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journal Fall 2012 Volume 5 Number 2

Smith-Williams Art Studio Art students have a spacious new home



journal President Dr. James F. Mellichamp

England Experience


A Hall of Fame Story




Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement William S. Loyd Director of Public Relations David Price


Sometimes it Takes a Family A Toccoa mother and daughters work together to earn their degrees.


Graphic Design Specialist Regina Fried Multimedia Communications Specialist Sandi Suda


Connecting Past to Present Nell Hood Higdon, ’31, tells her story about Piedmont College.

Associate Director of Institutional Advancement Justin Scali Alumni and Donor Records Coordinator Susan Mills



New Dean of School of Ed


Yearbooks Online

Postmaster Send Address Changes to: Piedmont College Institutional Advancement P.O. Box 6 Demorest GA 30535


Gnecco brings experience in both K-12 education and higher education to his new role at Piedmont.

A New Family Tradition A young student from Mexico, the first in her family to attend college, lives her dream of becoming a music educator.

Published by the Office of Institutional Advancement Third class postage paid at Gainesville, Georgia Published Semi-Annually

Echizen Pottery Show

After touring the country, an exhibit of ceramic works by the master potters of Echizen, Japan, has come home to Piedmont College, where it began.

History in the Corner Office The story behind one of Piedmont’s most favorite professors and most intriguing offices.

Museum Director 10  New The first director of “the jewell of Northeast Georgia”, the MasonScharfenstein Museum of Art.

Provide a link to Piedmont’s history

The Studios 20  Artists have a spacious new home at Piedmont.

Favorite Places on Campus 22  Alumni describe their most memorable spots on campus.

27  Class Notes 32


P r e s i d e n t ’ s M e s sag e

Staying Connected


t was a connection that led me to become a faculty member at Piedmont College in 1982. I was a musician with a new doctoral degree looking for a job. A family friend from Toccoa, one of Piedmont College’s trustees, helped put me in touch with the College Dean, Dr. Mary C. Lane, and the rest as they say is history. Early on in my years of teaching at Piedmont College, I recognized it as a special collection of top-notch faculty, staff, and students working together in a cozy, picturesque community in the beautiful mountains of Georgia. Piedmont was already building connections from this small, idyllic academic setting to the world beyond, where our students would work and grow and raise families. In this issue of the Journal, we examine the strong connections between today’s Piedmont and its past. For example, the new Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art came about because of close ties between Piedmont and its successful alumni. Fittingly, the first show in the museum featured the current and past chairs of the Art Department. A recent manifestation of Piedmont College connections is represented by the newly constructed Studio Art Building on campus. On Oct. 4, students, art faculty past and present, staff, alumni, community leaders, and members of our Board of Trustees gathered to “cut the ribbon” and open this fabulous new addition to our campus. The “outside world” is also available to Piedmont students through our enriching selection of 2013 travel study programs. Five of seven of our programs next year involve travel to several countries in Europe, Canada and Japan. In this issue you will also have the good fortune of hearing from Nelle Hood Higdon, a member of

the Piedmont College Class of 1931. This delightful conversation sheds light on the many close connections Mrs. Higdon has had with the college through the years. I am grateful for the connection that brought me here 30 years ago and for the many meaningful connections I’ve made since then that have helped me be successful. I hope the stories and photos in this issue of the Journal help you remember how the connections you have made with Piedmont College have enriched your life.

James F. Mellichamp

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Sometimes it Takes A Family by Sandi Suda

Toccoa mother and daughters work together to earn degrees


udy Medlin (’07) has owned and operated a fullservice daycare and Georgia Pre-K program in Toccoa since 1987. In 2001, the business was doing very well, but she decided to go back to college to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education. “I was not looking for a promotion, since I was the president of my own corporation,” Medlin said. “I just wanted to complete my degree for myself.” When it came time to decide which college to attend, Piedmont was a natural choice. Medlin’s oldest daughter, Christie Crump, had attended Piedmont in the first nursing class. Her youngest daughter, Kayla Weaver, was attending Piedmont at the time to earn her degree in biology. Medlin’s brother had also attended Piedmont for a short time. With both of her daughters in college, Medlin was looking for options to help cover her school finances. She received the Neighborhood Grant for students 25 years old and older who live Habersham’s surrounding counties. The grant paid for half of Medlin’s college tuition. With the support of her family, Medlin’s dream of earning a college degree became a reality. Her experience was what she calls a “family affair.” Daughter Christie worked at the daycare during the week so Medlin could attend some daytime classes and complete her student teaching. Kayla brought food to her night classes because she went straight from work to school. Kayla was also the lab assistant for one of Medlin’s science classes and would tutor in the labs. In addition to attending classes and running her business, Medlin was caring for her mother, who was in poor health. She was also watching Christie’s son, Hilton, on the weekends while Christie worked at the hospital.


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“Although it was a whirlwind of work, school, homework, caring for my mom and my grandson, it was just about the best years of my life. I was fortunate to have such a great family,” Medlin said. “When I started school, my husband, Steve, looked at me and “When I started said, ‘You do not school, my husband, have to touch this Steve, looked at me house or cook a meal. I will take and said, ‘You do care of it so you just not have to touch concentrate on what you have to do.’” this house or cook Medlin became a meal. I will take the first of six care of it so you just children in her to finish concentrate on what family college. Her mother, you have to do.’” who had been very encouraging and proud of her accomplishments, was ill and could not attend her graduation. She passed away just a few hours later. Medlin placed her tassel in her mother’s hand as they laid her to rest. “I knew that she was very proud of me and that made it even more important to me,” she said. Now five years later, Medlin is the project director for the Georgia Pre-K Program and director of the daycare center. Christie is a nurse practitioner with Longstreet Clinic and works at the Ty Cobb Medical Center in Lavonia. Kayla graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Piedmont in 2005 and taught chemistry at Stephens County High School for three years. She earned

Photo/Jessica Gray

Kayla Weaver (’05 M’07), Christie Crump, Judy Medlin (‘07), Steve Medlin, Tommy Crump, and Hilton Crump.

a Master of Arts in Teaching in broadfield science education from Piedmont in 2007. In 2008, she returned to school at the Medical College of Georgia and graduated from the Physician’s Assistant program. Kayla is a P.A. at Athens

Gastroenterology and works part time in the emergency departments of Ty Cobb Medical Center and Habersham Medical Center. “I often wonder why I went into education and both my children went into medicine, but they love what

they do, and I love what I do as well,” said Medlin. “We all enjoyed our time at Piedmont and feel as though it prepared us for the jobs we love as well as the continuing education requirements that we all have to maintain for our jobs.”

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“We wore knee socks and knickers, and the socks were supposed to come all the way up to where the knickers stopped at the knee,” she said. “One day my sock had rolled down, and there was about a half-inch of skin showing.” Nelle laughed as she recalled being stopped by the formidable Dean of Women, Addie Green Bass, who thundered, “Turn your socks up!”

Nelle Hood Higdon


hen students arrived on the Piedmont College campus in 1928, “Silent Cal” Coolidge was President of the United States, and Franklin D. Roosevelt would not occupy the White House for another five years. At Convocation to start the new school year, college President Frank E. Jenkins greeted the students, who were already buckling down to classes with distinguished professors of the time, including C. Lisle Percy for history and W. Baxter Smith for mathematics. Around campus, you might run into a 15-year-old baseball phenomenon named Johnny Mize and his coach and biology professor, the legendary Harry Bible Forrester. For most alumni, these are just names in the archives or pictures in dusty copies of the Yonahian. But for Nelle Hood Higdon of Hendersonville, N.C., who graduated with the Class of 1931, they represent memories of flesh and blood people who walked the same Piedmont grounds that newly arrived freshmen walk today. At 101, Higdon is one of the college’s oldest alumni and an invaluable link to the college’s past. Consider that when 16-year-old Nelle Azilee Hood arrived as a freshman in 1928, “Mother Spence,” the wife of founding President Charles C. Spence, still lived on campus. Consider, too, that Dr. Ralph Singer, now Piedmont’s longest-serving professor at 40 years, would not arrive on campus for another 44 years. While Demorest may have looked similar to the way it looks today—City Park with its gazebo and rock works were there, as were the current downtown buildings that now include the Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art and the College Bookstore—it was still a different world. Central Avenue (Historic 441), now a busy state route, was a narrow country lane lined with oak trees. What little traffic passed by was mostly made up of ageing Model T Fords, with an occasional horse and buggy thrown in. There were at least a few telephones, since Dr. R.B. Lamb, a Piedmont alum and Trustee, advertised that you could reach him on two lines, numbers 93 and 94. During Demorest’s annual Fourth of July celebration, the young veterans on parade had served in World War I, while bearded Civil War soldiers were still a regular feature.

