Piedmont Journal | Spring 2023

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2 | PIEDMONT JOURNAL GIVING A LITTLE HELPS A LOT ANNUAL GIVING CAMPAIGN Ways to Give • Gift • Pledge • Stock • Monthly check draft • Matching gift by employer Give online at piedmont.edu/giving With your giving, I was able to pursue both track and field and forensic studies without having to give one up, which I most likely would have had to do if I went somewhere else. - Branden Burley '24
SPRING 2023 Contents Features 40
the cover: Students
is published for alumni and
Trustee Chairman Thomas A. "Gus" Arrendale III President Dr. James F. Mellichamp Vice President for University Advancement K. Craig Rogers Editor/Director of Marketing & Communications Rachel Pleasant Photography Kasey Brookshire Contributing writers Katie Deal ’02 Terrie Ellerbee ’95 Zackary Hoopaugh Pam Fountain Tiffany Long Chris Pearce Danielle Percival Send address changes to: University Advancement or rpleasant@piedmont.edu Piedmont University @PiedmontGA @PiedmontUniversity 04 A Word from the President 05 Letter from the Editor 13 A Note from Hobbs 58 Katie's Corner 59 Lillian E. Smith Center update 64 Class News & Notes 10 6 26 65 16 6 Homecoming Piedmont University Homecoming was a time for friends, fun, celebration 26 Presidential Legacy President James F. Mellichamp looks back on his career 10 Alumni Awards Piedmont honors alumni, Sports Hall of Fame inductees 40 New Conference Piedmont joins Collegiate Conference of the South 16 Freshman Class Class of 2026 makes history 43 President's Report A look at the university's balance sheet and financials
Jadon Gonzales and Natalie-Edith Gonzalez soak in the view from atop Yonah Mountain. They were photographed by student Tyler Goins. Journal
friends of Piedmont University by the office of University Advancement. Correspondence may be directed to journal@piedmont.edu

A Proud Past, A Vibrant Future

piedmont.edu/125, purchasing a student-designed 125th anniversary T-shirt, or engaging with us on social media using #piedmont125, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating Piedmont’s quasquicentennial.

The pages that follow also include reflections from our alumni and statements from students and current employees about what they’re most looking forward to in Piedmont’s future. These stories will both take you back and get you excited for what is yet to come.

We also recognize the Class of 2026, the largest incoming class in Piedmont history. I’ve heard from faculty and staff throughout the organization that this class is highly engaged, determined, and prepared to succeed in college — and beyond. These students are our future, and let me tell you, it’s bright.

AProud Past, a Vibrant Future” — there could be no better theme for this particular edition of Journal, which is being published halfway through Piedmont’s 125th anniversary year, just months after we welcomed our largest-ever freshman class, and during the search for my successor.

This is a pivotal moment for Piedmont University, a time to look back, marvel at how far we’ve come, and look forward to the many great things that lie ahead for the institution we all hold dear.

In this edition of Journal, we’ve included a mix of stories that perfectly capture our theme. As has been our practice these last several months, we’ve included a photo essay celebrating important moments in Piedmont’s history, as well as information on how you can participate in our 125th anniversary. Whether it’s sharing your story with us at

We also highlight our partnership with the Kennesaw Police Department, Lee Smee, an alumnus conducting fascinating research into oyster reef ecology, and Micah Dinger, a two-time Piedmont grad who’s now leading a successful career in music, even after suddenly losing hearing in his left ear a few years ago.

The cover of this edition of Journal features a photo of two of our students atop Yonah Mountain. I’m told that during the photo shoot, one of the students commented that the Appalachian Mountains “seem to go on forever.” They don’t, of course; their grandeur is finite. What does know no end is the potential of this university, its students, employees, alumni, and supporters. For Piedmont, the best is always yet to come.

Thank you for being part of Piedmont University, James F. Mellichamp, President


Letter Editor

from the

At home, my two children often ask me some version of this question: Which kid is your favorite? I am always careful in my response, assuring Claire-Ann and Alex that I love them both equally, even if on that particular day, depending on their behavior, I do momentarily like one more than the other.

With the Journal though, I can give it to you straight. In each edition, I definitely have favorite stories, photos, and spreads. This time, it’s the cover. Hands down.

I’ve had the idea for this photo for months. I could see it clearly in my mind — the students, their T-shirts, the sunshine, the breathtaking vista stretching out before them. On a couple occasions, we attempted to snap this photo during student hiking trips, but for one reason or another, it never came out just right.

In October, we set aside a Saturday afternoon, for the sole purpose of — finally! — getting this beautiful photo. What a great time we had!

The models were Jadon Gonzales, a sophomore from Lawrenceville, Georgia, who is majoring in biology, and NatalieEdith Gonzalez, a sophomore from Tampa, Florida, who is majoring in music performance. The photographer was Tyler Goins, a resident of Franklin, Georgia, who graduated with his bachelor’s degree in mass communications last December.

On Oct. 1, Jadon, Natalie-Edith, Tyler, myself, and Casey Colquitt, a local educator and friend of Piedmont, made

the trek up Yonah Mountain. Only Jadon, Casey, and I had previously done the arduous, 3,100-foot climb. NatalieEdith and Tyler may have regretted agreeing to the hike when we got to that last, especially steep stretch, just past the Army Training Center. By the time we reached the summit, however, the groans of exertion had been replaced with smiles and exclamations of “Wow!”

Tyler quickly studied the lighting and the views, placing Jadon and Natalie-Edith in just the right spot, then got to work, shooting with both a drone and a Canon EOS R. The picture we chose for the cover was taken with the Canon.

If you asked the group, I think they’d say their favorite moment of the shoot was watching a hawk soar just below us. Tyler captured a great video of the flight, which you can see by scanning on the QR code below

For me, nothing compares to the time spent with the students — not even the hawk. That Saturday, Natalie-Edith, Jadon, and Tyler took on the challenge of Yonah. They kept going even when the trail got rough. When they reached the top, they realized the hard work had been worth every step.

Seeing students persevere and succeed — that’s what I loved most about the hike, and that’s what I love most about working at Piedmont. Thank you Jadon, NatalieEdith, and Tyler for making this photo happen.


As Journal was going to press, Piedmont University named Marshall Criser, former chancellor of Florida’s university system, as its next president. Dr. James F. Mellichamp announced his retirement in June with plans to step down when his successor was chosen. Be sure to read the next Journal to learn more about President Criser.


To view Tyler Goins’ drone footage from the hike at Yonah Mountain, scan here.

Piedmont University Alumni, Students, Employees, and Supporters Gather to Reconnect, Celebrate

Many great memories were made at Piedmont University’s 2022 Homecoming, which took place Oct. 22.

“The first Homecoming in recent memory took place in 2021. This year, we had more activities and more student participation than we did a year ago. It’s exciting to see Homecoming become a tradition and an integral part of the Piedmont University culture. We look forward to seeing everyone at Homecoming 2023,” said Craig Rogers, vice president for university advancement.

The full day of fun events included a breakfast for parents, new students, and alumni, an Alumni Association board meeting, a groundbreaking ceremony for the expanded Alumni Plaza at the

center of the Demorest campus, the annual Alumni Awards & Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, two volleyball games, class reunions and a lacrosse alumni reunion, performances by bluegrass musicians Debbie Lee and Joe Whelchel and the Shoal Creek Bluegrass Band, food vendors, and a performance of Peter and the Starcatcher

Read more about the alumni awards and Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony on page 10 and more about the Alumni Plaza on page 11.

Read more about the lacrosse reunion, as well as a soccer reunion that took place prior to Homecoming, on page 8.

During Homecoming, attendees could also purchase Piedmont’s 125th

anniversary T-shirt, which was designed by student Jordan Adams. Read more about the T-shirt on page 25. To purchase a T-shirt, visit alumni.piedmont.edu

Piedmont University hosts alumni events throughout the year. Find a calendar of events at alumni.piedmont.edu.

Athletics Alumni Days

The 30th anniversary of the men’s soccer program and the “Sweet 16” soccer team of 2003 were both celebrated on Alumni Soccer Day.


Piedmont University’s annual athletics reunions continue to grow in popularity. Soccer and lacrosse reunions were held on two perfect fall Saturdays in October, with several hundred current and former student-athletes participating.

The Piedmont University soccer program was started 30 years ago, a milestone that was celebrated with the alumni reunion on Oct. 15. Head Men’s Soccer Coach Jimmy Stephens ’95 was on the first-ever Piedmont soccer team. Stephens marks his 18th season as head men’s soccer coach this year.

“I’m so thankful that we were able to recognize such a special group of guys,” Stephens said. “Their continued support of our program is really appreciated. It’s always great to sit down with alums and hear their memories.”

In addition, the 2003 team was recognized for making it to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 Tournament.

Big D’s Catering and Cowboy Bob’s offered food and desserts for sale, and Temperance/Public House sold beer and wine. Alumni merchandise was available, and there was also an inflatable axe-throwing booth.

Below top, members of the “Sweet 16” team gathered on the field for a photo. Below bottom, vendors for the soccer reunion included Cowboy Bob’s Coffee & Donuts and Big D’s Catering.



On Oct. 22, coinciding with Homecoming, former lacrosse players returned to campus for friendly competition and fun. An alumni team played in a scrimmage against current lacrosse athletes.

“We had an absolute blast with our alumni. It was great for our current players to see the support from some of the original players who established our program in 2012,” said Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Tim Dunton. “We have tried to do this every year we are able, but we had to take a year off with COVID. We are happy to be able to provide this experience again.”

Dunton has been coaching at Piedmont since 2016. This year, he was named USA South Coach of the Year. He said the

alumni reunion and scrimmage would remain a staple of the program.

“As we grow, we hope alumni will continue to support our efforts,” Dunton said. “Save the date: April 22, 2023. All are invited back to connect with fellow alums. We’d love to have all our players come back for an alumni game.”

The Alumni Office provided appetizers from campus dining services provider Chartwells and complimentary beer and wine for reunion participants. Attendees also enjoyed food trucks and concession stands that were in place for the Homecoming festivities.

Planning for future athletics alumni events is underway. For more information about reunions and other alumni events, contact Katie Deal, director of alumni engagement & development, at kdeal@piedmont.edu or 706-776-0146.

Alumni and current lacrosse Lions gathered on Oct. 22 as Piedmont University celebrated Homecoming.



C. Luke Story ’10, ’12 Pacesetter Award

Story is the president and CEO of the Arkansas Broadcasters Association (ABA). Prior to the ABA, Story was director of communications and operations for the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. He started his broadcast career as a radio/ television reporter and producer in Atlanta. Story holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications/Media Production and a Master of Business Administration in Organizational Leadership from Piedmont. He is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Arkansas and serves on the boards of the Arkansas Society of Association Executives and the Arkansas Better Business Bureau Foundation. He and his family volunteer with civic organizations throughout the state and give to causes to help children feel loved during the holidays. He and his wife, Sarah, have two sons. They reside in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Kenneth Edwards Sr. ’77 Excellence in Education Award

Edwards started playing basketball in 1965 while in the seventh grade, practicing on a goal his father installed on an old telephone pole in the family’s dirt driveway. He went on to play at Dacula High School, North Georgia Tech, and Piedmont University. His talent led him to New Zealand to play with the NZDA. In 1985, he returned to Georgia to earn a master’s degree from the University of Georgia. He taught in the Gwinnett County public school system until retiring in 2005, after which he coached at George Walton Academy. In 2021, he finished his basketball coaching career after 56 seasons as either a coach or a player. He is married to Theresa Burnett Edwards ’78, and together they have three sons and four grandchildren.

Gerald H. Dunn ’65 Distinguished Alumni Award

Dunn graduated from Cherokee High School in 1961 and continued his education on a four-year baseball scholarship to Piedmont University. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he worked for Lockheed Corporation, Dekalb County Board of Education, and Dun & Bradstreet Corp., before retiring in 2003. In 2009, he was inducted into Piedmont’s Sports Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was elected to the Piedmont Alumni Association Board of Directors, which he served diligently until his retirement in 2022. He is married to Peggy Cook Dunn and has two children, Geoffrey and Julie. Julie is a Piedmont alumna who holds both a master’s and Education Specialist degree.

Dr. Margaret Ryder ’13 Alumni Service Award

After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia and her law degree at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, Ryder became a licensed Georgia attorney in 1994 and worked in commercial and residential real estate, small business development, and contract law. In 2008, she became an adjunct professor for Piedmont University’s Walker College of Business, which led to her earning her Master of Business Administration from Piedmont in 2013. She went on to become an assistant professor at Piedmont and earned her Doctor of Business Administration from Keiser University in 2020.

Piedmont University’s 2022 Homecoming festivities included the presentation of Alumni Awards and inductions into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Kanler Cumbass ’19 emceed the presentations and is pictured with several of the winners.




Homecoming 2022 included a groundbreaking ceremony for Alumni Plaza, which will enlarge the alumni park and congregational circle that were constructed in 1997 for the university’s centennial. Located at the center of the Demorest campus, Alumni Plaza will include raised gardens, seating, and a lion statue that will make for a fun picture-taking opportunity for students, employees, and visitors! Alumni Plaza is anticipated to be complete in 2023. There is still time to purchase a brick to be included in the project.

See information on page 12.

Gantz was a major contributor to the 2011 GSAC tournament championship team, as well as the 2013 USA South tournament title and the 2014 regular season championship. She was a Capital One Academic AllAmerican and a two-time first team allconference selection, and she led the team to two NCAA tournament appearances. Statistically, she is fourth all-time in games started and eighth in minutes played, and she has multiple single-season top-10 all-time marks. As a senior, she anchored a defense that surrendered just 12 goals on the entire season and made 19 starts at center back. She now teaches language arts and entrepreneurship and coaches JV soccer at Brookwood High School (Snellville, Georgia). In 2019, she received the National Convention for Teachers of English Award. She is married to her college sweetheart, Sumner Gantz ’15, M ’17. Together they serve on the Piedmont University Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Maggie McDaniel ’16 Women’s Lacrosse

Already an accomplished athlete before enrolling at Piedmont University, McDaniel started every single game in her college career. During her time with the Lions, she scored 136 points, tallied 126 assists, had a program record of 261 points, added 151 ground balls, caused 112 turnovers, had 211 draw controls, and 79 percent of her shots were on goal. She was team captain as a junior and a senior, as well as a four-time all-conference selection in the USA South athletic conference, earning first team honors in 2014 and 2015 and second team honors in 2013 and 2016. She ranks in the top three in points, caused turnovers per game, caused turnovers, assists, ground balls, assists per game, draw controls and draw controls per game, and ground balls per game. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and is now a digital forensic examiner with the FBI.

Pictured with McDaniel is Emily Jacquette, who coached women’s lacrosse at Piedmont for four years, including 2016.

From left: Juanita Weiss ’80, Sean Van Meter, Ty Thomaswick ’11, ’13, Clara Ortega ’22, Zach Thomaswick ’12, ’14, Vice President for Enrollment Management Cindy Peterson, Jill Bradley ’80, Roswell Lawrence Jr. ’09, Pamela Fisher ’13, Trustee Emeritus Dr. Eddy Ariail ’80, Kanler Cumbass ’19, Piedmont University Alumni Association President Nick Kastner ’03, ’06, Trustee Dock Sisk ’72, Art Professor Dr. Santanu Majumdar, Rob Geis ’69, Lisa Black ’01, ’07, Vice President for University Advancement Craig Rogers, and Director of Alumni Engagement & Development Katie Deal ’02.


Leave your legacy on Piedmont's campus!

Construction of the new Alumni Plaza at the center of the Demorest campus is underway, but there’s still time to leave your mark! When finished, Alumni Plaza will feature raised gardens and a lion statue sure to become a favorite photo-taking spot. Now is your chance to purchase a brick to be used in the project. Visit alumni.piedmont.edu/g/tribute-pavers to purchase. Bricks can be inscribed with a message of your choice!

Brick Paver Examples

The pavers, made of colored brick, are available in Standard 4” x 8” (with 3 lines of copy), or Double 8” x 8” (with up to 6 lines of copy). Each line of copy may contain up to 20 characters (including spaces).

For questions or additional information, contact Mark Elam, assistant vice president of development and alumni relations, at melam@piedmont.edu or 706-894-4214.

*Artist’s rendering. Actual lion statue may be slightly different when finished.



From the Desk of Craig Rogers (& Bailey Jo)

Your Gift to Piedmont Will Make an Exponential Impact for Years to Come

We’re building a culture of philanthropy that will support this great institution’s growth for years to come — but we can’t do it without you. The amount of your gift isn’t what matters. The real gift is your willingness to stand up and say, “I will support Piedmont University.” When you do, you will inspire others to do the same, and one by one, we will build a better, brighter Piedmont University for generations to come. Thank you for supporting Piedmont University,

To give, scan the code here or visit piedmont.edu/giving-to-piedmont-university.

Have you joined Piedmont University’s Lions Share Network? If not, now is the time!

The Lion’s Share Network is the Alumni Association’s dedicated website for alumni, students, and other members of the Piedmont University community.

It’s your best source for Piedmont news. It’s where alumni can easily keep in touch with classmates and their former professors. It’s the place for information about upcoming alumni events. It’s where you can get first dibs on new alumni gear available through Piedmont’s online store. It’s also the perfect place to show your support for Piedmont University by making a gift to the fund of your choice.

Ready to join?

We can’t wait to connect with you.

Register for the Lions Share Network by visiting alumni.piedmont.edu

We’ll be in touch!


Piedmont University marked its 125th anniversary in September 2022.

Journal has celebrated this milestone by including collections of photos in the last several editions, depicting transformational eras throughout the university’s history. This edition features images spanning two decades — from 1990 to 2010. This 20-year period was a time of technological innovation, national tragedy, and historic economic recession.

Through highs and lows, Piedmont never wavered in finding ways to adapt and forge a path forward.

