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Today@YHC November 2011

Alumni Spotlight: Fletcher Page


Kyle Huneycutt, junior
Communications and Marketing Intern

For Fletcher Page, ’07, Young Harris College is much more than an academic institution—it truly is, and always has been, home. Long before he even thought about attending college, YHC was an important part of Page’s life, and it continues to play an important role in his family heritage today.

Page’s grandfather, Cecil, moved to Young Harris during the 1960s and served as a Methodist minister, professor and dean of students at YHC. According to Page, living “a mile and a half from the red light in Young Harris” during his childhood meant the campus became his very own personal playground.

“I used to play basketball there growing up and went to baseball camps for many years. YHC wasn’t just a college campus to me; it was where I lived and did things,” Page said. “Living in Young Harris for most of my life, I grew up thinking that attending the college was something I was meant to do.”

While he briefly considered attending a college further away from his home in the Enchanted Valley, Page ultimately decided that YHC was where he belonged and enrolled in 2004.

“I was glad to have my own bed at home that was less than a five-minute drive from my early classes,” recalled Page, who also spent extra time on campus working in the weight room for Associate Professor of Physical Education Jim Thomas. 

“Most of the long-time professors would bring up my grandfather in class when they saw my last name. Although there wasn’t any added pressure, I did want to do well because of my family’s history there,” Page said. “I always felt that graduating from YHC was something I was supposed to do, but when it finally happened, I took pride in my accomplishments.”

After graduating cum laude from YHC with an associate of art degree in 2007, Page continued his education at the University of Georgia where he earned a journalism degree. He credits his academic success to YHC’s dedicated professors.

“Dr. Mark Rollins’ literature classes helped me find my voice and changed the way I analyze my own writing,” Page said. “I also loved every minute of the two courses I took with Dr. David Franklin—I don’t think I missed a single class. He was probably the best professor I had in all of my college experience.”

Page currently lives in Athens, Ga., where he works as a sports writer for CBS, and the Athens Banner-Herald, primarily covering football and basketball at the University of Georgia. He also works as a freelance journalist, covering a multitude of sporting events ranging from high school soccer games to NASCAR races to professional golf tournaments.

“My interest in YHC’s basketball program increased when I found out Pete Herrmann was named head coach because I covered him when he was at the University of Georgia,” Page said. “I also grew up playing sports with men’s basketball assistant coach Heath Hooper. I’ve spent a lot of time with him talking recruiting, practice, progression—all the work involved in starting a program from the ground up.”

Page’s avid interest in sports has led him to keep up with YHC’s athletic program, and he is proud of the College’s accomplishments and the new opportunities that await YHC since its transition to a four-year institution—including membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level.  

“I’ve already started trash talking with some of my friends that attended schools in the Peach Belt Conference and other places YHC will play in the future,” he said.

Page comes home to Young Harris whenever he can and is continually reminded of how the College has played such an important role in his childhood, education and transition into the successful person he is today.

“I’m not sure I’d be where I am right now if I hadn’t gone to YHC. I grew up a lot during those two years, and the challenge each class provided gave me an outlet for my competitive nature,” Page said. “People on campus genuinely took an interest in me—I appreciate that the most about my time at YHC.”

5 Questions for… Lynne Nation

According to Associate Professor of Mathematics Lynne Nation, Young Harris College’s longest-serving member on the current Division of Mathematics and Science faculty roster, the best spot on campus is the classroom. This comes as no surprise, considering the College’s emphasis on teaching is what led Nation to make her way up to the north Georgia mountains in 1986—and stay here—after earning her master of arts in teaching from Georgia State University in Atlanta. Find out about Nation’s experiences as a member of the Young Harris College family—from planning spring formals with the Student Government Association, to sharing meals and memories with faculty members, to developing connections with students that are allowing her to help shape the teachers of tomorrow.

What are you up to these days?

A few years ago I traveled through Thailand and Malaysia. I love to travel solo. This type of travel provides a great opportunity to get away from the usual tourist itinerary—to meet the people up close, experience the different cultures firsthand and see the more exotic sights. On a previous trip to India, Nepal and Bhutan, I was so impressed with the amazing beauty of Bhutan and the rich cultural diversity of India that I am beginning to make plans to return. This time, I want to stay for an extended period, so I may have to save this trip for my upcoming retirement.

I still love music, enjoy listening to promising new groups and have fun attending live concerts. My road trips to follow my favorite bands are not as extensive as they used to be, but I still get in the occasional show. I continue to enjoy the conversations about music I have with my students. With the exception of a Bob Dylan 1966 poster, my office walls are now empty of all music memorabilia. I guess this is another nod to approaching retirement. And yes, I am still a big Pearl Jam fan.