The Piedmont College that existed then—a collection of older homes grouped around the former San-Toy Hotel— was a world away from today’s college. The hotel, renamed Commons Hall, served as a dormitory for women and a dining hall. “Classes were held in a renovated stable,” Nelle said. “We also had Campbell Hall for girls and Ford Hall for boys, the auditorium, and the library. That’s about it. That was nothing compared to the wonderful campus we have today.” For Piedmont students in the 1930s, life outside the classroom revolved around the Protropian and J.S. Green debate societies for men and the Theta Zeta Phi and Gamma Chi literary societies for women. First-year boys wore “rat cap” beanies and were rarely seen without a suit or sweater and tie. For the girls, bobbed hair and finger curls were the norm, and they were only allowed to entertain their gentleman callers in the parlor of Commons Hall. One of Nelle’s sharpest memories concerns the strict dress codes that were in force. “We wore knee socks and knickers, and the socks were supposed to come all the way up to where the knickers stopped at the knee,” she said. “One day my sock had rolled down, and there was about a half-inch of skin showing.” Nelle laughed as she recalled being stopped by the formidable Dean of Women, Addie Green Bass, who thundered, “Turn your socks up!” Born in Nacoochee Valley in White County, Nelle knew at an early age that she wanted to be a teacher. After graduating from Cornelia High School, she entered Piedmont in 1928, shortly before the Great Depression of 1929. Times were hard, and coming up with the $200 annual tuition was difficult, but Nelle made it through by working in the cafeteria in Commons Hall, clearing and setting the tables three times a day. It was in the dining hall that she met her future husband, Earl Higdon, star basketball player and tackle on the football team; business manager for the student newspaper, The Owl; and later voted “Most Handsome” of the senior class. “He walked in the dining hall, and I thought, ‘That’s the biggest guy I ever saw,’” Nelle said, (Cont. on Page 23)

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Analilia Landeros begins

A New Family Tradition at Piedmont by Sandi Suda


The next day, she received her acceptance letter from nalilia Landeros, or Lily, was born in Piedmont and the day after that she received her award Aguasclientes, Mexico, in 1990. She went letter. “It was a very Godly experience. Everything fell into through kindergarten and first grade before her place and anyone who asks why I chose Piedmont I tell family moved to the United States. “It was scary. them, ‘God’,” she said. She is now a senior earning her I didn’t know any English and everything was so foreign to degree in music performance with a minor in Spanish. me,” Landeros said. “I cried all the time.” “Lily is the bright spot of anyone’s day,” said her voice The family first lived in Alpharetta and then moved to Dawsonville when she was in eighth instructor, Dr. Andrea Price. “She is grade. In ninth grade she had Spencer energetic, full of enthusiasm, and a Wright (’98 M’02) as her choir teacher lot of fun to teach. She has also made “I noticed an amazing at Dawson County High School. She amount of progress in voice that was not afraid athephenomenal had started in his beginning choir last four years.” when he noticed that she stood out as During her sophomore year, to be a leader,” Wright a singer. Landeros was awarded the Lachicottesaid. “She is an amazing Strickland Minority Scholarship, “I noticed an amazing voice that was not afraid to be a leader,” Wright established in 1996 by the Alliance for student, and I am very said. “She is an amazing student, and African-American Music and matched happy that she is doing I am very happy that she is doing what by Piedmont College. She continues she loves.” to receive the scholarship today. The what she loves.” During Landeros’ junior year, she scholarship is awarded to one or more went to Wright for advice about colminority students majoring in music. lege. She told him that she wanted to visit Piedmont because Lily was the first woman in her family to attend college, that is where he attended and because she had been to the and on Feb. 9 she will present her senior recital. Normally, campus for band festival that year. Piedmont students present different sets of English, “I loved the campus, but at the time I didn’t know if it German, Italian, and French music during the perforwas the place for me,” said Landeros. “I’d always wanted to mance. Lily will perform one of her sets in Spanish instead go to a larger school.” of English. “I love my heritage and I love being at a school Wright and Landeros visited the campus and met that allows me to embrace it,” she said. Music Department chair Dr. Wallace Hinson. They After graduating, Lily hopes to continue at Piedmont discussed music scholarships and her desire to study music to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Once certified at the collegiate level. Landeros applied to Piedmont and in music she wants, to be certified in Spanish as well. Her larger schools, such as Georgia Southern. She began to get dream is to be a music educator. frustrated because of the difficult decision she had to make. “I cried all the time when I came to America because I So she prayed. had no friends,” Landeros said. “I love Piedmont so much because I have created priceless relationships.”

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epending on when you attended Piedmont, Daniel Hall will hold different memories. Its central curving staircase has served as the backdrop for hundreds of student group photos from 1964 to the present. For most of its time, Daniel Hall housed the theater department, with memorable shows staged each year in tiny Jenkins Theatre. If you attended before 1997, the fourth floor of Daniel was a rarely visited area that at different times housed art studios or just storage. Since then, this renovated floor has been home to the Daniel School of Nursing. But for 40 years there has been one corner of Daniel Hall that has remained unchanged—Room 318,


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the office of Dr. Ralph B. “Buzz” Singer Jr., Callaway Professor of History at Piedmont since 1972.

‘Buzz’ Born in Lancaster, Pa., Singer grew up in the small town of Millersville, Pa., near the Susquehanna River. “Millersville had about 2,500 people in it at that time,” Singer said. “In Pennsylvania, the smallest towns are called villages and the next up are boroughs. We were just big enough to be a borough.” It was in Millersville that Singer picked up his nickname, “Buzz,” which is the only name many students may know. “I got the nickname as a kid because I made humming sounds when I played.”

The town was small enough that Singer walked two blocks to high school, and after graduating he only had to walk one additional block to attend Millersville State College, where he majored in history. When it came time to work on an advanced degree, he decided to move a little farther afield and enrolled at the University of Delaware. It was there that he earned a master’s degree in history and met his wife, Nancy. They were married in 1967 and he graduated the following year.

Singer Had Always Been Interested in Antebellum Southern History “I had cousins from Mississippi who would come visit, and they always had interesting stories about the South.” So when it came time to work on a PhD, he looked to the University of Georgia, where he studied under Dr. Nash Boney, specializing in the antebellum and Civil War history of Atlanta. After graduating, Singer was offered a job teaching at Piedmont, which he accepted. “I thought maybe I would stay about three years,” he said. At first, he was not

so sure Piedmont would be around much longer. “I think that fall the freshman class was about 30 students,” he said. “I’m not even sure why they hired me. They needed a Europeanist. That first year I taught world history and ancient history. Talk about scrambling to get stuff together for the class!” But Piedmont held on, and so did the Singers. While “Buzz” taught history, Nancy also worked in a number of positions at Piedmont for 24 years, serving as Director of Development before she retired in 2007. There must be something about the history department at Piedmont that just won’t let professors go. Singer noted that professor Garen Simmons, who started the year before he did, also taught for 40 years; and Dr. Al Pleysier, the youngster among them, is now in his 30th year. During that time, Singer has occupied the same corner office on the third floor of Daniel, an office that is now more library and time capsule. Each wall is covered with shelves holding books on every aspect of Southern history, and the floor is stacked high with papers. “When they carpeted Daniel Hall in the early ’90s, they said it would cost $500 just to move everything, so here it stayed,” he said. With his distinctive handlebar mustache and everpresent bowtie, Singer is recognized by every student on campus. Some today may be surprised to learn that for 17 years he was the Piedmont tennis coach—“We even had a winning record four of those years.” And for many years he has served as the faculty advisor for the History Club. Since at least 1980 he has made fall and spring field trips to different parts of Georgia and the Southeast. “From Chickamauga Battlefield to Jimmy Carter’s home in Plains, we’ve seen it all,” he said.

“I just enjoy the work.” Over the last four decades, Singer says some things have changed in the process of teaching. He has seen classroom technology change from chalk boards, to overhead projectors, to white boards, to today’s computer projectors and smart boards. But in the end, it is working with the students that he enjoys. “I teach a few online classes, but being in the classroom, talking to students one-to-one, that is what I really enjoy about teaching,” he said. “I just enjoy the work.”

