By Jordan Beach
Over the years, many local educators started their careers at Reinhardt University, including Annie Bigham, who graduated from Reinhardt 80 years ago.
On Sept 10, 2020, Bigham celebrated her 100th birthday. Her Reinhardt experience was unique, as she attended when middle school was taught on the ground floor, high school was taught on the middle floor and college courses were taught on the third floor – all in one building. Bigham attended Reinhardt for all three of these levels of her education. Following her graduation from Reinhardt in 1940, she married in 1944 and moved to Gordon County after living in Waleska since 1931. Bigham taught in the Gordon County School System from 1944 to 1986 at Belwood Elementary School.
Reinhardt played a part in Bingham’s family as her mother worked in the dietary department at Reinhardt and Bigham’s sister, Geneva Brown Johnson, also attended Reinhardt and graduated from the college in 1951.
As education transformed over the years, Bigham believes curriculum should focus on the basics and teach students skills necessary for everyday living, from “balancing a check book” to “checking the oil in a car."
Lord John Dalberg-Acton once said, “History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul,” and Reinhardt’s history is made rich by those lives that illuminate its efforts to educate.