Commencement honorees linked to campus history

Commencement honorees linked to campus history

Posted on Friday, May 05, 2023

Alumna and donors to be recognized at graduation

Distinguished Service Alumni Award recipient Shearon Wiggins Glover ’72, of Atlanta and Honorary Doctorate recipients Louis and Mary Kay Smith, of Houston may reside in two different states, but they are more alike than different. The common thread that connects these proponents of education is their commitment to advancing the mission of the college and providing opportunities for current and future students.

Glover will be recognized at Saturday’s commencement at 8:30 a.m. at Callaway Stadium.

She attended LaGrange College for two years before transferring to the University of Georgia, where she received a bachelor’s degree in education.

Glover worked as an elementary school teacher for five years in Coweta and Fulton counties.

She has devoted much of her life to gardening, serving as a past member of the Board of Trustees for Atlanta Botanical Gardens and a Lifetime Trustee. Glover and her husband, Taylor, served as chairpersons of the Capital Campaign for the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

At LaGrange College, she served on the Board of Trustees from 2014-2022. Glover was the Chair of the Board’s Advancement Committee during the college’s From Promise to Prominence fundraising campaign.  

Fellows of LaGrange College as well as members of the President’s Circle and the 1831 Lifetime Giving Society, the couple funded the redesign of the college’s patio area, which was transformed and named Glover Garden in 2020.

Active in community work, she has previously served in campaign leadership roles for The Georgia Conservancy, Piedmont Park Conservancy, Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, The Schenck School, The Westminster Schools, Peachtree Presbyterian Church and the Go West Gala for The High Museum of Art. In addition, Glover is a past president of The Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, served on the Board of Visitors of Presbyterian College, and co-chaired both the Parents' Council and Past Parents' Council for Davidson College. Glover and Taylor are also members of the Inaugural Grandparents Circle of Support for the High Museum of Art.

Her past affiliations include the Leadership Council of Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, the Piedmont Garden Club (past president) and Friends of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In addition, Glover is a lifetime member of the Alzheimer’s Society of Atlanta.

She and Taylor have two children and three grandchildren.

During the ceremony, Louis and Mary Kay Smith and commencement speaker Jim Thornton ’94 will be given their honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and Doctor of Laws degrees, respectively.

The Smiths are retired professionals whose passion for education is exemplified through their establishment of student scholarships at LaGrange College, an institution with deep ties to their family.

Rufus Wright Smith, who was Louis’ great-grandfather, served as President of LaGrange College from 1885-1915. Smith Hall, the college’s oldest building, was named after Rufus’ wife, Oreon. Louis’ grandfather Herbert Mann Smith was a United Methodist minister, professor and Dean of Students at the college. Guy Smith, Louis’ father, was born in Smith Hall and moved at the age of 4 to Texas, where Louis and Mary Kay first met.

They both attended Rice University in Texas, where they received bachelor’s degrees in engineering and French, respectively. Louis would go on to earn a graduate degree in mechanical engineering from Rice University, while Mary Kay graduated with a master’s degree in French from Stanford University.

After college, Louis served in the U.S. Army for two years in France. He then went on to work for Exxon, a company he would remain with until his retirement. Louis’ career began with various engineering assignments that eventually evolved into business analysis and international negotiations, which he made on behalf of Exxon in 35 countries.

Members of LaGrange College’s Rufus Wright Smith Lifetime Giving Society and the Quadrangle Society, Louis and Mary Kay funded a $1 million endowed scholarship in 2018 to support first-generation college students. In March 2020, they committed to giving $5 million to create a Global Engagement endowment to fund the Smith Travel Grant to assist students with study away expenses.

They have two children and two grandchildren.


Campus Notes

Faculty and staff recognized for years at college
  • Faculty and staff members were honored April 27 at the annual appreciation ceremony. Service awards were presented to: five years – Gina Thompson, Luke Hopper; 10 years – Pam Cox; 15 years – Dr. VickiEmployees recognized for years of service Pheil; 20 years – Dr. Melvin Hall; 30 years – Dr. Jack Slay; and 35 years – Marcia Brown.
  • The college honored retirees Dr. David Ahearn, Marcia Brown, Lisa Farrow ’98, M’18 and Tammy Rogers.
  • Congratulations to James Blackwood ’99, Pam Cox and Dr. Carol Yin, this year’s recipients of the inaugural Presidential Excellence Award. Blackwood was recognized for his work implementing technology upgrades and new business management software at the college. Cox was recognized for her work transitioning the college to a new human resources management software program. Yin was recognized for her work on the college’s decennial accreditation visit in March.Employees honored for excellence
  • Religion Professor Dr. John Cook had his article “In Defense of Polyvalence in 1 Cor 12,13c” published in Biblica.
  • Congratulations to this semester’s graduating seniors who rang the Chapel Bell to celebrate their accomplishments. The list includes Mary Anderson (Nursing), offered a full-time job as a registered nurse at Wellstar West Georgia; Cristinne Botica (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher in the Calvert County School System in Maryland; Gracie Brunel (Exercise Science), accepted into LC’s Master of Arts in Teaching graduate program; and Kaela Busby Camp (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher in the Troup County School System.

