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Today@YHC July 2011

Alumni Spotlight: Tommy Boylen, ’46


Hundreds of alumni will return to the Young Harris College campus for Alumni Weekend 2011, July 29-31, to renew old friendships and see familiar faces.  While there are many “regulars” at this annual event, one stands out from the crowd—Tommy Boylen, ’46, who has not missed an Alumni Weekend in 35 years.

“Tommy is the unofficial greeter for Alumni Weekend, and we could not ask for a better one. He always has a smiling face that people look forward to seeing,” Director of Alumni Services Dana Ensley, ’97, said. “I always enjoy Tommy’s calls to the Office of Alumni Services in search of the most updated information to share with his classmates that he keeps up with throughout the year and looks forward to seeing at Alumni Weekend.”

Boylen began studying at the Young Harris Academy in 1942 after hearing about the school from a family friend, Bobby Phillips, ’44, who had already made the trek from Atlanta up to the north Georgia mountains.

“I was 15 years old and had never been away from home. I had no idea what I wanted to be in life. My family didn’t have a car, so my dad rented one to bring me up there from Atlanta,” Boylen said. “My mom and dad sent me there to learn—and boy, did I! Teachers at YHC were so dedicated to their students.”

According to Boylen, life on campus consisted of “classes, meal time, study time, Phi Chi, life in the boys’ dormitory and church on Sunday.” He recalls the joy of sliding down the ice-covered hill near Sharp Hall during the chilly winter months and swimming in the lake at Vogel State Park with friends while attending summer school at YHC.

“I remember getting some of the girls to keep Mrs. Pittard busy so we could go up to a place behind the beach at Vogel that had hamburgers, hot dogs and all kinds of goodies,” Boylen said. The five-cent jukebox brought us all kinds of music from the 1940s to dance to, and the jitterbug was the popular dance at the time. Dancing was not allowed back then—or holding hands.”

Boylen graduated in 1946—the same year a young woman named Margaret came to Young Harris from her home in Monticello, Fla.

“She stayed in Young Harris for two weeks, got homesick and went home,” Boylen recalled. “We did not even date, but I sure did remember her!”

After returning home to Atlanta, Boylen crossed paths with Margaret again on a college campus when he saw her registering for night school at Georgia State University. Within months, they were married. The couple recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary in June.

While Boylen is “semi-retired,” he still takes photographs of homes for homeowners insurance companies in the Atlanta area. He also keeps busy visiting his five sons, Paul, Larry, Bruce, Don and Pat, and three daughters, Donna, Peggy and Connie, all of whom are married.

In his spare time, Boylen makes an effort to keep up with the latest happenings at Young Harris College by attending meetings and gatherings hosted by the Office of Alumni Services.

“My faithful computer also helps me keep in touch with not only the College, but also my friends all over the United States,” Boylen said. “I try to check on my friends often by phone or e-mail, and I keep them informed about each other as well.”

According to Boylen, he and Margaret take two “family vacations" each year—one to St. George Island in Florida and one to Young Harris for Alumni Weekend.

“Every year, it is still rewarding to come home to YHC. Living on campus gave me a chance to develop lifelong friendships that still exist today,” Boylen said. “My life has been so much fuller because of the people I lived with and the professors who guided me.”

5 Questions for… Dr. David Franklin


The Office of Alumni Services recently posed five questions to David Franklin, Ph.D., who served as chair of the Division of Social and Behavioral Studies for 18 years and professor of history for 30 years. Find out what brought Dr. Franklin to Young Harris in 1979, some of his fondest memories at YHC, and what it has been like to watch Young Harris College become a four-year institution.

What are you up to these days?

I have been thoroughly enjoying retirement for the past few years. It gives me more time to travel to places like France and England, which I will visit this June and July. I continue to collect manuscripts—primarily of the British monarchy, U.S. presidents and literary figures. I am also very involved in the activities of my Catholic church, such as being a lector and serving its benevolence society.

What brought you to the Enchanted Valley back in 1979 and what are some of your fondest memories during your time at YHC?

Young Harris was my first interview way back in 1979 when I came to this beautiful mountain community with my wife, Louisa. We both immediately fell in love with it. By far, my fondest memories are the many students that I had the pleasure to teach over the years and those that I continue to maintain contact with.  

You have impacted the lives of many YHC alumni over the years. What is the impact these students have made on your life and what lessons do you hope to have instilled in the students you taught at YHC?

