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Mountain Lines April 2012


U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson to Deliver Commencement Address at Young Harris College
Ceremony to Feature Two Prestigious New Awards

United States Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., will deliver the commencement address at Young Harris College’s Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m. in the Recreation and Fitness Center on the YHC campus.

Isakson began his business career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County office of a small, family-owned real estate business, Northside Realty. He later served as president of Northside for 20 years, presiding over the company’s growth into the largest independent residential real estate brokerage company in the Southeast and one of the largest in America.

Isakson entered politics in 1974 and served 17 years in the Georgia Legislature and two years as chairman of the Georgia Board of Education. In 1999, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first of three terms before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He was re-elected to the Senate in 2010.

The Senate leadership named Isakson to serve on five committees that have jurisdiction over education, healthcare, transportation, foreign policy, veterans’ affairs and employment issues.

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Isakson served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972. He currently resides in Marietta with his wife, Dianne. They have three children and nine grandchildren.

Approximately 133 students are scheduled to participate in the graduation ceremony. Of those, 91 will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biology, business and public policy, communication studies, English, history, music, musical theatre, outdoor leadership or theatre.

Young Harris College will present two new awards to graduating seniors during the ceremony, as the College was recently selected to participate in the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation awards program. The Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards may be presented to students, alumni or community members each year.

The Sullivan Awards were created nearly 100 years ago to honor the service of the husband and wife for whom they are named. The colleges and universities that participate in the Sullivan Awards program reflect the interest of Algernon Sydney Sullivan and his wife, Mary Mildred Sullivan, a native of Virginia, in the education of students in the Appalachian region.

To honor their lives of service to others, the awards are given annually by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation to individuals whose nobility of character and dedication to service sets them apart as examples for others.

At YHC, recipients of the awards may be nominated by students, faculty, staff and administrators and will be selected by a committee comprised of campus representatives. The award, a bronze medallion accompanied by a framed certificate, will be presented to recipients each year at the College’s commencement ceremony.

YHC will also present three new awards established last year. The Dr. Charles R. Clegg Outstanding Scholar Award will be presented to the graduating senior with the overall highest grade point average. The Zell B. Miller Leadership Award will be presented to a graduating senior who has made significant contributions to campus life as an outstanding leader and role model. The Young Harris Spirit Award will be presented to a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding levels of personal integrity, friendliness and engagement with the campus community.

Information about how to nominate for these awards will be announced soon.

United States Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., will deliver the commencement address at Young Harris College’s Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m. in the Recreation and Fitness Center on the YHC campus.

Young Harris College Students Participate in Alternative Spring Break Trip

Ali Neese, senior
Communications and Marketing Intern

Ten Young Harris College students, faculty and staff members traveled to Little Rock, Ark., March 4-9, to participate in an alternative spring break trip facilitated by S.E.R.V.E. (Service, Education, Responsibility, Voice and Engagement). The group worked with Heifer International, a global nonprofit organization that strives to end poverty and hunger in a sustainable fashion.

The YHC group joined nearly 50 students from colleges and universities across the United States including Berry College, Florida State University, the College of Saint Rose and Pennsylvania College of Technology.

In addition to learning about Heifer’s model for developing programs to end poverty and hunger through sustainable means, students also met regularly for team-building and problem-solving exercises. The group also spent time completing service projects on Heifer Ranch, carrying out tasks like feeding animals, tending the garden and assisting with other general maintenance.

“The program combines interactive learning programs that bring awareness of the great needs in the world with opportunities to give the gift of time and hard work,” said Campus Minister and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Rev. Dr. Tim Moore. “The service activities offered by Heifer International not only allowed participants to give back, but also served as great educational tools and allowed us to connect what we believe with what we do.”

As part of the interactive learning program, the group spent 24 hours in Heifer Ranch’s Global Village living in one of seven Third World representative sites. The exercise allowed students to learn about living conditions in Third World countries, as well as how to cope with available resources.

“Not only were students able to hear real facts about poverty and hunger, but they also experienced firsthand what some individuals have to go through on a daily basis to survive,” said Director of Campus Activities Rouseline Emmanuel. “I don’t think our students will ever forget their experience at Heifer Ranch, and will think twice about food waste in particular.”

