Reinhardt Honors Special Alumni and Friends at the Talon Awards Gala on March 21, 2013
Approximately 170 Reinhardt University friends – alumni, trustees, faculty, staff and students – gathered for the Talon Awards Gala on Thursday, March 21, 2013. They honored 15 individuals at the black-tie optional event at Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta.
JoEllen Bell Wilson ’61, vice president for advancement, emceed the affair, and she thanked SEI Investments, the presenting sponsor, for their generous support. “Their gift will allow Reinhardt to use more of the ticket proceeds toward scholarship funds for deserving students,” she said. “In addition to recognizing some very special people, enjoying musical performances by exceptionally talented Reinhardt students and alumni, and sharing a delicious meal, we also raised funds for scholarships. What a lovely evening!”
Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
The first to be honored on this special night were the Alumni Award recipients. Randell Trammell ’03, ’09, president of the Reinhardt Alumni Board of Governors, presented the first award to Betty Ann Callahan ’49, who was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. This award recognizes an individual with outstanding personal achievement and an unselfish and dedicated personal devotion to Reinhardt.
Betty Ann Callahan '49
Betty Ann is a native resident of Cherokee County and attended Reinhardt Academy from 1936 until 1949. After graduating from the Academy, she attended Reinhardt’s Junior College where she received her diploma. Wanting to pursue a career in the medical field she entered into a three year nursing program with Peidmont Hospital. She was the head nurse at then R.T. Jones Hospital (now Northside-Cherokee Hospital) until 1962.
Her second career was in horticulture, where she was the owner of Callahan’s nursery. This garden center grew many beautiful plants. After years with the successful plant sales outlet, Betty Ann and her son Matt decided to go into real estate. Two of Waleska’s oldest buildings on Hwy 140 were eye sores and in desperate need of repair. Betty Ann didn’t want to see these treasures lost and there she began the arduous task of restoring them—Kreations Hair Salon and the former Front Porch Market & Creamery. She and her son also transformed the rolling pasture and bordering their stately home into a golf course known as Callahan’s Golf Links.
Betty Ann and her late husband, Dean Callahan, were married from 1954 until his passing in 1992. She is mother of twin sons, Stephen and David, and son Matthew, and has five grandchildren.
"I thank you for the honor."
“There are so many here that have done even more than we have, but no one can appreciate it any more than I do,” said Callahan upon acceptance of the award. “I thank you for the honor, and appreciate it greatly.”
10 Under 10 (back row, left to right): Woods, Lacy, Karpeh, Trotter and Trammell; (front row, left to right): Nichols, Neese and Bailey. Not pictured: Cadena Gaitan and Herndon.
"10 Under 10" Alumni Awards
The alumni to be honored as the “10 under 10” were presented following the presentation to Callahan. Each year Reinhardt will recognize a group of 10 alumni from the last 10 years (2002 - 2012) who are successful in business, the military, nonprofits, government, and/or the arts. A picture identifying each will hang in the Hasty Student Life Center as a reminder of what Reinhardt alumni have accomplished.
The “10 Under 10” honored this year include: Dr. Telisha Dionne Bailey ’03, a resident of Oxford, Miss.; Carlos Cadena Gaitán ’05, a resident of The Netherlands; Whitney Carter Herndon ’03, a resident of Brunswick, Ga.; Nelson Karpeh ’05, a resident of Marietta, Ga.; The Rev. Thomas Alonzo Lacy ’02, a resident of Tifton, Ga.; Charity Neese ’12, a resident of Jasper, Ga.; Jillian Nichols ’04, a resident of Woodstock, Ga.; Randell Trammell ’03 ’09, a resident of McDonough, Ga.; Daniel Trotter ’07, a resident of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Captain Sean Woods ’10, a resident of Alpharetta, Ga.
John Wesley Laity and Clergy Awards
The John Wesley Laity and Clergy Award recipients were also named: Marian Pinson Wilder ’50, a resident of Avondale Estates, Ga., and The Rev. Dr. E. Malone Dodson, a resident of Alpharetta, Ga., respectively. The Wesley Award was established in 1991 to recognize a layperson who had made a significant contribution to United Methodist institutions of higher education and ministries. Two years later, the clergy award was added. These awards are named for John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The Rev. Dr. Ron Flowers, president of the Reinhardt Ministerial Association, presented the awards.
