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Today@YHC May 2012

Young Harris College Hosts Successful Spring Alumni Weekend

“Destination: Young Harris” was the theme as hundreds of Young Harris College alumni, their families and friends made their way back to Young Harris this spring for Alumni Weekend 2012. The celebration held Friday-Sunday, April 20-22, was a fun-filled weekend of reconnecting and reuniting with old friends, classmates and professors. Alumni and their families enjoyed many fun activities and endless opportunities to interact and share the Young Harris spirit with each other as well as with faculty, staff and students.

The highlight of Friday evening was the new Half Century Club Dinner followed by the Alumni Awards Ceremony at the Recreation and Fitness Center. Alumni from across all generations gathered to reminisce and honor a group of outstanding alumni. Members of the Class of 1962 were recognized as special guests of the evening in commemoration of their 50th reunion, as well as all other alumni who have celebrated this “golden” reunion.

After dinner, alumni association board members presented the annual alumni awards. The Young Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Melissa Breedlove Adams, ’00, of Atlanta. The Susan B. Harris Award was presented to Shirley Carver Miller, ’54, of Young Harris. The Iuventus Award was presented to Dr. Timothy Tennent, ’79, of Wilmore, Ky. The Artemas Lester Award was presented to Rev. Bob Bone, ’57, of Young Harris. The Exceptional Military Service Award was presented to Eric Gibbs, ’92, of Jacksonville, N.C. The Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Career Achievement was presented to James McIntyre Jr., ’59, of Washington, D.C. The Nancy Louise Haynes Stephens Sanderson Robertson Outstanding Friend Award was presented to the O. Wayne Rollins Family, and the YHC Family of the Year Award was presented to the Harrell Family.

On Saturday, alumni mingled with family, friends and faculty in the Recreation and Fitness Center during lunch and the Alumni GreenFest that included children’s activities and table displays from YHC students promoting various clubs and Greek organizations. Alumni also enjoyed live music performed by Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans, composed of Art Department Chair and Associate Professor of Art Ted Whisenhunt, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Dr. Jamie Watson, and their wives, Dr. Eloise Whisenhunt and Darlena Watson.

For the first time, alumni also had the opportunity to enjoy athletic and cultural events throughout the weekend.

The annual Student Juried Art Exhibition was on display, and Theatre Young Harris presented its season finale, Neil Simon's Tony Award-winning musical comedy “Sweet Charity.” In addition, Theatre Young Harris presented “A Walk Through Time,” a theatrical romp across campus and through YHC history, on Friday afternoon as part of the special weekend.

The YHC baseball team hosted three home games, completing a weekend sweep over Hiwassee College, while the YHC softball team split a doubleheader at home on Saturday against the College of Coastal Georgia. Many former athletes also enjoyed some friendly competition at alumni soccer and softball games coordinated by the Department of Athletics.

The weekend’s festivities wrapped up Sunday morning with worship services at Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church led by Dr. Tennent, who serves as president of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. Dr. Tennent also gave a lunch lecture for students, alumni and guests.

Many classes enjoyed reunions and meetings throughout the weekend both on and off campus, including the Class of 1947 (’46 and ’48), Class of 1952 (’51 and ’53), Class of 1957 (’56 and ’58), Class of 1962 (’61 and ’63), Class of 1967 (’66 and ’68), Class of 1972 (’70, ’71, and ’73), Class of 1982 (’81, and ’83)  Class of 1987 (’86 and ’88), and Class of 1997 (’96 and ’98).

View all photos of Alumni Weekend 2012>>


Alumni Spotlight: Harry Gaines

Ali Neese, senior
Communications and Marketing Intern

A fateful turn of events led Harry Gaines, ’55, to attend Young Harris College.

“I was likely in one of the last classes in the Young Harris Academy, back when the final two years of high school were offered,” said Gaines.

It all started back in the 1920s, when his mother, Mabel Gaines Fincher, attended Sunday school in her hometown of Unadilla taught by a young man named Charles Clegg. Years later, when Mabel contacted Dr. Clegg, who had been serving as president of Young Harris College since 1950, he urged both Harry and his brother, Richard, ’56, to enroll at YHC.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Young Harris,” Gaines said. “Living in the mountains after living in South Georgia was magical, and I developed friendships that survived many decades. The interaction that occurred in our small classes that were taught by very capable instructors made learning fun.”

Like many students, Gaines offset tuition expenses by working in the dining hall.