“I was so excited to come back and share my experience with friends and family,” said freshman Andrea Simmonds of Suches. “My life has been greatly enriched through this experience and has caused me to develop a deeper respect and love for people.”

Click here to view all photos of the trip.

YHC students like Mary Calderon, a freshman biology major from Buford, learned about programs developed by Heifer International to help end hunger and poverty through first-hand experience at Heifer Ranch, a farm complete with gardens and animals including water buffalo, camels, pigs, goats and chickens.

(From left to right) Director of Campus Activities Rouseline Emmanuel, freshman business and public policy major Ada Huang, of Hefei, China, freshman biology major Mary Calderon, of Buford, Campus Minister and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Rev. Dr. Tim Moore, senior music education major Paige Jenkins, of Dallas, and sophomore liberal arts major Nadia Dean, of Lithia Springs, stand in front of "Little Thailand," one of Heifer Ranch Global Village’s seven Third World representative sites.

(From left to right) Senior music education major Paige Jenkins, of Dallas, sophomore music major Brian Walker, of Powder Springs, and junior communication studies major Shannon Weaver, of Alpharetta, make a presentation to demonstrate how Heifer’s values-based strategic planning model may be used by students to enact change on college campuses.

Young Harris College to Host “A Celebration for Bob and Gayle Nichols”

Young Harris College will recognize Dr. Bob and Gayle Nichols and their outstanding contributions to the College by dedicating the recently constructed 12-court, lighted tennis complex in their honor on Saturday, April 28. All former YHC students, tennis players and summer campers are invited back to campus to celebrate with former students of Dr. Bob Nichols and the tennis family.

Many alumni and tennis players know Dr. Bob and Gayle Nichols as an integral part of their Young Harris College memories. Bob taught math, coached tennis and served as director of academic advising, while Gayle served as the senior college counselor, until both retired in 2009 after more than 30 years of service.

“I don't know of any two people who have had greater influence on the lives of students at Young Harris College than Bob and Gayle Nichols,” said Jim Thomas, associate professor of health and physical education and former men’s tennis coach. “Their tireless commitment and dedication encouraged many young men and women to achieve their best and has always served as an example to me.”

The event will begin with lunch at the Bob and Gayle Nichols Tennis Complex, followed by a dedication ceremony and YHC men’s and women’s tennis showcase match. Event attendees will have the opportunity to take campus tours and try out the courts before attending a reception and dinner that evening honoring the Nichols at the Recreation and Fitness Center featuring a program emceed by YHC alumnus Marlan Wilbanks, ’81.

“We are greatly honored to have such a beautiful tennis complex dedicated to us, and we are greatly humbled by it,” said Dr. Bob Nichols. “But the honor truly goes to all the players and coaches who have proudly presented their best on YHC’s court—past and present. These coaches and their players are an integral part of the outstanding tennis history of Young Harris College.”

Dr. Bob and Gayle Nichols.

Young Harris College Bass Fishing Team Attempts to Hook a National Championship

Young Harris College bass fishing team members Brad Rutherford, a junior from Lavonia, and Chandler White, a senior from Powder Springs, recently competed in the B.A.S.S. Bassmaster College Series South Super Regional on Lake Guntersville in Alabama, placing eighth and securing a spot in the national championship. The team received $200 for the win.

Rutherford and White have competed together in several events this year, winning $200 after placing fourth at the Tennessee Collegiate Bass Fishing Trail Qualifier on Lake Guntersville. Rutherford also recently won $160 after placing second at the Georgia Southern Collegiate Bass Fishing Series on Lake Logan Martin in Alabama.

Rutherford formed YHC’s bass fishing team in 2009 with Clint McNeal, ’10. The duo won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville that year before going on to finish 12th overall in the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.

“We wanted to get involved in the rapidly growing sport of collegiate bass fishing, and YHC had never been a part of anything like it before. I love fishing, so I figured why not do something I love while also representing the school I love,” Rutherford said. “This team makes me feel like I am a part of something special at YHC. It’s progressively grown each year, and I am pleased to see it where it is today. My hope is that, after I graduate, the team will continue to expand and represent YHC in a positive manner.”

