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Mountain Lines August 2011

Young Harris College Achieves Candidacy for NCAA Division II Membership

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox recently announced that YHC has been formally accepted as a candidate for membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level.   

“We are very excited to begin the formal process to full membership in NCAA at the Division II level, President Cox said. “Our athletic department has worked diligently in leading this endeavor, and this achievement is a significant milestone in our on-going transformation to a four-year college. We know that NCAA membership will attract many talented student-athletes to Young Harris College.”

“Today is a great day for YHC!” said Young Harris College Director of Athletics Randy Dunn. “I am very pleased that the NCAA membership committee considered YHC a worthy institution for provisional membership. Obtaining full membership will be a three-year process, and if everything goes well, YHC should receive full NCAA membership in 2014-2015.”

During the first provisional year, Young Harris College will bring itself completely in line with the policies and procedures of the NCAA and develop Division II schedules for its teams. Following the College’s first year as a candidate for membership, the NCAA’s membership committee will send representatives to campus to review and evaluate YHC’s progress, and will then make a recommendation to move Young Harris College to the next level of the membership process.

“The next step for Young Harris College is to immediately begin work to complete the process for membership in the Peach Belt Conference, which is one of the strongest and most prestigious Division II conferences in the country,” added Dunn, who successfully transitioned North Georgia College & State University to NCAA Division II and Peach Belt Conference membership prior to arriving at YHC in 2010. “Young Harris College will be the only private college in Georgia in the esteemed Peach Belt Conference.”

Current Peach Belt Conference members include Armstrong Atlantic State University, Augusta State University, Clayton State University, Columbus State University, Flagler College, Francis Marion University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Lander University, University of Montevallo, North Georgia College & State University, the University of North Carolina—Pembroke and the University of South Carolina—Aiken.

“Many individuals worked long and hard to make this happen, but President Cox should be the person most recognized for her vision, commitment and support during this process,” Dunn said.

The announcement adds to the positive momentum building throughout campus over the past few years as the125-year-old institution returns to its roots as a four-year college.

Since earning its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 2008 to grant bachelor’s degrees, Young Harris College has been adding baccalaureate majors and academic programs at a rapid pace. As of 2011, YHC now offers 13 baccalaureate majors—biology, business and public policy, communication studies, English, early childhood education, history, mathematics, middle grades education, music, music education, musical theatre, outdoor leadership and theatre—as well as a full array of minors and teacher certifications. The College will continue to roll out new academic programs annually.

In addition, Young Harris College has doubled the size of its faculty in just four years and hired additional staff to support the new academic programs and student amenities.

Last fall, Young Harris College broke enrollment records for the fourth consecutive year with more than 800 students on campus; then on May 7, the College conferred its first bachelor’s degrees in nearly a century to a class of 40 seniors.

Young Harris College is in an unprecedented building program to support its growth, having recently added a 200-bed, LEED Silver-certified residence hall that opened to industry acclaim in 2009, followed by the 57,000-square-foot, LEED-certified Recreation and Fitness Center that opened in 2010. Next month, YHC will open The Village, the newest student housing option for upperclassmen, which adds 148 beds configured as apartments within a residential “village” atmosphere. The next major facility constructed will be a new campus center that combines a student center, dining hall, banquet facility and library in a single, state-of-the-art 125,000-square-foot building.

During the 2010-2011 season, YHC competed as an independent school against other four-year institutions. Prior to that transition, Young Harris College’s athletic teams were among the finest in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). The Mountain Lions claimed the 2006 NJCAA national championship in women’s soccer, the same season head coach Kathy Brown was named national Coach of the Year. In 2007, head coach Rick Robinson led Young Harris College’s baseball team to the Junior College World Series.

In addition, Young Harris College student-athletes have gone on to earn individual acclaim. Six former YHC baseball players have made it to the Major League, with three currently playing: outfielder Nick Markakis of the Baltimore Orioles, right-handed pitcher Cory Gearrinof the Atlanta Braves and outfielder Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies. Markakis and Bryson Smith, a 2011 draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds, both earned the title of national junior college player of the year during their YHC careers. Many other former Mountain Lions have played professionally or have gone on to play at the highest collegiate levels in their respective sport.

