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Mountain Lines January 2012


YHC Receives Invitation to Join Peach Belt Conference

The Peach Belt Conference Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Young Harris College has been invited to become the league's 14th member, effective July 1, 2012. The board unanimously voted to extend the invitation during a conference call Monday (Jan. 9). "We took an in depth look at Young Harris through the application process and came away impressed by the dedication of President Cox and her staff to making Young Harris a premier NCAA Division II athletics program," said PBC Board Chair Dr. Kendall Blanchard of Georgia Southwestern State University. "The vision they have and the groundwork that has been laid are outstanding. It is with pleasure that we invite Young Harris to the Peach Belt family." Read more>>

Young Harris College Named to Colleges of Distinction as a Leader in Educational Excellence

Young Harris College has been named to the prestigious 2011-2012 Colleges of Distinction. At its website,, the organization offers an online guide that takes a fresh look at colleges and universities appealing to students’ unique and varied interests. Based on the opinions of guidance counselors, educators and admissions professionals, Colleges of Distinction honors colleges excelling in key areas of educational quality.

“Schools selected as Colleges of Distinction create well-rounded graduates and are among the very best in the country,” Executive Editor of Colleges of Distinction Tyson Schritter said. “While each school is one of a kind, they all share a common theme: they are all a great place to get an education.”

In order to qualify, Young Harris College was required to demonstrate excellence in the four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes. Fewer than 250 colleges and universities in the nation were named to this year’s list, and YHC joins other distinguished institutions including Agnes Scott College, Centre College, College of Charleston, Rhodes College, Sewanee: The University of the South and Southern Methodist University.

The goal of Colleges of Distinction is to provide students, counselors and parents with information about colleges and universities that excel in these four areas. Featured schools take a holistic approach to admissions, consistently excel in providing undergraduate education and have a truly national reputation.

To learn more about the online guide, visit

Mountain Lions Athletics Adds Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse and Competitive Cheerleading for 2012

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox announced in December the addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse as well as competitive cheerleading as intercollegiate sports beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, following approval granted by the Young Harris College Board of Trustees at their semi-annual meeting in November in Atlanta.

“As we continue our four-year transformation at Young Harris College, we are pleased to expand our athletics offerings to include men's and women's lacrosse and competitive cheerleading,” Cox said. “We are excited to now begin recruiting students who will kick off these programs with us next year.” 

The news follows the president's announcement in July that the Mountain Lions had been accepted into the NCAA Division II membership process and are now in Candidacy Year One. YHC currently competes at the intercollegiate level in baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and tennis.

“Lacrosse has been the fastest growing sport in the nation over the past five years,” said Director of Athletics Randy Dunn. “YHC wants to be a leader in providing academic and athletic opportunities for high school student-athletes that want to compete at the collegiate level. Lacrosse will be attractive to many prospective student-athletes, and we believe it will enhance our entire campus." 

According to the latest participation survey by U.S. Lacrosse, the sport’s governing body, the number of NCAA lacrosse programs grew from 428 to 608 from 2000 to 2010, and the growth shows few signs of slowing. Thirty-eight new varsity programs began play in 2011 and another 26 are set to come on board in 2012. Lacrosse is also the top growth sport in men (22.4 percent) and women (30.3 percent) over the past five years in the NCAA.  

Data from the National Federation of State High School Associations shows that lacrosse has the fastest percentage growth rates in the last five years in both boys’ and girls’ sports. From 2005 to 2010, a total of 1,349 varsity high school teams were added in the NFHS survey. Georgia, which currently has 75 high schools that have lacrosse teams, is one of 21 states with governing associations that sanction/recognize high school lacrosse. 

“Competitive cheerleading will give our current students and prospective student-athletes the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level against other top colleges and universities around the country,” Dunn said. “It will provide an opportunity to promote our college to broader audiences in new venues, and it will create a more enthusiastic and spirited collegiate environment.”

Students interested in playing lacrosse or competitive cheerleading for the Mountain Lions should contact Dunn at

Campus Gate Art Gallery at Young Harris College to Host Wall Drawings Exhibit by Dawn Dickins

Young Harris College’s Campus Gate Art Gallery will host “Follow and Guide: wall drawing,” an exhibit by YHC Associate Professor of Art Dawn Dickins. The exhibit opens Thursday, Jan. 19, with an opening reception at 6 p.m. in the Campus Gate Art Gallery. The exhibit will be on display through Friday, Feb. 17. The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public.