“I had sufficient savings to fund my first year at Young Harris, but not the second. Someone anonymously paid my tuition that year, which left quite an impression on me.”

Gaines graduated from the Young Harris Academy in 1955 and completed one college quarter at YHC before transferring to Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta, where he attended night classes while working full-time.

He graduated in 1960 with a B.B.A. in marketing and went on to have a successful business career in college textbook publishing and corporate training, having served as CEO of four different companies in these two industries.

“My education at Young Harris has served me well over the years,” he said.

In 1995, he retired at the age of 58 and currently splits time between homes in Bonita Springs, Fla., and Bucks County, Penn., with his wife of 31 years, Debra Carrier.

“Deb and I have led a full life, engaging in travel, exercise, golf and managing investments,” said Gaines. “The combination of Florida and Pennsylvania has suited our lifestyle well. I’m an avid cyclist, averaging close to 5,000 miles per year, and I’ve also enjoyed coaching and mentoring a variety of individuals.”

Gaines is now taking his passion for mentoring and inspiring others nationwide.

Later this month, he will appear on the Emmy Award-winning television show “The Doctors” to discuss his popular new book, Fitness Beyond 50: Turn Back the Clock.

Published in February 2012, the conversational-style book provides inspiration and motivation to prompt adults—particularly those over age 50—to engage in fitness activities and healthy eating through discussion of the latest research and more than 125 testimonials about the benefits of exercise.

“I had written articles about fitness and health for an online fitness company and for the newsletter of our local fitness center in southwest Florida,” he explained. “That led to undertaking a much larger project—writing a 315-page book on fitness and health for those over 50.”

Now available online at and Barnes and Noble and through his website,, the book is growing in popularity and continues to receive numerous positive reviews.

“My professional experience in educational publishing and training provided me with a keen understanding of how adults learn. While there are thousands of how-to exercise and diet books on the market, I wanted to offer my peers something else,” Gaines said. “Over 70 percent of our health problems—such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension—can be prevented. I believe knowledge is a strong incentive to take action, and I want to help people develop motivation. Fitness Beyond 50 is a ‘why-to’ book, rather than a ‘how-to.’”

That desire to educate and motivate also extends to helping a new generation of YHC students. Although Gaines no longer lives in Georgia, he has never forgotten his connection to the Enchanted Valley, his education at Young Harris and the generosity of the anonymous donor who made that education possible.

“I decided to establish an endowed scholarship to aid students who need financial support in order to obtain their degree. I was motivated by the memory of what someone did for me many years ago,” he said.

Named in tribute to Gaines’ mother, the Mabel Gaines Fincher Memorial Scholarship Fund will benefit YHC students for many years to come.

“My wife and I are so pleased to establish this scholarship fund, and I feel rewarded knowing that future YHC students will learn, mature and set into the world to find their own paths.”


5 Questions for… Carol Rabun


The Office of Alumni Services recently posed five questions to Carol Rabun, who worked as both assistant business manager and business manager in the Young Harris College Business Office for more than three decades before retiring in 1989. Read about what brought Rabun to Young Harris back in 1957, some of her fondest memories at YHC, and what it has been like to watch Young Harris College grow during the last 55 years.

What are you up to these days?
In the past couple of years, I have stayed busy with church activities, even singing in the Silver Tones, a choir for seniors. Keeping up with grandchildren and great-grandchildren scattered across the United States also keeps me on my toes. Since I retired from Young Harris College, I have done a lot of traveling, going to 10 European countries, over into Turkey and across Gibraltar into North Africa. Some of my more recent travels include the Canadian Rockies, Nova Scotia and Iceland. I also serve on the supervisory committee of the Towns-Union Credit Union, which keeps me in touch with the credit union that I managed for several years after retiring from YHC.

What brought you to Young Harris back in 1957 and how did your working at Young Harris College come about?
My late husband, Harold, was born here and his family was among the early settlers of Union County. We came to Young Harris in 1957 when Harold was asked to be the pastor at Old Union Baptist Church. We were living in Marietta, and I was working as a bookkeeper for a large printing company. During the summer of 1958, I was contacted about a position in the business office at Young Harris College by Dr. Charles Clegg. Mr. L.C. Atkins was the business manager at the time. He immediately made me feel welcome and was a great person to work with. Several years later, after McAllen Myers retired, Dr. Ray Farley asked me to take on the position of business manager. I worked for 31 years as both assistant business manager and business manager. I loved my work and am grateful for all of the wonderful experiences I had at YHC.