The photos tell the story of Piedmont’s evolution, highlighting a student body constantly developing and challenging themselves — to tackle new experiences, seize opportunities, and build enduring relationships.

The photos also illustrate the university’s commitment to growth and improvements to student amenities and support systems. They depict a university that is as resilient as the students it serves —and one that always finds a way to overcome in the face of adversity.

Students cross the newly constructed pedestrian bridge in 2008.






Summer travel study students pose at the Giza Plateau, Egypt in 2001. A Piedmont graduate celebrates at Commencement in 2005. Friends hang out on the quad in 1999. Theater students perform Othello in 2004. A student produces a show for Piedmont's radio station WRFP in 2009. Piedmont's baseball team lines up for the National Anthem at Loudermilk Field in 2006. Students enjoy white water rafting in 2005. play flag football on a fall day in 1990. A bird's-eye view of campus and Lake Demorest in 1993. walk to class in 1999. professor teaches students how to use a computer in 1996. Teammates celebrate during a women's soccer match in 2008. group of students in a band perform at an event called Campus Coffeehouse in 1992.
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member of Piedmont's step team performs in 2006.
16 | PIEDMONT JOURNAL WELCOME CLASS OF plan to major in nursing or health sciences 25% plan to live on campus 90% plan to major in business administration 17% plan to major in the arts and sciences 46% entered with dual enrollment credits 34% entered with credit from Advanced Placement courses 25% are first-generation college students 40% TOTAL NUMBER OF STUDENTS 301

In the fall, Piedmont University welcomed the largest freshman class in its 125-year history. Here’s a look at the 301 students who comprise the historymaking Class of 2026.

STATES REPRESENTED COUNTRIES REPRESENTED AVERAGE SAT 1100 plan to participate in a varsity sport 60% plan to major in education 12% Barbados Germany Spain Switzerland AVERAGE ACT 22 AVERAGE GPA 3.58

A Place to Call Home

Mystic Hall Welcomes First Residents

Mystic Hall, Piedmont University’s largest, newest, and most modern residential facility, is officially home to its first class of students.

Mystic was scheduled to open at the start of the 2022-23 academic year but was delayed by unforeseen labor shortages and supply chain issues. On opening day in late September, students, employees, and supporters got to see for themselves that Mystic was worth the wait.

Mystic, located at 200 Piedmont University Court, measures 60,000 square feet and boasts the best views of the Northeast Georgia mountains on campus. The location also provides easy access to the university’s athletic facilities, Student Commons, and classroom buildings.

Each room is furnished with a microwave and refrigerator. Students also have access to several full-service community kitchens throughout the building, as well as lounges, study areas, and laundry facilities.

Mystic is designated as a first-year residence hall and was designed to allow for

programming that will emphasize life and communication skills, relationship building, and other topics that will prepare students for a successful college experience.

Piedmont celebrated the completion of Mystic with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Sept. 16. President James F. Mellichamp lauded the new addition to campus before cutting the ribbon alongside Student Government Association President Leo Galarza, Forensic Science & Criminal Justice Professor and Faculty Senate Chair Bruce Willis, Alumni Association Board President Nick Kastner, Director of Residential Living & Student Affairs Madison Smith, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Dr. Kim Crawford, Demorest Mayor and Piedmont alumnus Jerry Harkness, and Habersham Chamber of Commerce President Mary Beth Horton.

Prior to the ribbon cutting, Mellichamp and Piedmont Board of Trustees Chairman Gus Arrendale III toured Mystic, ensuring it was ready to welcome its first residents.


Students and their families, as well as numerous Piedmont volunteers, spent the following day helping students move from their temporary housing assignments and settle into their new homes in Mystic — a happy and memorable occasion for all.


From left, Forensic Science & Criminal Justice Professor and Faculty Senate Chair Bruce Willis, Alumni Association Board President Nick Kastner, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Dr. Kim Crawford, Student Government Association President Leo Galarza, Director of Residential Living & Student Affairs Madison Smith, President James F. Mellichamp, Demorest Mayor and Piedmont alumnus Jerry Harkness, and Habersham Chamber of Commerce President Mary Beth Horton cut the ribbon at Mystic Hall on Sept. 16. President James F. Mellichamp and Board of Trustees Chairman Gus Arrendale III toured Mystic prior to its opening.


The Piedmont University alumni family keeps growing!

A new class of students officially became Piedmont University alumni when they graduated from Piedmont University on Dec. 9.

“Congratulations to all of our graduates and their families, friends, and supporters. Graduation is a life-changing milestone. We are proud to welcome you to the Piedmont alumni family,” said President James F. Mellichamp.

Here is a closer look at the fall 2022 graduating class:

The class included 202 graduates. Sixtyone students received undergraduate degrees, 37 received graduate degrees, 98 received Education Specialist degrees, and six received Doctor of Education degrees.

In addition to the Education Specialist and Doctor of Education degrees, degrees conferred included the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Arts, and Master of Business Administration.

Graduates represent six states: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.

The guest speaker during the ceremony, which took place at the Johnny Mize Athletic Center and Museum, was

Leslie Jones, assistant professor of education at Piedmont, and the 2022 recipient of the Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award for her dedication and commitment to teaching as well as campus leadership.

Jones, who holds multiple degrees in education, joined the Piedmont University faculty in 2015. In 2002, she became the first National BoardCertified Teacher and Teacher of the Year for Oglethorpe County. She taught in the Oglethorpe and Madison County school systems for 30 years.

Jones is the president of the Oglethorpe County Retired Educators Association and a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa teachers’ service society, National Council of Teachers in English, International Literacy Association, National Council for the Social Studies, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and Professional Association of Georgia Educators.  She has four children and four grandchildren.

The ceremony was the last conducted by Mellichamp, who announced his retirement earlier this year. In December, the Board of Trustees announced it has selected former State University System of Florida Chancellor Marshall Criser as Mellichamp’s successor. More to come on President Criser in the next edition of Journal


Congratulations to all of our graduates and their families, friends, and supporters. Graduation is a life-changing milestone. We are proud to welcome you to the Piedmont alumni family.

-James F. Mellichamp, President

In Your Town



Reunite at ‘In Your Town’ Events

Between your career, children, and your otherwise busy schedule, we know it’s not easy for you to return to campus for a visit — no matter how much you may want to stay in touch with your classmates and with Piedmont as a whole. That’s why In Your Town events were created. These events take a piece of Piedmont to our alumni now residing outside of the Demorest area.

What is an In Your Town event? It’s a chance to meet up with other alumni, and sometimes, faculty and staff members. We usually pick a town where numerous alumni live and select a venue that promotes the chance to mingle; often, it’s a venue that has been suggested by our alumni. University Advancement staff provide snacks and beverages, as well as branded merchandise alumni can use to represent Piedmont in their towns.

Past In Your Town events have included a tour of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, outings to Andretti Indoor Karting in Atlanta and Frankie’s Fun Park in Greenville, South Carolina, and professional sporting events such as Atlanta United and the Greenville Drive. We’ve also met at

wineries, breweries, and restaurants throughout the Atlanta and Athens areas.

In July, Piedmont alumni met at Yonah Mountain Vineyards in Cleveland, Georgia. Attendees enjoyed live music, wine tastings, and a food truck while taking in the beautiful scenery.

In September, about 45 alumni gathered on the deck at Tallulah Adventures in Tallulah Falls, Georgia, to listen to Alumni Director Katie Deal perform with her Nashville band. Attendees were treated to gourmet pizza and an impressive charcuterie board. Some were even adventurous enough to try the traverse climbing wall!

Lisa Black ’01, ’07

Watch your email, the Piedmont Alumni Facebook page, and the Lions Share Network for information on upcoming In Your Town events. We can’t wait to share some new experiences with you!

From left, Hayley Major ’16, Sarah Valentour ’16, and Leah Mooney ’16.
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Jill Bradley ’80 and Lisa Black ’01, ’07.

PIEDMONT JOURNAL | 23 Mark Your Calendar!
left, Dr. Ed Taylor, former dean of the Walker College of Business, Thomas Fountain, MBA Hannah Parham, and Ezra Bortner. Attendees of Piedmont’s In Your Town event at Tallulah Adventures enjoy musical entertainment by Alumni Director Katie Deal and her Nashville band. Piedmont payroll manager Kara Brown with husband Jason Brown at Tallulah Adventures.
PIEDMONT JOURNAL | 23 In Your Town — Athens Athentic Brewing Company January 26 | 5-7 p.m. Open Mic Comedy Night 7-9 p.m. 108 PARK AVE. ATHENS, GA 30601 In Your Town — Gainesville Standard Service Bar February 16 | 5-7 p.m. 400 JESSE JEWELL PKWY, GAINESVILLE, GA 30501 In Your Town — Rabun Gap 12 Spies Vineyards May 21 | 2-6 p.m. 550 BLACK BRANCH RD, RABUN GAP, GEORGIA 30568 In Your Town — Helen Helen Tubing Aug. 19 | 10:00-2:00 pm 222 EDELWEISS STRASSE, HELEN, GEORGIA 30545 UPCOMING Events 3 4 5
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Yonah Mountain Vineyards Head Swim Coach Teddy Guyer with wife Haven, left, and Trustee Martha Cantrell ’80 at Tallulah Adventures.

PIEDMONT Celebrate

Piedmont University’s 125th anniversary celebration extends through September 2023, giving you plenty of time to participate in this special milestone. Here are a few ways you can get involved: SHARE YOUR STORY

Whether you are an alumnus of Piedmont, a former employee, the parent of a graduate or a current student, a supporter, or a member of the local community, you have a Piedmont story to tell. Share your memories — and the difference Piedmont has made in your life — by visiting piedmont.edu/125th. Why did you choose to come to Piedmont? How did attending Piedmont

change the course of your life? Did you meet your best friend here? Your spouse? What did you gain at Piedmont that you still carry with you today? Your story is an essential part of this institution’s legacy. Let us hear from you! We’ll use story submissions on social media, the university’s website, and future editions of Journal



As part of its 125th celebration, Piedmont University conducted a student T-shirt design contest in fall 2022. The winner was Jordan Adams, a senior pursuing her bachelor’s degree in art education. Adams’ hand-drawn design is an outline of the state of Georgia filled with symbols to represent every facet of the university — paintbrushes for art, the Piedmont Lion logo for athletics, a microscope for the sciences, trees for the outdoors, and so on. The T-shirt also includes the university’s 125th logo, a requirement of the design contest.

“I wanted to make sure that everyone feels included, that when they put on the shirt, they can say, ‘I’m part of Piedmont,’” said Adams.

The shirt is available for purchase at alumni.piedmont.edu. The QR Code above will take you to the site. The cost of the shirt is $20; proceeds benefit the university’s Lion’s Share campaign, which supports programs, facility upgrades, and student scholarships. After you purchase your shirt, take a photo of yourself wearing it, share it on social media, and tag us at #piedmont125.


Piedmont University’s Alumni Association hosts events throughout the year, all of which are great opportunities to reconnect with the institution and the people who make it special.

Upcoming events include LionFest, an outdoor festival that will take place on the Demorest campus on April 22, and the 35th Annual Coach Cave Memorial Golf Tournament at Lanier Islands Legacy Golf Course on June 12.

Visit alumni.piedmont.edu for a full calendar. We’d love to see you!

Jordan Adams, a senior pursuing her bachelor’s degree in art education, won the 125th anniversary T-shirt contest.

A Lasting

President Mellichamp Reflects on His Proudest Achievements

In his 40 years at Piedmont, including the last 11 as president, Dr. James F. Mellichamp has built a legacy that will continue to shape this institution — and enhance students’ lives — for generations to come.

In June 2022, Dr. Mellichamp announced his retirement, effective once the Board of Trustees appoints his successor. In December 2022, the Board selected Marshall Criser, former chancellor of Florida’s university system, as its next president.

As he prepares for his next chapter, we asked Dr. Mellichamp to reflect on his career at Piedmont, from his early years as a music faculty member, to his time as dean of the School of Arts of Sciences, then vice president for academic affairs and provost, through his presidency. During that time, Piedmont has grown in every measure — student population, degree programs, physical footprint, and national stature.

We asked Dr. Mellichamp to not only reflect, but to narrow his accomplishments to 10 — the achievements that most shaped Piedmont and defined his tenure.

The list Dr. Mellichamp sent in response is evidence of his bold vision, unfailing commitment, and transformational leadership in service to Piedmont. His list makes us look back, but also forward, with renewed resolve and optimism. Thank you, Dr. Mellichamp, for all you have done for Piedmont University.

President James F. Mellichamp reveals new logos to reflect Piedmont’s status as a university during an event in 2021.



In 2021, Piedmont College became Piedmont University, a change that capped a decade of growth, record enrollment, and Piedmont’s stature as one of U.S. News’ top-50 regional universities in the South. “This was a seminal moment in our history. It was a reflection of our collective work, the direction we are going as an institution, and our commitment to strategic planning and growth,” Mellichamp said.



Completed in 2015, the Student Commons measures 58,000 square feet and houses the campus dining hall, bookstore, fitness center, and a Starbucks Café. “We recognize how essential it is for students to feel at home on campus. The Student Commons is a bright, airy, welcoming space for them to enjoy their meals, recreate with one another, and spend time together outside of class. The Student Commons was a huge step forward in the student experience at Piedmont,” Mellichamp said.


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Piedmont’s athletics programs experienced remarkable growth under Mellichamp’s leadership. During his time as president, Piedmont added women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s cycling, and men’s and women’s swimming. Mellichamp also played a pivotal role in the formation of Piedmont’s new NCAA Division III athletic conference ― the Collegiate Conference of the South. “Through the growth of our athletic programs, we’ve made it possible for more studentathletes to have the best of both worlds: an outstanding education and the chance to compete at the collegiate level,” Mellichamp said.


During Mellichamp’s presidency, Piedmont added its very first health sciences degree ― Athletic Training. Today, the College of Nursing & Health Sciences offers programs in Applied Health Science, Coaching, Exercise & Sport Science, Health Care Administration, Health Sciences, Health & Human Performance, Nursing, and Sport & Fitness Administration. In 2021, the college expanded again with the addition of a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences & Disorders, and soon, a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology. “Through the growth of our College of Nursing & Health Sciences, we’ve forever changed the face of this institution and put Piedmont on the radar for those seeking careers in health fields,” Mellichamp said.



Mystic Hall opened in fall 2022. Dedicated to first-year students, Mystic is conveniently located near the university’s athletic facilities, Student Commons, and classroom buildings. It was designed to allow for programming that will emphasize life and communication skills, relationship building, and other topics that will prepare students for a successful college experience. “With the Village, we created a unique residential experience for older students. With Mystic, we did the same for first-year students. I am very proud of how we have improved and diversified our residential facilities and grown the residential population during my time as president,” Mellichamp said.


In 2019, Piedmont purchased 80 acres of land adjacent to the Demorest campus, partly bordered by Georgia Street and U.S. 441. The land was purchased from the Rohletter family. Piedmont plans to use the land to create a new entrance along U.S. 441 and a state-of-the-art athletic complex. “This purchase was an investment in Piedmont’s future. The entrance will raise our profile and the athletic complex will give us an advantage in student recruitment,” Mellichamp said.

President James F. Mellichamp reveals new logos to reflect Piedmont’s status as a university during an event in 2021.


In 2020, Piedmont dedicated the Charles and Catherine Sewell Center for Teacher Education, following an extensive renovation of Nielsen Hall, which was built in 1972. The renovated space offers bright, airy, modern classrooms and small-group study areas. “Piedmont has a long history of being a state leader in teacher education. The investment in Sewell is an investment in our continued commitment to teacher education,” Mellichamp said.


In 2019, Piedmont celebrated the opening of its state-of-the-art, 45,000-square-foot Conservatory of Music, and thanks to a gift of 27 Steinway pianos, its designation as an All-Steinway School. More than 200 students a week use the facility for music classes, lessons, and music ensemble instruction. “To say we transformed the music program at Piedmont would be an understatement. We created a truly world-class venue in which to learn and enjoy performances,” Mellichamp said.


Built in 2015, Piedmont Village is located a mile off campus and was designed for upperclass students. Students live in four-bedroom, twobath apartments with a shared living room/ kitchenette. “We created a unique residential experience for our older students, a place for them to transition from college into the real world and be surrounded by peers at that same stage of life,” Mellichamp said.


In 2013, Piedmont University took ownership of the Lillian E. Smith Center in Clayton, Georgia, and became responsible for the stewardship and advancement of its mission. Smith, a social justice activist, friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and author of the best-selling novel “Strange Fruit” lived and worked on the property. She also attended Piedmont. Today, the 150-acre property is used as an educational facility and a retreat for artists, writers, scientists, and others committed to continuing her work. “Lillian E. Smith is a treasure. It is Piedmont’s honor to protect and proliferate her contributions to our society,” Mellichamp said.

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Any anniversary is a time to reminisce, recall days gone by, and reflect on memories made with old friends — and Piedmont’s 125th anniversary is no exception. As we celebrate this important milestone in the university’s history, alumni near and far are taking time to share their Piedmont memories. We’ve gathered a few for your reading pleasure here. The stories our alumni shared are of small-town life, lessons learned, and friendships that endure to this day. We would love to hear your stories of Piedmont. Visit piedmont.edu/125 to share your memories. We’ll include them in a future edition.

Front row from left: John Ahnen ’02, Daniel Blankenship ’01, Jake Hart. Second row from left: Karin Christensen VandenHoonaard ’03, Angela Luzar ’01, Jennifer Jewell ’00. Third row from left: Seth Howard ’02, David Limbach ’01, Amanda Harvey Hunt ’00, Matthew Hartwick ’01. David Reynolds ’06, Elen Strahle ’02, Colleen Hanson Horner ’01, Sarah Baer Elmer ’05, Sarah Henderson ’01, and Adam Wiley ’03. Sarah Baer Elmer ’05, Adam Wiley ’03, and Matthew Hartwick ’01.