Dr. Ralph Singer and Nancy Singer

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Daniel WHITE Named director at new Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art


aniel White says the new MasonScharfenstein Museum of Art (MSMA) at Piedmont College is a “jewel in northeast Georgia.” And part of his job as director will be to show the museum off to Piedmont students, the community, and the larger art world. “The museum is in a great place with an excellent collection of fine art and a newly renovated building to display it in,” White said. “What we want to do now is build on what has been started here and get the community more involved as we move upward.” Formerly with the Birmingham Museum of Art for seven years, White joined Piedmont in July as the first director of the MSMA, located in downtown Demorest. In his new position, White will work to bring in exhibits by leading artists from around the country, curate the museum’s permanent collection, and coordinate student and volunteer docents. The MSMA opened in October 2011 with a permanent collection of more than 120 paintings and sculpture donated by Piedmont alum Dr. Bill Mason (’57) and Bob Scharfenstein, both longtime art collectors. In recent weeks the museum has gained statewide attention with an exhibit of works by more than 50 Southern folk artists, and since September, a nationally touring exhibit of Japanese ceramics, curated by Piedmont Art Department Chair Chris Kelly, has been on display. “This is an incredible resource for the students, the Art Department and the college,” White said. “As part of their college experience, students can explore and enjoy art history right in front of them.” In addition to augmenting fine arts classes, the museum is also central to the college’s new Arts Administration degree program, which trains managers of art, music and theatre venues, he said. A Birmingham native, White earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics at the University of Montevallo and a master of fine arts in ceramics from the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology. White said he began as a painter but fell in love with ceramics, and in his own work likes to combine both techniques. After earning his MFA, he taught art at his alma mater, the University of Montevallo, and worked as an assistant for nationally known architectural sculptor Holden McCurry. In 2005, he joined the Birmingham Museum of Art as a preparator, responsible for designing and installing exhibits and maintaining and preserving the artwork. “I’m excited to now be the director here at the Mason-Scharfenstein Museum,” White said. “Although we are a young museum, it is a first-class museum that has already started building a strong reputation with its collection and for the artists we are bringing in.” White and his wife, Emily, live in Clarkesville, and she works as a speech pathologist.


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CONNECT + GIVE + GROW Join Piedmont College this year as we focus on connectivity between Alumni, Students, Faculty, Staff, and Friends. With your commitment, we can work together to ensure Piedmont College will continue to grow into the future. ANNUAL GIFTS Piedmont College uses your annual gift to support numerous programs and facilities at Piedmont College, and to help fund more than $8 million annually in student scholarships. Without the generosity of our donors, we would be unable to provide a Piedmont education to the number of students we currently serve.

ALUMNI SUPPORT Thanks to our alumni, our giving percentage has nearly doubled from 3.80 to 6.57 percent over the past two academic years. Help us continue this upward trend as we strive for 10 percent. Any alumni gift, no matter the amount, counts towards our percentage.

OPPORTUNITY The higher our alumni giving percentage is, the more opportunities Piedmont College has to obtain grants from corporations and foundations that support higher education. You can give a gift today by using the enclosed envelope, or visiting us online at

Individual commitment to a group effort— that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. ~ V. Lombardi (1913-1970)

For questions about the Piedmont College Annual Fund, 2012 | The piedmont college journal contact the Office of Institutional Advancement atFALL 1-800-868-1641.


pottery show

at Mason-Scharfenstein Museum in Demorest


fter touring the country, an exhibit of ceramic works by the master potters of Echizen, Japan, has come home to Piedmont College, where it began. The artisans of Echizen, Japan, have been producing distinctive pottery for more than 800 years, and some of the best works by today’s potters from Echizen were on display at the Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art at Piedmont College. Titled “The Heart of Echizen: Wood Fired Works by Contemporary Masters,” the show focused on a diverse group of potters working in Echizen today. Curated by Chris Kelly, chair of the Department of Art at Piedmont, and Preston Saunders, associate professor of art at Bridgewater State College, the exhibit is completing a national tour of museums and galleries that included stops in Bridgewater, Mass.; Seattle, Wash.; Mobile, Ala.; and Montevallo, Ala. The museum is located at 567 Georgia Street in Demorest and is open from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Admission is free. At a reception for the opening of the show held Sept. 27, Piedmont President Dr. James Mellichamp introduced special guests, including acting Consul General Joji Miyamori of the Japanese Consulate in Atlanta. Miyamori said he had heard about the art show when it opened in Mobile, but was unable to attend. “So I was excited when I learned it would be here at Piedmont. I think showing the art of Echizen is a good way to learn about my country.” Piedmont art department chair Chris Kelly, who has studied extensively in Echizen, said the current exhibit developed from a conversation he had in 2010 with Echizen potters, including the late Juroemon Fujita IX, Naoki Izumi, and Saunders. “The idea was to showcase contemporary Echizen ceramics to an American audience. Developing a theme for a cohesive show originally proved difficult. Today’s potters in Echizen are remarkably different now than they were throughout the majority of Echizen’s ceramic history. Then, potters fired their ceramic work in community wood kilns out of necessity; now, most potters have their own wood kiln and firing with wood is an aesthetic choice,” he said. At the reception, Kelly talked about Juroemon Fujita IX, who two years ago came to Piedmont to help the art department build an Echizen-style wood-fired kiln. Last year, Kelly traveled to Japan to help Fujita fire his kiln one last time before he died of stomach cancer. For five days and nights a group of potters kept a roaring flame going in the kiln, and when it cooled and was opened, Fujita said simply that it had “turned out well,” Kelly said. Fujita died a few weeks later. Some of the works he created while at Piedmont are included in the show. “The Heart of Echizen” exhibit was made possible by support from The Japan Foundation and the town of Echizen. Kelly said that “special thanks go to Naomi Hashimoto, Miyazaki Community Steering Committee Administrative Head, who worked tirelessly for decades as a goodwill ambassador promoting a global appreciation for Echizen ceramics. Most importantly, we would like to express our gratitude to each of the participating Echizen potters.” 12 12

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Fall 2012


Echizen potter Kuroemon Kumano, right, with translator and potter Yuko Jordan of Mobile, Ala., talks with Piedmont art students about his work.


On hand for the opening of the Echizen ceramics exhibit at the MasonSharfenstein Museum of Art were Acting Consul General Joji Miyamori from the Japanese Consulate in Atlanta; Kuroemon Kumano, one of the master potters of Echizen, Japan, whose work is on display; and Piedmont President Dr. James Mellichamp.

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DONALD GNECCO New Dean of Piedmont School of Education


r. Donald Gnecco, a longtime educator and professor of education in Maine, has been named Dean of the Piedmont College School of Education for its Athens, Demorest, and off-campus programs. Gnecco brings experience in both K-12 education and higher education to his new role at Piedmont. Formerly of Kennebunk, Maine, he has served as a teacher at both the elementary and secondary levels and as an elementary guidance counselor. He has held administrative positions as principal, special education administrator, and superintendent of schools; and he served on the staff of the Maine Department of Education. Gnecco has taught at Notre Dame College (New Hampshire), where he was Dean of Education; at the University of Southern Maine; and most recently at the University of New England, where he was chair of the Department of Education. “Our School of Education has always made it a point to seek out professors who have a mix of academic and real-world experience in the classroom and in administration,” said Piedmont President Dr. James Mellichamp. “Dr. Gnecco fits this model perfectly, and we are excited about the perspective on education that he brings. Piedmont also has a deep, historical connection with the New England area through former faculty members and administrators, and this appointment continues that successful tradition.” Gnecco said he, too, was pleased to be selected after the nationwide search for a dean. “If I were to characterize what Piedmont does well, it is to provide personalized learning with a committed faculty,” he said. “In talking to students, they told me that the faculty members know them and are interested in their success. It doesn’t get any better than that.” Moving from the seashore of Maine to the mountains of northeast Georgia was also a bit of a dream come true, Gnecco said. His parents had retired to the Toccoa area, so he was familiar with Habersham County. “I was actually born in Biloxi, Miss., but my father was in the Air Force and I was only there for 20 days. But I knew where my roots were, and it has taken me this long to get back.” The School of Education enrolls the largest number of students at Piedmont, and currently includes about 1,400 students at the two campuses in Demorest and Athens and at off-campus sites across northeast Georgia. The college offers undergraduate education programs in early childhood, middle grades, and secondary education; and its graduate programs include Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, Education Specialist, and Doctor of Education degrees. As dean, Gnecco will oversee about 40 full-time faculty members.


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Piedmont-Georgia Tech Dual Degree Program Students seeking an engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology now have the opportunity to complete much of their undergraduate course work at Piedmont College in Demorest. The two colleges completed an agreement that allows engineering students to study for three years at Piedmont and then complete their engineering degree in two years at Georgia Tech. At the end of the program, students receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in engineering physics from Piedmont and a B.S. degree in engineering from Georgia Tech. Though this program could be considered a backdoor into Tech’s engineering department, Dr. Humphrey Hardy, professor of physics, says that it is not an easy

program and that the “curriculum is not for the faint of heart.” Having just begun the second year of the dual degree program, Dr. Hardy says that the program has been a success thus far, with eight students currently enrolled. A great advantage of the dual degree program is that one does not have to know which field of engineering they wish to study when they arrive for freshman year. An intangible benefit of the program is that it gives students a chance to participate in athletics at Piedmont for three seasons while still being able to attain the degree from Georgia Tech. It is also interesting to note that almost all of the students in the pre-engineering program are student-athletes.

Become a member

Athens campus adds new science labs Student nurses Caitlyn Williams, left, and Alexandra Faerber test the effect of ice water on blood pressure during an anatomy and physiology class held in the new science labs at the Athens Center. Piedmont recently opened a full four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at the Athens Campus.