You worked in the College’s Business Office for more than three decades—a position that consisted of wearing many hats. What were some of the responsibilities you undertook during your time at YHC and what are some of your fondest memories during your time working at the College?
As business manager, I had multiple duties. We operated the bookstore, prepared all the payrolls in house, managed all student loan collections and purchased all supplies for maintenance, faculty and staff. The early years were the days of typewriters, mimeograph machines and handwritten bookkeeping.

Some of my fondest memories came about from serving as advisor of the Baptist Student Union (BSU). We met in Susan B. Harris Chapel every Sunday night, then went to church at Old Union before heading to my house for snacks—lots of popcorn and toasted cheese sandwiches. In those days, the dining hall did not serve an evening meal, just a sack lunch, thus the food at my house. I would bring four or five carloads over, and they would play games and play the piano. There wasn’t enough space or seats for them to all sit down, so they would just sit anywhere they could find a spot, inside or out on the porch. In addition to these gatherings, we also brought programs to local churches, visited other BSUs in the area and attended state conventions. These were all also great experiences for the students.

Of course, I have great memories of working with an outstanding faculty, many of whom are still good friends. We all had a spirit of cooperation and respect for each other. Everyone at YHC put their heart and soul into it, and I loved every minute of it.

Another highlight was in 1974 when the Enotah yearbook was dedicated to me. I had no idea that they had chosen me, and I was completely shocked. What an honor!

Many members of your family have attended YHC including your daughter Linda, ’67, son Ron, ’74, and grandchildren Britt, ’91, and Brannon, ’94. Can you describe the experience of having your children—and grandchildren—attend YHC?
Yes, my children and grandchildren attended YHC. Even farther back, my husband’s mother and some of her sisters attended YHC. I honestly never really thought my children would come to YHC after growing up with it so much, but they both did! While attending Young Harris Elementary School as a child, Linda took piano and voice lessons from Bill and Mary Ann Fox, and she would always cheer at YHC basketball games as a “guest cheerleader.” Linda commuted as a freshman at YHC when she met Jim McAfee, ’67, and they married before she started her sophomore year. She finished YHC as a married lady and was always a good student. Ron didn’t come to YHC until he completed four years in the Navy. This made him a straight-A student because he knew the value of an education.

I now have a great-granddaughter, Gemma, who I hope will also be a graduate of YHC someday. She comes to the campus all the time with my grandson, Britt, and his wife, Jennifer, who works in the Office of Advancement at the College. Gemma recently attended the children’s show at Rollins Planetarium. She sat through every minute of it and loved it. She has now learned all of the planets and she is only two years old!

You still live in Young Harris and have witnessed some of the growth and changes at the College firsthand. In your opinion, what makes YHC so unique, and what is the legacy of the College?
Young Harris has been in a continuous state of growth through the years. Great faculty members have come and gone, and some students have made quite a name for themselves. The programs offered have expanded, and there is continual building of new state-of-the-art facilities and beautiful landscaping. All of these things are great, but the greatest thing of all that remains is the Young Harris spirit. It is my prayer that YHC will continue to mold lives of young people who can better serve God and country.

Alumni Buzz: Cynthia Robinson

Hello fellow alumni,

I hope you all enjoyed Alumni Weekend 2012 as much as I did and were able to take some time to reconnect with old friends. An annual spring Alumni Weekend is a new addition to the schedule of alumni events for April, and it was a great time to get away to the “Enchanted Valley” we all love and escape for a weekend of laughter and memories.

I am a member of the Class of 2001 and a Susan B, and I consider myself blessed to share the title of “Young Harris alumni” with all of you. After graduating from YHC, I attended the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University. In December, I graduated from KSU with a bachelor of science degree in information security and assurance. I have worked in the field of information technology for the last 10 years, currently for a data reseller in Kennesaw. When I’m not at work, you will likely find me out playing with my two nephews and my dog, Gracie, or sitting in the stands at Turner Field.

Although nearly 11 years have passed since I left campus and much has changed, coming back to Young Harris truly does feel like coming home. The relationships I made during my time at YHC are not just friendships—they’re more like family. In fact, I still refer to several former classmates as my brothers and sisters, and driving up Highway 515 into the “Enchanted Valley” still feels like stepping through the doorway at home after a long trip away. This is the home where I grew up and developed not only academically, but also spiritually and emotionally. In this home, I learned how to succeed as a student on surprisingly little sleep; I developed a strong work ethic and a foundation of professionalism; I learned to let go of the past; I learned to give of what you have; I learned how to truly give and receive love; and I learned the true meaning of community.

