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10 Under 10 announced at Homecoming Awards Dinner

By Erika Neldner

The new class of 10 Under 10 was announced over the weekend at the Homecoming Alumni Awards and Recognition Dinner held on campus in the Bannister Glasshouse.

During the dinner, President Kina Mallard gave an update on the university including Reinhardt’s increased ranking to 29th place in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Regional Colleges in the South and the Colleges of Distinction honors.

10Under10Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood, representing the Class of 1967 – the Golden Anniversary Class – gave some remarks about the institution that helped shape him.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years. When Dale Morrissey asked me to deliver a few remarks tonight, I was hesitant until she told me that transcripts are destroyed after 30 years,” he jokingly said.

He said 50 years ago was a different time. They did not have family support for college educations and if they wanted it, they had to work hard for it and get as many scholarship dollars as possible. He spoke of his and his wife, Elly’s, experience at Reinhardt.

“There was never any doubt that we intended to get a college education,” Hobgood said. “Reinhardt was so good to us that they gave us both jobs on campus. I spent long hours cleaning restrooms and stripping and waxing floors in the administration and other buildings on campus. Elly worked at that time in the main central office. We worked four hours each every day.”

Both also worked at Reinhardt during the summers as they continued their education.

“They also instilled in me that if you want something bad enough, there are good people like those at Reinhardt willing to encourage you and help you along the way,” Hobgood said.

Ben Garrett, the Class of 1992 SGA President and speaker for the Silver Anniversary Class, echoed Hobgood’s sentiments.

Retired from the U.S. Army after 22 years, Garrett has served three tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan and now serves as Chief of Public Affairs for the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning.

“It’s amazing to see how Reinhardt has grown but has still maintained that family atmosphere,” Garrett said. “Reinhardt has a certain character that develops the whole person.”

He said it is the people who make up the character of Reinhardt and he treasures the lasting relationships he made at Reinhardt. Garrett, fighting back tears, said it was his Reinhardt family that kept him going through letters and notes while he served in what he called the “hell” of war in the Middle East.

“It has been 20 something years since I have returned to this beautiful slice of God’s country. Although I had not physically returned to Reinhardt, Reinhardt never forgot about me,” he said. “I served 22 years in the U.S. Army… I had the pleasure to be deployed three times to combat … Combat comes as close to hell as any person should ever be. There were some lonely times. But Reinhardt never left me. Reinhardt was there through those bonds I formed so many years ago. My brothers and sisters from Reinhardt never failed to send me notes, support and call my family and touch base.

“Yes, this is an academic institution, but it is so much more,” he added.

In addition to his heartfelt remarks, Garrett gave a $1,000 to the University and challenged every member of the Class of 1992 to do the same.

Both Hobgood and Garrett served as great representatives for their classes and both men offered their congratulations to the 10 Under 10 class honored Friday night at the event.

Among those chosen for the 2016-17 10 Under 10 are a longtime firefighter and battalion chief for Cobb County, a Kentucky High school science teacher and coach, a former semi-professional basketball player and a local law firm operations manager.

The 10 Under 10 Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen fields, service in their communities and support of their alma mater. Reinhardt University is proud of the exemplary accomplishments of its alumni, particularly these who have distinguished themselves within 10 years of graduation.

The 2016-17 10 Under 10 are:

SEAN BOGGESS ’13 ’15

Sean Boggess is a Battalion Chief with Cobb Fire and Emergency Services. He currently commands Cobb’s 4th Battalion which consists of eight stations in the Kennesaw/Acworth area and the hazardous materials special operations team. Sean has 28 years of fire service experience and holds numerous instructor and firefighting certifications. He has earned degrees in Fire Science, Organizational Management and Leadership, an MBA from the McCamish School of Business, and he is currently working toward a degree in Occupational Safety and Health. Sean is a board member of the Metro Atlanta Firefighters Conference and a volunteer with the Terry Ferrell Firefighters Fund. He lives in Acworth with his wife, Sharon, and enjoys fishing, reading and spending time with his grandchildren.

DR. KERSTIN EDBERG ’07

Dr. Kerstin Edberg knew at the age of 12 that she would enter the field of science, but she would soon find a passion for teaching and all things volleyball. Kerstin attended Reinhardt on academic and volleyball scholarships and received her B.S. in Biology in 2007.  She went on to earn her M.S. in Biology in 2009 from Western Kentucky University. While at WKU, Kerstin discovered her love for teaching, and pursued that love when she was accepted into the biology doctoral program at St. Louis University and earned her Ph.D. in Biology in 2014. In 2016, Kerstin was hired as the Head Coach of girls’ volleyball and as a Biology teacher at Glasgow High School in Kentucky. Her experiences at RU were integral in shaping the coach and teacher she is today.

DR. HEATH HOOPER ’09

Dr. Heath Hooper stayed at Reinhardt as the head coach of the JV basketball team and assistant coach for varsity after graduating in 2009. While working with the Pre-K program at Waleska United Methodist Church, at Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency and as a fourth-grade basketball coach, he continued on to graduate school at Georgia State University. He later was named assistant basketball coach in his hometown at Young Harris College. He coached for two seasons and decided to enter academia at Shorter University, where he was an assistant professor of sport management, chair of the sport management department and dean of the Ledbetter College of Business. Dr. Hooper completed his Ph.D. in 2016. He resides in Rome with his wife, Ann Marie, who is a first-grade teacher.