I have learned much from my students, just as I hope they have learned from me. If there is one lesson I have tried to instill in them, it is that education does not stop with just attaining a degree, but is a lifelong study and search of intellectual pleasures.

Your children, Meg, ’00, and John, ’05, both attended YHC and your wife, Professor of English and Director of the Academic Success Center Louisa Franklin, has served on the YHC faculty for 32 years. What was it like to have your family and the Young Harris College “family” be one and the same?

Both my daughter, Meg, and son, John, were able to take courses that transferred to their respective baccalaureate institutions of Washington and Lee University for her and the University of Georgia for him. Meg also went on to earn an M.F.A. degree at the University of Florida. She now lives in New York City. John graduated last year from Mercer University Law School and is practicing in Atlanta. 

Louisa and I met at the University of Alabama and have been joyfully married for 35 years. Working with her was always fun! She is really easy to get along with both at work and at home. After all, she's not only my wife, but also my best friend. I was blessed to have great friends on the faculty, and the faculty kids were always like my own. We all still get together quite a lot. 

You still live in Young Harris and have now witnessed two milestone anniversaries for YHC—the 100th in 1986 and the 125th in 2011. What has the experience been like of watching the College grow over the years and what do you believe is the legacy of YHC? 

It has been spectacular to watch the College become a baccalaureate institution.  Every year that I taught, there would be students who always wished that was the case. Now that it is a reality, it gives me a sense of satisfaction. There has always been a certain spirit associated with the College which can now last longer for the students who have caught that special feeling and want to continue experiencing it.

Alumni Weekend is just around the corner, and I can’t wait.

For those of you who don’t know me, you may want to consider yourself somewhat fortunate. The others who do know me will probably say, “Oh, heck, here he comes again!”

My name is Rufus Brown, ’60, and as I’ve stated before, I’m a “Young Harris-aholic.” I was Alumni President a few years ago, and now I’ve been taken out of the mothballs to serve again.

I attended YHC a couple of years ago and met my wife, Angela Avant Brown, ’60. We were married after I finished college at the University of Georgia and Angela completed her studies at LaGrange College. We have three children, two of which attended YHC. Our son, Cread, married Alicia Gunter, ’89, and they have two sons, Luke and Porter, while my daughter, Jessamy Brown Vining, ’95, and her husband, Adam Vining, have twins, Walker and Neely. My four grandchildren have all already been indentured to YHC until they graduate.

I am a people person, and the most important, favorite and loved people in my life are friends I made at YHC. I cannot impress upon you, unless you have already realized it, the importance of remaining active in your alumni organization. We (the College) need your support, both financially and by your personal involvement. We always need Class Coordinators, help with recruiting and fundraising and assistance with Alumni Weekend. It’s all fun, rewarding and fulfilling. Plus, you get to help me look good!

Maybe after this stint as president, they will let me return to my rocking chair. The truth is, I wouldn’t be happy unless I was rocking with a group of YHC friends and we were telling “Do you remember when?” stories.

Have a safe and fun summer. Come to Alumni Weekend, July 29-31, and meet all your buddies. Be sure to attend all the gatherings, especially the alumni update in Glenn Auditorium on Saturday morning. This is the one gathering where you get all the latest news on what is happening at your College and your Alumni Association. Come and bring a friend, spouse, child, somebody or anybody. The update is short and very informative. Plus, a good crowd will make me look even better! Don’t make me have to come get you…



Young Harris College Introduces Teacher Preparation Program

Certification Programs in Early Childhood Education, Middle Grades Education, Music Education and Four Secondary Areas to be offered in August 2011

Young Harris College has earned approval from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) to offer certification programs in early childhood education (P-5), middle grades education (4-8), music education (P-12), English education (6-12), history education (6-12), mathematics education (6-12), and broad field science education (6-12).

Earlier this year, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) approved the addition of the following degree programs: bachelor of science in education (early childhood education), bachelor of science in education (middle grades education), bachelor of music education with choral or instrumental emphasis, and bachelor of science in mathematics.

These four degree programs, along with degrees in English, history and biology, provide pathways for the seven initial certification programs to be offered beginning in August 2011. In addition, the PSC also approved the Young Harris College Teacher Preparation Program to offer post-baccalaureate programs in these seven initial certifications for candidates who already hold a bachelor’s or higher degree and wish to add certification only.