Young Harris College currently sponsors 12 intercollegiate sports teams: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and men’s and women’s tennis.

(Front row, left to right) Senior Woman Administrator and Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance Jennifer Stearsman, Head Baseball Coach Rick Robinson, Head Women’s Soccer Coach and Assistant Director of Athletics for Community Engagement Kathy Brown, Head Women’s Basketball Coach Brenda Paul, (back row, left to right) Head Men’s Basketball Coach Pete Herrmann, Head Softball Coach and Senior Associate Director of Athletics Eric Geldhart, YHC President Cathy Cox, Director of Athletics Randy Dunn, Director of Golf Brett Beazley and Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach Barry Brown.

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox and Director of Athletics Randy Dunn announced today that YHC has been formally accepted as a candidate for membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level.   

Young Harris College Launches New Mobile Website

Young Harris College has launched, a new mobile website that offers instant access to YHC from any smartphone. Focusing on simplicity and easy, icon-driven navigation, the mobile website includes popular features such as event calendars, social media links and a news feed. The site also includes navigational tools including a campus map, directions and tour.

The mobile site provides quick access to the most popular links on the College's main website,, and contains fewer graphics than the full website, allowing for a fast page load of the site on mobile devices. The site is compatible with mobile browsers found on phones like iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, offering users an optimal viewing and navigation experience on handheld wireless devices.

“Young Harris College is making a conscientious effort to stay at the forefront of technology in the arena of higher education,” Vice President for Technology Ken Faneuff said. “We are happy to be able to provide students and other visitors with a mobile site that features easy-to-navigate links and important information that can be accessed on the go.”

Young Harris College Fine Arts Students Complete Professional Work

Many Young Harris College theatre and musical theatre students spent the summer taking part in work experience opportunities at venues throughout the region, including Brevard Music Center (BMC) in Brevard, N.C., Mountainside Theatre in Cherokee, N.C., and Blue Ridge Community Theatre in Blue Ridge.

“There is nothing more productive and fulfilling for a theatre major than working at his or her craft,” Program Coordinator of the Theatre Department and Adjunct Instructor of Dance George Koller said. “All of these students getting out there and working in various shows this summer have certainly done the College and their professors proud.”

Rebecca Armstrong, a junior theatre major from Covington, served as stage manager for the Porter Series at BMC. She managed 52 shows in 41 days, including the Chamber Music Series, Brevard Live Series, Piccolo Opera, student recitals and special events. She was also responsible for managing 26 work-study students.

“I gained incredible scheduling and time management skills, along with the ability to think on the fly and come up with answers and solutions as problems arise,” said Armstrong, who worked on the run crew for BMC last summer. “YHC prepares students for jobs in theatre, but until you get out there and see how a professional organization works, you cannot imagine what a fast-paced and different environment it is. Summer stock theatre definitely changes your life.”

Austin Freeman, a senior theatre major from Hartwell, and recent musical theatre graduate and Blairsville native Michelle Honaker, ’11, performed in the summer production of Unto These Hills, the second-longest-running outdoor drama in the United States.

Unto These Hills showed me how to work with people from all over the country in a collaborative effort to create something beautiful. We became a family with all the trimmings of love, bickering and unity,” Freeman said. “Through this experience, I gained the ability to push through difficult training, atmospheres and personalities in order to produce something, which I am proud of.”

Ashley Ware, a junior musical theatre major from Dacula, starred as Audrey, and Matt Jones, a sophomore musical theatre major from Hiram, starred as Seymour in the July 2011 production of Little Shop of Horrors at the Blue Ridge Community Theatre. The cast also included Will Skelton, a freshman music major from Hayesville, N.C., Evan McLean, a junior musical theatre major from Woodstock, Michael Brown, a junior theatre major from Savannah, and Marvin Hemphill, a sophomore musical theatre major from Buford.

Landing the lead role of Audrey is a tribute to Ware’s dedication to improving her acting and singing skills at YHC to complement her dance background and become a more well-rounded performer. According to Ware, participating in theatre outside of the College allows students to develop their craft.

“I believe that the way you improve in the theatre world is through experience. Students should challenge themselves by stepping outside the box and experiencing a new place with new people and new elements,” Ware said. “Through the character of Audrey, I learned more about the comedic element of live theatre and how to allow myself to be completely vulnerable on stage. This production also showed me how all theatres are different in many ways, like the stage, sound system and the way things work.”