ALEXA HUSTON ’11

Alexa Huston graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Reinhardt University in 2011. After graduation, she was hired by Cherokee County Board of Commissioners after completing her internship. While employed with Cherokee County, she completed her Master of Business Administration online through Mississippi State University in 2013.  Since 2014, Alexa has worked for Macy’s Systems and Technology as a project lead. She was promoted to project manager in 2016 after completing her PMP certification. She leads project planning and implementation for Macy’s infrastructure projects. Alexa is a member of the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton counties and serves as Secretary for the Georgia Leagues’ State Public Affairs Committee. She enjoys the leadership opportunities the Junior League provides while giving direct service to the community.  

JAMIE JONES ’12

Jamie Jones graduated from Reinhardt University magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. During her time at RU, Jamie won first place in both the “Year Of” Speech Competition and the Business Ethics Essay Contest for two consecutive years. Jamie was honored to be selected to provide detailed class notes to the RU Academic Support Office to aid students in need. She was also nominated by the Dean of the McCamish School of Business for the Business Leadership Luncheon in 2011. Jamie completed her Master of Business Administration with a specialization in marketing in 2014 at the Florida Institute of Technology. While working on her MBA, she began working as the marketing director Complete Cash headquartered in Rome. Jamie accepted a new position earlier this year as the executive assistant to the president and CEO of Greater Community Bank. She performs at the Rome Little Theatre and other theatrical organizations. She lives in Rome with her husband, Patrick.

STEPHEN KARAFA ’13

Stephen Karafa serves as an Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment and Coordinator of the Stamps Scholars Program at Mercer University. He earned his degree from RU in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in History, Religion and English. At Reinhardt, Stephen held multiple student leadership positions including SGA Vice President of Administration and Chief of Staff, as well as the Wesley Fellowship as president. At Reinhardt, Stephen participated in many student leadership positions and opportunities including SGA, campus ministry and Office of Admission. Stephen is pursuing an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership at Mercer. He is involved with the National Association of College Admissions Counseling’s (NACAC) Southern Affiliate (SACAC) as Georgia Drive-in Co-Chair and State and Area Initiatives Co-Chair. Stephen was named SACAC’s 2016 Rising Star of the Year. Stephen credits his success to his experience at Reinhardt including his fellow students, his professors and the many staff members who have become his lifelong mentors and friends.

NATALIE KING ’08

Natalie Stone King graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 2008. After trying many careers ranging from insurance subagent to flight attendant, Natalie found occupational therapy and graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Brenau University. She is now an Occupational Therapist at Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse in Stone Mountain. At Side by Side, Natalie works with individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury by aiding them in developing necessary life skills in order to regain their independence in daily roles and activities, as well as social, occupational and community roles. While in graduate school, Natalie was president of her student association, was a member of Pi Theta Epsilon, and was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student award for her graduating class at Brenau.

AMANDA LAM ’13

Amanda Lam graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in accounting. While at Reinhardt, Amanda was honored to say the invocation at the Baccalaureate of her graduating class and was named 2013 Student of the Year. Amanda is the Operations Manager at Flint, Connolly & Walker, LLP, a law firm in downtown Canton that represents individuals and businesses throughout metro Atlanta and northwest Georgia in a wide range of personal, financial and corporate matters. Amanda manages the firm’s accounts receivable, coordinates new staff member training, and oversees the daily operations of the firm. Amanda is a native to Canton and loves working in her hometown.

JEFF McCURRY ’09

Upon graduation from Reinhardt in 2009, Jeff McCurry accepted a role working for the Scotts Miracle-Grow company in Atlanta. His current position is Manager, Supply Chain Execution where he leads a team that supports the forecasting, inventory management and cross-functional collaboration with its largest retail partner as well as its supply chain counterparts at the corporate office in Marysville, Ohio in order to drive sales at the lowest cost possible and meet Key Performance Indicator goals. When he’s not working, he enjoys being outdoors riding mountain bikes and motorcycles, fishing, watching college football, and spending time with his family. Jeff lives in Canton with his wife, Holly, and daughter, Natalie.

DONOVAN McMULLEN ’09

Donovan McMullen graduated from Reinhardt in 2009 with a degree in Bachelor of Science in business administration. After graduation he completed a professional basketball tour in Shanghai, China. He also played semiprofessional basketball in the American Basketball Association and the Premier Basketball League. Following his athletic career, he earned his Master of Arts in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University: Irvine and a Master of Education from Grand Canyon University. He also earned his certification from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. He has volunteered his time for Bankshot Basketball and taught at Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale. He moved on to Forest Park High School and now teaches seventh-grade science and English/language arts at Forest Park Middle School. His coaching career includes an Elite 8 appearance, a Class 4A state championship appearance and two county championships. He and his wife, Andrea, have three children: Jaidyn, Jordan and Jace. 

 

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