The team recently hosted a tournament on Lake Chatuge for local anglers, raising $220 to allocate to travel expenses as the team continues to participate in tournaments across the Southeast and attempts to qualify for the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship.

“Our students pay out of their own pockets to travel and participate in these events,” said the team’s advisor, Assistant Professor of Biology Johnathan Davis, Ph.D. “I am proud of how the team has responded to the financial constraints we are facing by making a dedicated effort to raise money and find sponsors to support the team.”

The team has established sponsorships with noted companies such as St. Croix Rods, Berkley, Abu Garcia and Tackle Warehouse, and the Towns County Tourism Association recently made a $1,000 contribution to the team for travel expenses.

“Being on the team is not all about fishing,” White said. “We have to maintain relationships with sponsors as well as local organizations and businesses, which has given me an added sense of responsibility.”

In addition to hosting a fundraising tournament each semester on Lake Chatuge, the team also plans to host events in the community that promote fishing, starting with an event geared towards local youth this summer.

“We have a great group of guys that try to represent YHC in a very professional manner on and off campus,” White said. “I’ve gained great experience working as a team with the other members and Dr. Davis, as well as demonstrating sportsmanship while on the water. Fishing for YHC is an honor—I wouldn’t want to fish for any other school.”

“Although I’m an avid angler myself, I could learn a lot from watching our team fish,” added Dr. Davis. “While the ultimate goal is to win championships, our two immediate goals are to win a major event in order to use the prize money to fund the rest of the season, and to prove that we are the top team in Georgia as well as one of the top teams in the Southeast.”

The YHC Bass Fishing Team is also accepting contributions toward their expenses through YHC's Office of Advancement. If you are interested in supporting the team, make your tax-deductible gift for the team by phone through the Office of Advancement at (706) 379-5173 or mail your gift to:

YHC Bass Fishing Team
Office of Advancement
P.O. Box 275
Young Harris, GA 30582

(From left to right) Young Harris College bass fishing team members Brad Rutherford, a junior from Lavonia, and Chandler White, a senior from Powder Springs, competed in the B.A.S.S. Bassmaster College Series South Super Regional on Lake Guntersville in Alabama, placing eighth and securing a spot in the national championship.

(From left to right) White and Rutherford placed fourth at the Tennessee Collegiate Bass Fishing Trail Qualifier on Lake Guntersville.

The team recently hosted a tournament on Lake Chatuge for local anglers, raising $220 to allocate to travel expenses as the team continues to participate in tournaments across the Southeast. Team member Joseph Ethridge, a freshman biology major from Villa Rica, (far left) is pictured with the winning team that weighed in over 28 pounds of fish.

Young Harris College Inter-Religious Council Assists UMAR

The Young Harris College Inter-Religious Council (IRC) recently presented a $334 check to UMAR, a nonprofit organization that supports more than 350 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through residential, employment and cultural enrichment opportunities. The money was collected during weekly Chapel services each Wednesday.

At the end of each academic year, the IRC meets to decide which charity to support through the following year’s Chapel offering. The council has collected money for a variety of causes over the years, including hunger relief, international disaster relief and the fight against human trafficking.

“I am delighted that the IRC selected UMAR this year, because it is a wonderful ministry and a great witness to the importance of the shared life and common dignity we all desire,” said Campus Minister and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Rev. Dr. Tim Moore. “The students have embraced this opportunity to connect with the UMAR homes on a deeper level than simply providing financial support. I could not be happier for the students or prouder of their generous expression of faith and love.”

Throughout the academic year, student worship leaders invited UMAR residents to share in weekly Chapel services held at the College. Students also recently visited UMAR homes to plan an event with the residents. 

“I am so thrilled with our interaction with the residents of the UMAR homes,” said IRC Secretary Jessie Robinette, a sophomore education major from Madison. “Getting to know each resident through weekly visits has been amazing. I am very pleased with the relationship we’ve formed with these amazing people.”

Based in Huntersville, N.C., UMAR owns and operates 24 group homes and nine apartments throughout western North Carolina. For more information about UMAR, visit

Purple and White Club to be Recognized at Annual Spring Board of Trustees Meeting

The Young Harris College Purple and White Club will be recognized at the Board of Trustees spring meeting that will take place on campus Friday, April 13. For the last three fiscal years, the trustees have been 100 percent in giving to YHC. Faculty and staff have the opportunity to answer the same challenge, and, by doing so, encourage the board to again be 100 percent in giving this fiscal year, which runs July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012.