Many people have played key roles in the transformational growth of Piedmont over the last decades— and many more will be needed in the future. The Legacy Society is a circle of valued friends who have made Piedmont part of their estate plans and who wish to encourage others to follow their example. There is no minimum gift amount, and you may request anonymity. If you have already designated Piedmont as a beneficiary of your estate or if you would just like more information, contact Bill Loyd at 706-7788500, extension 1170, or email The Legacy Society is one way to show your commitment to Piedmont’s future and its mission of academic excellence within a culture ofcollege community and service. FALL 2012 piedmont journal 15 | The


Named for Mt. Yonah, which dominates the local ridgeline of the Appalachians, the Piedmont College Yonahian was first produced in 1920 and has chronicled the history of the college as told by its students ever since. Ninety-two years later, 89 volumes of the yearbook, totaling 12,000 pages have been digitized to perpetually preserve the books and the college history. “These Yearbooks are crucial to telling our story. Being able to see what people looked like and being able to read their favorite quotations from the time gives us insight into former times that you cannot get in even the best writing,” said Bob Glass, Director of Library Services. This digitization project came about through a membership the Piedmont Library has with Lyrasis, an organization in Atlanta that started a Mass Digitization Collaborative. Lyrasis is receiving a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to


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digitize and archive textual materials. One of the conditions of the The grant subsidizes the cost of the Sloan grant is that the material service, and the Collaborative gives cannot be used for in-house purposes members the opportunity to have and must be available to the public. their materials digitized at a low cost. Through a partnership with Lyrasis To be digitized, books are laid and Internet Archive, a universal in a V-shaped cradle, an automated library, the yearbooks were put machine turns the pages, the pages online in an easy and attractive way. are held down, and digital cameras Internet Archive offers the Yonahian take photos a website service “I think history is an of every page, and is committed including the to permanently important part of life; we cover and preserving the digital learn so much from those blank pages. form of materials. Some of these who have come before us for Before the scanning yearbooks could a reason,” said Worrell. “The machines can be sent off to Yonahian is more than just a create high be digitized, yearbook; it is history itself.” the Piedmont resolution photos of Library staff had 200 pages per preparations and minute. This process keeps the books statements to write for missing completely intact and it also performs volumes. Glass said that current Optical Character Recognition student Amy Worrell played a (OCR), which creates searchable crucial part in preparing the books documents. for shipment. Worrell earned her


providing a link to Piedmont’s history

psychology degree in 2009 and has returned to Piedmont to earn her English degree. She was responsible for picking the best copy of each yearbook to be digitized. Worrell first looked at the cover to see if it had markings and for visible signs of aging that would not be the best for digitization. If it passed the initial test, she would then look through the volume for any additional markings that may prove problematic for digitization. She also made sure that it was bound properly, so that none of the pages fell out during the process. Freshman Class of 1921 While searching through yearbooks, Glass and Worrell were able to get a good look at Piedmont’s history. “There are stories that I’ve heard about Piedmont, and as I looked through the yearbooks I saw photos about those events,” Glass said. For example, during the Vietnam War, student protesters flooded Daniel Hall. In one of the yearbooks, you can see pictures of the cleanup after that event. Worrell’s yearbook of choice was 1920, in which she discovered photos of the E. Patten Library and Lake Demorest. One photo that struck her was the “Domestic Science” room, which was where women learned home economics. “I think history is an important part of life; we learn so much from those who have come before us for a reason,” said Worrell. “The Yonahian is more than just a yearbook; it is history itself.” Potential future digitization projects include the PC Bulletin, which was a magazine published from the end of WWII to 1990; the Piedmont College Catalogs, which give insight to college policy and student environment; the two college history books published by Mary C. Lane; and historical photos.

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Loftice ’81 named to National Basketball Hall of Fame

On Sept. 7, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., inducted a new class, including 3-point ace Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers, longtime NBA player/coach Don Nelson, 7-foot4-inch phenom Ralph Samson, and Debbie Smith Loftice of the Piedmont Class of 1981. “It’s very humbling to be in the Hall of Fame,” Loftice said. “It’s such an honor. It definitely means a lot to us.” The “us” Loftice is referring to are the members of the All American Red Heads, a professional women’s basketball team that, like the Harlem Globetrotters, barnstormed around the country from 1936 to 1986 playing—and beating—men’s teams at their own game. Loftice was a standout on the Red Heads during the 1967-68 season. When Loftice was in high school in east Tennessee, she was a 5-foot-10 inexhaustible scorer, averaging 39.7 points her senior year. She also recounts her ability to jump flat-footed and slap the backboard with her full hand. In 2012, this level of skill and athleticism would not go unnoticed and would have undoubtedly landed Loftice a college scholarship, but in 1967, basketball talent for young women meant very little after high school graduation.

All American Red Heads

So when Loftice received an offer from the All American Red Heads that included salary, all expenses paid and free travel across the country in a limousine (that is now on display at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville), needless to say it was a difficult offer to turn down. The only expense that fell upon Loftice was the red hair dye she used to fit the part of the All American Red Head.


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Debbie Loftice with fellow Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson. “My mother squalled; they really didn’t want me to go,” Loftice said. “To let your 17-year-old go off with strangers was tough I’m sure. From my point of view now, I can see how hard it was for my mom. But if they hadn’t let me go, they knew I would always regret it.” “As a child in the ’60s, your parents held on tight. You didn’t have a lot of freedom. I learned how to judge the good and the bad in people.

We only had two rookies on my team, so the other girls had been there for a while and really helped us discern the difference between good and bad, what we should or shouldn’t do. They really mentored us.” Some of her parents’ concern turned out to be on target. The team played an exhausting schedule of 200 games a year, all of them on the road. But the biggest problem the women encountered was that men did not like


by Jeb Edwards

Debbie Loftice during her playing days as an All American Red Head

getting beat by women in basketball. When the Red Heads tripped to McDowell, Ky., a coal-mining town in the eastern part of the state, a male player punched Loftice during play. “He got mad and cold-cocked me,” she said. “They carried me off the court. After they played us for a while, they carried him off in the second half.” “We played in some really nice gyms,” Loftice said. “Then there were some like in McDowell, wood with a balcony around the top where people stood. You bounced the ball and you could feel the backboard vibrate.” “It was tough,” Loftice said. “It was fun, but it was hard for a 17-yearold kid. I would have stayed for another year, though, if my parents would have let me.” Though she still played recreational basketball and softball until she was nearly 40, high-level sports ended for Loftice after that season. She married Jerry Loftice and both began teaching and coaching in Gwinnett County. During the summer of 1978,

Debbie came to Piedmont with her basketball things I can do to impress.” At her induction into the Hall of husband, who had been hired to work for the college in admissions and Fame, Loftice said, “I’m very blessed athletics. At that time, Debbie was also to be one the few All American Red Heads in the world. I want to caring for two small children, ages 9 months and two years. thank Coach Orwell Moore for the In addition to being a wife and opportunities he gave this young naive mother, she also had the responsibility girl during a time when opportunities of being a “dorm mother” at were so limited. I will always be Piedmont, keeping honored that he up with curfews and me to be one “He got mad and chose personal relationships of his players. I am cold-cocked me,” doubly honored to and acting as a surrogate mom for all be part of the first the girls. In addition to women’s basketball these responsibilities, she made time to team to be inducted into the Naismith graduate with honors in Spanish from Hall of Fame. We opened the door so Piedmont. that others can go in.” Nowadays Ya-Ya, as Loftice’s Some information for this story grandchildren call her, takes some shots is courtesy of Will Hammock and the on the basketball goal that hangs on Gwinnett Daily Post. the side of the barn when her grandson Video of the induction ceremony Cooper Johnson comes to visit. can be found at “I hit it, and Cooper’s eyes were as hall-of-famers/tag/all-american-redbig as saucers,” said Loftice. “I can still heads and video of the Redheads shoot. I can’t guarantee I’m going to hit in action is at it. But I can still spin the ball, bounce watch?v=OkP-aBWJwUE it with my knees. I still have some

Debbie Loftice is fifth from the left during the induction of the All American Red Heads in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Artists have a spacious new home

Students in the Art Department have a little more room to spread out, thanks to the opening of the new Smith-Williams Art Studios on the Demorest campus. Named for the parents of the late Virginia Baxter Smith Williams (’29) and her husband, William D. Williams, the building is located at the intersection of Laurel Avenue and Massachusetts Boulevard. The Williams were longtime supporters of the college. Her father, William Baxter Smith, taught mathematics at Piedmont from 1899-1907 and was a Trustee; and her mother, Fanny Henkle Smith, was registrar from 1947-1956. The modern three-story steel and glass structure is a “stellar space for art Piedmont Board Chairman Thomas A. “Gus” Arrendale III handles the scissors at the official ribbon instruction,” says Art Department chair cutting for the new Smith-Williams Art Studios . Pictured from left are Art Department Chair Chris Kelly, Executive Vice President for Institutional Resources John Misner, Habersham County Chamber of Chris Kelly. The building was designed by Commerce Director Judy Taylor, Arrendale, Piedmont President James F. Mellichamp, and President Armentrout, Matheny and Thurmond of Emeritus W. Ray Cleere. Athens with construction by Scroggs and Grizzel Contracting. The new building provides almost 26,000 square feet, with separate classrooms for ceramics, wood and metal working, a photo studio and darkroom, computer graphics lab, printmaking, painting, and sculpture. A smaller adjacent building houses six ceramics kilns and a bronze furnace, Kelly said. Construction of the Smith-Williams Studios, which follows the opening of the Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art in downtown Demorest, reflects the expanding demand for art classes at the college, Kelly said. In addition to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs in art, Piedmont also offers a new B.A. degree in Art Education and a B.A in Arts Administration.