I believe there’s truly something magical about YHC and the home I found. Thinking back now, there is so much I took for granted during my short time there, most of which becomes apparent when trying to describe it to someone not lucky enough to have ever been there. There is no other place on earth where I have felt the Holy Spirit more than at YHC. Even now, 11 years later, my heart longs to return whenever possible. When I see a fellow alumnus, even if I’m meeting them for the first time, I feel an instant connection and an understanding of just how special this place truly is. Whether in a crowd at an Atlanta Braves game, in an airport halfway around the world, on a big university campus or at an alumni event, I have never met a stranger amongst fellow alumni. How quickly an hour can fly by as we share memories of our sisterhood in Susan B’s, dorm room pranks, “walking the wall” in hopes of a passing grade or an unforgettable chapel service where the sermons given by Rev. Whitley, ’68, (or “Rev,” as we call him) made us laugh or call out in prayer. It is because of this special bond that I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Young Alumni Council, and I truly consider it a privilege.

If you have not taken the time to do so lately, call an old classmate, attend an alumni event, reconnect or, even better, return to campus—it truly is like coming home!


Cynthia Robinson, ‘01

Young Harris College Celebrated Earth Day April 16-23

Young Harris College hosted a special week of service, April 16-23, to celebrate Earth Day, which was Sunday, April 22. The event was co-sponsored by the YHC Sustainability Committee, the YHC Student Government Association (SGA) and Sodexo.

“The College’s Sustainability Committee chose to focus our Earth Day efforts on recycling this year because we wanted to continue to help educate the campus community regarding how to best use our comprehensive recycling program with ReMix Atlanta,” said Rob Campbell, academic service learning program coordinator, Bonner Leaders program coordinator and sustainability committee co-chair. “By drawing on the creativity of YHC students, as well as local students from Towns County, we also called attention to how recycled materials can be used in other ways, such as creating art.”

Throughout the week, SGA members collected clothing as part of “oneSHIRT,” a national collegiate clothing drive organized by SustainU, a leading producer of university-related apparel that uses fabrics made from 100 percent recycled materials manufactured in the United States. YHC students encouraged students, faculty, staff and community members to donate used clothing that was presented to Support in Abusive Family Emergencies, Inc. (S.A.F.E).

On April 20, SGA members hosted a recycling demonstration on campus and awarded environmentally friendly prizes to members of the campus community who proved knowledgeable regarding the College’s recycling program. Students also collected recyclable electronics on campus throughout the day.

“SGA’s Sustainability Committee worked very hard this year to spread student-led green initiatives across campus, and we were excited to end the semester with a clothing drive,” said Student Government Association President and Sustainability Chair Ashley Cross, a junior biology major from Murphy, N.C. “Through this event and our recycling demonstration, we were able to educate the campus community and show students that all types of items can be reused and recycled.”

Sodexo, the College’s food service provider, hosted a “Weigh the Waste” event on April 23 that encouraged diners to weigh food discarded after each meal to raise awareness about food waste.

Also in conjunction with the Earth Day celebration, three large pieces of artwork made from recycled materials were featured on the Young Harris College campus. The art was created by students in Art Department Chair and Associate Professor of Art Ted Whisenhunt’s design course, as well as members of Towns County High School’s environmental club.

Young Harris College student Morgan “Tex” Fambrough, a sophomore art major from Hiawassee, stands next to a piece of recycled art she co-created that was displayed on the YHC campus as part of the Earth Day festivities.

Members of Young Harris College’s Student Government Association host a recycling demonstration in front of Grace Rollins Dining Hall on the YHC campus.

Young Harris College Raises $6,510 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Young Harris College Department of Athletics led a successful campus-wide fundraising campaign during the 2011-2012 academic year, in partnership with the Recreation and Fitness Center, to raise approximately $6,510 to benefit the Georgia & Alabama Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Numerous events and activities were hosted throughout the year, with great participation from local sponsors and the surrounding community, in an effort to raise awareness and support for the charity organization, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“The Make-A-Wish fundraising campaign is an integral part of the NCAA Division II’s ‘Life in Balance’ philosophy, and our coaches and student-athletes in particular have done an excellent job in helping us raise more than $6,000 during our first year hosting this major fundraising effort at YHC,” said Director of Athletics Randy Dunn. “This is a tremendous display of compassion for others by the YHC family and our local community, and I’m very pleased with all of the support and donations we have received throughout the year.” 