"Piedmont, to me, was always about belonging. From theatre to classes to Zoo Nights to the formals, I always felt valued, safe, and looked after. High school was hit or miss for me, but Piedmont brought me together with friends that have lasted the 25 years since we last attended class together. I will never forget the electric feeling of opening nights at Jenkins Theater, creating art with people I loved."

"September 1966, a few hundred students, from up and down the east coast, enrolled at Piedmont. The college had eight buildings. The professors were young with exciting energy. Habersham County offered only two fast-food eateries and a drive-in and walk-in movie theater. In Central Demorest, students hung out at The Cup — which consisted of some booths, a grill, a jukebox, a pinball machine and, of course, coffee. Wallace Hall housed six men to a suite. The women had strict regulations on attire and dorm hours.

My fondest memories are of the people. Very rare to have that many people with so many commonalities. We had each other to create problems, solve problems, share the joys, grow, exchange ideas, and explore life. We had first-name friendships with faculty and their families. This was a special time in our country with much to talk about. Deep emotions to bat back and forth. Religious ideals to share, mold, and refine. Politics were under serious debate. Offered to us were only the eight buildings, two Dairy Queens, two movie houses, The Cup, and wonderful Lake Russell. The mail came up twice a day. The small grocery store downtown had a credit system for students. Most importantly, we had each other and got to know ‘us’ very well. My fondest memories were of the people. Our friendships were a melting pot. My fondest memories were the people. Our friendships were a melting pot.

Today, 56 years later, I have 48 close friends that I first met at Piedmont. Very close friends where time has eroded nothing. Like classroom knowledge, some of us have passed away. But the relationships melded at Piedmont are honestly for a lifetime."

John Preece ’71, Glenn Lerch ’71. GLENN LERCH ’71

125 YEARS BUT...

The Best is Still Yet to Come

An anniversary is a time to both celebrate the past — and eagerly look toward the future.

This year, Piedmont University marks its 125th anniversary. All year long, in a variety of ways, students, employees, alumni, and community members have recognized how far this institution has come from its humble beginnings in what was then a largely undeveloped section of Northeast Georgia. Mary C. Lane’s History of Piedmont College paints a picture of Demorest at the time of Piedmont’s founding:

The area was pierced by a few corduroy roads formed by laying saplings across the road. As they inevitably sank into the mud, new saplings would be cut and laid in place, until in time you had a substantial, if somewhat bumpy, road …

Today, an exit for Piedmont University is prominently marked along busy State Highway 365, a well-traveled, four-lane highway connects the institution’s two campuses, and modern structures — in no danger of sinking into the mud — make for a thriving campus home to students from throughout the U.S. — and beyond.

While celebrating the university’s progress, members of the Piedmont community are keeping an eye on the future. This institution has proven time and again in its 125 years that the best is always yet to come. Here’s what students and employees say they’re most looking forward to in Piedmont’s next decades.

I am most excited about the continued growth of the neuroscience major and the opportunities it will provide students who are interested in neuroscience research, medicine, and other professions related to the brain and behavior.

– Dr. Michael Friedline, Assistant Professor of Psychology

I am most excited for the opportunity to expand services, programs, and experiences for students to ensure academic success.

– Ineke Dyer, Director, Student Support Services

I am most excited about seeing Piedmont get more recognition for its lovely faculty and staff as it expands academic programs.

– Meredith Pollette, Sophomore, Applied Mathematics

The future of Piedmont University is bright. There have been changes to our academic staff and faculty to help make our students’ futures brighter. In the nursing program especially, we are learning more than ever before, thanks to the new educational environments provided for us.

– Gwyneth Thomas, Junior, Nursing

I’m excited about Piedmont’s growth in academics and extracurricular activities.

– Elissa Lotter, Junior, Elementary Education

I am excited about the Communication Sciences and Disorders program now at Piedmont and that we’re getting a clinical practice area.

– Micaela Quesada, Senior, Early Childhood Education

Seeing the growth of our students as they find fulfilling lives and careers excites me. Piedmont is a great place to begin that journey.

– Mark Evans, Assistant Professor of Education

I am most excited about seeing how Piedmont will continue to grow and welcome students from all backgrounds. I hope we will continue to see students from more ethnicities represented and welcomed on campus.

– Ana Lopez Prado, Junior, Middle Grades Education


Piedmont TODAY

The cast of "Peter and the Starcatcher," the Theatre Department’s fall production.

From left, Serita Hillman and Tamala Baker, both paraprofessionals with the Clarke County School District, and Associate Director of Graduate Admissions Stephanie Austin-Campbell at an event at the Athens campus. The event was to help Clarke County School District employees learn about their options for advancing their education.

Students enjoy white water rafting, just one of many fun outdoor activities available in Northeast Georgia.

The Piedmont University of today is poised for even more growth in its student population and physical footprint, as families across the nation discover all it has to offer, including small class sizes, idyllic surroundings, and a wide variety of degree programs. Here are a few shots from the 2022-23 academic year at Piedmont University.

Leo the Lion and student Jadon Gonzales. The convocation ceremony marking the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year. Piedmont’s women’s soccer team, which won the first-ever Collegiate Conference of the South Championship in fall 2022. The Piedmont Singers enjoy a candid moment. A sunrise over Demorest captured by Assistant Biology Professor Dr. Julia Schmitz.
Piedmont’s women’s cross-country team, which also won the first-ever Collegiate Conference of the South Championship in fall 2022.

Kennesaw Police Department



Asked to describe his department’s relationship with Piedmont University, Kennesaw Police Chief Bill Westenberger responds with a question of his own:

“Do you like to go fishing?”

Noting the puzzled reaction to his question, he continues: “When you find a good fishing hole, you’re really excited, and you want to keep it a secret. That’s how I feel about Piedmont.”

KPD employs 68 sworn police officers, six of whom are Piedmont University alumni, all hired within the last few years.

“Welcome to the Piedmont University Kennesaw satellite campus,” an officer joked when told of the premise for this article.

All joking aside, KPD and Piedmont share a special relationship that grows deeper with every new hire. It’s a relationship that has much to do with Erin Bright, who graduated from Piedmont in 2017 with her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. After beginning her career as a patrol officer, Bright transitioned into the role of recruiter. She now spends a good deal of her time attending college fairs, visiting college campuses, and speaking to students interested in careers in law enforcement.

From the age of 3, Bright dreamed of becoming a police officer, inspired by her aunt, who worked for a department out west.

“When I was little, whenever I would see a police officer, I’d get so excited and run up to them,” she said.

“Becoming a cop is always what I wanted to do.”

After her father passed away, Bright changed her ambitions to nursing, but quickly returned to her early career decision. Growing up in Newnan, Georgia, she’d attended small, tight-knit elementary and middle schools, and when it came time to select a college, she was looking for a similar environment. She found it in Piedmont.

“There’s very much a family feel at Piedmont,” she said.

It turns out, Piedmont was ideal preparation for working at KPD, a smaller police department that defines itself by camaraderie and a sense of family among both civilian and sworn employees. That’s one of the reasons Bright likes to recruit from Piedmont. The students who are attracted to Piedmont are likely to fit in well at KPD, she said.

Such was the case with new recruit Chase Goff, who graduated in May 2022 with his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Goff began his college career as an engineering major,

Chase Goff ’22, left, is one of the Kennesaw Police Department’s newest recruits. He was recruited by Erin Bright ’17, right.
The ability to see situations from different perspectives, communicate effectively, and find common ground with people are vital skills in modern policing.
– Bill Westenberger, Kennesaw Police Chief

but he changed it after meeting Forensic Science and Criminal Justice Professor Bruce Willis and Political Science Professor Tony Frye. Willis is a former special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and a criminal investigations coordinator with the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. Frye is a longtime professor, co-chair of the Department of Social Sciences, and pre-law advisor.

“They have so much professional experience, and when they teach, they’re able to share real-life situations that go beyond the book,” said Goff.

At Piedmont, where he played lacrosse, Goff developed close friendships with his teammates, but also meaningful relationships with classmates who came from a variety of backgrounds.

“At Piedmont, it’s small, but you still get experience with a lot of different cultures,” Goff said.

The ability to see situations from different perspectives, communicate effectively, and find common ground with people are vital skills in modern policing, Westenberger said. His Piedmont-trained recruits possess exactly those capabilities.

He recalled a local protest in response to the killing of George Floyd in 2020.

Bright and another early-career officer took the time to talk with a few of the demonstrators, to understand their points of view and share their own in a calm, constructive manner that, he’s certain, had a lasting effect on police-civilian relations.

“They handled it much more effectively than I probably could have. A lot of older officers might have gotten frustrated and walked away,” Westenberger said.

“In my heart of hearts, I believe they helped the demonstrators see the others side, the side behind the badgec

New recruits bring valuable insights to the job that make Westenberger excited for the future not just of his own department but for the field of law enforcement.

Piedmont University is doing its part to provide the talent law enforcement agencies need today — and tomorrow, Westenberger said.

“I’m very proud of the relationship we have with Piedmont.”

Piedmont University’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree program is available both in person and online. Learn more at piedmont.edu/criminal-justice.

1 Kennesaw Police recruit Amanda Weinhart ’22 2 Kennesaw Police officer Nick Burns ’20, second from left, with his fellow shift officers. 3 Kennesaw Police officer Allison Dean ’22 4 Kennesaw Police officer Alexis Owens ’20
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Piedmont Music Alumnus Uses Life and Sudden Hearing Loss to Inspire Others

Micah Dingler earned two degrees from Piedmont University, as well as a master’s degree from Northwestern University. He is now a voice teacher and performer in Chicago.

In his work as a voice teacher at Chicago’s Whitney M. Young Magnet High School — alma mater of former first lady Michelle Obama — two-time Piedmont University alumnus Micah Dingler strives to impart an important lesson to his students: They are capable of much more than they might think, no matter where they come from or what difficulties they may face.

It’s a lesson Dingler learned for himself while studying at Piedmont, and again in 2018, when he suddenly became half deaf.

“Piedmont was the springboard to my life now. It prepared me to do so much more than I ever thought possible,” said Dingler, who earned his second master’s degree from

Northwestern University and performs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus and The Crossing, a Grammywinning professional chamber choir based in Philadelphia.

Growing up in Stephens County, Georgia, Dingler loved music and figured he would grow up to become a high school chorus teacher, either in his hometown or somewhere nearby. He couldn’t envision himself living — or doing anything — beyond what he’d known his whole life.

When it came time to apply to colleges, Dingler submitted two applications: one to the University of Georgia and one to Piedmont. He was accepted to both institutions, with scholarship assistance.

He chose Piedmont. It’s a decision he’s been grateful for ever since.

“It was at Piedmont that I started to realize that the life I’d always lived was not the life I was going to have. Piedmont allowed me to start dreaming of bigger things.

Dingler earned his Bachelor of Arts in Voice Performance in 2005 and his Master of Arts in Teaching in Music Education in 2006.

During his five years at Piedmont, Dingler thrived and forged relationships with faculty members that endure to this day. He

Piedmont changed the course of where I was going. I can’t wait to see what comes next.


learned about himself, and while traveling with the Piedmont Singers, discovered the world beyond Northeast Georgia.

“We went on tour to Miami and Chicago, which is when I started to fall in love with the city,” he said. “I was able to see all these parts of the country that I’d never seen before.”

In 2007, Associate Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communications Dr. Wallace Hinson helped Dingler land a performance in Italy with The Crossing, which began Dingler’s career with the ensemble.

The many experiences he had while at Piedmont, and the confidence he gained along the way, inspired Dingler to apply to Northwestern University, where he earned a Master of Music in Voice and Opera in 2009.

“Looking back, I can see that I didn’t dream big enough for my life until I got to Piedmont. Today, I teach at one of the most diverse high schools in the country. I’m a tenured performer with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus, one of the largest paid symphonic choirs in America, and I perform with The Crossing, which is my passion project, my baby,” he said.

“I’m living a life that at one time I couldn’t even imagine.”

Dingler’s career is even more remarkable given the ordeal he experienced in 2018. It was the day before Thanksgiving, and Dingler woke up completely deaf in his left ear. He spent months visiting doctors and dealing with insurance issues — all the while wondering if his time in music was over.

“It was a very depressing time,” he said.

A cochlear implant allowed Micah Dingler to continue his career in music even after he suddenly went deaf in one ear in 2018.

In 2019, Dingler received a cochlear implant that allows him to hear — and perform — as well as he did before he lost his hearing. Random fact: The implant is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing Dingler to listen to music or watch TV without disturbing anyone. Rather than ending his career, going deaf has opened up new possibilities for Dingler’s future.

“I’m starting to learn American Sign Language, and I’m making connections with people I might never have met or talked to before, people who are involved with music and have also experienced hearing loss,” Dingler said.

“It’s still new, but it’s given me a whole new way of looking at what I do — and what I might do with music going forward.”

His work as a now half-deaf performer and teacher is the latest chapter in a life he never saw coming until he enrolled at Piedmont.

“Piedmont changed the course of where I was going,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what comes next.”


Lee Smee met his wife, Sandy, at Piedmont University. Their son, Joseph (pictured with Lee Smee), is a senior in high school and toured the university in September.

Piedmont Grad Leads Lab Dedicated to Oyster Population Restoration

Who knew crab pee could be so interesting?

That’s the question posed half-jokingly by Lee Smee ’96, who graduated from Piedmont University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, as he explains his current research on oysters. He and his students at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab are researching and building a small-scale reef that could lead to bringing back at least some of the oyster population.

“Oysters are probably the most degraded habitat in the world. They’re certainly the most degraded marine habitat. Somewhere around 85 to 90 percent of oyster habitat worldwide is gone,” Smee said.

The Piedmont degree Smee earned started him down a path that would lead — after achieving a master’s degree at Georgia Southern and a doctorate at Georgia Tech — to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in 2018. Smee is the chair of university programs there. The lab serves

Alabama’s 22 four-year colleges and universities through summer college courses and graduate programs.

Smee is also a marine and environmental sciences professor at the University of South Alabama.

So, why crab pee? When oysters smell blue crab urine, they grow stronger, heavier shells because they fear the predator. Research is underway to identify the molecules that comprise what oysters smell when a blue crab is nearby. The molecules could potentially be replicated in the lab as “scary juice” that can be used to toughen up oysters before they are placed in the wild for restoration or aquaculture.

Smee, lab members, and more than 40 volunteers built the experimental oyster reef. They hauled eight tons of oyster shells into Mobile Bay, which took “two months and hours and hours and hours to do,” he said.

Eight tons sounds like a lot, but the reef measures only about 20 feet by 30 feet. Smee compares what he and his students can do to the large-scale work done by The Nature Conservancy. Among its many projects, the global environmental nonprofit works on shoreline restoration in nearby Bayou La Batre.

“The Nature Conservancy built Lightning Point as this big marsh, and we put the reef on it,” Smee said. “Our hope is that our little reef will work, and it will inspire the Conservancy and others that this can work, and they can do it on a big scale,” Smee said. “So far, so good.”

The practical implication of Smee’s research is improving aquaculture restoration and creating tougher oysters. The


science behind his work is figuring out what prey — like crabs — smell like. Smee collaborates with Georgia Tech on the chemistry.

“No one really knows anything about this. We’ve got a couple of candidate molecules,” Smee said. “It really says something about evolution. You learn what each predator is. Do all predators smell scary because they’re predators? Does the way they smell change because of what they eat? We think it probably does, but we don’t really know because until very recently, we couldn’t do the chemistry to figure that out.”

Smee is foremost a research scientist. Half of his time is spent on research, with 40 percent on administration and 10 percent on teaching.

“This is my dream job. I’m happy with my personal research. I’m happy with the research the lab does,” Smee said. “I oversee a

very field-intensive, hands-on undergraduate program. We have one of the largest undergraduate programs in the country, with more than 200 undergraduates on Dauphin Island in the summer.”

Looking ahead, Smee hopes he’s able to provide opportunities to Piedmont students. Smee has asked Piedmont Biology Professor Dr. Carlos Camp, who he referred to as “the best teacher I ever had,” if students at the university would be interested in participating in his research.

The field-intensive and hands-on research goes beyond scaring baby oysters.

“I’ve got a student studying oyster feeding, and the way you study that is you collect their food. You look at what they digested and excreted vs. what they spit out,” Smee said. “The joke is that the two things we study in my lab are No. 1 and No. 2.”

Smee and Dauphin Island Sea Lab research scientist Dr. Ben Belgrad examine oysters before placing them in the field to assess growth and survival.

Smee recovers experimental oysters from the field. Oysters were less than 3mm when placed and grew to 25mm after two months. Oysters near the upper part of the photo were exposed to predators, grew harder shells, and survived more frequently than those further down in the photo, which were mostly eaten by predators.

Smee, lab members, and more than 40 volunteers hauled eight tons of oyster shells into Mobile Bay to build an experimental oyster reef.



Vice President for Enrollment Management

If you know Cindy Peterson, you know Piedmont, because she spends most of her time telling the university’s story.

“I love this institution and its mission,” she said. “To share with families who think they can’t afford college that our mission is to make education accessible to them — that is what I love to do.”

Peterson has been part of the university’s story since 2001, when she came on board as director of external affairs. She rose to director of undergraduate admissions in 2005, dean of admissions in 2010, and associate vice president of undergraduate enrollment in 2018, the role she held until being appointed vice president for enrollment management in fall 2022.

The word she uses when she thinks about Piedmont’s future is “vibrant.”

“Venues and facilities have been improved and added. I see students engaged more and more on campus in clubs and organizations. The new academic programs that are coming along and coming on board both at the graduate and undergraduate level — we are a vibrant university,” she said.

The most recent freshman class was the largest in Piedmont history. Peterson looks forward to helping grow graduate enrollment as well. She’s also working with other members of university leadership to increase student retention.