Georgia Master Teachers have Piedmont ties Jennie Gungiah (Gwinnett County) 5

Among the 75 teachers named as Georgia Master Teachers for 2012 have ties to Piedmont’s School of Education

MA, Early Childhood Education 2008 and EdS, 2010

Sandra Meade (Murray County) Current EdS student

Elisa Dossett (Walton County)

We at Piedmont are proud of the educators in Georgia and beyond who are utilizing their Piedmont preparation, knowledge, and creativity to make a difference in the lives of young people,

~ Dr. Don Gnecco, Dean of the School of Education. 20

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Current MA Student (Middle Grades)

Richard Wellborn (Walton County) MA, Early Childhood 2004

Cynthia Wood (Walton County) MA, Early Childhood 2001



10 days & 9 nights Visit locations with significant Congregational Church ties, and be a part of the Piedmont Singers performances in four beautiful and historic cathedrals. Price per person is $2,282 plus airfare. For complete details, a day-by-day itinerary, and airline information, please contact Bill Loyd in Institutional Advancement at 706-778-8500, ext. 1170.

Friends, family, alumni travel with the talented Piedmont College Singers as they perform in London at the International Congregational Fellowship in July.

London Wells Brecon Winchester with all the historic sites along the way including

Westminster Abbey Windsor Castle Stonehenge Ancient Roman Baths

A British Experience The Piedmont Chamber Singers have a new name—and a date to perform for an international audience in England next summer. When the group was formed with just 14 singers in 1988, the name “Chamber Singers” fit, said Music Department Chair Dr. Wallace Hinson. Now that the ensemble includes up to 50 students, it will henceforth be known as the Piedmont College Singers. “A chamber group is traditionally seen performing with a small number of singers,” Hinson said. “The new name is simple, but recognizes that this is a select group.” As the program continues to grow, Hinson said it will be possible to form new groups, such as men’s and women’s choirs, and traditional chamber groups. With their new name, the Piedmont College Singers are going on a new adventure next summer. The group has regularly toured the U.S., but for the first time will perform in England July 27-Aug. 6. And Piedmont alumni and friends are invited to come along. The Singers have been asked to perform during the International Congregational Fellowship meeting, which convenes every four years in locations around the world. The 2013 meeting is in London, and the Singers will perform July 30 at Brunel University in West London. From July 27 to August 6, the Singers will present four additional performances in cathedrals and abbeys, including a choral evensong service, the Anglican Church evening prayer service, in Wells Cathedral. The trip will also make connections to Piedmont’s Congre-gational heritage with a visit to South Hampton, where the Pilgrims set out for America on the Mayflower. For alumni and friends who wish to accompany the Piedmont Singers, see the information below. For more information, contact Bill Loyd in Institutional Advancement at 706-778-8500 ext. 1170 or email

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favorite places

on cam

Danielle Bailey Miller ’07

Steve Parker ’70

Jenkins Theater

Zip Co-ed restaurant

My favorite place was Jenkins Theater in the basement of Daniel Hall. Those theatre kids don’t know how lucky they have it now at the Swanson Center. Being a theatre major, I spent most of my waking (and non-waking) hours in Jenkins Lobby or the theatre. Some of the BEST college memories I have, were just hanging out down there, decorating for the holidays, fun classes, great rehearsals, parties and awards dinners, rushed lunches, working in the scene shop or the theatre office and eventually my Senior Capstone. I even had my wedding prep in Jenkins Theatre. One of the best pictures I have on my wedding day is of Theatre Professor Henry Johnson steam-ironing my wedding gown in the lobby of Jenkins Theatre. I also met my husband (Jeremy Miller, Class ‘99) at Jenkins Theatre during auditions my freshman year. Jenkins provided a fun, safe haven to be with friends/professors that became family. I still keep in touch with many of my fellow classmates and my professors. Some I even get to see and still work with on a regular basis. Jenkins Theatre will always be a sanctuary to me. Wow, I really miss those college days now.


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I would have to say that my favorite place on campus was the old Zip Co-ed restaurant. It provided a fun hang-out for the students to gather and interact. Despite the fact that as part-time “chef,” and having been attacked by a large Rat (yes, a real one ) I shared a lot of good times just hanging out with my buddies. I still remember standing outside one night in 1969 and cheering with fellow classmates as the dining hall burned. You might say “that’s terrible” but the State Police on site agreed. Somewhere in my garage I have photos of the aftermath since I was a co-contributor of photos for the Yonahian.

Anthony Cox ’02


Arrendale Library window

I have many favorite places on campus. First is the third floor of Arrendale Library window overlooking what used to be the lake. My freshman year I was working in the library and it started to snow huge fluffy flakes. This Florida boy had

NEVER seen snow fall, and overlooking the lake was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Second is the bench in front of Wallace Hall. This is where my wife to be and I got to know each other, talking deep into the night after curfew hours. And third is the old gym. Playing basketball there my freshman year was so much fun.

Ty Jones ’11

the quad

My favorite place on campus would have to be on the quad in the grass up on the hill. I love to sit under a tree with a blanket and either study or just relax and hang out with people when they stop by. I have sat out there for as long as I have been at Piedmont. My freshman year I used to go out there to get away from my roommate, but after that it just became my place to relax or get homework done and enjoy the nice weather. I love when my friends come out with blankets and hang out too. It also has a special meaning to me now because that is where my boyfriend and I first started to and continue to hang out regularly.

Nelle Hood Higdon

pus Linda Wofford ’99


Student Center

When I came to work at PC in 1997 the Student Center was on the bottom floor of the dining hall. There were pool tables, televisions, and lots of seating areas. The bookstore was located there as well and a nifty little place called The Grill that had the best hamburgers. I ate lunch there a lot and also spent time there in the evenings as a student. It was a very welcoming place.

Chanda DeFoor ‘02

Running Route

I have a running route in Demorest that winds through Piedmont College Court where the deer graze between faculty housing and Plymouth Dorm. When the trees are bare, there is a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When the days become shorter, the view of the mountains is replaced by the twinkling lights of the town. It’s like a reward to come upon this scene during my workout.

(Cont. from page 5) smiling at the memory. Earl came from a large family in Sylva, N.C., and had two sisters, known as Jo and Will, who attended Piedmont at the same time and were also outstanding athletes on the basketball court. Dating was problematic for Piedmont students, what with the ever-vigilant eye of Addie Bass and the fact that the college did not allow dances. Occasionally, though, the local YMCA and YWCA would join together for parties. “One time they held a Valentine’s party and included a mock wedding,” Nelle said. “They asked me to be the bride and asked a new boy on campus, Earl, to be the best man. So I like to say that my husband, Earl, was the best man at my first wedding!” While some things were definitely different, others have remained remarkably the same over the years. Students then and now could read about the exploits of the athletic teams in The Northeast Georgian and visit Gold’s department store in Cornelia, which in 1931 was the place to buy Florsheim or Dorothy Dodd shoes. Students in the 1930s could walk to downtown Demorest to check their mail at the Post Office and hang out at The Coffee Cup, which advertised itself as “Piedmont’s Choice.” Today the post office is in about the same spot, and you can knock back a cup of Starbucks at the bookstore. Carpenter’s Drug Store, which featured ice cream and cold drinks, though, is long gone. Nelle said her favorite professor was Wendell Brooks Phillips, who had graduated from Piedmont and Harvard before coming back to Demorest to teach English. Phillips just a year later would get into hot water with the Trustees after publishing a series of articles in The Atlantic magazine about his career at Piedmont. While the articles evoked a heartfelt love of teaching students that he praised for their “unspoiled and eager teachableness,” the Trustees could not get past the titles of the articles, which included “I Teach at a Hick College,” “Students at a Hick College,” and the inevitable, “I was Fired from a Hick College.” “I loved to hear him read poetry,”

Nelle said. “He was my favorite professor and rightly so, since English was my major. He gave me a passion for literature and a burning desire to teach children to read, because learning is based on the ability to read with understanding. I have fond memories of Brooks Phillips just reading poetry to us. Can you imagine a professor doing that now?” Nelle was the first in her family to earn a college degree, and after graduation she was principal of the grammar school in Cornelia and taught seventh grade. Four years later, she and Earl were married. They moved to North Carolina, where Earl worked in textile mills before starting his own company, Higdon Knitting Mill, in Hendersonville, N.C., in 1947. They ran the business together for 22 years, with Nelle in charge of the office and company store. Looking back at the path her life has taken and the path that Piedmont has taken, one cannot help notice how the two have intertwined. The Higdons had three children, including the late Earl Jr.; Linda Higdon Murphy; and Jane Higdon Ballard, who graduated from Piedmont in 1970 and now serves on the Board of Trustees. In their later years, Nelle and Earl were active in the Alumni Association and “P”-Club, and they established a scholarship for Piedmont students. Earl is a member of the sports Hall of Fame and received an honorary doctorate from the college in 1985. He died in 1995, and Nelle continues to be active with the alumni. In 2008, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award. “I am very grateful to Piedmont,” Nelle says simply. But it is Piedmont and all of the students who have come afterward who are grateful to her.