“We are delighted to offer this Teacher Preparation Program to our students,” Young Harris College President Cathy Cox said. “Whether our students want to obtain baccalaureate degrees in education or receive teaching certifications to supplement their majors, our extensive program offerings will allow them to pursue many exciting careers in the field of education.”

The College received notification that the Georgia Professional Standards Commission had approved the seven certification areas for the Young Harris College Teacher Preparation Program.

“I am grateful to have been able to work with a president like Cathy Cox, the strong management team, excellent arts and sciences faculty and our wonderful public school colleagues in bringing about this approval of our Teacher Preparation Program,” Education Department Chair and Professor of Education Bill Brown, Ph.D., said. “We feel strongly that it will continue to build upon those standards of excellence that are trademark to the great academic and service traditions of Young Harris College.”

The new majors join the existing bachelor’s degree programs—biology, business and public policy, history, outdoor leadership, English, communication studies, music, musical theatre and theatre—for a total of 13 new baccalaureate programs added since the College was awarded four-year status in December 2008.

In May 2011, the College conferred its first bachelor’s degrees in nearly a century, awarding 40 baccalaureate degrees to a class of seniors who will attend graduate and professional programs at such institutions as Georgia Health Sciences University, North Georgia College & State University and The Ohio State University.

In addition to expanding its academic program, Young Harris College has been adding faculty and staff at a record pace, hiring more than 135 new employees over the last three academic years to accommodate student enrollment growth.

In August 2010, Young Harris College broke all previous enrollment records with the largest fall enrollment in the College’s history of 819 students on campus. The College plans to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years.

To accommodate the anticipated rise in admissions in conjunction with its growth, the College has developed a 10-year master plan to expand its facilities. Many new building projects recently have been completed, including a 200-bed LEED-certified residence hall and the 57,000-square-foot Recreation and Fitness Center that features a state-of-the-art 1,100-seat, NCAA-regulation arena that serves as the new home of Mountain Lions basketball. The college’s development plan also calls for a 148-bed “upperclassmen village,” set to open in August 2011, as well as a 125,000-square-foot campus center that will house a new dining hall, student center and library. 

Click here to find out more about the Young Harris College Teacher Preparation Program.

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox Honored with State Bar of Georgia’s Tradition of Excellence Award

Young Harris College President and former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox is a recipient of the 2011 Tradition of Excellence Award for General Practice, an accolade presented by the General Practice and Trial Section of the State Bar of Georgia. President Cox was recently recognized for this accomplishment during a special ceremony at the organization’s annual meeting held in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

President Cox, a 25-year member of the State Bar of Georgia, practiced law with the firms Hansell & Post in Atlanta and Lambert, Floyd & Conger in Bainbridge. During that time, she used her legal skills as a member of the Georgia General Assembly and the House Judiciary Committee. She subsequently applied her legal skills in her service as Georgia’s Secretary of State, as a faculty member at the University of Georgia’s School of Law and as college president at Young Harris College.

President Cox was introduced at the General Practice and Trial Section’s award breakfast by South Georgia Circuit Chief Judge A. Wallace Cato, who described her as “a credit to the profession” and “one of the most tenacious lawyers” he had ever observed.

“Cathy Cox is the personification of what a good lawyer should emulate. She simply exudes those qualities and character traits that recipients of the Tradition of Excellence Award should have. She is truly a mover and a shaker, a real trail blazer,” Judge Cato said. “Cathy is never satisfied with the status quo; she is always looking for an opportunity to make a difference. I can think of no one more deserving of the award.” 

The General Practice Section of the State Bar of Georgia has been presenting Tradition of Excellence Awards for the past 25 years. Recipients must be Georgia-resident members of the State Bar who have 20 years of outstanding achievement as a trial lawyer, general practitioner or judge; be 50 years old or older; have made a significant contribution to State Bar or Institute of Continuing Legal Education activities; have a record of community service; and have a personal commitment to excellence.

Previous recipients include well-known Georgia lawyers Bobby Lee Cook of Summerville and Denmark Groover of Macon, the late Speaker of the Georgia House Thomas B. Murphy, the late lawyer and former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell, former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers, and distinguished jurist Hardy Gregory, Jr., of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Young Harris College President and former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox is a recipient of the 2011 Tradition of Excellence Award for General Practice, an accolade presented by the General Practice and Trial Section of the State Bar of Georgia.