Approximately 40 percent of Piedmont students are firstgeneration, meaning their parents did not complete a fouryear degree. This part of the university’s story especially resonates with Peterson, who was herself a “first-gen” student.

A high school athlete, Peterson enrolled in college at the urging of her teachers and parents.

Vice President of Enrollment Management Cindy Peterson loves taking students on backpacking and hiking trips, any opportunity to help them discover the university’s beautiful surroundings.

She played basketball and tennis for James Madison University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education. Peterson got a scholarship for a graduate assistantship at Auburn University, where she achieved a master’s degree in kinesiology and education.

Peterson went on to receive a graduate assistantship at Auburn University to coach the Lady Tigers basketball team and teach in its health and physical education department. She earned her master’s in education degree and landed her first job teaching and coaching at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

Peterson would change careers three times. It is one of the reasons why she can convey so well the value of a liberal arts education, which prepares students to think critically and adapt as they move through life and career changes.

Peterson’s second career was director of the sports and recreation ministry for Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta. That is where she learned about Piedmont. Some parishioners had homes on Lake Burton, less than an hour’s drive from Piedmont’s Demorest campus, and some had connections to the university.

In her third career at Piedmont, Peterson takes full advantage of the university’s scenic location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For this part of the story, she would just as soon show as tell.

“I get the opportunity to take students backpacking and hiking, to share my love for adventure,” she said. “That is what keeps me going, that I still get the opportunity to do those things with our students.”




Vice President for Academic Affairs

If there is anything Piedmont University Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Steve Nimmo loves more than fishing, it is those light-bulb moments when a student grasps a mathematical concept.

“You have found the way for them to figure out how to understand it,” said Nimmo, who was appointed in June 2022. “Finding what works for a particular student, that’s where I find the pleasure in teaching.”

Just as he has as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Piedmont since 2009, Nimmo will continue to teach while serving as vice president. He particularly enjoys teaching students who are non-mathematics majors. He makes the subject engaging for those who may be intimidated by it or who are simply not interested.

“I use very non-typical topics,” Nimmo said. “We talk about things like mathematics and voting. This past year, we studied ancient ways of counting. I try to find things they’ve not seen.”

As a mathematician, Nimmo is a natural problem-solver. “The ability to solve problems is what I like about the job, and there is uniqueness at every turn,” he said. “As a dean and administrator, it’s the ability to impact more students by working with faculty. As VPAA, I will be able to take my ideas and share them not just in the College of Arts & Sciences, but in all four colleges.”

Nimmo has been drawn to mathematics since kindergarten, when he memorized the multiplication tables a brother three years older brought home. He has a twin sister, Becky, and because he arrived in the world 13 minutes ahead of her, he is in the middle of five siblings. At the Nimmo house, it was never “if” but “‘when” the children would attend college. All five were first-generation college students.

Like so many undergraduates, Nimmo didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life when he went to college. He just kept studying what he understood and enjoyed.

He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics at Monmouth College, a small, private school much like Piedmont. He achieved a master’s and doctorate in mathematics at Iowa State University.

Nimmo found his place in higher education, rising to a full professor and then eventually to associate dean for academic affairs at Morningside College before coming to Piedmont.

Outside of academia, Nimmo likes to relax and read. He takes his boat out when he can to fish for crappie, blue gill, and bass. It may be true that a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work, but Nimmo loves what he does. He believes in Piedmont and its potential.

“When I first got here, people said Piedmont was the best-kept secret in Northeast Georgia,” Nimmo said. “It’s past time we stopped being a secret and became a well-known entity. We’re on our way and getting that done.”

They say a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work, but Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Steve Nimmo begs to differ. He loves working with students and helping them grasp difficult concepts.


Piedmont University is now a proud member of the Collegiate Conference of the South, with the 2022-23 academic year marking the Lions’ first year of competition in the new league.

Piedmont joined eight fellow former USA South Athletic Conference member institutions to officially form the Collegiate Conference of the South (CCS) in 2022. In addition to Piedmont, the league includes Agnes Scott College, Belhaven University, Berea College, Covenant College, Huntingdon College, LaGrange College, Maryville College, and Wesleyan College.

After years of internal discussions, a two-conference separation strategy emerged, and more recently, the USA South Presidents Council formally committed to the establishment of two viable conferences. The new CCS was officially incorporated in the State of Georgia on Jan. 12, 2022, and application materials for

conference membership were officially approved on Feb. 17, 2022, by the NCAA Division III Membership Committee.

“The formation of the CCS has been a process long in the making and one we are excited to see come to fruition,”
We are ready to see Piedmont Athletics continue its tradition of excellence in the new league and look forward to extending our championship history into this new era.
– Jim Peeples, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Peeples said. “We are ready to see Piedmont athletics continue its tradition of excellence in the new league and look forward to extending our championship history into this new era.”

Piedmont had an impressive tenure in the USA South, formerly the nation’s largest NCAA Division III conference with 19 member institutions. The Lions claimed 21 USA South Conference regular season titles and over 20 USA South Tournament titles during nine years of competition in the league.

In addition to sharing the member institutions’ geographic identity, the name, “Collegiate Conference of the South,” is indicative of their shared commitment to academic excellence, which is commensurate with the NCAA Division III philosophy. The championship sports for men are baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, tennis, and track and field. The championship sports for women are basketball, cross-country, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The sports of women’s golf and men’s and women’s lacrosse will continue to compete in the USA South as associate members.

Stay up-to-date on all things Piedmont Athletics by visiting piedmontlions.com Schedules, scores, stories of persistence, victory, and determination... Find all this and more at piedmontlions.com

42 | PIEDMONT JOURNAL GRADUATE PROGRAMS • Master of Business Administration • Certificate of Logistics & Supply Chain Management • Master of Arts in Education (site-based hybrid option available) • Master of Arts in Teaching (site-based hybrid option available) • Education Specialist (site-based hybrid option available) • Doctor of Education • Education Certificate • Education Endorsements • Master of Arts in Professional Counseling • Master of Science in Athletic Training • Master of Science in Health and Human Performance • Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (Fall 2023) WHY CHOOSE PIEDMONT (AGAIN)? • No admissions exam • No need to track down transcripts (we have them on file) • Exceptional ratings for value, academics, and diversity • Student concierge and career services to help you navigate graduate school — and beyond • No hidden fees Learn more at piedmont.edu/graduate-admissions WHY CHOOSE PIEDMONT... AGAIN? EARN YOUR GRADUATE DEGREE AT PIEDMONT UNIVERSITY You Already Know the Value of a Piedmont Degree …


President’s Report


Thomas A. “Gus.” Arrendale, III (chairman)

Lisa Black ’01, ’07

Sandra G. Borrow

Dr. Martha K. Cantrell ’80

Matt Cook ‘96

Walter Crowder

Matt Desing ’02

Dwight H. Evans

David C. Foster ’88

Dr. Phillip Furman ’68

Mack H. Guest III

Ladson Haddow

Thomas M. Hensley Jr.

James C. Hobbs III

William M. House

Fran Davis Jarrett

Nick Kastner ’03, ’06

Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund

Mylle Mangum

Michael F. Mansfield, Sr. ’09

Kimberly D. Melton

Dr. Kara Keel Moody, D.M.D. ’94

Dr. Octavius Mulligan ’95, ’00, ’02, ’14

Jim Parham ’67

Joseph M. Piper ’95

Lisa Pruitt-Hamby

Dr. Rev. Tom M. Richard ’70

The Honorable Brian Rickman ’98

Michael Santowski ’06

James F. Sievers ’63

Dock C. Sisk ’72

Barbara Strain

Mary Hart Wilheit



Dr. James F. Mellichamp

Vice President for Student Life and Leadership

Dr. Kimberly Crawford

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Steve Nimmo

Vice President for Enrollment Management

Cindy Peterson

Vice President for University Advancement K. Craig Rogers

Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance Brant Wright

Revenue Expenses

26 Tuition Fees 7.3 Aux. Enterprises 2.1 Private Grants/Gifts 3.2 Misc. -3.3 Investment Income 35.3 TOTAL


6.0 Cash 50.9 Endowments/Investments 90.8 Property/Equipment 3.8 Misc. 151.5 TOTAL

17.1 Instruction 2.7 Academic Support 10.7 Student Services 12.1 Administration 5.4 Aux. Enterprises 48.0 TOTAL 28.4 Notes/Bonds 3.4 Accounts Payable 3.0 Deferred Tuition/Revenue 0.3 Misc. 35.1 TOTAL

(in millions of dollars)




Total Giving Alumni Donors


This information is derived from Piedmont University’s June 30, 2022, audited financial statements.

Piedmont experienced a nearly $4 million revenue loss, largely attributable to enrollment declines in its graduate programs. Piedmont had long operated successful graduate education programs at schools throughout the state, providing a convenient option for educators seeking advanced degrees to study alongside their colleagues. With the onset of the pandemic and resulting school closures, Piedmont was forced to shift those programs online. The format change, along with the immense stress placed on educators during the pandemic, negatively affected enrollment. Volatility in the stock market also took a significant toll on Piedmont’s investment income. Liabilities increased as a result of bond financing for Mystic, the university’s new residence hall.

At the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year and beginning of 2022-23, Piedmont took steps to reduce expenses aimed at offsetting declines in revenue. Piedmont is also bringing back its site-based education programs — combined with online components — and enhancements are being made to its online degree programs. These initiatives are expected to positively affect graduate enrollment.


Total giving for 2022 was stable at $2.1 million, reflecting a solid core giving base and continued emphasis on developing Piedmont’s annual fund. Philanthropic efforts are led by a committed Board of Trustees whose combined giving increased 54% over the prior year.

The inaugural class of the Yonahian Society — Piedmont’s most esteemed group of annual donors who each make an annual gift of $1,000 or more — topped out at 290. A celebratory gala was held in April to highlight the significant philanthropic work of this group.

With regard to alumni giving, Piedmont hit a new record in 2022, with 734 alumni

2018 2019 2020 2021 100 200 300 400 500 600 2018 2019 2020 2021
$1.0M $2.0M $3.0M $4.0M $5.0M $6.0M
** $10
** *
Pledges reflected in
million Music Conservatory fundraising campaign concluded in 2019.
2022 2022 700 PIEDMONT JOURNAL | 45

donors contributing at some level. This reflects a 36 percent increase over the prior year and is a substantial stride toward Piedmont’s goal of 1,000 annual alumni donors. Piedmont’s Alumni Board leads by example in the area of giving to their alma mater with 100% of members participating in the annual fund, 60% of whom give at the Yonahian level.


In fall 2022, Piedmont welcomed the largest freshman class in its 125-year history, a testament to the university’s unique value proposition and tenacious recruiting efforts. The freshman class was comprised of 301 students, far outsizing the previous year’s freshman class, which numbered 249.

The Class of 2026 arrived at Piedmont well-positioned for academic success during their college years.

Here’s a look the academic profile of this most impressive class:

• Average high school GPA: 3.58

• Average SAT: 1104, ahead of the national average

• Average ACT: 22.5, ahead of the national average

• Students entering with Advanced Placement/Dual Enrollment credit: 44.5 percent

In addition to being the largest in Piedmont history, the Class of 2026 is also the most diverse. Approximately 35 percent of freshmen came from underrepresented communities.

The diversity of the freshman class contributed to increasing diversification at Piedmont overall. Notably, the percentage of white undergraduate students declined from 70.6 in 2021-22 to 67.4 in 202223, while the share of African American and Hispanic undergraduate students increased, from 11.3 to 12.6 percent and from 8 to 10.5 percent respectively.

The Class of 2026 also represented 21 states and four countries,

Enrollment $0 $5,000 $10,000
*estimate **Financial Aid is defined by Federal, State, and Institutional scholarships and gift aid. ** Demorest Athens Financial Aid Fast Facts 12:1 Student-toFaculty Ratio 13 Average Undergraduate Class Size 19 Division III Sports Teams
$15,000 $20,000 $25,000 $30,000
Undergraduate Tuition/Average Financial Aid 1016 Demorest UGrad 203 Athens UGrad 672 Graduate 5 Online UGrad 1896 TOTAL $ 16,383 $ 19,367* $ 28,970 $ 21,810 22-23 46 | PIEDMONT JOURNAL

Undergraduates by Race

including Barbados, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.

Students and families continue to cite its close-knit atmosphere, proximity to the Appalachian Mountains, national rankings for academic excellence and safety, and variety of academic programs, athletic opportunities, and extracurriculars as their reasons for choosing Piedmont.

The university’s admissions personnel use a variety of recruitment tactics, but the most effective is establishing a personal relationship with each prospective student early on in the process. Sending personalized communications, making personal phone calls, and providing students with information related to their specific interests help to set Piedmont apart from competing institutions.

While Piedmont welcomed its largestever freshman class, it also experienced enrollment declines at the graduate level. Piedmont has taken a number of steps aimed at increasing its graduate numbers, including once again offering graduate education programs at school districts and creating a personal concierge position to assist graduate students.

Additional enrollment highlights for fall 2022 include:

• Total undergraduate enrollment is 1,224.

• Total graduate enrollment is 672.

• Total enrollment at the Demorest campus is 1,054 (undergraduate and graduate).

• Total enrollment at the Athens campus is 260 (undergraduate and graduate).

• Online enrollment is 582 (undergraduate and graduate).

• Piedmont’s undergraduate residential population now stands at 762.

The President’s Report, published annually by the Office of the President, offers a snapshot of Piedmont University’s balance sheet and financials. Correspondence should be directed to president@piedmont.edu.

Undergraduates by Place of Origin 80 Programs of Study 75% of Demorest Undergraduates Live on Campus 97% of Undergraduates Received Financial Aid
Fall 2022 67.4 White 12.6 African American 10.5 Hispanic 1.4 Asian 4.2 Unknown 3.9 Other 87.9 Georgia 2.6 Florida 1.2 South Carolina 1.0 Texas 1.1 International 6.2 Other PIEDMONT JOURNAL | 47

The Piedmont Philanthropic Family

Names appear in list as requested by donor.

Please contact development@piedmont.edu with any changes.



Only recognizes gifts received during fiscal year 2022 (7/1/2021 to 6/30/2022)

Chairman’s Circle - ($25,000.00+)

Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation*

Gus Arrendale *

Louise L. Bass *

Betty J. Chokos '62

Charlie Allen Cleere EdS'04

Council of Independent Colleges

Compass Group USA Division*

Estate of Peggy Hill Taylor and Lamar Taylor ’68

Georgia Independent College Association, Inc.*

Georgia Power Company Cornelia Office

The Thomas T. & Bernice F. Irvin Foundation *

James and Susan Irvin * Dr. James F. Mellichamp * Thomas A. and Lucile M. Moye Charitable Trust *

Ben and Jamie '00 Purdy Dr. H. Milton and Mrs. Carolyn Stewart Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc.*

Mayflower Circle - ($10,000.00+)


William R. Bannister

Mr. James F. Sievers '63 and Dr. Samira Beckwith

Harriet Davis Wilbanks Trust

Jane Reynolds Hemmer and Dr. John Hemmer, Jr.

Fran and Gary Jarrett

Susan Spaeth Kyle '95

Dr. Charles and Mrs. Vicki Nichols

Steve '67 and Lola Smith

The Torch Club

Thomas B. Musser Trust Under Will*

United Church of Christ – Cleveland, OH

The Frances Wood Wilson Foundation, Inc.*

Founder’s Circle - ($5,000.00+)

Jill Stewart Archer and Glenn Archer

J. Philip '69 and Jane Higdon '70 Ballard

Don and Paula Beck

Sandra G. Borrow Marilyn K. Brown

Ben and Gail Cheek *

Anne W. Chenault

Billie Jean Boling Erwin '62

Dwight and Sharon Evans Dr. Phillip '68 and Mrs. Paulette Furman

Bill and Carolyn Gaik Mack H. Guest, III Helen S. McPheeters Trust

Thomas and Jenna Hensley James and Margaret Hobbs

William M. House, Esq Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies

Jane C. Johnson M'09 *

Michael F. '09 and Kim Mansfield *

Sierra Nicholson '03 and Ryan Hull

Nancy Pruitt

Lisa Pruitt Hamby EdS'18

Michael '06 and Mattie Santowski Shook's Landscape & Maintenance

Jeb and Stephanie Stewart Stewart and Carol Swanson

Truist Bank

Albert L. Vulcano

Isaac L. Walker '58 Marlan Wilbanks

Mary Hart and Philip Wilheit

President’s Circle - ($1,000.00+)

David '67 and Virginia '68 Abbot Rose Mariee Allison

Edward '80, HonD'94 and Alice Ariail

Jeff and Amy Ballstadt Bechtel Law, LLC

Becton, Dickinson and Company Dr. Julia Behr

Lisa L. Black M'01, EdS'07 Jill Bradley '80 Del '74 and Pat Bradshaw Lewis and Rose Brannon Andrew P. Bridges and J. Rebecca Lyman

Buffington Real Estate LLC

Richard '51 and Nancy Burrell C. Lyndol Cain ‘53

Camp Younts Foundation Carlyn L. Canham

Mr. Jonathan W. '81 and Dr. Martha '80, EdS'10, EdD'12 Cantrell

Cris '99 and Jane Carpenter Marguerite A. Carpenter

Dennis T. Cathey, Esq Dr. Rhani Lott Choi '05

Vallorie V. Coley M'99, EdS'04 Matthew E. Cook '96 Walter and Kathy Crowder Dr. Christopher and

Mrs. Nannette Curran Tim and Jamie Darrah Gov. Nathan Deal

Katie Deal '02 Dr. Phil DeMore

Matt J. Desing '02

Elliot '56 and Jeanne Eggleston Mark and Sharon Elam

Dr. John F. and Mrs. Janet '95 Elger

Eddie '82 and Carole A. '83 Elrod Bradley D. Evans '96 Mark and Melissa Evans Dr. Nancy Smith Fichter and Mr. Robert Fichter

Pamela Getman Fisher '13

David '88 and Leslie Foster Pam and Joey Fountain

George F. & Sybil H. Fuller Foundation

Dr. Margaret Rose Gladney Bob Glass

Lauren F. '05, M'07 and Jason Goza

Ladson and Caroline Haddow

Jerry '07 and Meredith '06 Harkness Hayes of Baldwin

Betty Heathman

Howard C. Hilley, Jr. Dr. C. Wallace and Jennifer '95 Hinson

Abby Jackson '84

Barth Jackson and Amy Lawrence Carole Jackson

Jackson Electric Membership Corporation

Douglas M. Johnson '66 Walter and Sandi Keel


Chris and Kathryn Kelly

Dr. Kelly Land EdS'12, EdD'15

Dr. Delene and Dr. Jasper Lee

Mylle and Bill Mangum Marilyn L. McNeely

Kimberly and Harold Melton

Dr. Phillip Moery

Dr. Kara Keel Moody '94 and Mr. Chad Moody

Clark Morrell

Deloris Newberry Mullins '58 National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Michael Nicholson

Dr. Steve and Cynthia Nimmo North Georgia Community Foundation

Ann and Greg O'Connor

Chris Pearce

Dr. Larry and Mrs. Dinah C. Peevy

Perezcassar & Gaylor, INC.

