 has been appointed the Director of the Haywood County (NC) Public Library. Woodrow has served as the Interim Director since 2010 and as Assistant Director since 2007. Leslie Thompson Jones ’09 married Travis Jones in December 2010. The couple resides in Marion, NC. Bradley Nagel ’09 married the former Emily Ann Becker on May 28. The couple resides in Weaverville, NC.

Faculty and Staff James W. Thomas, former MHC professor of theatre, has been hired as interim dean of Gardner-Webb University’s (Boiling Springs, NC) new School of Performing and Visual Arts.

Don’t just tell us your alumni news;


Mars Hill the Magazine welcomes photos (personal snapshots preferred) when you send in news of weddings, babies, accomplishments etc. Send your photos to:, or Alumni Office, P.O. Box 370, Mars Hill, NC 28754.

Amelia Green, 14 mos., daughter of Gretchen DeGroot Green ’96, and granddaughter of Fifi DeGroot ’58.

In Memoriam

Since our last publication, we have received word of the passing of the following members of the Mars Hill College family. Each name is followed by date of death and last city of residence.

1920s Foy Briggs Smith ’29, March 31, 2011, Lake Alfred, FL.


Miriam Frances Weathers McCurry ’37, April 27, 2011, Columbia, SC.

Christine Pope Phillips ’41, April 23, 2011, Wilmington, NC.

Burtie Ellen Carroll ’43, January 17, 2011, Winston-Salem, NC.

James Essic ’38, December 3, 2010, Mocksville, NC.

Faustina “Tina” Barnes Rouse ’41, February 10, 2010, Lucama, NC.

Nancy Kennickell Johnston ’43, December 5, 2010, Jefferson, NC.

Dr. Norman Francis Williamson ’41, February 27, 2011, Raleigh, NC.

Dorcus Clinard Laws ’43, March 18, 2011, Thomasville, NC.

Henry Wade Yates ’41, June 30, 2011, Asheboro, NC.

Kathryn Jo Keeter Madison ’43, February 6, 2011, Kings Mountain, VA.

Dorothy Chandler Ballinger ’42, January 18, 2011, Asheville, NC.

Eleanor (Israel) Ponder ’43, July 7, 2011, Asheville, NC.

Elsie Myers Davis ’42, April 20, 2011, Statesville, NC.

Ethel Mae Heinbuch Sullivan ’43, February 3, 2011, Woodstock, VA.

Virginia Lisk Burkhead ’40, December 14, 2010, Charlotte, NC.

William Duckworth ’42, trustee emeritus, January, 23 2011, Asheville, NC.

Norma W. Whitfield ’43, September 21, 2010, Hurdle Mills, NC.

Dr. William “Buck” Fowlkes ’40, January 9, 2011, Butner, NC.

Clyde Rollins ’42, February 19, 2011, Greensboro, NC.

Elsie Cheek Hopkins ’45, February 14, 2011, Mechanicsville, VA.

Robert Griffin ’40, May 31, 2011, Asheville, NC.

Earl Williams ’42, December 31, 2010, Candler, NC.

Mary Dryden Nichols ’45, May 5, 2011, Vienna, VA.

Florence Lester Mitchell ’38, February 19, 2011, Fairmont, NC. Virginia Frances Patterson ’38, January 28, 2011, King, NC.

Margaret Wilson Hasty ’30, January 3, 2011, Signal Mountain, TN.

Mary Barnes Carnes ’39, January 24, 2011, Wilmington, NC.

Corbett Carnes ’31, May 12, 2011, Lancaster, NC.

Elizabeth Coachman ’39, May 6, 2011, Vale, NC.

Clara Stover Tilson ’32, November 24, 2010, Chapel Hill, NC. William Tanner ’34, February 7, 2011, Rutherfordton, NC. Lura McCracken Roberts ’35, December 22, 2010, Phoenix, AZ.


Pearl Huffman Scholz ’35, March 10, 2011, Baltimore Constance Smithey Garret ’40, June 12, 2011, Julian, MD. NC. Rev. Robert Ray Linville ’36, January 6, 2011, Greenville, SC.

Alex Moore ’40, January 1, 2011, Reston, VA.

Joan Estelle Rush Marr ’37, Rev. Wade Hale ’41, April January 31, 2011, Charlotte, 24, 2011, Greenville, SC. NC.

William Carlton Wright ’42, January 2, 2011, Tempe, AZ.

G. Faye (Pitner) Maynard ’46, March 29, 2011, Knoxville, TN.

Mary Emma Rhodes Edna Lamb Aldrich ’43, Wingert ’46, March 20, January 1, 2011, Charlotte, 2011, Winston-Salem, NC. NC.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


In Memoriam

Juan Peterson Bruce ’47, January 11, 2011, Black Mountain, NC. Mary Copeland Hogue ’47, January 30, 2010, Monterey, VA. Edna (Holloman) Melton ’47, June 3, 2011, Goldsboro, NC. Martha Cole Thomason ’47, February 15, 2011, Clemmons, NC. Bruce John Cartier ’48, April 15, 2011, Wrightsville Beach, NC. Frederick Lowdermilk ’48, April 21, 2011, Jamestown, NC. Julia Ipock Roe ’48, May 30, 2011, Greensboro, NC. Robert Thompson ’48, December 7, 2010, Abbeville, SC. William Albert Wilson ’48, May 31, 2011, Mars Hill, NC. Gordon Allen, Sr. ’49, December 23, 2010, Raleigh, NC. Lucille Anderson Brown ’49, April 16, 2011, Mocksville, NC.


Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011

Betty Biggerstaff Haywood ’49, December 10, 2010, Greensboro, NC. Cauley Jefferson Peek ’49, January 31, 2011, Asheville, NC. Betty Steele Williams ’49, January 8, 2011, Gaffney, SC.

1950s  onald Arledge ’50, D December 7, 2010, Tryon, NC. Thomas Hooper ’50, September 30, 2010, Brevard, NC. Sally Anne Smith ’50, January 31, 2011, Kernersville, NC. Gene Stewart ’50, April 8, 2011, Arlington, TX. John Stoots ’50, May 29, 2011, New London, NC. Ronald White ’50, January 5, 2011, Franklin, NC. Edwin Worth Campbell ’51, February 17, 2011, Mint Hill, NC. Edna Bowen Giroir ’51, January 7, 2011, Bryan, TX.

Freda Gladden Helms ’51, April 22, 2011, Charlotte, NC.

Joseph Sanders ’55, January 11, 2011, Stuart FL.

Wade McSwain ’51, January 21, 2009, Jackson, KY.

Harold Voss ’55, January 7, 2011, Clemmons, NC.

Jones Tysinger ’51, February 20, 2011, Asheville, NC.

Charles Kinney ’56, April 29, 2011, Kernersville, NC.

John Wells ’51, February 4, 2011, Palm Bay, FL.

Patricie DuPree Baker ’57, March 25, 2011, Wilson, NC.

Flo Ella Ivey ’52, December 15, 2010, Cowpens, SC.

Katherine Collins Borders ’57, May 5, 2011, Sandusky, OH.

Mary Mixon Johnson ’52, February 13, 2011, Charleston, SC.

Robert Carter ’57, February 10, 2011, Mars Hill, NC.

Horace Sellars ’52, February 10, 2011, Canton, NC.

William Kilpatrick ’57, February 27, 2011, Charlotte, NC.

Rev. Gordon Nelson Luther ’53, November 28, 2010, Goose Creek, SC.

Rae Padgett ’57, April 30, 2011, Taylorsville, NC.

Patricia Holland McCauley ’53, January 1, 2011, Greenville, NC. Bobbie Thompson Reese ’53, February 21, 2011, Knoxville, TN Carolyn Black Beheler ’54, February 5, 2011, Lexington, SC. Michael Miller ’55, May 20, 2011, Charlotte, NC.

James Greene ’58, November 30, 2010, Marion, NC. Nola Rose Corum Rusch ’58, October 9, 2010, Winston-Salem, NC Coman Howard Shook ’58, May 21, 2011, Hamilton, OH. Bruce Sprinkle ’58, May 18, 2011, Marshall, NC.

1960s Joseph Martin ’61, February 28, 2011, Greenville, NC George Chalmers Neal ’61, March 23, 2011, Greensboro, NC.

Samuel McKellar ’78, March 23, 2011, Columbia, SC. Cheryl Reeves Owenby ’79, May 21, 2011, Marshall, NC.

1980s Robert Keith Johnson ’81, May 8, 2010, Lexington, NC.

Linda Beam McLane, ’62, December 12, 2010, Ninety-Six, SC.

Gregory Hungerford ’87, December 23, 2009, Walnut Cove, NC.

Larry Groce ’67, January 8, 2010, Mocksville, NC.

Peter Martin ’88, March 7, 2011, Asheville, NC

1970s Stephen Garvin ’74, April 4, 2011, Wilkesboro, NC. Roger Haynie ’75, January 28, 2011, Marshall, NC. Jim Rivers ’75, December 19, 2010, Charlotte, NC.

Marian Tisdale, retired French professor, May 9, 2011, Adamstown, MD.


Patricia Sue Neill ’61, July 6, 2010, Fort Pierce, FL.

Nancy Wyatt Brassell ’69, January 17, 2011, Pickens, SC.


Beverly Hough, retired instructor of education courses at MHC, passed away on October 10, 2010. She was a graduate of North Carolina Women’s College (now UNC-Greensboro), and she obtained a teaching certificate at Mars Hill College. She is survived by her husband, MHC Professor Emeritus of Education John Hough. Memorials made be made to the Hough Scholarship Fund at MHC, through the Office of Institutional Advancement, P.O. Box 6792, Mars Hill, NC 28754, 828/689-1102.

JERRY F. JACKSON ’58 Dr. Jerry F. Jackson, former interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Mars Hill College, passed away in April of 2011. Dr. Jackson began his career as a professor and then administrator at Campbell University. He later worked in fundraising for Wingate University, the Southern Baptist Convention and Samford University. He was President of Chowan University from 1989 to 1995, during which time he led Chowan in returning to a four-year college after having been a junior college for a number of years.

Renee’ Buchanan Britt ’77, March 3, 2011, Hickory, NC.

Jackson came to Mars Hill in 1998 and retired in 2003. In that time, he served as Director of Admissions, Director of Major Gifts, and finally, as interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement.

Charles Heffner ’78, May 6, 2011, Southern Pines, NC.

After receiving his AA degree from Mars Hill College in 1958, he obtained his BA and Master’s degrees from Southern Illinois University and his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Jackson is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Carolyn.

Mars Hill, The Magazine — Fall 2011


Mars Hill College PO Box 370 Mars Hill, NC 28754

Mars Hill: The Magazine of Mars Hill College - Fall 2011  

Mars Hill College magazine for alumni and friends

Mars Hill: The Magazine of Mars Hill College - Fall 2011  

Mars Hill College magazine for alumni and friends