Armstrong, who aspires to become a production/stage manager, notes that one of the greatest benefits of working in the field is the opportunity to meet people working in the industry who may also become future employers.

“My current plan is to become a production/stage manager on a cruise ship, and I have made many contacts at BMC that will help me achieve these goals,” Armstrong said. “The possibilities for the future are endless, but one thing I am sure of is that without the inspiration and empowerment I have gained from the theatre staff and faculty at YHC, I would not have these opportunities or the confidence to really chase this dream. I can never repay them for the support they have given me.”

YHC Hosts Full Lineup of Events For Welcome Week 2011

Young Harris College was buzzing with activity the weekend of August 13-14 as new and returning students arrived on campus to get ready for the beginning of the fall semester this Tuesday, Aug. 16. Events will continue throughout the first week of classes as part of Welcome Week 2011, which includes activities each day for students to enjoy.

Sponsored by the Office of Student Development, the lineup of activities includes outdoor games, trivia and bingo nights, magician show, video gaming stations, a barbecue on the plaza, the annual RA Lip Sync and live music and activities on the lawn including a mechanical bull and photo booth.

“The Campus Activities Board members are excited to be back and ready to kick off the new school year with Welcome Week,” said Resident Director and Program Coordinator of Special Events Brittany Hopson. “They worked around the clock to organize and publicize in order to create a memorable first week that is filled with fun, a variety of events and opportunities to make new friends.”

As part of Welcome Week, Young Harris College will host a special lecture by Andre Perry, Ph.D., associate director for educational initiatives for Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education, today at 3 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium of the Clegg Fine Arts Building. The event is sponsored by the Young Harris College Arts & Assemblies Committee, Campus Activities Board, Student Government Association and First-Year Experience Committee.

Dr. Perry will speak about themes discussed in Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, 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.

“Dr. Perry was selected to be the Welcome Week speaker because of his expertise, experience, past and current involvement with New Orleans centering on Hurricane Katrina,” Director of Campus Activities Rouseline Emmanuel said. “He will discuss many topics addressed in Zeitoun, such as social justice issues that arose during Katrina, along with life-learning skills that every freshman should consider.”

The annual Academic Convocation will take place tomorrow, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium. During the ceremony, Associate Professor of Biology Linda Jones, Ph.D., will present remarks celebrating the growth in reasoned inquiry and research on campus as highlighted by student and faculty research, the College’s membership in the Council for Undergraduate Research and the implementation of the Institutional Review Board.

Welcome Week will also signal the start of the College’s First-Year Foundations course, which provides an opportunity for students to work with a YHC professor or staff member to help them understand what it takes to succeed in college. The course consists of two credit hours and meets for the first eight weeks of the term.

Associate Dean of Students Bryan Hayse, Ph.D., and Professor of English Louisa Franklin, who also directs the Academic Success Center and Writing Center, were recently appointed co-directors of the First-Year Foundations course and co-chairs of the First-Year Foundations Committee.

“I am excited to see collaboration between academics and student development as we work toward empowering our incoming students to become autonomous learners,” Franklin said. “Our new First-Year Foundations class, with its strong academic emphasis, provides students opportunities to engage in the community and to understand the ingredients in college success. We are striving for a 100 percent course success rate, and with our strong instructors and well-developed curriculum, I feel confident we will reach our goals.”

As part of Welcome Week, students enjoyed live music and activities on the lawn including a mechanical bull and photo booth.

On Saturday, Aug. 13, students participated in the "ThinkFast" trivia game on the YHC Plaza.

Click here to view more photos of the start of Welcome Week 2011.

Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement Opens at YHC

The Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement has a new name and a new home on Highway 76. The recently renovated space houses offices for the Academic Service Learning and Bonner Leaders programs, office and work space for student leaders, space for meetings and seminarsand faculty offices for the philosophy and religious studies departments.

“Given the large role that religion has played in the Appalachian region of which we are a part, it is fitting that the religious studies faculty will be housed for the next few years in the center,” Bonner Leaders Program Director, Academic Service Learning Program Coordinator and Adjunct Instructor of Service Learning Rob Campbell said. “In the future, we hope that even more people can enjoy the facility by using the classroom/exhibit space for campus and community meetings.”

