By Jordan Beach
On Feb. 25, 2020, longtime Reinhardt University Trustee member Randall Porter passed peacefully surrounded by loved ones. The legacy he leaves behind at Reinhardt University continues to live on in both his physical contributions and in the hearts that he touched along the way.
The abundance of those who came to remember Porter’s life represented the impact he made on those around him. The pews of the Hagan Chapel – which holds 225 people – were filled with so many friends and family members that they extended into the church parking lot. The church itself was a testament to his investment in the University, as he gifted the concrete to build its foundation.
While Porter will be greatly missed by all who knew him during his time at Reinhardt, his unquestionable loyalty remains evident across campus. Porter not only gifted the concrete for the foundation of Hagan Chapel (home of Waleska United Methodist Church), but when he chaired the Buildings and Ground Committee, he generously donated concrete for all the building projects at the time.
“He has his handprint on every building on the campus that was built while I was there,” said President Emeritus, Dr. Floyd Falany. “That’s the Randall that I knew.”
Serving the Board of Trustees from 1986-2003, Falany considered him to be one of the best trustees during his time as president, saying the term “best” referred to the action he put behind his intentions. Porter was granted Trustee Emeritus status in 2003.
“That man was a doer,” said Falany. “He put his time, his energy and his money where his mouth was. He’s one trustee I never asked for help on any occasion, regardless of circumstances, that he didn’t say yes. Those are the kind of trustees we need.”
Throughout his involvement on campus and through other organizations, Porter and Falany built a strong professional and personal connection.
“This is a man that I fished with in the Atlantic off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina; a man that I hunted with in Arkansas; a man that I fished with in the Gulf of Mexico; a man that I rode snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park with; I was very close to Randall.”
Porter received a Bachelor of Humanities from Reinhardt University after attending the School of Aeronautical Engineering at Georgia Technical College and Georgia State University for an Associate in Business.
“He was a man of integrity; extremely bright, extremely diverse in his interests,” Falany said. “He was probably one of the best aeronautical engineers I ever knew. He could make an airplane.”
Porter’s unwavering commitment to Reinhardt University represents not only his heart, but that of all who believe in the University’s mission.
“His legacy would be the role model he demonstrated as a trustee. His legacy would be, if you’re going to be a supporter of Reinhardt, you’ve got to put your heart in it and then you’ve got to stand by your heart.”
Porter is survived by his wife Liz Porter and his first wife Joyce Williams Porter, and his children Stacey Porter Cravey, David Porter, Hall Rottenberg, Melissa Rottenberg, TJ Rottenberg and their spouses, along with sister Caroline Porter Thames, 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The family asks that donations to the Reinhardt University Institutional Scholarship Fund be made in lieu of flowers.