Dr. Robert and Mrs. Anita Pittman

Plymouth Congregational Church- Wichita, KS

Tony Porcelli

Sherrill and James Ragans Mary Raymer

Craig and Denise Rogers

Representative Terry Rogers Dr. Margaret Ryder M'13

Michael R. Scott '71

Charles K. '54 and Catherine Sewell * Karen Shayne '88

John Siegel and John Templeton

Dr. Daniel Silber and Mrs. Karin Amano Dock '72 and Nan Sisk Dr. Daniel J. Smith

Southeast Conference United Church of Christ

John and Karen Spiegel

Ann Hawkins Starnes '53 Dr. Gabriele U. Stauf

John and Cathy Steinhauer Barbara Strain

Dr. Gerald and Mrs. Margaret Sullivan Tallulah Falls School

Dr. Edward and Mrs. Frances Taylor Thomas M. Templeton

*Denotes Lifetime Yonahian Members – Donating $100K+ since 1/1/18


Dr. Matthew Teutsch and Mrs. Melissa Teutsch

The Budd Group

The Hoop Network

Blake '07, M'09 and Stephanie '08 Thomas Wilson P. Tuten '69 Gilford B. Walker Dr. J. Kerry Waller

WCON 99.3

Robert and Colleen Williams Carol Wood

Brant and Marcie Wright

Write To Change, Inc. Dr. C. Alex Young Tatum H. Young

Only recognizes gifts received during fiscal year 2022 (7/1/2021 to 6/30/2022)

Noah G. Aaron '22

David '67 and Virginia '68 Abbot

Joseph A. Abernathy '10

Liz Blake Abraham '02

Amin J. Abraham-Quiles '18, M'20

Dr. David S. Adams '61

Eddy C. Adams '74

Florence J. Adams M'03

Laura L. Adams '90

Madge Maxwell Addison '65

Jerry W. Alderman '60

Jimmie Alewine '60

Rebecca Alexander EdS'20

S. Lamar Allen '72

W. Shawn Allen M'10

Lisa Taylor Allen '94

Charles E. Alred

Jody '97 and Tabatha Anderson

Jane M'99 and Anthony Aquilino

Shane Argo '20

Edward '80, HonD'94 and Alice Ariail

James L. Ariail, Jr. '72

Paul M. Armbruster '72

Christopher Armour EdS'21

Phyllis Verdell Arthur '81

Emily West Asbell '61

Tyler P. Ashley '17

Janice Ashurst

Stephanie AustinCampbell '08, M'10

Brandy Aycock, M'11

Cynthia C. Bagwell EdS'13

C. Lewis '76 and Gail Dalton '86 Bailey

Robert J. Baker '01

J. Philip '69 and Jane Higdon '70 Ballard

Brady Ballstadt

Guadalupe Y. Banda '20

Liz A. Banks M'11

Linda S. Barkoot EdS'14

Bryan '18 and Pamela Barnett

Dolores E. Barr M'99

James E. Barron '00

Larz D. '04, M'05 and Maria '00, M'05 Bass

Dr. Courtney Bean M'15, EdS'16, EdD'19

T. Craig Beatty '94

Stephanie Beauchamp '06

Sharen L. Beaulieu '94

Jeremy E. Beck '19

Beatrice K. Belville M'01

Ronald '85, M'99 and Pamela Bennett

Sarah E. Benton '16

Dr. Marilyn A. Berrong '76

W. Keith '97 and Mary Kay '97, M'02 Berry

Sara Borchers Berube '02

Lisa L. Black M'01, EdS'07

Diane Taylor Black '65

Jimmy '61 and Linda Black Abbey G. Blair

Stephen '15 and Briana Powers '13 Blanchard

Tammy Lovell Boggs '87

Henderson Boknight '88

Auburn J. S. Bolton '18, M'20

Nicole Whelan '02 and Josh Booth

Linda Koth Botts M'00

Otis J. Bouwsma '68

Eran O. Bowers '07, M'11

Haley L. Bowles '18, M'20

Anne '00 and John Boyce Jill Bradley '80

Del '74 and Pat Bradshaw

C. Crandle Bray '69

Austin P. Brick '15, M'17

Dr. Melissa J. Bridges M'98, EdS'09, EdD'15

Laura E. Briggs '16, M'22

Christina Brinkley '16, M'17

Caitlin J. Briscoe '14

Melissa Sterling Broadway '02 Stacie '95, M'99 and Keith Brooks

Stan '68 and Pamela Delane '68 Brookshire

Stan J. Brosko, Jr. '07

Arthur J. Brown '15

Marcus J. Brown '02, M'04

Danny P. Brumfield '92

Bennett Davis Bryan '05, M'19

Patricia Bryant M'09

Angela Kay Defoor Buckner EdS'08

Wendy Dudley Buhler '04 Owen Bullard '15

Nita E. Bullock M'07

Ashley E. Burdette M'06

Elizabeth B. Burk M'03

Lori Stroud Burks M'04

Richard '51 and Nancy Burrell

Shirley H. Burton '61

Donna Zimmerman Bye '69

C. Lyndol Cain '53 Jack H. Cain

Shundra B. Caldwell M'98

Christina A. Callaway '17


Joanne J. Campbell '51

Lisa R. Canady M'03

Mr. Jonathan W. '81 and

Dr. Martha '80, EdS'10, EdD'12 Cantrell

Teresa Lloyd Cantrell '78, EdS'05

Jack and Joyce Carey

John E. and Nancy A. '88 Carmack Cris '99 and Jane Carpenter

Dr. Sean W. Carrigan

Jennifer Brown Carter '98, M'01, EdS'03

Taylor P. Carter

Elizabeth Carter

William H. Cash '83

Cynthia N. Cates M'04

Kendall '66 and Audrey Chalker

Katie O'Brien Chapman M'01

Marva M. Cheapoo M'98

Dr. Charlie '57 and Mrs. Tina Cho

Dr. Rhani Lott Choi '05

Betty J. Chokos '62

Linda '79, EdS'06 and Barry Church

Tanda Regina Garrison '84

Kayla W. Clark M’16

Charlie Allen Cleere EdS'04

Sherry L. Clegg '83

Heather '03 and Brian Clift

Dr. J. Elias Clinton M'11

Ashley '17, M'20 and Mitchell Clouatre

Jill W. Coats M'10, EdS'11

Pamela Hogsed Cobb '81

Caleb '12, M'14 and Aubrey L. '12, M'13 Cochran

Lewis '67 and Dianne '69 Cody

Charles C. Coffee '68

Brett '17 and Chelsea Cohee

Richard Scott Coile '02

Andrew '19 and Jessica '18 Coker

Anne Allgood Coker '59

Michael D. Coker '78

Vallorie V. Coley M'99, EdS'04

Cecilio I. Collado '18

Raymond E. Collins, Sr. '58

Christopher R. Colwell M'01

Matthew E. Cook '96

Michael Cooper

Jerika N. Cooper '11

Patricia D. Copeland-Poteat '83

Hannah Crane Correll '00, M'02

Erin Corrigan-Smith M'17

Stefanie '07 and Benjamin Couch

Joe G. Cowart, Jr. M'08

Collin B. Crane-Baker '20

Dennis '54 and Kitty Craven

Dane M. Crawford '14, M'15

Austin A. Crowe '15

Patty '07, M'17 and Steven Crumbley

Lisa Milagros Cruz '97

Cheryl Cubeta '98

Kanler S. Cumbass '19

Barry '70 and Mariann Cummings

Miss Sarah L. Simler '10

Shannon Dalton EdS'18

Billy M. Daniel '03, M'04

Donice M. Daniel '18

Mark A. Darrough '83

Dackri A. Davis '93

Nefrateri J. Burgess '17, M'19

Charron Davis '07, M'10

Mary-Wynne Berrong Davis '50

Randi Davis '22

Teri G. Deadwyler M'98

Katie Deal '02

Quentin D. Deaton '14

Rev. Dr. Prachuab '70 and Mrs. Gloria Dechawan

Dan W. DeFoor '53

Katie E. Sawhill Del Rocco '10

Caitlin L. Delvasto '10, M'14, EdS'15

Richard K. DeMore '72

Matt J. Desing '02

Kody Dills

Thomas '08, M'14, EdS'17 and Corie Dimitroff

Donna L. Dixon '89

Hannah L. Dobson '22

Cheryl '66 and Jim '66 Domineau

Janet Donston '65

Natasha F. Dorfman '21

Rev. Jacob L. '12 and Mrs. Catherine Douylliez

Coach Dale K. Dover

William J. '68 and Suzanne '68 Dover

William H. Duff, Jr. '78

Joyce McGrady Duncan '79

Gerald '65 and Peggy Dunn

Dr. Edna Turman Eberhardt M'99, EdS'09, EdD'13

Anita L. Echols M'16

Raymond T. Edwards '05

Christina J. Edwards EdS'05

Ken '77 and Theresa '78 Burnett Edwards

Elliot '56 and Jeanne Eggleston Bodie Eilertson

Janet '95 and John Elger Terrie J. Ellerbee '95

Parks '15, M'17 and Garner Ellison

Eddie '82 and Carole A. '83 Elrod Sandra L. Elrod '66 Tony '02 and Debbie English Billie Jean Boling Erwin '62

Estate of Peggy Hill Taylor and Lamar Taylor ’68 Cynthia '92 and Tye '92 Etheridge Janice Elrod Etheridge '69 Bradley D. Evans '96 Dannie Evans

Lila L. Farless EdS'11

Rochelle Farmer M'15 Jane Ferguson '65 Leila R. Findley '22

Pamela Getman Fisher '13

Steven S. Fleming '90

Dr. John D. Flowers '66 Jake W. Forbes '17

Tammy L. Ford M'04

David '88 and Leslie Foster JC Foster

Dr. John C. Foster '69 Guy '66 and Wanda Fouts Dr. Rita R. Frady EdS'08, EdD'12 Shari Frankel EdS'21 Lori Daniels Freiburg '87 Elisa A. Frye