The Center will also house rotating exhibits and displays in the future, including pieces from the Byron Herbert Reece Collection and Appalachian art from campus and community artists. The space may also be used to host Appalachian speakers, concerts, dances and other special events.

The grounds surrounding the Center will provide an ideal setting for many of these gatherings, as several blight-resistant chestnut trees have been planted behind the facility that will provide the centerpiece of a heritage garden showcasing traditional Appalachian plants.

The Center is committed to making a positive impact in Appalachia by specializing in initiatives in the following areas: service learning, Appalachian studies, community engagement, social justice and sustainability. As the Center develops, programs will be expanded in each of these initiatives.

Based on results of the pilot year for the College’s academic service learning program, Campbell will focus service learning initiatives on smaller classes with upperclassmen that lend themselves to the specific needs of the College’s community partner agencies.

“Pairing and coordinating concentrated service learning opportunities with other forms of community engagement that we have and plan to develop allows us to capitalize on the strengths we have as a small college and to better serve the limited number of community agencies with which we partner,” Campbell said. “I am exceedingly proud that the Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement will play a formative role in these endeavors.”

According to Campbell, an advisory board will be formed this year that will consist of campus and community members to explore grant opportunities that could further the efforts of the Center and work to develop a new minor in Appalachian studies.

For more information about the Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement, contact Campbell or Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Ron Roach, Ph.D., who also serves as director for the Center.

Young Harris College Hosts Successful First Year of WinShape Camps

Young Harris College recently partnered with Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation to host its newest WinShape Camps program, a One Week Overnight Camp for Girls, for female campers in grades 1-6. Nearly 300 campers took part in four one-week camps held in June, guided by a team of 43 staff members and counselors, including junior biology major Callie Holloway, of Hull, and YHC alumna Tory Gravitt, ’11, of Cumming.

“Working for Winshape Camps provided an awesome opportunity to be able to minister to kids and grow in my faith personally,” Holloway said. “It was also an opportunity to meet people who could help me grow spiritually and make friendships that will last a lifetime.”

Holloway, who was known as “Catattack” at the camps, served as a counselor for the Bumbline Club and taught indoor rock climbing to campers each day in the Recreation and Fitness Center. Holloway is a member of the YHC softball team, Honors Program and Dorcas Society and regularly participates in Bible study at the College.

“Catattack has a gentle, loving spirit that enabled her to excel at counseling and interacting with her campers. She also added a strong dose of fun to everything she did,” WinShape Camps Girls Apprentice Mary Ann Rountree said. “Callie and her fellow instructor encouraged and empowered the campers and fostered team spirit and the art of celebrating each other for our accomplishments.”

According to Holloway, one of the most memorable moments each week was “Lite Bright Night” in Dobbs Theatre, in which all campers and staff members dressed in their brightest attire and enjoyed group activities including bracelet and crown making, nail painting, hula hooping and sing-alongs.

“Another special moment was the night we called ‘Campfire Encounter,’” Holloway said. “The campers got a chance to talk individually with their counselor about their faith, the things they are struggling with and anything else they wanted to address. It was very special to be a part of someone’s story.”

In 2012, WinShape Camps plans to expand the One Week Overnight Camp for Girls to include eight sessions throughout June and July and host a senior camp at Young Harris College for female campers in grades 7-12.

“We have been working on building this program for a year, and the dream came true this summer not only for YHC and WinShape, but for all the campers who had a wonderful, life-changing experience. YHC and WinShape will be in their hearts and memories forever,” YHC Camps and Conferences Director Brett Beazley said. “We look forward to a long-term relationship with WinShape Camps for many years to come.”

For more information regarding WinShape’s One Week Overnight Camp for Girls, visit

Nearly 300 campers took part in four one-week camps held in June, guided by a team of 43 staff members and counselors, including junior biology major Callie Holloway, of Hull, (right) and YHC alumna Tory Gravitt, ’11, of Cumming.

Callie Holloway (center), who was known as “Catattack” at the camps, served as a counselor for the Bumbline Club and taught indoor rock climbing to campers each day in the Recreation and Fitness Center.