Jane Higdon Ballard and her mother, Nell Hood Higdon.

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PIEDMONT training, which will not only better serve current student-athletes but also provide instruction space for a new major in Athletic Training. In addition to the new training room, Piedmont has added locker rooms for men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and softball. Also added is a conference room and office space for graduate assistant coaches. Jocelyn Glenn, head athletic trainer, says Piedmont College is “known for first-class facilities, and the athletic facilities, especially with the recent additions, are no exception.” Glenn believes that these upgrades are “an example of the school’s commitment to the student-athlete experience and fitting to our student athlete population growth.” Glenn is also excited about the educational opportunities concerning the addition of an Athletic Training Education major. The relocated and expanded Athletic Training room provides space for the educational component that is to be added in the near future. Fitness center manager Denyse Vincent says that relocating that facility also has benefits for students, faculty and staff who enjoy working out on the treadmills, rowing machines and other equipment after class. It is now open until midnight and its proximity to the main commuter parking lot provides easy access to all students.

Students work out in the relocated fitness center.

Athletic training area expands at Mize Center When the Johnny Mize Athletic Center opened in 2000, few would have guessed that a little over 12 years later it would be bursting at the seams. The addition of new and larger sports teams, including men’s and women’s lacrosse, has meant office and training space in the athletic center is now at a premium. To accommodate the growth, the college has made changes to the facility and moved the fitness center across campus to the former Art Annex. This freed a much larger area for athletic


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Jocelyn Glenn attends to injured student-athletes in the expanded training room.


Megan Kesler catches a throw to first just in time to record the out. For up-to-date athletic news in all sports, go to

Piedmont begins USA South Athletic Conference play This fall semester of 2012 marks the entry of Piedmont College in the USA South Athletic Conference, an NCAA Division-III conference that consists of schools from Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Athletic Director John Dzik has great optimism for Piedmont’s future in USA South. He says that competing in this larger conference will ensure “equal opportunities for all student-athletes at Piedmont to participate in post-season play.” Dzik says Piedmont can help provide “growth, stability, and quality athletic competition to the conference.” Though Piedmont has spent the last decade in the GSAC (Great South Athletic Conference), teams have been participating in non-conference play against several schools in the USA South. The USA South Conference currently includes 12 full members, the largest being Christopher Newport

University with 4,793 students; and the smallest is Peace College, with 662 students. Piedmont currently has about 2,400 students overall, with 1,200 enrolled at the Demorest campus. Other members of USA South include Averett University (2,719), Ferrum College (1,100), Greensboro College (1,233), LaGrange (1,000), Mary Baldwin College (2,242), Maryville (1,114), Meredith College (1,990), Methodist University (2,215), and N.C. Wesleyan College (900). Because there are few USA South member schools with men’s lacrosse, Piedmont’s team will compete in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, along with Ferrum College, Greensboro College, Huntingdon College, and Methodist University. This will provide men’s lacrosse a chance to compete for a conference championship and NCAA post-season play.

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Spencer Ortis looks for an opening during the men’s lacrosse inaugural season.

Lacrosse netting new fans After a successful season of men’s lacrosse last spring, Piedmont will launch its women’s lacrosse team in 2013. Competition will commence next spring, led by head coach Emily Jacquette and assistant coach Jessie Moulton. Jacquette, who has experience leading women’s lacrosse programs at both Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and NCAA Division III institution Birmingham Southern College, spent her time in Birmingham starting their program and making it successful. John Dzik, PC’s Director of Athletics, said that her experience in the sport and proven ability to start women’s collegiate lacrosse programs made her a “natural for Piedmont’s situation.” According to the latest participation survey by U.S. Lacrosse, the sport’s governing body, lacrosse is the fastest-growing high school sport for girls over the last 10 years and the second-fastest growing sport among boys. At the collegiate level, men’s lacrosse has been the fastest-growing sport over the past decade, while women’s lacrosse has been the second-fastest-growing sport. Currently in NCAA Division III, there are close to 200 women’s lacrosse programs across the nation. The sport of lacrosse has seen unprecedented growth particularly in the state of Georgia. According


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to the latest U.S. Lacrosse survey, almost 10,000 players from the youth up to the adult level are playing lacrosse in the Peach State, a mark second only in the Southeast to the lacrosse-heavy state of Virginia. “Considering the rapid growth of the sport nationwide Emily Jacquette and in Georgia, the decision by our administration to implement the program at Piedmont is well timed,” Dzik said. On the men’s side, head lacrosse coach Pete Manderano and assistant coaches Kevin Anderson and Jake Milrod, led their team to a respectable first season. The young team consisting of predominately freshmen finished their first season with a 4-3 home record and a season record of 5-7, defeating some established programs.

CLASS NOTES Gary (‘69) and Mary Stephenson (‘68) welcomed their first grandchild into the world on Sept. 21, 2012. His name is Alexander William Stephenson and will be called Xander. He is the son of David and Meg (William) Stephenson.

John Philip Ballard (’69) and Jane Grant Higdon (’70) were married May 6, 2012, at Hendersonville, N.C. Country Club in Hendersonville. Philip is a former member of the Piedmont Board of Trustees and Jane is a current member. The couple now resides in Cornelia, where they are developing a folk art and pottery heritage foundation.

Robert S. Davis (‘78) recently published his 40th book: Georgia Research: A Handbook for Genealogists, Historians, Archivists, Lawyers, Librarians, and other Researchers Revised and Expanded (Second Edition. Atlanta: Georgia Genealogical Society, 2012). Robert also recently delivered three talks at the National Federation of Genealogical Societies meeting.

Joseph Lloyd Harris (’88) is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla. Harris was selected as the 201112 Robert R. Tinney Outstanding Professor as well as the 2011-12 Frank W. Eiseman Outstanding Academic Advisor. These honors are in addition to Harris’ title as the Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2005.

Prakash Kent Silwal (’89), on the left, with Dr. Rob Wainberg, works with CARE International. Prakash recently returned from a four-year stay in Kabul. He is currently Chief of the Integrated Family Health Initiative Division of CARE INDIA in Pakistan. Jay Mudbhary (’91), on right, is a software assurance engineer in Georgia. Jay now has a son who was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Shelby McCoy Ward (’92) has been named Dean for Adult Education at North Georgia Technical College (NGTC) in Clarkesville.

Joe Piper (’95) and his wife, David C. Foster (‘88) and Leslie Foster welcomed their daughter, Katherine Olivia Foster, on Aug. 13, 2012, in Demorest. Proud grandparents are John C. and Bobbie Foster and Eddie and Barbara Borders.

Marsha, welcomed a baby boy on April 11, 2012. Joseph “Jack” Stanley Piper is Joe and Marsha’s first child. The proud grandfather, former business school dean Bill Piper, retired from Piedmont in 2009.

Tamara Brown (’96) has been named Teacher of the Year at North Habersham Middle School for 2012.

Brett Miles James (‘99) graduated from Lincoln Memorial University May 5, 2012, with a Doctorate of Education in Executive Leadership. He has been a teacher and assistant principal in Murray County Schools for 12 years and was recently named principal of Coker Elementary School in Chatsworth. Jamie Childs Purdy (’00) and husband Ben announce the birth of a girl, Jansyn Lynette, April 27, 2012. She joins big sisters Jalyn and Jayci. Jamie is in her eighth season as head women’s basketball coach at Piedmont. Sarah Baer Elmer (’07) and husband, Jonathan, of Powder Springs announce the birth of twins, Evelyn Faith and Elijah Mark, born Sept. 11, 2012. They join a sister, Vivien Kate, born Sept. 10, 2011.

