Mary Hannah Robertson

Leaving a legacy

When Mary Hannah Robertson graduated from Hillgrove High School in Marietta in 2010, she had no idea what was next.

“I wasn’t really focused on going anywhere,” she says. “I had kind of hoped to play soccer in college, but I had just torn my second ACL. When you tear two consecutive ACLs, soccer is usually out.”

But a visit from Jim Robbins, women’s soccer coach, convinced Mary Hannah to check out LaGrange College, and told her hope was not lost.

“At that time, I was interested in becoming a nurse, so I hopped on the website and checked out the nursing major page – it was like fate stepped in. I had really wanted to find a school that had Christian values in teaching nursing, and not many schools do that. But right there, on the LaGrange College website, it said ‘Nursing based on Christian values.’ I was sold instantly.”

So Mary Hannah began a journey filled with twists and turns and transformation. Her nursing plans changed, she joined the soccer and swim teams, she discovered a talent for the stage and was selected as one of 12 members of the inaugural class of Servant Scholars.

“I really like the idea of serving the college through serving others because the college has given me so many opportunities,” she says. “That is my goal in everything I do – to give back to this place. I would have never had the opportunity to be in a play, I would never have been able to play soccer, I would have never discovered my love of biology – I would have never found these wonderful things if not for this college.”

Things started happening for her almost as soon as she stepped on campus.

“I took an anatomy and physiology class from Dr. (William) Paschal, and I found out that I had a knack for it,” she says. “I ended up really liking his favorite subject, neurobiology. That’s when I became a biology major.”

A love of biology wasn’t the only thing Mary Hannah learned about herself that first year. She also learned she has a theatrical bent.

“I’ve never done any theater before,” she says. “On a whim, I took a Makeup for the Stage class for my fine arts requirement. I did well and really liked it.”

It wasn’t long before she was taking more makeup classes and being asked to design looks for productions such as an Interim opera, “Lions, Witches and Wolves – Oh My!” and “Sweeney Todd.”

“I absolutely loved the atmosphere of being around a play at show time. I realized that this was something I wanted to keep doing.”

And that’s when another door opened.

“My professor, Ashleigh Poteat, asked if I had ever thought about auditioning for a show. I wasn’t sure I could because of soccer and school and all my commitments, but I decided to go for it.”

After three weeks of sleeping and breathing her audition monologue, Mary Hannah won the role of bratty little sister Dinah in “The Philadelphia Story.”

“That was the part I wanted,” she says with a wide smile. “I can’t tell you how exciting it was to be on the stage for the first time. They call it being bitten by the acting bug. Well, I’ve definitely been bitten, and I probably will appear in as many plays as I can before I graduate.”

Although she says her first two years were “amazing,” the next two are shaping up to be life changing.

Mary Hannah doesn’t remember exactly when she learned about the new Servant Scholars Program, but she was instantly intrigued.

“I was constantly in Dr. (Jack) Slay’s (Interim Director of the Servant Scholars Program) office, asking about it. There wasn’t a lot to tell at first – all I knew was that it was something I wanted to do.”

The new initiative was developed after more than a year of study and is designed to help prepare the next generation of servant-leaders. It will bring selected students together for a two-year focus on scholarship directed at addressing community concerns.

Mary Hannah says the application process was rigorous, but that it was a growing experience.

“I can’t say enough about how important it is that you go through a process like that because you learn so much about yourself. You learn how you should apply for something and how you should conduct yourself in interviews. I think it was the most nervous I’ve ever been.”

The newly renovated Broad Street Apartments will be the home of the Servant Scholars when school starts this fall. Mary Hannah says they are the icing on the cake.

“It is such an amazing and wonderful gift from the Callaway Foundation. President (Dan) McAlexander gave us a personal tour of the apartments before the public was invited to see them. As he was talking to us, it really brought home that this building is the perfect metaphor for what we want to do. Because the apartments are located exactly halfway between the downtown square and the college, we will serve as a bridge linking the college and the community. Through service, we will be able to build that bridge. It makes us all realize the responsibility we have on our shoulders.”

Because the initiative is so new, Mary Hannah doesn’t know exactly what to expect, but she has very high hopes.

“As the inaugural class, I hope that we can lay a great foundation and leave our own legacy for this college and the Servant Scholars Program. We can’t wait to get started.”

Friends for the Journey

LaGrange College attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. For example, our most recent incoming class consisted of men and women from 19 states and 10 countries, and included:

  • 76 members of Beta Club or the National Honor Society
  • 71 members of service organizations
  • 51 team captains in varsity sports
  • 25 leaders involved in student government, with 11 presidents
  • Three students involved in school publications, one as editor
  • Two Eagle Scouts
  • 20 musicians in band or orchestra
  • 18 singers in choir
  • 31 entertainers in performing arts
  • 85 students in religious activities.

But you don’t have to be a star in high school to succeed at LaGrange. Here, you’re given the opportunity to discover the best in yourself and find your destiny – all in a caring and supportive environment.