YHC kicked off “Paws for a Cause” at the beginning of the 2011-2012 basketball season, partnering with Make-A-Wish Foundation to raise funds to benefit a local child. During home games, student-athletes, cheerleaders and recreation center student staff members sold paper paws that were displayed on the lower level of the Recreation and Fitness Center throughout the season in recognition of contributions to the campaign.

Two “Paws for a Cause” luncheons were held during the basketball season, and money was also raised during basketball games through donations accepted for taking a photo with YHC’s mascot, Luke the Mountain Lion. In addition, a Make-A-Wish raffle offered basketball fans the opportunity to win gift certificates from local restaurants, including Brother’s Restaurant, Brasstown Valley Resort and The Copper Door.

In December, YHC raised $1,600 during a “Breakfast with Santa” event at which YHC student-athletes and coaches served breakfast sponsored by Waffle House, and attendees had the opportunity to take a photo with Santa Claus provided by S & S Pix. 

Brother’s Restaurant also helped YHC raise $400 by hosting "Make-A-Wish Night" in February. The Brother's at Willows Ranch in Young Harris donated 20 percent of sales from diners participating in the campaign.

Also during the spring semester, YHC raised $415 by sponsoring three “Jeans Day” Fridays in which YHC faculty and staff made a $2 contribution to wear jeans to work.

In addition to these campus-wide initiatives, many faculty, staff and students made individual contributions to the cause. YHC’s Student Government Association donated $200 to the campaign, while YHC Fitness Specialist and Personal Trainer Jeannie Ledford collected donations at the Tri-County Race Track in Brasstown, N.C.

Towns County High School seniors Dakota Barrett and Jordan Woodard, who will both attend YHC this fall, donated $1,018 raised as part of a senior project. Barrett and Woodard held a youth night at First Free Will Baptist Church in Hayesville, N.C., and encouraged attendees to make a donation. Barrett’s mother, Sodexo employee Aundrea Dyer, suggested Make-A-Wish when the students were deciding which charity to support.

“It’s been awesome to see the campus and local community come together in enthusiastic support of the Make-A-Wish effort,” YHC Recreation and Fitness Center Director Sharon Stanton said. “Our students, faculty and staff have embraced this initiative and worked countless events in order to achieve our goal. It is a testament to the dedication and service of our campus community.”

The Division II National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee led the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 2003 with its first national community service initiative by embarking on a fundraiser with Make-A-Wish Foundation. Over the course of its seven-year national partnership with the foundation, the committee has overseen efforts to raise more than $1.5 million to grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

In 2011, Young Harris College was accepted as a candidate for membership in NCAA Division II.

Jordan Woodard (left) and Dakota Barrett present Director of Athletics Randy Dunn a check for $1,018 for the Make-A-Wish campaign.

Faculty Notables

Education Department Chair and Professor of Education Dr. Bill Brown is currently serving on a Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) Board of Examiners Team for a Continuing Review of the Teacher Preparation Program at Piedmont College. The on-site visit is scheduled for Sept. 23-25. Dr. Brown will serve as an assessment workshop facilitator for the PSC at Georgia Gwinnett College on May 16.  The primary focus of the workshop is to offer insightful, practical and technical assistance to Georgia teacher preparation program providers regarding Standard 2 (Assessment System and Unit Evaluation) of the 2008 National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Standards.

A paper co-authored by Associate Professor of Communication Studies Dr. Joy Goldsmith, Communication Studies Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Dr. Jennifer Hallett and other contributors titled “The practical nurse: A case for COMFORT training” will be presented to the Health Communication Division at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association in Phoenix, Ariz., May 24-28.

A section of a memoir by Professor of English Dr. Steve Harvey titled “The Vanishing Point” has been accepted by The Southern Review for the Winter 2013 issue. Dr. Harvey’s essay titled “Orphaned Souls” will be published in the Spring 2012 issue of Hotel Amerika. The essay is based in part on Dr. Harvey’s experience teaching literature courses at Young Harris College.

This summer, a book review of “Godwired: Religion, Ritual, and Virtual Reality” by Instructor of Computer Science Dr. William Hyndman will appear in Choice Magazine.

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty Ron Roach and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Dr. Ron Roach presented a paper regarding the history of early bluegrass festivals titled “Carlton Haney’s ‘The Story of Bluegrass’ as Redemptive Drama and Metaphor”at the 35th Annul Appalachian Studies Association Conference at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pa., March 23-25.