Cody Funk

Dr. Phillip '68 and Mrs. Paulette Furman Dr. Shvilla A. Gaines M'99 Leo Galarza

J. Sumner '15, M'17 and Kelsey A. '15 Gantz Deanna M. Gardner EdS'09

Tycon W. Garrett '65 Jay T. Gaston '97

Dr. Ann Gazell EdS'05, EdD'11 M. Kathleen Geiger '07

Rob Geis '69

Seth '18 and Morgan '17, M'18 George Julia Gib '22

Ethel McCants Gilliam M'97

Dr. Shannon '99 and Dr. Jennifer Gilstrap Melissa Gish

Thelma C. Goolsby '61

Sandra K. Goolsby '15 Gavin Gotera

Peggy L. Gower '72

Lauren F. '05, M'07 and Jason Goza

Nancy A. Graham '65

Jennifer C. Grant M'11, EdS'12

G. Michael '71 and Rene '87, M'95 Grant

Katheryn W. Knarr '14 Joel Greenway '16 E. Lane Gresham '10

Robert C. Guest '84

Andrea Guillen '21

Maira A. Guillen M'21

Natalie Pitts Hale '20, M'22

Charles '71 and Denise Hall Jennifer Hall

Scott O. Hall M'06

Thomas D. Hall '22

Ashley C. Hamby M'18, EdS'20

Leslie E. Hamilton EdS'10

Ada C. Hamlette EdS'13

Dylan F. Hampel '21

Judith L. Hannon M'18

Jerry '07 and Meredith '06 Harkness

Bruce '85 and Amy Harkness

Melissa A. Harrell '13

Dr. Ann E. Harris M'02, EdS'03, EdD'14

Jessica Harris '02, M'07

Avery and Helen Harvill

Nancy Gorman Hatcher

W.S. Bill Hattendorf '69 Gabriella Hayes

Katherine E. Haynes M'14

Roger D. Hazelwood, Jr. '04

Traci L. Head EdS'10

Noah Heatherly '20, M'21

Mitzi L. Heck '14

Cassidy Heflin '20 Few Hembree '70

Amy Hendon '98

Tammie Hennelly EdS'22

Vernon L. Henry '72

Kelley '85 and Rodney Herrin


Jennifer A. Hewett '06

Amie H. Hewette M'04

William '67 and Maureen Hicks

Ronald G. Hill '71

Tommy Hill '19

Christopher D. Hill M'00

Janis R. Hill EdS'10

Donald '70 and Estelle Hines

Dr. C. Wallace and Jennifer '95 Hinson

Brandon S. Hitch '09

William Holcomb '55 and Barbara Corbett

Brian K. Holcombe '15

Chase Holland M'21

Brooke M. Hollis '21, M'22

Jennifer Hollis EdS'22

Megan Lott Holloway M'05

Eileen Briggs Hollowbush '77

Lyndel Holmes-May M'00

Nathan T. Holt '17, M'18

Damaris H. Holt M'04, EdS'11

V. Brian Horton M'10

D. Andrew House '09

W. Scott Howard '06

Phyllis Howell M'18

Anne Hubard-Wingfield '09

Kendra L. Hull M'15

Wendy Humphries '03

Gwinn Hunnicutt '69

Lisa A. '01 and Kip Hunnicutt

W. Lloyd Hunter '50

Gilbert B. Ibarra '21

Barbara Ross Ingram '00, M'02

Deborah K. Irvin '91

Tinsley and Gail Irvin

Robert D. Ivester '60

Robert M. Ivey EdS'13

Abby Jackson '84

Conner R. Jelley '22

Audra D. Jimenez '12, M'15

Douglas M. Johnson '66

Jane C. Johnson M'09

Quincy M. Johnson '79

Pamela R. Johnson-Upson M'05

Rebecca M. Jones '19

Tykeisha R. Jones '18

Christie S. Jones M'02

Kristine A. Joplin M'06

Megan E. Jordan '08

Michael Joseph '21

Jaxie E. Julian '95

Nicholas '03, M'06 and Brandy Kastner

F. Sanders Keener, Jr. '01

Lachelle R. Kegler M'10, EdS'12

Bonny W. Keheley EdS'08

Bill Kendall '60

Breanne Kendall '20

Miles '06, M'11 and Avery Collins '07, M'09 Kendall

Griffin Kern

April L. Key '00

Kelton Kieschnick

Cadman R. Kiker, III '11

C. Robb Kiker, Jr. '87

Lynndy Kiker

Lola Wood Kimbro '51

Rita R. Kingsolver '08

Jessica E. Kirby '14

Tate A. Koons '13

Allison Biggs Kruskamp '02, M'05

Carrie M'07 and Brent Kuehne

Susan Spaeth Kyle '95

Blayne '04 and Christina Clayton '04 Kyle

Dr. Kelly Land EdS'12, EdD'15

Katherine M. Lapointe '11

Evan J. LaPorta '22

Anna Lassiter

Rev. Dr. Roswell Lawrence, Jr. M'09

Laura Laws M'22

Jill Sparger Lawson '08, M’11

Joseph Ledbetter

Matthew R. Leemann '21

Bill H.'59 and Evelyn Dickinson '59 Lepere Glenn Lerch '71

Richard L. Lester, III '70

Natalie Lett EdS'20

Gail Mote Lewallen '75

Daryl E. Lewis '77

Kristen Hart Lewis '99, M'01

Kristy O. Lightsey '22

Tiffany and Derek Long

Jonathan S. Long M'18

Bobby J. Looney '74

Isaiah Lopez

Betty Griswold Los '56

Dr. Mandette E. Loveless '99, M'03

Delana Knight Lovell '05

Anne J. Lowe EdS'16

Shontel Bailey Loyal '21

Judy Howard Lunsford '87

James M. Lynch '67

Jenna Mackenzie '20

Rhonda '06 and Jim Mager

Hayley R. Major '16

Michael F. '09 and Kim Mansfield

Rachel Marsh

Trey N. Martin '15, M'17

John A. Martin EdS'09

Jennifer Martinez '19

Joel '92 and Rebecca Massey

Sara Massey '22

Emily A. Maxey '08

Amanda N. Maxwell '19, M'21

Melissa Mayberry M'22

Christina J. McBrayer EdS'18

Shelby E. K. McClain '15

Kevin W. McClain '95

Trey A. McConnell '12, M'15

Timmy M'10 and Jamie McCormack

Regina McCormick '08 and Tyler Mann

Jana S. McCranie M'10, EdS'12

David H. McDaniels

Mary A. McDonald '85

Kenneth G. McDuffie '63

Rodney M. McGhee '99

Joshua W. McGowan '17 JD W. McGuirt '97

Haley R. McKellar '21

B.J. Ostrzycki McKenzie '08

Dr. Erika EdS'17, EdD'20 and Matthew McKinney

Alyssa McSpadden

Michelle L. Leach '16

James M. Meadows M'06, EdS'09

Margarita S. Medina '20

J. Arnold '65 and Shirley '72 Meeks

Ilona M. Atkins

Julia Meredith EdS'18

Logan B. Mikell '21

Parks M'00 and Cathy Miller

Don '73 and Jo Ann Miller

Lewis '63 and Kathleen Miller

Todd '06 and Shannon Miller

Lynn H. Miller '11

Stacy Youngblood Miller '07

Nadia Millsap EdS'21

Annelise I. Millwood '11, M'13

Stephen Miraglia '15, M'17 and Ashtin Thomas '16

Paul '07 and Heather Mitchell

Cynthia Y. Montgomery '96

Dr. Kara Keel Moody '94 and Mr. Chad Moody

Maggie L. Moody '21, M'22

Tawana D. Moon '04

Teresa A. Mooney EdS'17

Dr. James B. Mooneyhan '68 Rob Moore '91

Rodney O. Moore '64

Dr. Robert G. Morgan '68

Ryan Morgan

Taylor E. Morgan '13

Dale Morley '15, M'17

Joseph L. Morris, IV '16

Charles '67 and Louise T. Morris

Tammy Morrow M'14, EdS'15

Myra D. Moseley '67

Dr. Octavius '95, M'00, EdS'02, EdD'14 and Mrs. Marlo '93 J. Mulligan

Ronnie S. Mullinax '91

Deloris Newberry Mullins '58

Erin M'00 and Chris Mundy

Karen Murphy M'05, EdS'08

Michael S. Murray '94

Megan L. Hatfield '16

Alexis Narducci

Lisa Neal EdS'19

Demetrius Nelson EdS'18

Helena Chow Ng '75

Julia G. Nichols '21

Sierra Nicholson '03 and Ryan Hull

Evan '08 and Tiffany Holcomb '10 Nissley

Cathy '12, M'16 and Jared Nix Caleb A. Norton '18 Sean D. Ogle '20

Deborah W. Ollinger EdS'09 William Olson

Linda '90, M'16 and Denis O'Sullivan

Martha Maxwell Owens '65

Mike '16, M'18 and Jessie '15 Owensby

Cale Padgett '09

Michael V. Palmer '15

Jim '67 and Ann Parham

Thomas G. Parker '15 William Parrish '19

Berita C. Parsons '09


Brook Patton

Pansy P. Paxson EdS'03

Taylor Pease

Christy L. Peck '17

Melissa Seymour Perkins '02

Dr. Megan Perrer M'05, EdS'07, EdD'22

Tyler Perry

James D. Perry '82

Savon Perry '20

Shirley Seigler Perry '58

Nancy Carey Peters '53

Logan M. Pethel '15, M'17

Emily Pettit M'18

Eric '97 and Ida Beckstine Pfiel '94

Margaret M. Pfiel '22

Gayle '62 and David '92 Phillips

Jennifer L. Phillips M'02

Kortnie L. Phillips '22

Joseph '95 and Marsha Piper

Dr. Joseph Pitts '68 and Dr. Dianne Pitts R. Wes Plemmons '03

Brenda J. Plummer '83

Sue Popham '64

Megan Larsen Popp '12

Michael Porcelli

Bobbie Taylor Powers '16

Sheree Price EdS'10

Chelsea A. Prince '15

Lisa Pruitt-Hamby EdS'18

Earl N. Pulliam '64

Byron L. Purcell '78

David M. Purcell '72

Ben and Jamie '00 Purdy

Roy A. Quist '65

Hollan Rabensdorf

Sheila Raines EdS'19

Tonya R. Ramey '11

Jackson Randolph

Sammantra L. Randolph '18

Ryan Raugh

Joseph L. Ravenell '04, M'09

Joanne Reamy EdS'18

Janice Reddish M'00

A. Seth Reese '07

Erin Vickery Rhoades '06

Marilyn Hoffman Rice '60

Craig '01 and Natalie Richard

Rev. Dr. Thomas M, '70 and LeeAnne Richard

Fred L. '72 and Brenda Westbooks '73 Richards

Jennifer W. Richardson M'07

Abriel L. Richardson '06

The Honorable Brian '98 and Mrs. Maggie Rickman

Mignon Brown Ridings '52

Heather Adair Riley EdS'08

Daniel Rivera '09, M'11

Dr. Shawn N. Rivers M'05, EdS'06, EdD'12

Dr. William W. and Mrs. Frances Purvis '69 Robinson

Jessica Robinson M'19

Sharon Roller '97

Dr. Dionne M. Rosser-Mims '99

Shari L. Roth '96

Karen C. '08, M'12, EdS'22 and Anthony Rousey

Mark L. Rucker '13

Gina Allen Rudeseal '83, M'10

Dr. Margaret Ryder M'13

Dexter T. Sanders '91

Benjamin C. Sanders '02

Lara B. Sanders M'12 Silas Sandles

Marchelle Massey Sandoval '14, M'15

Michael '06 and Mattie Santowski Anthony '11, M'14 and Mary Beth '10 Saputo Sabrina M. Saucier M'06

Emily E. Saul '14

Charles N. Saunders, III '12

Justin M'05 and Katie '06, M'07 Scali

Vivian Schoonmaker '74

Wesley Bryan Schroeder '03 and Danielle Bonner

Shelby J. Schuller-Hsu M'16

Loni J. Schultz M'07

Michael R. Scott '71

David Keith Scott '96

C. Walker Searcy '06, M'07

Angela R. Sehstedt M'11

Charles K. '54 and Catherine Sewell

Jenny Shane '10

Constance Sharpe EdS'07

Karen Shayne '88

Jennifer L. Shehan '10, M'18

Juanita S. Shope '81

Sharon Ione Sickler and '73

James F. Sievers '63 and

Dr. Samira Beckwith

Bradley G. Simmons '87

Geleta Simmons '66

Robin Webb Simmons '04

Khirisha S. Sims '14, M'15 Dock '72 and Nan Sisk Will Skaggs '14

William B. Skidmore '17, M'18 Marion Sloyan Steve '67 and Lola Smith Sue Savage Smith '78 Delbert Wynn Smith '83 Ted D. Smith

Randy Smith '89 Katie N. Smith '07

Sidney D. Smith '13 Garrett C. Smith '22

Jennifer Smith EdS'21

Kimberly Culbertson Smith '94, M'00, EdS'09

Margaret McCleskey Smith '77 Pat Smith

Sandra D. Smith '70

Ginger A. Snow M'08, EdS'14 Mary E. Sokolowsky '92

Pete Sorrentino '76

Sonya D. Souther M'14

Pamela F. Spangler '85 Isabella St. Aimie '18

Boris '03, M'05 and Vanya Stankic Ann Hawkins Starnes '53 Peter J. Steinberg '78 Sue Bethke Stemas '57

Gary '69 and Mary '68 Stephenson

Julia K. Stikeleather '15, M'16

C. Luke '10, M'12 and Sarah Hill Story '14

Kirsten Guthrie Stovall '01

Dorothy '69 and Jack Street

Joseph F. Stribling, Jr. '68

Justin B. Strickland M'12

Kathy '96, M'00, EdS'05 and Lee Strickland

Gerald H. Strickland '65

William '61 and Rudene Alley '61 Studdard

Timothy '10 and Sandra '09, M'11 Suda

Ann '10, M'12 and Randy Sutton Mary H. Sutton M'12

Irene Franklin Swaim '60

Renee S. Sweeney M'21

Amy W. Swing EdS'08

Clara '20 and Joe Swint

Craig '88 and Tracy Tankersley

Toni Wilkerson Tarbutton '02

Dr. Jonathan W. Taylor '00

Katrina D. Taylor '00

Patsy Taylor '71

Bryant '04, M'06 and Jennifer Tench

Stephen G. Tench '80 Douglas A. Thacker '82

Blake '07, M'09 and Stephanie '08 Thomas

Dawn '88 and Mickey '86 Thomas

Ty '11, M'13 and Zachary '12, M'14 Thomaswick

Kristian N. Tice '18

Ralph E. Tish '68

Allen D. Tokarz '16

Patty Torres EdS'06

Bob Tougas

Charles L. Trammell EdS'15

Jackson Traylor Harrison Trawick ‘22

Hudson Troxel

Michele K. Tucker '03, M'05 Lewallen L. Tucker '88

Vickie '95, M'01 and Richard '99 Turner

Wilson P. Tuten '69 Cosimo and Debbie Urato

Mia Vasher

Aaron '03 and Angela Hallman '04 Velmosky

Imani Vincent F. Wendell Vonier '94

Courtney '05 and Adam Wade W. Andrew ’13 and Kala M. Waldrop

Isaac L. Walker '58

Janice Warren M'04

Lexie Washburn

Beth Watkins M'10, EdS'12

Chad C. Watkins '04

Mark A. Weaver '12, M'13

Susan '86 and James Weidner

Tara Rockett Weimann '19 Juanita R. Weiss '80

Preston A. Welborn '21

River Griffin West '08

Coach William H. White '68

Patel '15

Scott '84 and Susan Whitlock

Allyson C. Whittaker '12

Catherine Wilkinson '18

Kristi Williams '12, M'15

Darius J. Wilson '16

Dolores Batson Wilson '78

Madison J. Wilson '22

Robert '96, M'05 and Kathy Gray '95 Wilson

Roenessa S. Witcher M'14

Dr. Jan S. Witherington EdS'11, EdD'15

Bill Withers EdS'14

Duke D. Wodetzki '22

Tony Wolfe '88, M'00

Eugene Wolotsky '71

William '67 and Judy King '64 Wyke

Raquel T. Wymbs '22

Acevado A. Wynn '18

Al Yates, Jr. '96

Erika E. Yermack '02 Dr. Ashley M. Huntington



Billy Aaron

Yoo EdS'15, EdD'21

Dr. Renee York '89, M'98

Edward L. York '65

Charles J. Young '71

Esther Yun M'19

Dale M'10, EdS'18 and Nora M'09, EdS'18 Zaboroskie

Kyle A. Zak '98, M'08

Only recognizes gifts received during fiscal year 2022 (7/1/2021 to 6/30/2022)

Patricia and Bell-Scott

Lisa Bevill

Cathy C. Adams

Dr. Francis Adams

Ty and Christina Akins

Alderman Properties Inc

All Service & Associates Printing Sandra B. Allen

Vicki Alley

Allied Paving Contractors INC. Rose Mariee Allison

Chi Anderson

Jill Stewart Archer and Glenn Archer

Gus Arrendale

Madeline Ashworth

BackSwing Golf Events

Donna Badgley

Dr. Elaine L. Bailey

Robin Baker

Jari Baldwin

Jeff and Amy Ballstadt K. Van Banke

William R. Bannister

Janice Daniel Barden

Dan Barnes

Dr. Caroline Bartunek

Louise L. Bass

Scott Lyon's Grandparents

Elizabeth Baugus-Wellmeier

Bechtel Law, LLC

Karl Bechtel

Beck Design

Don and Paula Beck

Becton, Dickinson and Company

Regina Bedell

Dr. Julia Behr

Dr. Glenn and Mrs. Barbara Bell

Angie Blair

William Blair Dr. Kathy Blandin John Bolen

Brenda M. Boonstra

Sandra G. Borrow Dr. Richard J. Bower Dr. Jefferson Bowers Derrick and Regina Boyce Harold J. Boyd Linda Boyd

Kirsten Branigan Lewis and Rose Brannon

Andrew P. Bridges and J. Rebecca Lyman

Dr. Ellen C. Briggs Tisha Broach Dr. Angela H. Brown Carol L. Brown

Marilyn K. Brown Dr. Jeff Bruns

Buchanan's Small Engine Repair Alex Buchman

Buckeye Express, Inc Christi R. Buckner

Buffington Real Estate LLC

Christopher Burnside and Karl Green

Judith M. Bush

Sherry Busteed

Liz Butikofer

Melanie and Eric Cain Dr. Tom and Mrs. Becky Callahan Camp-Younts Foundation Carlyn L. Canham

Chanda and Joshua Gastley Kenneth Carlson

Kyle Carlson

Dr. Stephen C. Carlson

Marguerite A. Carpenter Kathleen Carter

Casa Bariachi, Inc. Dennis T. Cathey, Esq JC Cavin

Leslie Chaplin Charles Schwab Dr. Windy Charles Ben and Gail Cheek

Judy Cheely Anne W. Chenault

Chick-fil-A Kathy Christianson Church Mutual Insurance Company Classic Center

Rev. Dr. Ashley Cook Cleere Mary Jane Cobb Connie Coggins Len and Lea Cohen Alicia Collier Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Inc.

Compass Group - USA Division

Rev. Dr. Jack and Mrs. Nancy Cook Aidan Cooney F. Copeland

Gary and Stephanie Cortellino Council of Independent Colleges Hayden Craig Bill Crane

Joe Crawford

Dr. Kimberly and Mr. Kody Crawford

Risto Cretan

Cody Crowder

Dr. Isabelle and Dr. Clay Crowder

Walter and Kathy Crowder

Dr. Christopher and Mrs. Nannette Curran

Cecelia Daher Matthew D'Amico

Ann Darby Dr. Laura Darby Tim and Jamie Darrah

Dr. Walter and Jeanie Daves Dr. Hugh Davis Ruth Davis

Gov. Nathan Deal

John Delf-Montgomery Art and Patricia Delgrosso

Deloitte Foundation Matching Gifts Program

Delta Airlines Foundation RJ Demonte

Dr. Phil DeMore Dr. Joseph Dennis Dr. Jaydn Dewald Mark Dickens Foster Dickson Alice Dillon Rick Dimaggio

Delilah Donaldson

Dr. Abbey Dondanville Dr. Debra and Mr. Kevin Dooley Dr. Myron O. Downs and Dr. Anita Stampley Matthew Dubnik Steve Dunnigan

Timothy Dunton Laura Dyer E Construction Brian Eilertson

Mark and Sharon Elam Leianna Ellis Ed and Sharon Enoch


Holly Erickson

Tony and Sabrina Ervin

Estate of Edwin H. Bingham

Dwight and Sharon Evans

Margie Evans

Mark and Melissa Evans Suzanne Evans

Dr. Nancy Smith Fichter and Mr. Robert Fichter

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund

Paula and Robert Findley Jr. First Congregational Church

Kimberly R. Foster

Pam and Joey Fountain

Virginia Frazier

Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation

Beverly B. Frick

Dr. Robert Fritz, M.D. Jason Frontuto

Ally Fugera

Full Moon Sales

Misty Futch

Bill Gabelhausen

William and Marjean Gabelhausen

Corazon N. Gabriel

James Gabriel Bill and Carolyn Gaik

Dr. Mark and Mrs. Sarah Gardner

Shelby Garner

Jennifer and Michael Garren Rev. Timothy Garvin-Leighton Lucy Gay

George F. & Sybil H. Fuller Foundation

Bettina George

Georgia Independent College Association, Inc.

Georgia Power Company - Cornelia Office

Bill and Linda Gerry Eric Gilbert

John and Roberta Gilsenan

Michael and Keri Gilsenan

Givinga Foundation, Inc. Dr. Margaret Rose Gladney Bob Glass

Dr. Shirley and Bob Goldwasser

Karen Greilich

Mike and Janice Grizzel

Mack H. Guest, III

Ladson and Caroline Haddow

Haines, Gipson & Associates, INC.

Stephanie Hall

Jeoff and Michelle Hamilton

Tommy and Laura Hancock

Christy Hand

Beverly Hans Monica Harn

Harriet Davis Wilbanks Trust

Luke Harris

Janice Hartsoe Hayes of Baldwin

Betty and Phil Healy

Betty Heathman

Sandra Heim

Helen S. McPheeters Trust

Ted and Kristin Helgesen

Jane Reynolds Hemmer and Dr. John Hemmer, Jr. Thomas and Jenna Hensley

Eric Herbst Dennise M. Hewlett

Dr. Shahryar and Mrs. Mahnaz Heydari

Howard C. Hilley, Jr. Dr. Lewis and Mrs. Patricia Hinely James and Margaret Hobbs Mary Anne Hoffman

Holcomb's Office Supply & Christian Products

Holistic Mountain Market Zackary Hoopaugh

William M. House, Esq William S. Hubard, Jr. Amy Huber

Robert and Elisabeth Hughes Keri Hurney

Michelle Tench Irvin Sheree and Brian Irvin

Jackson Electric Membership Corporation

Barth Jackson and Amy Lawrence

Carole Jackson

Thomas Jameson and Eva Jameson

Gary and Fran Jarrett

Jewelry by Morgan

Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies

Dr. Herbert L. Johnson and Mrs. Patricia A. Louko

Henry Johnson

Dr. Jaime Johnson-Huff

Leslie Jones

Jim Kaiser

Col. Gregory C. Kane (Ret.) Stratton and Janice Kane

Marianna Kaufman

Walter and Sandi Keel

Jennifer Kelley Kelly Tours

Chris and Kathryn Kelly Gary Kern

Dr. Madge Kibler JP Kircher

Frank and Patricia Knowles Nancy A. Koeppel

KPMG U.S. Foundation, Inc Katherine Lail Ray Lail

Allison LaPorta Rick Ledbetter

Dr. Delene and Dr. Jasper Lee Leah Lee

Stephen and Temme Barkin-Leeds Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc.

Cynthia J. Lima Tianming Liu

Long Term Choices, INC. Kenneth L. Lotter Tim Lovell

Dr. Beth Lovern Everette Lowe Cheryl Lower Cadie Lowery LPL Financial Cindy and Paul Lyon M/A/R/C Research, LLC Tad MacMillan Colleen Maijala

Sandra Mainor Mylle and Bill Mangum Lisa Mann Stacy Manus

Margaret May Kirkwood Trust Chris Marsh

Adam Martin William K. Martin Sandra Maughon Laura McCarty Jill McDaniel

McNeely Foundation, Inc.