The Purple and White Club recognizes the annual giving efforts of YHC faculty and staff. This organized effort, co-chaired by Assistant Professor of Education Mark Brunner, Ph.D., and Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Lynne Grady, ’88, demonstrates to alumni, friends and foundations that YHC faculty and staff are the first ones to step up and show pride for the College.

“I contribute because I love this institution. I was taught by inspirational professors from whom I received not only unbridled support and encouragement, but also positivity from YHC as a whole. I choose to give something back in the hope that others may have the same experience,” Grady said. “I encourage all faculty and staff to make educational philanthropy a rewarding part of their legacy. These gifts are truly investments in social change that directly affect and benefit our empowered graduates.”

For the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the Purple and White Club had 163 YHC full-time faculty and staff members, with staff giving at 100 percent and faculty giving at 97 percent. For the 2011-2012 fiscal year, faculty giving is currently at 47 percent and staff giving is at 51 percent.

Each department that achieves 100 percent giving will be listed in donor reports, including the annual President’s Giving Report, and will be announced at the spring Board of Trustees meeting.

The number of faculty and staff who make annual contributions to the College is critical to the success of the College’s fundraising efforts. External donors and foundations who are considering making a gift to the College often ask about the percentage and total number of faculty and staff who give back to the institution.

A high percentage of internal support indicates to outside donors that the members of the College community are supportive of what the institution is doing, what it stands for and where it is headed and consider themselves a part of its growth and success.

“The transition of YHC to a four-year institution of higher learning is challenging, but it also presents a unique opportunity for those of us living through this experience. We are building the foundation of a program together that will greatly impact the lives of students and families of this region and beyond for generations to come,” said Dr. Brunner. “Every contribution, no matter how large or small, is an investment in the future of YHC. Contributing to the College allows us to enhance the legacy of YHC, and this will be the greatest gift we can give to future generations that pass through our halls.”

Annual gifts may be made to the College’s Annual Fund, the Capital Campaign, a scholarship or an established fund, such as Friends of the Arts. The College’s fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30; gifts made on or before June 30, 2012, will be credited to the current 2011-2012 fiscal year.

The easiest way to make a gift to the College is through the convenience of payroll deduction. Simply complete a payroll deduction form, which is available for download on the Advancement website and is also available in the Office of Advancement and the Business Office. By authorizing a specified amount to be deducted from your paycheck, employees can contribute without having to write a check or use a credit card. For example, a $12 gift breaks down to just $1 a month through payroll deduction; a $5 deduction per paycheck adds up to an annual gift of $60.

For more information, contact Director of Development and Planned Giving Jennifer McAfee at (706) 379-5318 or

Young Harris College Names 2012 Woodward Scholar

Kyle Huneycutt, junior
Communications and Marketing Intern

Young Harris College junior biology major Mary Beth Maxwell, of Carrollton, was recently awarded the Beverly Barrow Woodward,’53, Scholarship, established by Leonard and Beverly Woodward of Rome, Ga., and granted annually to one YHC student to study abroad in England at Harlaxton College. On May 11, Maxwell will begin a six-week program that will allow her to explore her growing interest in healthcare systems.

In addition to learning about the similarities and differences in British and American healthcare systems, Maxwell will also have the opportunity to visit several hospitals and observe the British healthcare system firsthand.

“I will gain life experiences through studying abroad in England that I would not get anywhere else,” said Maxwell. “Instead of learning through a textbook, I will learn through experience and see for myself the profession I have always dreamed of doing.”

After graduation, Maxwell hopes to pursue a career as a pediatrician and is considering attending graduate school to study public health before attending medical school. She is particularly interested in using her medical skills to assist those living in Third World countries.

“Learning about the British healthcare system is very important to me as an aspiring medical student,” Maxwell said. “I hope to travel and help people around the world with my degree, so it’s important to be able to work in many different types of systems.”