Since she was a child, Dickins has had a passion for drawing. She loves the sound of a graphite stick dragged across a wood panel, the scent of a warm, worn-in eraser and the smearing of dense charcoal on white paper. For this installation, her work will be drawn directly on the gallery walls, allowing the viewer to enter the work and experience drawing in a new way.

According to Dickins, “drawing large” has always been something she enjoyed so her artwork is typically measured in feet instead of inches. In 2011, she fulfilled her goal of creating a billboard-size drawing in a location that would allow passersby to view the process by completing a larger-than-life drawing at Mayors Park in Young Harris.

“Now I like the idea of letting the space determine the scale and not being limited to the size of the drawing paper or the size of frames. I really want the viewer to feel like they have entered into the drawing,” said Dickins. “As I’ve gotten older, I have become more excited about the experience of creating than to actually have a work that will exist forever. I am much more interested in creating an experience that can forever live in the viewer’s memory.”

Dickins’ artistic process begins with a concept drawn from notes scribbled in her sketchbook that include what she calls “big themes or little ideas”—everything from national news stories to amusing things her children say. After making a list of objects and images that symbolize certain elements of the piece, Dickins begins searching for and photographing reference pictures before making a rough sketch of the drawing in her sketchbook.

“When I actually begin drawing on the walls, it becomes intuitive—a lot of looking and responding, changing and shifting. It’s scary and exciting all at the same time,” Dickins said. “My drawings involve many layers of line and color, drips, smudges and scrapes. When I draw, there is a balance of me directing the line and when I must trust the line to guide me.”

The exhibition’s theme of “Follow and Guide” refers not only to Dickins’ process of creating art, but also her many roles as a wife, mother, artist and professor that define and shape her past, present and future.

“I’m ecstatic about having my students see my work and discuss my process, and I have been encouraging some of my students and colleagues to drop by the gallery while I’m working,” said Dickins. “Creating this piece and baring my soul is a bit nerve-racking, but it will allow me to open myself up to the YHC community. The true thrill for me is seeing if I can succeed and hopefully inspire my students.”

Campus Gate Art Gallery is located at 5149 College Street on the Young Harris College campus. Regular gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information contact the Campus Gate Art Gallery at (706) 379-5114 or

“Follow and Guide: wall drawing.”

YHC Associate Professor of Art Dawn Dickins.

Young Harris College to Facilitate Three Alternative Spring Break Trips

Young Harris College students, faculty and staff members will have the opportunity to choose from three alternative spring break trips facilitated by S.E.R.V.E. (Service, Education, Responsibility, Voice and Engagement) in March. Throughout the week, groups of 10-12 students will volunteer at the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition in Hayesville, N.C., participate in Heifer International’s alternative break program in Little Rock, Ark., and complete service projects during a “Civil Rights Southern Tour” through Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

“We are happy to offer three very unique opportunities for our students to spend spring break experiencing exciting service projects that will hopefully have a lasting impact on their lives,” said Rob Campbell, Bonner Leaders program director and academic service learning program coordinator. “Our original idea was to offer a local, national and international trip to choose from, and that’s something we still hope to do in the future.”

During March 5-8, students will stay at the Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville with college students from across the country while working with the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition to help repair and improve the water habitats in the local watershed. Cost for the trip is $25.

“The Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition and Hinton Rural Life Center are two of our main community partners for the Bonner Leaders program at YHC, and we are happy to support both of these great agencies by offering this option for students who wish to remain in the local area,” Campbell said.

Heifer International’s alternative break program March 4-9 will allow students to experience interactive learning programs that explore issues surrounding hunger and poverty, as well as sustainable solutions. Cost for the trip is $50.

As part of the “Civil Rights Southern Tour” March 3-8, students will connect history with service while learning about important sites and events in the Civil Rights movement. The group will visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., where participants will engage in a service project. Cost for the trip is $50.

Faculty, staff and students may still register to attend these alternative spring break trips. For more information, contact Campus Minister Rev. Dr. Tim Moore at or (706) 379-5166.

New Student Organization Advocates Health and Wellness at YHC

Young Harris College recently expanded campus activities programming by welcoming to campus a new organization, Campus Leaders Advocating Wellness (C.L.A.W.). This group is dedicated to sharing information about health-related topics in order to help students make educated decisions.

As part of a new initiative in the Office of Student Development at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, the College’s four resident directors also became program coordinators in order to assist the Office of Campus Activities with specific aspects of student programming at the College.