Marilyn L. McNeely

Jane McPherson

John McSpadden

Dr. Kris McWhite Helen Meadors

Ray and Sarah Medlock Dr. James F. Mellichamp

Eston E. Melton

Kimberly and Harold Melton

Dr. Timothy and Mrs. Hope Menzel

Paul and Tammy Messier

Rev. Richard and Mrs. Kathrine Miller-Todd

Susan Mills

Charles A. Mobley Dr. Phillip Moery

Billie and Richard Monroe

Drema Montgomery

Jeffrey and Teresa Moody Dr. K. Michael Moody Curtis Moore

Walter and Marian Moore

Morgan Stanley Gift Fund Clark Morrell

Shelby Morris

J. Robert Murphy, Jr.

Nancy Powell Tennis Pro, LLC National Association of Congregational Christian Churches

Dr. Keith and Mrs. Carol Nelms

Michael Nelson

Hollie Nepveux

Brigid Nesmith

Network for Good Glenn Newsome

Dr. Charles and Mrs. Vicki Nichols Michael Nicholson

Dr. Steve and Mrs. Cynthia Nimmo

North Georgia Community Foundation

North Main Credit Union Dr. William Nye Bob O'Brien

Mary OBrien

Ann and Greg O'Connor

Oliver & Weidner, LLC Shelia O'Loughlin Douglas O'Neal, III


Jessalyn Palmer

Beverly Manus

Patsy Palmer

Harold and Winifred Palmer

Hannah Parham

Judy Parker

Chris Pearce

Jim and Laura Peeples

William V. Peeples

Dr. Larry and Mrs. Dinah C. Peevy

Danielle Percival

Perezcassar & Gaylor, INC.

Cynthia L. Peterson Richard and Ethel Peterson

Amy Phillips

Pitney Bowes Foundation Retiree Matching Gift Program

Dr. Robert and Mrs. Anita Pittman

Plymouth Congregational Church

Plymouth Endowment Foundation

Tony Porcelli

Crystal J. Potthoff

Charles B. Price, Jr. Dennis Price

Brenda Pruitt Nancy Pruitt Publishing Concepts (PCI)

Purdy Flooring & Design

John and Lara Quesada Cristen Rabern

James and Sherrill Ragans

Jeffrey Randolph

Patricia Randolph Thomas and Margaret Rasmussen Mary Raugh

Patricia Raugh

Dan and Theresa Ray Mary Raymer

Joe Rentz

Dr. Perry Rettig

Brandon Reynolds James Rhodes

Paula Richardson

Marilynn Richtarik and Matt Bolch

Dolly A. Ritchie

Craig and Denise Rogers

Representative Terry Rogers Tracie Rogers

Letitia Roller

Sylvia Roon

Jeannot and Ardith Rossignol

Marilyn Rothschild Dr. Greg Ryan Morgan Sales

Richard Sammons

Clint and Rosa Sandles

James Saskel

Rebekah Saxanoff

Tommye and Thomas Scanlin Dr. Julia Schmitz

Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Linda Scopelliti

Melissa Nabors Scuderi

Christy Seabolt

Dr. Evelyn Sears Edward D. Shell

Rev. Glenna T. Shepherd Cassie Shirley

Travis Shirley Shook's Landscape & Maintenance Dr. Katrina G. Short

John Siegel and John Templeton Wendy Silvey

Bob and Carolyn Simpson Gina Lattanzi Skelton

Patrick J. Sloyan, Jr. Ann H. Smith

Ashley Smith Austin Smith Brittany Smith Ivey Smith

Monya and Terry Smith Wayne B. Smith, Jr. Judy E. Sneller

South State Bank Dr. Candice Southall

Southeast Conference United Church of Christ

Southeastern Michigan Assoc. Congregational Churches

John F. Spiegel

John and Karen Spiegel

Reggie and Laura Starrett Dr. Gabriele U. Stauf

John and Cathy Steinhauer Tamyra Steinmeyer

Dr. H. Milton and Mrs. Carolyn Stewart

Jeb and Stephanie Stewart

Constance Stotts Audrey Straight

Barbara Strain

Strata Products Worldwide, LLC Dr. Nancy Strawbridge Christine Strickland

Ann P. Suich

Dr. Gerald and Mrs. Margaret Sullivan Dr. Sarah Sumners Rhonda and Gary Sutton Stewart and Carol Swanson

Paige Swartz and Toby Swartz Mitch Swimson Mike Swinson

Stephen Swinson

Tallulah Falls School Patricia Tanner Anita and Nick Taylor

Dr. Edward and Mrs. Frances Taylor

Thomas M. Templeton Dr. Matthew Teutsch and Mrs. Melissa Teutsch

The Hobbs Foundation Corp. The Budd Group

The Frances Wood Wilson Foundation, Inc. The Guest Family Foundation, Inc. The Hoop Network The Pruitt Foundation

Thomas A. and Lucile M. Moye Charitable Trust

Thomas B. Musser Trust Under Will Howard and Natalie Tillman Dr. Melissa Tingle

Cynthia Tinius Joe Tobin

Dr. Douglas Torrance Allyson C. Trawick

Teresa Trawick

Patricia Traylor Tim Traylor

Bill and Sylvia Tribby Truist Bank

Anthony Turner United Church of Christ Dr. Dale and Mrs. Tara Van Cantfort Dr. Cynthia L. Vance

Cassie Vassallo

Jerome Vento, Jr. Henry and Ieda Vincent

Albert L. Vulcano

Katherine Wade

Patricia Wakim Paula Waldrop

Gilford B. Walker

Mary Walker

Nancy E. Wallace

Dr. J. Kerry Waller

Dr. Susanna Warnock

George Warren Ellen Washburn

Robert Washburn

Amanda Watts

Crystal Waye

WCON 99.3 fm 1450 am

Beth Ann Welcher

Pamela White

Wanda White

Peggy J. Whited

Dr. Stephen and Mrs. Jo Whited Kathy Whitmer

Page Wiedman

Marlan Wilbanks Dana Wildsmith

Mary Hart and Philip Wilheit

Tammy Wilkes

Dr. Stephen M. Wilks

William H. Guild Charitable Trust Donny and Debbie Williams

Matt Williams Robert and Colleen Williams

Bruce Willis

Elizabeth A. Withington

Carol Wood James and Valerie Wood

Megan Wood

Brant and Marcie Wright

Write To Change, Inc.

Kyle York

Traci York Dr. C. Alex Young Tatum H. Young

Youngfeather Essential Blends Your Time Fitness

YourCause, LLC Brad Zawacki


Franklin Family has Deep Piedmont Roots

Mrs. Franklin, if you ever leave, we’ll have to go to institutionalized food,” said Dr. James E. Walter, president of Piedmont from 1949 to 1983. Everything Josephine Edith Franklin served while working as the “No. 1 cook,” and later the director of food services for Piedmont, was homemade.

President Walter was a big fan of Josephine’s culinary arts. When she stepped onto campus in 1964 to serve food to the students, faculty, and staff, she had no idea that she would leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Prior to the summer of 1964, Josephine had worked in food service at North Habersham High School. As a firstgeneration American citizen born in 1909 to Austrian parents, Josephine took great pride in creating new recipes drawn from traditional classics. Her homemade soups, yeast rolls, and cinnamon raisin breads were legendary among Piedmont students who affectionately called her “Mom.”

It is not surprising that the students gave her such a loving title. Many mornings, hers was the first face they would see. With devotion, Josephine would arrive on campus at 5:30 every morning to prepare breakfast for the students, faculty, and staff. She felt a sense of duty to the school and took her commitment to feeding her flock very seriously.

One icy winter morning, the bridge leading to campus was too treacherous to cross by car, so she hopped out into the cold and walked the rest of the way. Nothing was going to stop her from fulfilling her responsibilities. People were counting on her.

When the dining hall suddenly burned down in February 1969, Josephine was quick to act. With her help, a temporary kitchen and dining hall were constructed at the Demorest Methodist Congregational Federated Church. That’s where students and employees took their meals until Nielsen Dining Hall opened. Nielsen served as the cafeteria until the Student Commons building was erected in 2015.

Josephine’s dedication to Piedmont influenced her children. Her youngest daughter, Phyllis Kay Franklin Burns ’67, was the first of her three daughters to enroll at Piedmont. During her four years of study, Phyllis worked alongside her mother in the cafeteria to help pay for her books and supplies. A talented cook, the eldest Franklin daughter, Edith Franklin Stroud ’84, also enjoyed cooking with her mother in the cafeteria while studying at Piedmont.

Vivian Franklin Schoonmaker ’74, the middle sister, was more interested in the business of home economics than the cooking and earned a degree in business administration from Piedmont.

All three daughters met their future husbands while attending Piedmont. Many of Josephine’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren are Piedmont alumni. Piedmont is part of the root system of their family tree.

Phyllis and Lonnie Rondall Burns ’70 met at Piedmont, where Lonnie’s brother, T. Mark Burns ’74, would later attend. Though Lonnie’s college career

Josephine Edith Franklin Michael, Phyllis, and Julie Burns Lonnie Burns Family Vivian Schoonmaker Julie Burns

was interrupted by two years served in the U.S. Army, once he returned home to finish his schooling, he gained a loving wife, a bachelor’s degree in education, and a future he had only dreamed about. Phyllis and Lonnie both earned multiple graduate degrees in education. They each had tremendous careers: Phyllis was an educator for 30 years and the 1993 Habersham County Teacher of the Year; Lonnie was the Habersham County Superintendent of Schools for 12 years. Lonnie was so revered for his leadership in education and management that Hart County named a building in his honor — The Lonnie Burns Fine Arts Center. President Walter dedicated a chapter to Lonnie and his family in his 1982 book, Piedmont Graduates Make Good

In 1984, Vivian used her business degree from Piedmont to create Vivian’s Homes, a leading local sales center for manufactured homes. Vivian and her son, C. Steve Ash ’79, own and operate the business under the motto, “The people who care.” Vivian and Steve

have won multiple awards for their dedication to customer satisfaction.

Josephine’s love for Piedmont was passed on to several of her grandchildren as well. Like his aunt Vivian, Michael Lonnie Burns ’03, the youngest child of Phyllis and Lonnie, earned his degree in business administration. As a kid, Michael spent countless hours golfing on Piedmont’s course, so naturally upon graduation, he worked as an assistant golf pro at Apple Mountain Golf Course for 10 years. Michael went on to open and operate Anytime Fitness in Gainesville, Georgia, until his sudden passing in 2019. Phyllis has picked up where Michael left off and is running a thriving business to honor his dream.

After earning a master’s degree in human resources from Georgia State University and spending years in the field, Julie Kay Burns (expected M ’23), eldest child of Phyllis and Lonnie, now finds herself searching for a different direction as she climbs the very same

metal staircase that her grandmother, Josephine, climbed all those many early mornings to enter Nielsen Dining Hall. Though the dining hall has since moved, the stairs remain and lead to The Charles and Catherine Sewell Center for Teacher Education, where Julie is working on her master’s in education.

Seth Steven Ash ’08, M’11, grandson of Vivian, and his wife, Madeline Breland Ash ’18, are also proud Piedmont alumni. Josephine’s inviting personality is a trait that has clearly passed through her lineage, as is evidenced in how clients, customers and students interact with her progeny. The Franklin family is a Piedmont family. They believe in the value of family and friends, the commitment to community, the responsibility of leadership, and the importance of education.

Legacy Lions is an occasional series spotlighting families that have had multiple generations attend Piedmont University. For Legacy Lions, Piedmont is more than their alma mater; it’s a source of shared memories, bonds, and pride. To be featured in Legacy Lions, email kdeal@piedmont.edu

Piedmont University’s Coach Cave Memorial Golf Tournament honors Leon O’Neal Cave. In his 36 years with Piedmont, Coach Cave served as athletic director, varsity men’s basketball coach, golf course supervisor, and dean. The Coach Cave Memorial Golf Tournament benefits the O’Neal Cave Scholarship Fund.

JUNE 12, 2023 | 9:30AM LAKE LANIER ISLANDS LEGACY GOLF COURSE BUFORD, GEORGIA 35 TH ANNUAL Coach Cave Golf Tournament Date! Save the Registration and more information available at alumni.piedmont.edu.


Dear Alumni,

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

I sincerely believe that adage to be true. It must be because we are stronger than ever before as individuals, a community, and a university. Piedmont has faced numerous challenges throughout its 125-year history, but every time, we have overcome and proven our resilience.

I don’t know about you, but 2022 was a hard year for me; 2020 and 2021 were tough, but 2022 beat all. What’s helped me through these difficult times is focusing on positives, and at Piedmont, we are surrounded by reasons to rejoice: our largest freshman class ever, the opening of our newest residence hall, Mystic, a new athletic conference, and more.

We’ve been celebrating our 125th anniversary since September, and we will continue to do so throughout this academic year. So far, we’ve had some great events, and we’ve seen more alumni on campus than ever before. Piedmont students are happier and more determined than any of us could imagine, especially given that their early college days were complicated by the pandemic.

We’d love to have you join us in celebrating all the many great things happening at Piedmont by attending an upcoming event or visiting campus. Come see all the amazing changes happening at Piedmont and feel the positive energy on campus!

The Alumni Association will host several In Your Town events and sports reunions beginning in January. The 35th Annual Coach Cave Golf Tournament will be held at Lanier Islands on June 12. The Yonahian Gala on March 18 will recognize our major supporters, and LionFest is scheduled for April 22. Stay updated on all our events by logging onto our Lions Share Network at alumni.piedmont.edu.

Mark your calendars for Oct. 21 and join us for Homecoming 2023. We will host class reunions and affinity gatherings upon request, the Alumni Awards and Sports Hall of Fame Celebration, live music performances by alumni, and much more.

Make sure that your information is updated with us so that you don’t miss our announcements. You can update your information online at alumni.piedmont.edu or by contacting me at kdeal@piedmont.edu or 706-776-0146. Email me if you would like to plan an affinity group reunion or an athletics alumni gathering!

I’ll see you soon!

Katie Deal ’02

Director of Alumni Engagement and Development kdeal@piedmont.edu | 706-776-0146

the Lillian E. Smith Center


Banned Books Event Informs, Inspires Students

On Sept. 21, 2022, Piedmont University’s Lillian E. Smith Center hosted National Book Award winner Nate Powell, illustrator of John Lewis’ March trilogy. Approximately 50 students, faculty, and staff attended the event where Powell and Dr. Matthew Teutsch, director of the Lillian E. Smith Center, discussed modern-day efforts to limit access to some books, particularly in schools and public libraries.

Responding to an uptick in book bans in public institutions and bookstores, Banned Books Week began in 1982. It typically takes place during the last week in September, and, as the American Library Association says, it “brings together the entire book community … in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

During the Piedmont event, Powell spoke about the considerations he and the creative team for March — Congressman John Lewis and comics writer Andrew Aydin — had to take as they wrote the series. Specifically, Powell recounted the story of a middle school librarian who didn’t want to adopt the book for fear of what parents and community members might say. March details Lewis’ role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Listening to Powell and Dr. Teutsch speak “about bills against the

distribution of specific bits of information as well as the topics of books that have gotten banned,” Piedmont student Ananda Munoz Salas said, “really made me think about the way our society has and keeps being shaped.”

Dr. Jaydn DeWald, the director of the creative writing program at Piedmont University, said the event, “was not merely engrossing and informative, but politically profound. My creative writing students came away with a sharper understanding of what’s at stake when they engage with and create literature about issues such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, community, responsibility — which is to say, survival.”

The event concluded with a giveaway of some regularly challenged and banned books, including Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue, and Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer.

Piedmont Welcomes Trustee Lisa

In fall 2022, Piedmont University welcomed a new member to its Board of Trustees — alumna Lisa Lord Black.

“We are grateful for Lisa’s willingness to continue serving our institution, an institution that I know is very dear to her heart. We look forward to incorporating her experience, expertise, and personal passion for Piedmont into the decision-making of the board,” said President Dr. James F. Mellichamp.

Black is an enthusiastic and innovative retired educator with more than 30 years of experience in Georgia’s public schools.

In 1988, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia. A two-time Piedmont University alumna, she earned her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2001 and her Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction in 2007. She is also certified in gifted instruction and is a teacher support specialist.

Her son, Dusty Black, also holds a bachelor’s degree from Piedmont University in secondary education. He was also a member of Piedmont’s baseball team. Black has two grandchildren, Hudson and Hadlee, whom she adores.

In addition to serving as a Piedmont trustee, she is involved as past president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, institutional programs chair, 2023 Yonahian Society Gala chair, and P-Club committee member. She is also a Yonahian Society member. When not volunteering for Piedmont, she works for Boots, Etc., in Commerce, Georgia, as a corporate account specialist, visits the beach, cares for her grandchildren, travels with friends, and spends time with her family.


Meet the Piedmont University 2022-23 ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD


Nick Kastner ’03, M ’06, President, serves as director of brand and digital strategy at Forum Communications, a full-service marketing agency. With more than 20 years of marketing experience, Kastner is a frequent speaker, instructor, and writer on the topics of brand, digital, and marketing strategy and has published articles in both professional and academic business publications. He is also an adjunct instructor of marketing at the University of North Georgia and founder of the Sneakers and Strategies podcast. Kastner and his wife, Brandy, live in Murrayville, Georgia.

Pamela Getman Fisher ’13, Vice President, was born and raised in Hartwell, Georgia. Her business administration degree from Piedmont led to her career as a corporate account executive at burton + BURTON, a leading wholesale distributor of balloons and

gifts. She has been a member of Piedmont University’s Alumni Association Board of Directors since 2014. Fisher volunteers for multiple nonprofit organizations. In 2021, she married her best friend, Paul.

David Abbot ’67, Secretary, served in Vietnam as an officer after graduating from Piedmont. He retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs after 32 years of service and returned to school for a Master of Science degree in addiction counseling. He now has an office in Stephens County at the Hope Center of Toccoa, where he works as a certified addiction counselor helping those with substance abuse, anger, and domestic violence issues. Abbot and his wife, Virginia “Ginny” McDonald Abbot ’68, met at a Piedmont event and have been married for 55 years.