I also continue to enjoy the political scene, although sometimes my left-wing liberal heart is close to breaking. I also continue to enjoy the political conversations (sometimes heated) I have with my more conservative students. Eight years ago, I became a member of the Towns County Board of Elections. Setting up and supervising local elections has been quite an eye opener. Nothing is more interesting than local political races.

What brought you to YHC and what is it about the College that made you want to serve on the faculty for 25 years and counting?

In 1986, I was living in Atlanta and teaching at Georgia State University. I had good students and enjoyed teaching. As a city girl at heart, I also liked living in Atlanta. At that time, I had never heard of Young Harris College. A recent graduate of YHC, Pete Kukielski, ’85, was in one of my calculus classes at GSU. He told me about Young Harris—and he said that the College had an opening and it would be a good move for me. I came for an interview with Dr. Clay Dotson, who was serving as academic dean at the time, and Dr. Bob Nichols, the only member of the mathematics department back then. By the end of the day, I was hooked. I knew that teaching for Dr. Dotson and with Bob Nichols was for me.

I intended to stay a short time, even living in a residence hall my first year. But that special quality, that “YHC spirit,” hit me hard. So, 25 years later, I am still here. I stay because of the connections I have made here with faculty and staff and students. I stay because being around my students has made a big difference in my life. I stay because I want to give back to these students in some small way.

What are some of your fondest memories of your time working at the College?

I have many fond memories of working at Young Harris, but the most important memories involve the close friendships with faculty families. A quarter of a century ago, the size of the faculty was much smaller and our offices were closer, so we got to know each other—families and all. Faculty families ate together at long tables in the dining hall; we were a tight community of faculty, spouses and children. Not having a family of my own in the area, I was fortunate to have found one here. Together, we celebrated the special events, pitched in during the challenges and laughed over the many escapades.

Of course, I have great memories of many of the special events put on by the College, including meeting Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer that discovered Pluto, getting to talk with civil rights leader and U.S. Representative John Lewis, and putting on a Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ concert. Last but not least, I certainly cannot forget the 21 spring formals I worked on with the Student Government Association Freshmen Board.

In the Spring/Summer 2011 edition of Echoes, you said your favorite YHC tradition is the “absolute emphasis placed on teaching.” What makes the learning environment that our students experience so special?

I was teaching at GSU, a research institution, when I came to Young Harris for my job interview. I remember my colleagues at GSU distressing over research, scholarship and grant applications. During my interview at Young Harris, I was not asked one question about these topics. I was, however, asked over and over again about my teaching. From that first interview, I knew that Young Harris College was student-centered. I came to see that outstanding teaching and exceptional student learning were the goals of the Young Harris College community and that they would be my goals, too. The college community knew that, more than any other variable in education, teachers matter. Everything we do—holding extended office hours and extra classes, attending teaching conferences, reflecting upon and adapting our classes, setting up tutoring labs—is done with one thing in mind: student success.

Mathematics became a four-year degree at YHC this year—and that’s just one of many majors the College has recently added and will continue to add in the years to come. What has the experience been like of watching the College grow and what do you hope the future holds for YHC?

Young Harris becoming a four-year institution has brought big changes. While I will not be teaching in the four-year mathematics program, I will be working with the students obtaining mathematics education certifications. I am very excited about the new Department of Education and the teacher certifications we are now offering. While completing a bachelor’s degree, our students can add on teaching certifications in seven areas, including mathematics and general science. It is my greatest hope that Young Harris College will produce many new teachers similar to the teachers it employs—passionate educators with that singular focus on outstanding teaching and student success.

My name is Tommy Drake, ’82—that’s what it says on the many name badges I have collected at various meetings and events at Young Harris College. I’ve been privileged to serve as a Class Coordinator for a few years now, and it has been wonderful reconnecting with many of my classmates and encouraging them to support our alma mater. I’ve given so many walking tours at homecomings and alumni weekends that I feel like I did when I was a tour guide back in the ’80s—except now, instead of trying to get you to enroll here, I’m trying to get you to enthusiastically support YHC with your gifts and your involvement. As my class’s 30th reunion approaches, watch out! 

I’ve always heard that hindsight is a fool’s perspective, but I’d like to go out on a limb and share some hindsight with you. I came to Young Harris College from a very small, rural town in south Georgia. There were a grand total of 19 students in my high school graduating class so, for me, going off to a college in a small community like Young Harris was a safe thing to do. What I could not have anticipated was the spherical growth I would experience in myself and the world around me. The way I would be encouraged to examine experiences and educational opportunities, try new approaches to old problems and work alongside my peers for solutions would affect me for the rest of my life. Here comes the bit of hindsight… If I had known then what I know now, I would have paid closer attention to what was happening around me and would have tried to absorb even more of it.

