Reinhardt Alumni Lanier, Dean and Williams Honored During College's Annual Alumni Awards Dinner
Special alumni were honored during Reinhardt College's Alumni Awards Dinner on October 3, 2009 for their support and dedication to the College and its mission. Alton Lanier '65 (from right) was honored with the Alumni Loyalty Award; Leslie Dunn Dean '03 was presented with the Young Alumni Award; and Steve Williams '73 received the Alumnus of the Year Award.
Personal Values Lanier and Dean were appreciative of their awards and the strong personal values that were instilled in them while they attended Reinhardt.
"I am very surprised and humbled and somewhat amazed that I received this award because there are so many good folks that deserve it much more than I do," said Lanier. " I am truly amazed at the progress and growth that has taken place at Reinhardt; but one thing that I hope will never change are the faculty and students with solid personal values. My parents loved Reinhardt and deeply appreciated a college education and this little school up in the North Georgia mountains. Even though I am going to retire next year, I plan to continue to support Reinhardt through scholarships and recruiting and help this college in every way that I can."
"I am so honored to have received this award," Dean said. "When I stepped on this campus in 1998, I really knew this was where I wanted to be. The people I met were so friendly, and I loved the beautiful campus. Because of the generosity of people like you, I was able to continue at Reinhardt and graduate in 2003. Reinhardt is a special place because of the personal feel you get when you are here. Everyone cares about you and it's a family environment."
A Special Place Williams was greatly humbled by receiving his award and added to Lanier and Dean's sentiments about what makes Reinhardt so special.
"I am very humbled and honored, and I thank you for selecting me to receive this award," he said. "When I came to Reinhardt, it was a second home away from home for me. It provided a foundation for me to accomplish many of the things I have done in my life. Whenever I hear the word Reinhardt, I just smile. It brings back so many great memories for me. The staff, faculty and students care about you so much, and that is what makes Reinhardt so special-the people. I thank God for allowing me to come here."
Award Description The recipient of the Alumni Loyalty Award is chosen for his or her personal and financial support of the College. The Young Alumni Award recognizes a recent graduate who has made outstanding contributions to society and whose accomplishments and career reflects favorably upon Reinhardt. The Alumnus of the Year is selected for his or her personal and/or professional achievements; the award is based on an individual being distinguished in his of her business or professional career; for community service; for exhibiting exemplary faithfulness to Reinhardt; for demonstrated and propagated spirit of Reinhardt; and for demonstrated faith and moral character.
Alton Lanier '65 Lanier was born in New York City, but as a military "brat", he was raised on both coasts of the United States and the on the island of Guam, before his family settled down in the North Atlanta area of Dekalb County. Reinhardt was his first choice of colleges to attend, and he went to the College from 1963- 1965, before he transferred to The University of Tennessee to pursue a bachelor's degree in transportation.
After graduating from UT in 1967, Lanier served in the United States Air Force from 1968-69 at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, Cal. When he returned home, he worked as a track maintenance worker on Southern Railway in Knoxville, Tenn., and later advanced to become a track supervisor in South Carolina and Alabama. He attended Memphis State University from 1974-76 and earned an M.B.A. in management.
Lanier went on to teach transportation law and procedure at Chattanooga State Technical Community College, but only taught for one year before he took a job as a district inspector for the Association of American Railroads' Bureau of Explosives (BofE). After eight years with BofE, he joined the faculty of Texas A & M University at College Station where he taught hazardous materials safety in the engineering extension service. While at Texas A & M, he spent several months in Seattle at the Boeing Company as a consultant to study, establish and operate a company-wide program for the more than 100,000 employee company.
Eight years with Texas A & M left him with a desire to return home to the South. Lanier went on to work for an environmental firm in Memphis, Tenn., and then in 1999, Lanier jumped back to the air transportation industry and became the second environmental engineer at Memphis International Airport. His career there has afforded him the opportunity to speak before numerous transportation groups across the world on airline safety and environmental issues specific to the air transportation industry.
Lanier, a resident of Arlington, Tenn., is a Master Mason, a Past Master of his lodge, and a York Rite Mason. He is a Shriner and strongly supports the Shriner's Hospitals for Crippled Children. He is an avid photographer and has written several magazine articles on railroads and airlines, and published a hardbound color photography book on Southern Railway. He was married to the late Alma Jo Gault of Clinton, Tenn. for 33 years before her death in May 2003. They have four children: Forrest, Brock, Anna Marie and Glen.
Leslie Dunn Dean '03 During her college years, Dean began her teaching career early by serving as an English teacher for Chinese high school students through the English Language Institute of China in Hainan & Taiyuan, China for the summers of 2001 and 2002. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in early childhood education from Reinhardt in 2003, and then in 2005, she earned a M.S. in reading and literacy from Walden University.
After graduating from Reinhardt, Dean served as a full-time third grade classroom teacher from 2003-04 at Simonton Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Ga., and then from 2004 to the present, she has served as a full-time third grade classroom teacher and as a part-time EIP reading & math support teacher at Margaret Winn Holt Elementary School.
Dean was named the Teacher of the Year for Margaret Winn Holt Elementary School for 2006-07 and was a top 20 semifinalist for 2006-07 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year. She was a presenter at the 2007 Gwinnett County Summer Leadership (for Administrators), the 2009 Gwinnett County Literacy Institute, and the 2007 and 2008 Gwinnett County Writing Institutes. Dean served as the Children's Summer Literacy Camp Coordinator for Winn Holt in 2006 and 2007 and in the After School Tutoring Program at Winn Holt from 2005-08.
Her volunteer experience includes serving as the Outreach Coordinator of Special Events for Christ Church in Stone Mountain, Ga. and as a mentor for teenage girls through Christ Church. She is also a member of PAGE-Professional Association for Georgia Educators.
Steve Williams '73 Williams, a native of Royston, Ga., attended Reinhardt from 1971-1973 and served as student body president. He received an A.A. degree from the College in 1973, and then he continued his studies at The University of Georgia where he received a B.B.A. degree in 1975.
After college, Williams joined the family business, B & W Gas Company, until it was sold to AmeriGas in 1979. He continued his employment with AmeriGas until 1983, when he and two partners established Tri‑State Distributors, Inc., a wholesale supply business that has locations in five states. He also owns two Ace Hardware stores.
Williams served on the Royston City Council from 1978- 90 and as Royston's mayor from 1990- 2005. He has served on or currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Royston‑Franklin Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, the Northeast Georgia Advisory Council of Emmanuel College, the Franklin County Industrial Authority, the Franklin County Water Authority, the Ty Cobb Memorial Hospital Trustee Board, the Board of Directors of Pinnacle Bank, the President of the Georgia Propane Gas Association, the Board of the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association, and is a graduate of Leadership Franklin Program.
He is also is an active member of the Royston Volunteer Fire Department. As a life‑long member of Royston First United Methodist Church, Williams has served in various capacities including Chairperson of the Administrative Council, Finance Committee, Board of Trustees and Staff Parish Relations Chairperson.
Williams is married to Robin Whitney Williams, formerly of Atlanta. They have three children: Drew and his wife, Kelli DeMott Williams, Clark Williams, and Whitney Williams.