Dock Sisk ’72, Treasurer, started his career in public education and was a school superintendent in Georgia for 15

years. Sisk and his wife, Nan, operate a farm in Homer, Georgia, and serve on several nonprofit boards. Both have a passion for officiating basketball, and both previously refereed for the WNBA. Sisk spent many years refereeing high school and college basketball, serving the Southeastern Conference for more than 27 years and the Atlantic Coast Conference for 25 of those years.

Matt Desing ’02, Alumni Trustee, is a sales manager for Cogent Communications.

After graduating from Piedmont in 2002, he became the assistant men’s soccer coach for the university. He also previously served as a senior district executive for the Boy Scouts of America Northeast Georgia Council. Desing has served as a director and committee chair for the alumni association since 2019. He and his wife, Mary, live in Roswell, Georgia.


Eddy Ariail ’80

Lisa Lord Black M ’01, Ed.S. ’07

Nicole Booth ’02

Jill Hallford Bradley ’80

Stefanie Watkins Couch ’07

Kanler Cumbass ’19

Kelsey Schaffernoth Gantz ’15

Sumner Gantz ’15, M ’17

Rev. Dr. Roswell Lawrence, Jr. M ’09

Sierra Nicholson ’03

Evan Nissley ’08

Jessie Owensby ’15

Cale Padgett ’09

Mike Santowski, Jr. ’06

C. Walker Searcy ’06, M ’07

Juanita Shope ’81

Blake R. Thomas ’07, M ’09

Stephanie Rainwater Thomas ’08

Juanita Praria Weiss ’80



New Endowed Scholarship Fund Ensures Support for Future Generations

Dear fellow alumni,

A few months ago, I was honored to become president of the Piedmont University Alumni Association. Under the leadership of my friend and predecessor, Sierra Nicholson, the Alumni Association took on a challenge — raise $25,000 to help fund a new endowed scholarship known as the Piedmont Alumni Promise Scholarship. In our first meeting of this new academic year, we met that goal.

Now we offer the challenge to you, our fellow alumni. For every dollar you contribute to the Alumni Promise Scholarship, the Alumni Association will match it with one of our own, up to $25,000. Together we can create a $50,000 endowed fund for students.

Neither of my parents went to college, but thanks to support from my family, generous Piedmont donors, and wages I earned through a part-time job, I was able to complete my undergraduate degree, and later, continue at Piedmont to earn my master’s. Now, as my own children prepare to start college in just a few short years, I’ve thought a lot about legacy — not my own, but the legacy of those that supported me back then. Their legacy is the new educational standard within my family. Because of their generosity, barriers were removed. College became not a matter of “if,” but “when.”

This scholarship is a way that we, as alumni, can ensure future generations of students who just need a little extra financial support will be able to finish their degrees. This is an

Alumni Promise Scholarship

opportunity for you to be part of the legacy of Piedmont. Are you up to the challenge?

Please make your gift to the fund before June 30, 2023. Starting in fall 2023, the scholarship will begin to be awarded annually to a junior or senior who has made significant academic progress but faces financial need. Since the scholarship is endowed, the contributions (corpus) will never be touched, with only the earnings awarded each year. Therefore, the scholarship will be available to numerous Piedmont University students for years to come.

Alumni Promise Scholarship

Please make your donation and double your impact today! Visit alumni.piedmont.edu/g/ alumni-promise-scholarship or scan the QR below for information on how to give.

Many blessings,

Nick Kastner ’03, MBA ’06

This scholarship is a way that we, as alumni, can ensure future generations of students who just need a little extra financial support will be able to finish their degrees. This is an opportunity for you to be part of the legacy of Piedmont.


In just over a year, Marcus Shockley and Kristy Lightsey, whose love began when Kristy reached for Marcus’ hand on a late-night drive back to campus, will become husband and wife.

“Piedmont was always my dream school,” said Lightsey, a native of Richmond Hill, Georgia, who graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance in 2022 and is now pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching Music Education.

“And it turns out that at Piedmont, I found the man of my dreams, too.”

Lightsey and Shockley, who also earned his bachelor’s in music performance in 2022 and is currently studying for his MAT, met through mutual friends in Piedmont’s music program. At first, Lightsey was far from impressed.

“He was too loud,” she said. “He wasn’t for me.”

The two would go on to join the Piedmont Singers, and slowly, as they spent time together, performing and playing Super Smash Bros. on their Nintendo Switch, Lightsey began to see more than a boisterous boy; she started to see a man who offered strength and comfort.

“He opens doors for me. He is so kind. He has a heart for people, and he loves helping others. To have someone like that with me, it’s just amazing,” Lightsey said.

Lightsey doesn’t enjoy being on the road at night, and she is prone to carsickness. When she, Shockley, and their friends would go out after class, she always rode in front, and one night, seeking reassurance, she slipped her hand behind the seat to find Shockley’s.

From then on, whenever the friends were in the car, Lightsey’s hand was in Shockley’s. “His hands fit mine perfectly,” she said. “His hands were always warm.”

In time, the two shared their feelings with one another, and by spring 2021, they were a couple dreaming of a future together.

Lightsey recalled going to a church service in March of that year, to watch Shockley work as a worship leader.


“I was watching him do his job, and in my mind, I heard the words, ‘Look at your husband up there,’” Lightsey said.

“It was scary at first, but comforting after I let that sink in.”

The two went on a road trip to Lightsey’s hometown and met each other’s parents. In August 2021, Shockley asked Lightsey’s father for permission to propose, but he was told to wait.

In January 2022, Shockley couldn’t put off popping the question any longer. A friend helped him find a ring, and the night before he proposed, he slipped into Lightsey’s room in Mayflower, wanting to make sure it fit.

“She says she was awake, but she was asleep,” he said. “I slipped it on her finger.”

On Jan. 14, 2022, Shockley again phoned Lightsey’s dad.

“I told him I wanted to take her hand, provide for her, and make her happy,” Shockley said. “This time, he welcomed me to the family. I was in tears.”

A few hours later, Shockley took Lightsey to Cornelia. Lightsey’s dad works for a railroad company, and she loves trains. Shockley took her to the railroad tracks at sunset — Lightsey’s favorite time of day — and got down on one knee.

She said yes. The two have set their wedding date for Jan. 14, 2024, two years to the day from their engagement, and just a few months before they’ll graduate with their master’s degrees. They expect many of their Piedmont faculty members and friends to be in attendance.

Looking to their future, they envision two — maybe three — children and a music studio in North Georgia. Lightsey will teach voice and piano. Shockley will teach instrumental lessons and band.

Music has always been at the heart of their love story. They can’t imagine a life without it.

“Music is at the center for us. When I hear Kristy sing, it’s like hearing angels,” Shockley said.

“She is God’s gift to me.”

If you have a Piedmont love story to share,please email


Like many college graduates, Jackson left home to learn about the world and find her calling. She discovered that she had a gift for sales. As a national sales manager for a New York-based gift company, she supervised six sales representatives and created a display program the grocer Publix used in 800 stores.

When Jackson returned to Habersham County in 2006, she “got very busy doing things I really had a passion for.” In 2011, she started creating food products that today are marketed under her Abby J’s Blackhawk label.

Jackson’s Field to Fork Sweet Fire Pickles won the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Flavor of Georgia Contest in 2016. Her Smokin’ Hot Okra was a finalist in 2019.

Abby J’s Blackhawk Gourmet products are available in grocery stores like Kroger, The Fresh Market, and Ingles Markets. She was the first celebrity chef for Ingles Markets and now hosts a cooking show sponsored by the grocery company called “Field to Fork with Abby J.”

Jackson develops and creates original recipes for Ingles Table magazine and videos to help home chefs prepare them. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Jackson visited local farmers who supply produce for Ingles for the video series “What’s in Season at Ingles Market.”

Jackson’s dishes are enjoyed by guests at Blackhawk Flyfishing, a destination for anglers that Jackson owns with her husband, John. The business is based out of a charming 1860s farmhouse the Jacksons renovated. Guests flyfish a two-mile stretch of the Soque River that runs through their 125-acre property. Blackhawk Flyfishing draws those who want to experience the thrill of catching rainbow and brown trout while taking in the beauty of the Northeast Georgia mountains. Garden & Gun magazine calls it a “fisherman’s paradise.”

One notable guest was David Zelski, a producer for Georgia Public Broadcasting. Jackson met him at Mark of the Potter. He was in Clarkesville filming his weekly “Georgia Traveler” program. She invited him to Blackhawk Flyfishing.

“He caught some fish, ate five bowls of my chili, and told me to jar it. That is exactly what I did. Now I have nine products on the market,” Jackson said. “We fed off each other.”

Zelski went on to create a show called “Anglers and Appetites.” The sixth episode features Blackhawk Flyfishing — and Jackson’s cooking. Jackson said she has “spoiled” Blackhawk guests with dishes that feature garden-fresh ingredients.

Abby J’s Farm Style Living Cookbook 2016, is filled with Jackson’s authentic farm-to-table recipes.

Growing up on a farm, Jackson learned to grow and can vegetables like her mother and grandmother before her. Blackhawk Flyfishing guests reap the reward.

“Every year, I put up about 150 quarts of my soup base to make chili for my fly fishermen. They ask for it. I don’t ‘have’ to do it. I want to. I love what I’m doing,” Jackson said.

Jackson encourages Piedmont students to find a profession that feels like something they “get” to do instead of “have” to do.

“You really need to get out there and find your calling in life. I would not just settle for something and not be happy. Work hard and go for it,” Jackson said. “You need to enjoy life.”

Jackson also strongly believes in community and giving back. The farmhouse where Blackhawk Flyfishing is based has hosted events that helped raise thousands of dollars for local nonprofits, like the domestic crisis intervention organization Circle of Hope.

Jackson also gives generously to Piedmont and was one of the university’s first Yonahian Society members, who each provide a minimum $1,000 gift annually.

“I love Piedmont and what it has to offer. I love that it has grown,” Jackson said. “We need to create more awareness around Piedmont and expose other people to the university. It is a great place to go to school, and there is so much to do here in the beautiful Northeast Georgia mountains.”

Abby Jackson ’84 did not wait for success. She went out and made it happen.

&News Notes

1 Area Walton Lewis ’02 and her daughter, Heather, dined at The Varsity while in Georgia for a college visit to Piedmont. Coming from Pennsylvania, Heather was not impressed with this Southern staple, but she is loving her decision to enroll at Piedmont and has just completed her first semester.

2 Anthony Cox ’02, M ’03 has been named Dean of Enrollment Management at Tallulah Falls School.

3 Ben Sheffield ’02, M ’05, his wife Katie, and their son, Davey, recently visited the Atlanta Aquarium. Ben is a remote management consulting agent for RGP, serving the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio, markets.

4 Maureen Yasko (attended 20012002) earned her teaching certification with the Society of American Fight Directors Class of 2022. She is the associate fight director and resident intimacy director for Midsommer Flight, an organization that produces performances of Shakespeare’s plays in Chicago communities.

5 Bowie Wheaton ’04 is now the operations manager for Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to its 1,200-capacity music space, Brooklyn Bowl also features 19 bowling lanes with

screens displaying shows happening in real time. Wheaton is married to Sharon Dugger Wheaton ’05

6 Sharon Dugger Wheaton ’05 is a mentor/manager and photographer for All Things Boudoir, a national all-women boudoir photography team. She has photographed thousands of women dealing with trauma and life-changing moments in their lives. She teaches photographers how to improve their skills and recently lighting class at a conference in New Orleans that she helped organize.

7 Guthrie Arthur Padgett, son of Lauren and Cale Padgett ’09, was born on Sept 25, 2022. Cale Padgett is the Lead Director of Gift Planning at Emory University and serves on the Piedmont University Alumni Association Board of Directors.

8 Daniela Cintron ’09 was nominated as one of the 50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia 2022, an honor awarded by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Cintron is a content manager for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and a bilingual freelance journalist. She is pursuing a master’s degree in journalism at Harvard University.

9 E. Lane Gresham ’10 is now the director of communications and media for Prevent Child Abuse Georgia. The nonprofit statewide organization focuses on the prevention of all forms of child abuse and neglect.

10 Jessie Owensby ’15 and Heath Barrett earned third place and raised $8,503 for the Circle of Hope with their Dancing with the Stars routine titled “Sweet Disaster.” Owensby serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Under her leadership as city manager of Cornelia, the city received the 2022 TravelBlazer award by Georgia Trend magazine. The award recognizes the role partnerships play in developing tourist destinations.

11 Winter Herndon ’22 started her first year of teaching in August at WinderBarrow High School in Winder, Georgia.

Send us your Class Notes! classnotes@piedmont.edu 1
PIEDMONT JOURNAL | 65 2 6 3 7 5 4 8 10 9



Mrs. Sue Smoot Puckett ’47 passed away on September 4 at the age of 95.


Mrs. Ida Odelle Kelly Hamby ’52 passed away on September 14 at the age of 90.

Rev. Leonard Harlan “Len” Warner ’59 passed away on July 14 at the age of 84.

In Memory



Mr. Donald R. Kearsing, Jr. ’71 passed away on June 18 at the age of 74.

Mr. Edgar Charles “Eddy” Adams ’74 passed away on November 8 at the age of 70.

Mr. James Irvin Edwards ’75 passed away on November 6 at the age of 77.

Mr. Dwayne Wesley Vick EdS ’12 passed away on October 5 at the age of 59.

Ms. Brittany Alyse Stancil ’17 passed away on July 16 at the age of 27.


Mrs. Vivian LaVerne Poole Cash ’63 passed away on August 30 at the age of 81.


Mr. Paul Martin Hawley ’76 passed away on May 14 at the age of 67.


Ms. Tiffany Massey Reynolds ’22 passed away on July 18 at the age of 37.


Mrs. Elizabeth “Betty” Edge Cox passed away on October 11 at the age of 90.

Mrs. Marcia Cobina Mullins Coker ’63 passed away on August 8 at the age of 79.

Mr. George Albert Gibson ’65 passed away on October 12 at the age of 79.

Mrs. Dianne Briggs Gallagher ’66 passed away on August 7 at the age 77.

Rev. Dr. Aubrey Joe Nichols ’81 passed away on October 5 at the age of 77.


Ms. Sarah Ann “Sally” Roche ’94 passed away on June 25 at the age of 58.

Mrs. Barbara Anne Davidson Ivie passed away on July 23 at the age of 93.

Ms. Katherine Kay “Kathy” Schmidt Bolt M ’99 passed away on October 17 at the age of 54.


Mr. James Dale Blair ’67 passed away on September 25 at the age of 92.

Ms. Aubrey Elizabeth Venditto ’05 passed away on September 14 at the age of 42.

Mr. Jabez Jarrett Jones passed away on September 15 at the age of 88.

Ms. Cheryl Ann Pope Kish passed away on September 6 at the age of 78.

Mr. Ross L. Maxwell, Jr. passed away on November 14 at the age of 87.

Send your remembrances of Piedmont family and friends to kdeal@piedmont.edu

In Memory


Rev. Dr. Harry W. Clark, DD ’91 passed away on October 5 at the age of 94.

Former First Lady Emilie Sandra Dunagan Deal, HonD ’22 (trustee) passed away on August 23 at the age of 80.

Dr. William Henry “Bill” Smith, Jr. (former faculty) passed away on June 7 at the age of 79.

Mr. William Scarborough Loyd (former trustee) passed away on November 4 at the age of 72.

Remembering Sandra Deal

Former First Lady of Georgia Mrs. Sandra Deal passed away Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, at her home in Demorest. She was 80 years old.

“The public Sandra Deal matched the private Sandra Deal. She gave to others selflessly, unfailingly, and unceasingly. We will miss her but count ourselves lucky that we were hers,” the Deal family said in a statement. “She leaves a world that’s better because she was here.”

Mrs. Deal was known for advocating for education and served as a teacher in Hall County for 15 years. During her tenure as First Lady, Mrs. Deal set and accomplished the goal of visiting and reading to students in each of Georgia’s 159 counties, ultimately visiting more than 1,000 schools.

“She was an inspiration to countless Georgians and a strong advocate for Piedmont,” said Piedmont University President James F. Mellichamp in a message to faculty and staff.

Mrs. Deal served as a member of the Piedmont University Board of Trustees. Her daughter, Katie Deal, is the university’s director of alumni engagement & advancement.

In May 2022, Piedmont awarded Mrs. Deal an honorary doctorate degree for the persistent devotion to

education she displayed throughout her lifetime.

“Mrs. Deal has dedicated her life to serving others, particularly students. Her work, both in the classroom and as an advocate for education, is nothing short of inspiring. We are thrilled to have the chance to celebrate her contributions,” Mellichamp said prior to conferring the honorary degree.

Mrs. Deal, a firm believer in lifelong learning, held two other degrees in education from Georgia College & State University. In 2017, the school founded the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy in her honor.

On Nov. 16, ground was broken in Hall County for Sandra Dunagan Deal Elementary, which will ultimately serve as many as 1,000 students.

Those who wish to honor Mrs. Deal’s memory may donate to The Deal Foundation, an organization built on furthering the education of students in Georgia, at thedealfoundation.org.

Note: This article first appeared in the Piedmont University student newspaper, The Roar, on Aug. 26, 2022. Written by student Hannah Osborne ’23, managing editor, it has been edited and condensed for space.



Members of the Yonahian Society provide an annual financial gift of $1,000 or more. These individuals believe in the power of a Piedmont University education and are committed to helping this institution grow and continue to serve students for generations to come. Piedmont University is deeply thankful for the Yonahians’ generous support, year after year.   We would love to have you join us!

Scan the QR code to learn more about the Yonahian Society and how to join.

PO Box 10 Demorest GA 30535
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