Fast forward 30 years. Now, when I walk through campus (which I get to do several times a year) I see that same spherical growth not only in the physical campus, but also the students I meet and the faculty and staff I visit. The Young Harris College spirit—something we all knew and felt as students—is still very much alive on campus. The diverse student population is into everything, from social issues to recycling and “green” living (some of them are even living in a LEED Silver-certified residence hall, the first of its kind in north Georgia); and now, ethics is an important element of every educational experience at Young Harris. The athletic program has exploded; the fine arts division is bursting at the seams; and the return to four-year status has meant the addition of many new bachelor’s degree programs. The future is bright at YHC, and I encourage you to be a part of it. Get involved!

How? Plan to attend upcoming events like Homecoming this fall, Friday-Saturday, November 11-12, 2011, and Alumni Weekend next spring, Friday-Sunday, April 20-22, 2012. (You can read more about these events at Get involved locally by hosting a Young Harris Connection event in your area, or just plan an informal get-together with alumni whenever you can. Do as I have done and challenge your class to support the Young Harris Annual Fund on a regular basis, or even endow a scholarship in the name of your class. These scholarships go directly to individual students and make a huge impact on their lives.

I am always impressed when I am on campus and students ask to hear stories about my days at YHC. Of course I like to talk about “way back when,” but it is more interesting to hear from them about what is happening right now on campus. Come for a visit, stay for a while and prepare to be amazed.

All the best,

Tommy Drake, ’82

Young Harris College Students Take Part in First-Year Experience Trip to New Orleans

Twenty-seven Young Harris College students, faculty and staff members recently traveled to New Orleans Oct. 5-9 to take part in a first-year service trip facilitated by the First-Year Experience and Bonner Leaders programs at YHC.

The excursion centered around Dave Eggers’ book Zeitoun, which was this year’s selection for the College’s campus-wide “Ship of Thought: Common Reading Program” for first-year students. Zeitoun tells the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the Syrian-American owner of a painting and contracting company in New Orleans who chose to ride out Hurricane Katrina in his Uptown home.

“One of the main goals of the trip was to expose our students to the issues and themes addressed in this year’s Common Reading Program as well as the progress, and lack of progress, that has been made to rebuild the gulf coast six years after Hurricane Katrina,” said Bryan Hayse, Ph.D., associate dean of students and First-Year Foundations co-chair. “Every aspect of the trip was designed to help students more fully understand what they have read or seen from the perspective of those who live it daily.” 

The group stayed in the Lower Ninth Ward Village Community Center and met students and staff from colleges and universities across the United States. Students also enjoyed a meal and fellowship with local Muslim students from Tulane University and the University of New Orleans.

“The whole trip was an amazing experience, but my favorite part was eating dinner and enjoying fellowship at the Muslim student center,” said Jordan Wilkes, a sophomore art major from Cleveland, Ga. “Throughout the week, it was inspiring to meet so many people who are devoted to civil justice and live compassionate lives of service.”

The group met with representatives from the nonprofit civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center and worked with the St. Bernard Project, a non-profit organization that conducts housing rehabilitation and construction for New Orleans residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Students enjoyed dinner at the home of Andre Perry, Ph.D., associate director for educational initiatives for Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education, who presented a lecture at YHC in August about themes discussed in Zeitoun.The group also had the unique opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with Zeitoun and visit the Al-Rahma Mosque he regularly attends.

Other highlights of the trip included a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward and Tremé neighborhood, a visit to the African American Heritage Museum and volunteer work at a local animal shelter and food bank.

“I’ve heard people say that one moment can change your life, and I feel that this trip may have been that moment for me. When Katrina came through, New Orleans was torn apart and the people had only their faith and each other,” said Ashley Eschbach, a freshman history major from Big Pine Key, Fla. “Getting to know these people and hearing their stories provided me with the chance to really see how much they lost. It makes me feel so grateful for what I have and what I’ve been given in my life.”

Bonner Leader Jordan Utley, a freshman business and public policy major from Madison, spent time volunteering at a local animal shelter.

Jerry Oquendo, a freshman art major from Dade City, Fla., worked to restore a home damaged by Hurricane Katrina as part of the St. Bernard Project.

Students enjoyed a meal and fellowship with local Muslim students from Tulane University and the University of New Orleans.

Click here to view more photos of the New Orleans trip.

Department of Music Hosts Choral Clinic for Ridgeview Charter School Honor Chorus

On Friday, Oct. 28, Young Harris College’s Department of Music hosted a choral clinic for students in grades 6-8 from Ridgeview Charter School (RCS) in Atlanta. During the event, the RCS Honor Chorus received musical instruction from members of the YHC choral faculty in preparation for a special performance that evening with the Young Harris College Chamber Choir.

“We were very excited to host students from the strong choral program at Ridgeview Charter School,” said YHC Professor of Music and Director of Choral and Vocal Activities Jeff Bauman. “This was a great opportunity for our music and music education students at YHC to observe an excellent middle school choir and their director, Dr. Susan Messer, in action.”