Marian Pinson Wilder '50
Marian was raised in Athens, Ga., and is a life-long devoted United Methodist. She attended then Reinhardt College along with Garnett Wilder, who later became her husband and a beloved United Methodist minister. She has served on many boards and agencies of the UMC throughout her own ministry, including: Aldersgate Homes, Wesley Homes, The United Methodist Children’s Home, the North Georgia Conference on Health and Welfare and the Southeastern Jurisdiction Council on Ministries.
Her greatest passion has been working with people with developmental disabilities, for whom she has been a tireless advocate for 45 years. Marian taught in Georgia’s public schools in special education, supervised a service center in Floyd County and directed a multi-faceted program for persons with developmental disabilities under the Cobb and Douglas Boards of Health. She is widely respected as an authority in her field, and has served as an evaluator of curriculum for exceptional persons at a national level.
Marian recommended to the 1991 session of the North Georgia Annual Conference the establishment of Aldersgate Homes, a residential ministry for persons with developmental disabilities. She has served on the Aldersgate Board since its inception, and has guided the organization as president since 1996. In 2001, under her leadership, Collinswood, a retreat center for persons with developmental disabilities, was established on Lake Oconee.
"My years at Reinhardt helped to shape my life."
Marian shared her sincere appreciation for being honored. “I sincerely thank you for this honor. My years at Reinhardt helped to shape my life in a positive and spiritual environment, for which I am very grateful.
“I am extremely honored to receive the John Wesley Award because John Wesley spent much of his time preaching or people to understand the importance of serving those who were disadvantaged and disenfranchised. Your recognition of my life’s efforts on behalf of persons with learning disabilities raises awareness to their needs, and I am sincerely thankful for that. In the spirit of Wesley, let’s follow his directive to do all the good we can, in all the ways we can. Thank you.”
The Rev. Dr. Malone Dodson
Malone served Roswell First UMC from 1977-2001. Prior to that, he served in several capacities at Haygood Memorial, Atlanta; Tuckston, Athens, Ga.; Bethlehem-Nazareth Charge; Dalton First UMC; New Hope, Palmetto, Ga.; and West Point Circuit. Since retiring, he has served as president of Mentoring Ministries, Inc., from 2001 to present. He was Chairman of the LaGrange College Board of Trustees from 1992-2000, and served with North Fulton Community Charities from 1979-2000. He serves on the North Fulton Habitat for Humanity Steering Committee; North Fulton Homestretch; Alpharetta/Isakson YMCA Executive Committee; Foundation for Wesley Woods; and the North Fulton Child Development Association Board of Directors.
Most recently, Malone was awarded the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Citizen of the Year, 2010; the Roswell Historical Society, History Maker of the Year, 2009; and the LaGrange College, Callaway Award for Lifetime Service, 2006.
He graduated from LaGrange College with an Bachelor of Arts degree in 1958, from the Candler School of Theology with a Masters Degree in 1962, and from LaGrange College with a Doctorate of Divinity in 1986. Malone and his wife, Charlotte, have been married since 1959; they have three children and six grandchildren.
"We can still be a light to the world."
Malone brought both humor and gratitude to his acceptance speech. “…I play in the Reinhardt golf tournament every year, and I’ve lost more golf balls in that tournament than any tournament I play in. I have found that golf is a good way to meet people…especially when you hit the wrong ball!
“We thank you for this award, and we love Reinhardt. Today the challenge is to keep Christian education in the forefront in the midst of our changing culture. We can still be a light to the world. God bless you all!”
The Honoree Awards were given to two special recipients this year: The Rev. Leigh Martin, former Reinhardt chaplain and a resident of Cumming, Ga. and the late Mr. James C. Williams, a former resident of Canton, Ga. The Reverend Dr. James Mooneyhan ’66, elected to Reinhardt's Board of Trustees in 1992, recommended that Reinhardt's Ministerial Association create a Ministerial Honoree Scholarship Program. The Honoree Award recipients are identified by a selection committee as those persons whom they wish to honor and lift up to their students, faculty and staff - persons whose character epitomizes the “core values” taught at Reinhardt. These awards were presented by Mooneyhan, pastor of Tuckston United Methodist Church.
Martin, right, with Reinhardt students Trenn Carnes and Elizabeth Coe.