Stacie Burmeister (‘07) was recently promoted to Client Relationship Manager for Equifax: Tax Credits and Incentives. Jeremy Miller (’99) and Danielle Bailey Miller (’07)

Alumni Weekend early May 2013

and will celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary in October. Danielle was recently promoted to Associate Artistic Director of Rose of Athens Theatre, a professional, non-profit theatre.

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CLASS NOTES The Millers are busy working with several theatre groups in the area. Most recently, the Millers teamed up with the former Piedmont Theatre Department Chair, Dr. Rick Rose, in a production of Lysistrata with the Town and Gown Players.

David Limbach (’01) was recently married to Lisa Bickmore Limbach in July 2012. He now has a stepdaughter, Kalise Jones. After 16 years in the Registrar’s Office at Piedmont College, 12 of those years as Registrar, Linda Wofford (‘01) is transitioning to a new job as Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Mark Rheault (’02, M’06, Ed.S’08) is continuing his work in the Ed.D Program at Piedmont. Mark was married to Jennifer Van Aller of Cherokee County in December 2011. He is a step-father to Jennifer’s daughter, Alexis. Mark is currently employed as a third grade teacher at Cornelia Elementary and an adjunct professor at Piedmont College.

Joshua Rogers (’02) and Honna Rogers (’03) welcomed their first child, Parker Enoch Rogers, on Feb. 6, 2012. Joshua works in Water Quality for the city of Chattanooga, while Honna is the town manager of Signal Mountain, Tenn.

Area Walton (’02) is teaching English as a Second Language at a private school in Munsan, South Korea. After five years of teaching middle grades


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Cottage in Roswell. The couple honeymooned in St. Lucia.

Amber Kerr (BFA ’05, MAT ’06, Ed.S ’08) has been named

math and science with Gwinnett County Schools, Area is now teaching conversational English and grammar to students ranging in age from 4 to 12. Munsan is a small town only 10 km from the North Korean border.

Nicole Whelan (’02) was married to Josh Booth on July 28, 2012, at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. The couple currently lives in Lawrenceville.

Carla Herron Edenfield (’04, M’10) and husband C.J. Edenfield (’07, M’10) announce the birth of a daughter, Lila Claire, July 4, 2012. Grandparents include Vicki and Weldon Herron. Carla was recently named Registrar at Piedmont.

Richard Dombrowsky (M’05) and wife, Adrienne, announce the birth of a daughter, Ava Ramond, Oct. 8, 2012. Richard is the junior varsity baseball coach and assistant varsity coach at Piedmont.

Lauren Fritsch, (’05 MBA’07) and Jason Goza of Marietta were married Sept. 30, 2012, at Primrose

Teacher of the Year at Habersham Central High School. Kerr also completed a Doctorate in Art at UGA in 2011.

Rhani Lott (’05) and husband Brad Kaiser announce the birth of boy, James Lott Kaiser, born Sept. 6, 2012. Rhani, an associate at Hunton & Williams LLP, was recently appointed to the board of directors of the Atlanta Council of Young Lawyers.

Natalie Crawford (‘06) was elected to the Habersham County Commission, District 4 in July 2012.

Amy Thompson (’07, MA’09) and Zack Thompson (’06) welcomed their first son, Rowan, May 11, 2012. Amy was voted Teacher of the Year at East Lake Elementary and was an Atlanta Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year Semi-finalist. Zack has been called to serve as Associate Rector for Family Ministries at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Sandy Springs, Atlanta.

Rachel Holland (’07) will graduate this spring with a Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Georgia Health Sciences University.

Savannah Johnson (’08) plans to graduate from Emory in November 2012 and will be moving to Portland, Maine, as the head of a team of research scientists. Her work will take place at the Rare Reagent Plant at Idexx Laboratories in Westbrook.

CLASS NOTES This biotech company is focused on developing new technologies to diagnose and prevent diseases of companion animals, livestock, milk and water, as well as designing diagnostic tools that can be used in rural environments such as those found in the wake of natural disasters.

Jason Palmer (M’08), assisted by a team of associates, began a document production company in the past year. His company,, specializes in resumes and career portfolio documents. Lindsey Drevlow (‘09) recently completed a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from South University. She is now employed with the Northeast Georgia Physicians Group in the Cardiothoracic Surgery department. Jennifer Gathercoal (‘09) graduated from the University of Geor­ gia Law School May 19, 2012. One week later on May 26, she married Nathaniel Kimbro at the John Oliver Michael House in Statham. Her wedding photographer was Katie Rivers (‘07).

Daniela Guevara (‘09) is a Senior Account Executive for Red F, an advertising agency based in Charlotte, N.C. Daniela and her husband, Dennis Lopez, now live in Charlotte. Michelle Holland (’09 M’12) is a Residence Life Coordinator at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely, Colo.

Roswell Lawrence, Jr. (’09) is the Health Sciences Campus Coordinator at the University of Georgia.

E. Lane Gresham (’10) was named editor of The Northeast Georgian in April 2012. Gresham received the Mass Communication Department’s Jim Cox Jr. Alumni Award in May 2012. She will celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband, Bill, on Nov. 21, 2012.

Ellen Hamilton (Ed.S ‘10) is now the proud grandparent of Gavin Michael, born on July 12, 1212, to her daughter Debbie and her husband, Jeremy. Ellen and her husband, Mike, have three other grandchildren, Kyle, Nathan and Ryan. Hannah Peppers (’10, M’12) married Michael Fidero Aug. 25, 2012, at Cornelia Christian Church. Hannah and Michael live in Atlanta and she is a third grade teacher at Fulton Sunshine Academy Elementary School.

Heather Rose (‘10) is a staff member at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, where she serves as the Bar Manager and Box Office Associate. Husband Patrick Rose (‘10) is the Technical Director for the

Fine Arts program at Mill Springs Academy in Alpharetta.

Valerie Bryan (’11) will present an instructional session at the 2012 Georgia Educational Technology Conference Nov. 9, 2012.

Nathan Dean (’11) and Faith Cousino (’12) were married Sept. 29, 2012, in Blue Ridge. Nathan is a graduate assistant in the Piedmont College Financial Aid Office and working on his Master of Arts in Teaching in secondary education. Faith is a Pre-K teacher at Discovery Point in Oakwood.

Mary Bailey (EdD’12) submitted two different proposals to two different conferences, the Georgia Association of Teacher Educators and the Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators, based on her dissertation work and both were accepted. Her dissertation was titled “A Preliminary Investigation into the Effect of StandardsBased Grading on the Academic Performance of African American Students.” Nature photos by Sarah Nelms (’12) and her dad, business professor Dr. Keith Nelms, were selected by the Georgia Council for the Arts for exhibit in the Governor’s office at the state capitol. Some 100 artists submitted works for the rotating exhibit, and 28 were selected.

Meredith Pyron (’12) recently accepted employment as a sales representative for Skull Coast Brewing Company, a craft brewing company located in Charlotte, N.C.

FALL 2012

| The piedmont college journal



Baseball Alumni take the field

Standing (L to R): Zac Stein, Spencer Shelton, Sidney Roland, Evan Rodery, Head Coach Jim Peeples, Mike Santowski, Matt Burgess, Stuart Lancaster, Ian MacMaster, Matt Copeland, Matt Keadle, Stan Brosko, Tom Dimitroff, Jared Moon, Kevin McConnell, Justin Oates, Matt Collins, Ed Cook, and Jordan Coffman. Kneeling (L to R): Walker Searcy, Andrew Wagner, Caleb Powell, Corey Lindsey, Spencer Ventrice, Justin Vorherr, Cole Spedale, Robin Coile, Dave Bartek Not Pictured: Billy Secor, and Bobby Lewallen.

Friday & Saturday

February 22-23, 2013 at the Classic Center & Piedmont College in Athens, Ga.

& CitiZenShiP Religion in the Public Square

Featuring Addresses by

Barbara Brown Taylor Piedmont College

David P. Gushee

Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University

For Information 706.778.8500 ext. 1174 To Register


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Pictured from left are Gov. Nathan Deal, Dean Swanson, Kay Swanson, and First Lady Sandra Deal.

Swansons recognized with Governor’s Award


ov. Nathan Deal presented Kay and Dean Swanson of Cornelia with the first Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities. The presentation, made Oct. 16 in Atlanta, recognized the Swansons for their “significant contributions to Georgia’s cultural vitality.” Both Dean and Kay, who is a former Piedmont Trustee, have been longtime supporters of the college, including making the lead gift for the Swanson Center for Performing Arts and Communications. In addition, the pair was instrumental in establishing the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia at the Sautee Nacoochee Center. Twelve members of Georgia’s arts and humanities community were selected from almost 100 nominees for the first of the new annual awards, sponsored by the Georgia Council for the Arts.