Maxwell traveled to Liberia last summer for a mission trip through her local church, assisting at an orphanage and leading Bible school for children. She is highly involved in YHC’s religious life programming as the Inter-Religious Council junior representative, and participates in weekly Chapel services, Bible studies and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) meetings.

She holds many leadership roles on campus, including Student Government Association treasurer and junior representative. She is a resident assistant at The Village and has served as Residence Hall Council vice president for two years. She is also a member of Aspiring Medical Professionals (AMP), Student Conduct Council, Media Advisory Board and Gamma Psi sorority.

“I came to YHC because of the friendly people and all of the opportunities available to get involved, but my education has always been my priority,” said Maxwell. “The small class sizes have made such a huge difference, and my professors have always been so willing to help me succeed. I could not have a better college experience anywhere else.”

During her time at Harlaxton, Maxwell looks forward to attending excursions planned by the college to cities throughout England such as London, York and Cambridge, as well as a weekend trip to Paris.

“I am excited to be able to venture out and learn about different types of cultures,” Maxwell said. “I feel so blessed and very honored to have received such a wonderful scholarship, and there are no words to express my gratitude and thanks to everyone who made this possible. I just cannot wait for this summer—it’s going to be the trip of a lifetime.”

Young Harris College junior biology major Mary Beth Maxwell, of Carrollton, was recently awarded the Beverly Barrow Woodward,’53, Scholarship.

Faculty and Staff Notables

Assistant Professor of History Dr. Matthew Byron presented a paper titled “Crossing Borders can be Very Satisfying: The Impotency of Dueling Laws in Florida” at the Florida Historical Association Conference in Tampa, Fla., March 29. Dr. Byron was also selected as the Clark Chair Lecturer in History at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., and will present a lecture titled “Sporting Masculinity: Gladiators and Gender Issues in Ancient Rome” there on April 12.

Karen Calloway, assistant professor of music and principle flute of the Toccoa Symphony, performed in the symphony’s spring concert held at the Baptist Center in Toccoa, March 18. YHC freshman music education major Rachel Bettis, of Dawsonville, also performed with the symphony during the concert.

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Dr. Nathan “Eric” Dickman presented a paper titled “Integrating Levinas’s Ethics with Buddhist Ontology” at the 2012 Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion conference held in Atlanta, March 2-4. Four YHC students also attended the conference. Dr. Dickman recently facilitated a day trip for members of the Buddhist Meditation and Mindfulness Gathering to attend the Tibetan Buddhist Mandala exhibition at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. He also hosted Duckworth Library’s Cinematheque showing of The Fountain on March 22.

Database Administrator Daniel Dockery recently earned his bachelor’s degree in information technology with a concentration in software engineering from the University of Phoenix.

Communication Studies Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Dr. Jennifer Hallett will present a paper she coauthored titled “Squid or Chalkie? The role of selective perception in processing Hillbilly humor” at the Media Communication Interest Group at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Communication Association held in Cambridge, Mass., April 26-29.

Assistant Professor of Computer Science Dr. Brian Hoffman presented a session titled "Internet Safety Topics for an Introductory Computer Course" at Cengage Learning’s annual Course Technology Conference held in San Antonio, Texas, March 7-9.

A manuscript by Associate Professor of English Janice Moore titled “Windows Filled with Gifts” was selected as a semifinalist for the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize presented by the University of Arkansas Press. Moore will serve as one of three featured poets reading original works at the Poetry Road Show presented by the Georgia Poetry Society and the University Press of North Georgia in Dahlonega, April 14.

Assistant Professor of History Dr. Natalia Starostina presented a paper titled “Nostalgia and Mythmaking in 20th-Century France” at the Charlotte Area French Studies Workshop held at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, March 4. This paper analyzes the discourse of nostalgia in the works produced by the Russian émigrés in interwar France.

Assistant Professor of Spanish and French Dr. Isabelle Therriault attended the 2011 Association for Hispanic Classical Theater Symposium on Golden Age Theatre in El Paso, Texas, March 8-10. Dr. Therriault also presented a paper titled “Cultural Presentations: An Effective Pedagogical Tool that Integrates Technology in Foreign Languages Classes” at the annual Southeast Coastal Conference on Languages and Literatures in Statesboro, March 29-30.