The Rev. Leigh Martin
After attending LaGrange College, Leigh received an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia in 1998. She was called to the Ministry and graduated with the Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 2003. Before coming to Reinhardt, she worked with Youth and Adult Church Groups, as a State Prison Intern and as a ministry intern at Marietta First United Methodist Church and Campus Minister for the Georgia State University Wesley Foundation.
Leigh came to Reinhardt as Campus Minister in 2004. During the 8 years she served at Reinhardt, she touched the lives of students, faculty and staff not only through her work as their Minister, but also with her cheerful countenance and sincere charm and grace. Students always counted on Leigh for support as they made a commitment for Christ. During her time at Reinhardt, she organized and attended Mission Trips, was a Wednesday staple during Chapel, attended and assisted the student-led service ‘Real Deal’ behind the scenes and produced weekly ‘Virtual Chapel’ - thoughtful and insightful messages from the Word of God for everyone at Reinhardt - while ministering to the needs of everyone seeking her counsel.
Leigh is married to the Reverend Zach Martin and they have two children: Savannah and Thomas.
"The Reinhardt family really does mean 'family,'"
“Being here tonight is like being around family,” said Leigh. “I was at Reinhardt for 8.5 years, and the Reinhardt family really does mean “family,” and what a blessing you have all been to me. My life changed significantly while I was at Reinhardt: I was married, ordained and had two children. What a wonderful place Reinhardt is, and it will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you so much!”
Jim was born in Atlanta, graduated from Roosevelt High School where he lettered in football, baseball and basketball and was President of his Senior Class. He attended Wofford College on a football scholarship and played for two years before an injury ended his football career.
Jim’s first profession was as a commercial interiors company owner. After selling and retiring from commercial interiors and construction, he was approached by Reinhardt’s President Floyd Falany to help with the construction of the Gordy Dormitory. As usual, at Reinhardt, this temporary position became a full-time endeavor and Jim was employed at Reinhardt for 10 years. Jim loved working at Reinhardt. The students, cleaning ladies and maintenance crew were especially dear to his heart. He treasured friendships made there and was grateful for the love and attention shown him after his Parkinson’s disease progressed.
He was an avid snow skier, tennis player and golfer – He also loved hunting – in his younger days, he hunted deer, elk, moose and bear in the wilds of Canada and Alaska. Later, he preferred bird hunting, duck, pheasant and quail. He loved to travel – touring Europe, China and RVing all over the United States.
"He treated kings and paupers the same."
“Many describe him as ‘the kindest man I’ve ever known,’” said Mooneyhan. “He never had an unkind word about anyone. He was brilliant and funny. He treated kings and paupers the same. He was a man who deserved admiration, as evidenced by the many, many people who attended his Memorial Service at Reinhardt in 2011.”
Married for 32 years to his wife, Holly, they together have three children. Holly accepted the award in his memory.
Dinner and Program Entertainment
Also taking part in the evening was Reinhardt student Elizabeth Coe ’14, who performed the evening’s dinner music, and musical quartet Cobalt Strings comprised of four Reinhardt alumni: Amber Loggins Dobbs ’09, Hannah Aschmann Hise ’09, Jennifer Laminack ’11 and Sarah Beth Chumley Wilson ’08, who provided the program’s entertainment.
“Reinhardt is the most dynamic institution of higher education in the State of Georgia."
Reinhardt President Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood concluded the evening with special recognition for award recipients and University supporters. “To those who we have recognized this evening. Congratulations. Please know your achievements honor us as we appropriately take time to reach out to you and say thank you. I hope you know we are proud of you, and we hope that your university continues to be a part of your life.
“Reinhardt is the most dynamic institution of higher education in the State of Georgia. We are building and growing in every way possible way of that measure of quality can be taken. These are exciting and meaningful times for Reinhardt. But as new students come and graduates students go, as new programs are developed, as new and exciting faculty join us, as new buildings and facilities arise, what I know remains unchanged is the spirit of this wonderful university. We are an institution of relationships that shapes lives and builds futures. No one is unmoved by the Reinhardt experience. We challenge and care and guide people as they find meaning and purpose for their lives. That is as true today as it has always been true.
“We are good and successful because of what all those who have come before us have done, for what our faculty and staff do every day, for the God-graced students who join us every year, and for you what each of you who support us in all we do. Thank you and God bless.”
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