YHC Resident Director Crystal Crouse was charged with forming a group of peer educators to assist with events and student interactions related to health and wellness. Three students volunteered to become the first peer educators for the fall semester, including junior music education major Melissa Murphy, of Blairsville, senior biology major Rashelle Edwards, of Gainesville, and junior education major Katheryn Woods, of Cleveland, Ga.

“The students that helped me start C.L.A.W. have been given the opportunity to explore areas of their own interests, and they have put their own touch on everything we have done,” Crouse said. “All members of C.L.A.W. have considered working in the field of education, and through this experience they are learning valuable skills to help them in the future.”

The peer educators underwent training that prepared them to make presentations regarding three specific health and wellness-related issues: substance abuse, relationships and emotional health. The group also developed a six-week “social norms” marketing campaign using the slogan “Are you one of us?”

“Research shows that social norms marketing is one of the most inexpensive yet effective ways to inform students about behavior,” said Crouse. “Our goal with the campaign was to inform all students, but specifically freshmen, early in the semester about healthy student behavior reported on last year’s health and wellness survey.”

During the fall semester, C.L.A.W. partnered with other student organizations to host special events including a jeopardy game centered on topics related to drugs and alcohol, a food-tasting activity that highlighted how drug experimentation can drastically affect perception and a simulation of driving under the influence.

As part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, C.L.A.W. teamed up with Support in Abusive Family Emergencies, Inc. (S.A.F.E) and Phi Alpha Phi to present a special “Remember My Name” candlelight vigil to commemorate those who lost their lives to domestic violence and to raise awareness about relational abuse.

This spring, C.L.A.W. plans to continue collaborating with other student organizations to provide quality student programming that will focus on relationships, campus safety and emotional health. The group will sponsor a dating program in February centered on actions and consequences within interpersonal relationships, as well as an “End the Silence” walk to honor those suffering from depression and those lost to suicide.

“As part of C.L.A.W., I want to help students who may feel pressured to do something they don’t want to do and reach out to students who really just need to know basic information about health and wellness,” Murphy said. “If we can encourage a student to be informed and careful, and maybe even save a life, we are accomplishing something worth working for.”

For more announcements and information, visit the C.L.A.W. group page on Facebook.

(Front row, left to right) Junior Katheryn Woods, of Cleveland, Ga., junior Melissa Murphy, of Blairsville, senior Katelyn Sharpe, of Sylvania, (back row, left to right) senior Rashelle Edwards, of Gainesville, Support in Abusive Family Emergencies, Inc. (S.A.F.E.) Volunteer Coordinator Margie Porter, and YHC Resident Director Crystal Crouse attended a special “Remember My Name” candlelight vigil in October 2011.

During the fall semester, C.L.A.W. hosted a food-tasting activity in Grace Rollins Dining Hall that highlighted how drug experimentation can drastically affect perception.

Director of Residence Life Stuart Miller Wins City Council Seat

Young Harris College Director of Residence Life Stuart Miller was recently sworn in as a member of the Young Harris City Council during the group's monthly meeting on Jan. 2. Miller was declared winner of the City of Young Harris Post 3 Council Seat by the Towns County Board of Elections following the General Election on Nov. 8. "It is a huge honor to be elected to the City Council, and I look forward to serving the residents of Young Harris to the best of my ability," Miller said. "The city of Young Harris is a special place, and my hope is that I can help move the city forward with some progressive ideas that will really make an impact for everyone invested in this city."

Faculty and Staff Notables

YHC President Cathy Cox and College of Coastal Georgia President Valerie Hepburn co-presented a concurrent session titled “Where Do Athletics Fit into an Institution’s Mission?” at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 4.

Assistant Professor of English Dr. Jennifer Hughes presented a paper she co-authored with Dr. Phil Nel regarding Moby Dick and the graphic novel Bone at the American Studies Conference in Baltimore, Md., Oct. 20-23. Dr. Hughes also recently received the Tournées Festival Grant to bring a French film festival to campus during the spring 2012 semester. Five new French comedies will be featured, including L’Illusioniste, La Cliente, Two Days in Paris, Panique au Village and El Dorado. Dates will be announced soon.

Assistant Professor of History Dr. Natalia Starostina will present a paper titled “Color in railway posters and the evolution of publicity in the French Third Republic” at the Biannual North Georgia Arts and Letters Conference held at North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, Feb. 25.