FALL 2012

| The piedmont college journal


1930s | Willene Holcomb

(attended 1939) of Clarkesville died March 27, 2012. She was 93. Her 39-year career was spent teaching first grade, beginning at the Nacoochee Elementary School, five years at Cleveland Elementary School, and the last 33 years at Clarkesville Elementary School. Miss Holcomb enjoyed volunteering and doing community service work. She is survived by her sister, Gladys Holcomb (’35).

1940s | Ann Stripling Boyd

(’40) of Tallahassee, Fla., died Aug. 2, 2012. She was 95. Mrs. Boyd was known for her energy, enthusiasm, and auctioneering skill, and was involved in many service and civic organizations. She also enjoyed a successful career as a realtor. In 1978 she was named the Tallahassee Woman of the Year, and in 2008 the Alzheimer’s Project, Inc., recognized her as the Sharon Vause Caregiver of the Year. In 2012 the Tallahassee Democrat recognized her as one of the “25 Women You Need to Know.” While at Piedmont, she met and fell in love with fellow student, Joseph A. Boyd, Jr., eloping on June 6, 1938, to Athens. The Boyds were married for 69 years until Justice Boyd’s death in 2007. Mrs. Boyd was a member of the Torch of Piedmont. Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law Betty Jean and David Jala (both Class of 1970) and sister-in-law, Marie Waters Stripling (’41). Louise Ellison Callam (’49) of Clarkesville died Sept. 2, 2012. She was 102. Mrs. Callam was a retired elementary school teacher with 39


The piedmont college journal

| FALL 2012


years of service. Except for one bout with food poisoning, Mrs. Callam never missed a day of school. For 25 years during her retirement, she was a volunteer for American Red Cross blood drives. Survivors include her sister, Frances Ellison Burke (’40).

Bessie Roy Dagley (’43) of El Cajon, Calif., died June 14, 2012. She was 91. Mrs. Dagley was a member of the U.S. Navy Waves during WWII. She and her husband settled in California, where they owned and managed a successful rental property business. Edna Jordan Gilkey (’41) of Hiawassee died July 17, 2012. She was 91. Mrs. Gilkey was an outstanding athlete, playing basketball, tennis, and softball at Piedmont. Following graduation in 1941, she toured with a semi-professional softball team, which was ranked eighth in the world. Her 33-year teaching and coaching career began in WinstonSalem, where she was later inducted in the North Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame. Following her husband’s death in 1989 (former PC men’s basketball and baseball coach Bill Gilkey), she returned to Georgia. Mrs. Gilkey was a tireless supporter of Piedmont, actively volunteering and serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. In 1981 she was inducted into the “P” Club Hall of Fame and received PC’s Alumni Service Award in 1999. Barbara Crow Huff (’49) of Demorest died Sept. 2, 2012.She was 84. Mrs. Huff retired from Habersham County Schools after more than 30 years in the classroom,

most of that time at Cornelia Elementary School. Ann Agnes Agnew Martin (’41) of Canon died April 21, 2012. She was 89. Mrs. Martin began teaching second grade at Canon Elementary School in the 1940s, retiring from her teaching career in 1982. In her retirement, she volunteered with the Franklin and Hart County Adult Literacy Program. Mrs. Martin helped organize the first Girl Scout troop in Franklin County and served as the first troop leader. In 1953 she and her husband Don, along with seven other families, formed the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Athens. Maggie Borders McDaniel (’44) of Thomson died Feb. 2, 2012. She was 89. She was a retired school teacher. Mrs. McDaniel was a member of the Torch of Piedmont. Emma Nunn Spratlin (’40) of Jefferson died Aug. 8, 2012. She was 93. Mrs. Spratlin retired after 45 years of teaching second grade with the Jefferson City School System.


| David M. Anderson (’58) of Gainesville died July 25, 2012. He was 75. Mr. Anderson played basketball at Piedmont. His professional career began at North Hall High School, where he taught chemistry and biology and coached football, basketball, and baseball. In 1967 he began a very successful career in the insurance industry. In 1990 Mr. Anderson created Mexico Lindo, a Spanish English bilingual newspaper, now in its 22nd year of publication. He remained its editor until his death.

Ruth McPeck Crow (’56) of Dalton died Sept. 24, 2012. She was 94. Mrs. Crow was retired from the Habersham County Schools, having taught at Cornelia Elementary School for 29 years. In 1990 she was inducted into the Habersham Association of Retired Educators Teachers Hall of Fame. Mrs. Crow first entered Piedmont in 1935, when she played basketball. She left in 1937 when she married, returning in 1940 to begin completion of her degree. Fred M. Free (’50) of Lilburn died March 20, 2012. He was 86. Mr. Free served in the U.S. Army in WWII, suffering a permanent hearing disability in combat. He was an avid golfer and retired from Gold Kist. M. J. Stansell, Jr. (’58) of Liberty, S.C., died July 31, 2012. He was 76. Mr. Stansell played baseball at Piedmont and went on to teach and coach at Liberty High School. He retired from Dow Chemical Company.


Lucile H. Whiten (’52) of Cornelia died May 1, 2012. She was 93. Mrs. Whiten began her teaching career in 1946 at Mud Creek School in Habersham County and taught in the Stephens County Schools for seven years. For many years, she was a volunteer at the Soup Kitchen.

|Stephanie E. Morgan (M’00) of Winder died August 3, 2012. She was 45. Ms. Morgan had been a first grade and kindergarten teacher at Statham Elementary School for the last 21 years.

1960s | Willie Ray “Bill”

Robert W. Cardy of Fort Wayne, Ind., died Aug. 21, 2012. He was 75. In 1998, Mr. Cardy received an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree. He was employed at Carpenter Technology Corporation, a specialty steel company, for 39 years, retiring as Chairman and CEO in 2001.

Glore (’61) of Cornelia died Sept. 19, 2012. He was 79. Mr. Glore served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. He was retired from the textile industry.


| Chris Mance (’84) of Gainesville died April 29, 2012. He was 50. Mr. Mance began his long career teaching and coaching at Rabun County High School and later became assistant principal at Elbert County High School. In 2009, he became principal at Gainesville High School. Under his leadership, Gainesville High received the national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award and the National Youth at Risk award. Survivors include his wife, Phyllis Farris Mance (M’99).


Katherine Rogers Williams of Gainesville died Sept. 5, 2012. She was 100. The daughter of Dr. Jonathan Clark Rogers and Mary Floyd Hamilton Blackshear Rogers, she was born in Demorest and attended classes at Piedmont during the summers when her father was president of the College. Mrs. Williams was a professional social worker, teacher and professor, and community leader. Survivors include her sister, Laura Rogers Fortson.

Ryan A. Baker (’05, M’07) of Mount Airy

died Sept. 2, 2012. He was 29. Mr. Baker was a drama teacher at Habersham Central High School and Habersham Ninth Grade Academy, where he was selected as Teacher of the Year in 2008. Known for his sense of humor, enthusiasm, and determination, Ryan had performed with Habersham Community Theater and in Sautee Nacoochee Community Association’s “Headwaters” productions. Survivors include his fiancée, Jemima Fortune (’06, M’08), and his mother, Deborah Cole Baker (’82).

FALL 2012

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Piedmont College

in the FINE ARTS

Office of Institutional Advancement P. O. Box 6 | Demorest, Georgia | 30535

Non-Profit U. S. Postage PAID Gainesville, GA Permit #47


Theatre Events Mother Hicks 7:30 p.m., Nov. 15–17; 2 p.m., Nov. 18 Swanson Center Blackbox Theater $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors

She Stoops to Conquer 7:30 p.m., April 11–13; 2 p.m., April 14 Swanson Center Mainstage Theater $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors

24th Annual Service of Lessons & Carols

7:30 p.m., Dec. 7–8 Piedmont Chorale, Brass, Sewell Organ, and guest performers in a celebration of the start of the Christmas Season Piedmont Chapel Free Admission

Great Composers Series

7:30 p.m., Nov. 15–17; 2 p.m., Nov. 18 Swanson Center Blackbox Theater

Music of Britten, Bernstein, and Vaughn Williams 7:30 p.m., March 16 Piedmont Chapel

$10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors

$10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors


Music Events

Isabella Demers, Organ

Wind Ensemble

Sewell Organ 10th Anniversary 4 p.m., April 14

7:30 p.m., Nov. 15 Piedmont Chapel Free Admission

Free Admission

ART EVENTS Opera Workshop 5 p.m., Nov. 29 Brooks Hall, Piedmont Chapel Free Admission

Ke Francis, mixed media Reception 6 p.m., Jan. 24 Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art Free Admission

All music productions are performed at the Piedmont College Chapel unless otherwise noted. All theatre productions are performed in the Swanson Center. All Visual Arts shows are in the Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art. Piedmont College faculty, staff, and students are admitted free to all events.

Piedmont Journal Fall 2012  
Piedmont Journal Fall 2012