The RCS Honor Chorus received musical instruction focusing on vocal technique, tone quality and musicality from YHC Professor of Music and Director of Choral and Vocal Activities Jeff Bauman.

The RCS Honor Chorus and YHC Chamber Choir rehearsed with RCS Choir Director Dr. Susan Messer and YHC Professor of Music and Director of Choral and Vocal Activities Jeff Bauman in YHC’s Glenn Auditorium.

Faculty Notables


Young Harris College’s Division of Fine Arts presented the first-ever Woodwind Faculty Recital in Glenn Auditorium, Oct. 16. The concert included performances by Assistant Professor of Music Karen Calloway, flute, Adjunct Instructor of Music Dr. Mike Campbell, saxophone and clarinet, Adjunct Instructor of Music Alan Denmon, saxophone, Adjunct Instructor of Music Mary Ann Fox, piano, Staff Accompanist Anita Guss, piano, Staff Accompanist Frank McKinney, saxophone and piano, Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Leigh Miller, clarinet, Adjunct Instructor of Music Ginger Ramsay, oboe, and Adjunct Instructor of Music Cheryl Star, flute. Dr. Campbell and Dr. Miller performed Concert Piece No. 1 in F Minor, Andante by Felix Mendelssohn, while Calloway and Star presented Andante and Rondo Op. 25 for Two Flutes and Piano by Franz Doppler. In addition, Dr. Miller, Star and Ramsay delighted audiences with a performance of Divertimento for Flute, Oboe and Clarinet by Malcolm Arnold.

YHC President Cathy Cox served as the keynote speaker for the Georgia League of Women Voters “Power of the Vote” conference in Atlanta, Oct. 4. President Cox discussed the role of education in helping voters understand their civic responsibilities as voters and the impact education can have on returning civility to public policy forums.

Dr. Johnathan Davis, assistant professor of biology, will make a presentation, titled “Considerations for Designing Species-specific Monitoring Programs for Rare and Imperiled Fishes,” at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Fishes Council in Chattanooga, Tenn., Nov. 10-11. This council is comprised of scientists and biologists committed to conservation of the native fish fauna of the southeastern United States. 

A paper by Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Dr. Eric Dickman, titled, “Faith or Friendship: On Integrating Possibilities for Self-Realization in Kierkegaard and Aristotle,” has been selected for inclusion in an anthology of “Uncanny Homecomings” that will be published by the annual conference of Religion, Literature and the Arts based at the University of Iowa. Dr. Dickman visited the William Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum in Atlanta to meet with Board of Trustees Co-President Springer Asher and Executive Director Jane Leavy, Oct. 16. In addition to conducting research for an upcoming class on Judaism that will include a unit about post-Holocaust studies, Dr. Dickman also discussed professional opportunities for religious studies majors in venues beyond Christian ministry vocations such as museum internships. During the visit, Dr. Dickman also filmed a spot for a commercial encouraging museum membership that will air in the metro Atlanta area later this year.

Dr. William Hyndman, instructor of computer science, co-presented a lecture, titled “Comfort Stations,” at Anderson University, Oct. 18. Dr. Hyndman spoke about the historical significance of the Traveler’s Rest State Historic Site, a stagecoach inn from the 1800s located near Toccoa. Dr. Hyndman is a founding member of the Friends of Travelers Rest and currently serves as the president for the advocacy group.

A book written by Instructor of Physical Geography Dr. Baishali Ray titled Thunderstorm generator currents and the Global Electric Circuit was recently published by Lambert Academic Publishing in September.

Assistant Professor of Physics Dr. Arunava Roy’s manuscript titled “Will it be Blackholes at the Large Hadron Collider?" will appear in the December 2011 issue of The Physics Teacher and serves as the inspiration for the magazine’s cover (left). As part of Dr. Roy’s astrophysics course, YHC students Jordan Jones, of Toccoa, and Karen Sierra, of Hayesville, N.C., have discovered three near-Earth objects (NEOs) while participating in an international research project organized by the International Astronomical Search Collaboration.

Dr. Natalia Starostina, assistant professor of history, will present a paper, titled “How the French Réseaux Taught the French to Love Speed and Fast Trains: Speed, Modernity, and New Mobility Culture in the Publicité of Réseaux in Interwar France,” at an international conference on the history of railways in Paris, Dec. 14-16. The conference is organized by the Association of the History of Railways, the International Union of Railways and the National Society for French Railways.

Adjunct Instructor of English Dr. Eloise Whisenhunt presented a paper, titled “A Southern Gothic Picaro: Eugene Walter’s Gothic Gaze in Milking the Moon,” at the 83rd annual South Atlantic Modern Language Association convention in Atlanta, Nov. 4.