        Also recognized was: Andrew Cunningham (Political Science and History), accepted into law school at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia; Abbey Gardner (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher in the Troup County School System; Breonna Glover (Exercise Science), accepted into the occupational therapy graduate program at Tennessee State University; Gabe Miller (Accountancy), accepted into the business analytics graduate program at Mercer University; Hannah Miller (Nursing), offered a full-time job as a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida; Madi Novak (Education), offered a full-time job as a teacher in the Brantley County School System in Georgia; and Katie Odom (Nursing), offered a full-time job as a registered nurse at Wellstar West Georgia.

       Also honored was: Jaydon Parrish (Political Science), accepted into political science graduate programs at the University of South Carolina, University of Georgia and Georgia State University; Jack Richards (Education Studies), accepted into LC’s Master of Arts in Teaching graduate program; Lauren Richardson (Nursing), offered a full-time job as a registered nurse at Wellstar West Georgia; Claudia Robinson (Nursing), offered a full-time job as a registered nurse at Wellstar West Georgia; Hunter Rooks (Nursing), offered a full-time job as a registered nurse at Piedmont Newnan Hospital; Kasey Smith (Nursing), offered a full-time job as a registered nurse at Wellstar West Georgia; Bridgette Speer (Nursing), offered a full-time job as a registered nurse at Wellstar West Georgia; Karson Troth (Political Science and Sociology), accepted into law school at Mercer University; Alyson Tyson (Nursing), offered a full-time job as a registered nurse at Wellstar West Georgia; Madison Whiteaker (Biochemistry), accepted into the pharmacology doctoral program at Auburn University; and Kiara Tookes-Williams, accepted into the counseling psychology doctoral program at Tennessee State University.

      Upcoming seniors can take part in the annual tradition for the 2023-2024 academic year by filling out an online form.

  • Political Science Professor Dr. John Tures and his International Conflict students had their article "Let's Play a Game: Student-Created Simulations" published in The Teaching Professor. Co-authors include Chase Davis ’23, Daniel Cody ’25, Andrew Cunningham ’23, De’Queze Fryer ’23, Hannah Godfrey ’24, Shedrick Lindsey ’23, Jaydon Parrish ’23, Jenna Pittman ’26, Eli Rogers ’26, Tamino Schoeffer ’24, Karson Troth ’23 and Ema Turner ’25.


Video of the Week

Graduation Survival Kit 2023

A brief, whimsical guide to practical preparation for those who plan to march in LaGrange College's 2023 commencement ceremony.



Men’s Lacrosse

Tournament against Methodist

LaGrange closed out its regular season with a 17-15 win against William Peace on Saturday, April 29. Freshman Luke Young dominated the game for LC, erupting for six goals and a pair of assists to go with four groundballs while sophomores Ryan Comeau and Andrew Brown each had three scores, two assists and three groundballs. Senior Klein Woods registered three goals and five groundballs. The victory not only set the program record for wins in a season, but also sent the team to the postseason for the first time in its four-year history. In Tuesday’s quarterfinal game against Methodist, the Panthers took a 24-16 loss. Sophomore Andrew Brown anchored the offense for LaGrange, finishing with four goals and an assist to go with three groundballs while sophomore Ryan Comeau had three goals and an assist. Freshman Luke Young notched three scores on the day, and sophomore Holden Samuels came away with a goal and a pair of assists.

Freshman earns sixth conference award

Luke Young was selected to the USA South Second Team All-Conference. He also earned his sixth Rookie of the Week. The honor brought the total on the season to 10 for the Panthers, including three Offensive Player of the Week awards, two by sophomore Ryan Comeau on February 13 and February 27 and one by sophomore Andrew Brown on March 27. They were joined by senior Jacob Jeffords as Defensive Player of the Week on February 27. Young has claimed six Rookie honors, the previous four coming on March 13 and March 27, April 3 and April 10.

Members receive post season accoladesSenior receives post season honor

Senior Isaac Bohrer was named Defensive Player of the Year. He was also selected to the USA South First Team All-Conference. Senior Jacob Jeffords was selected to the USA South All-Sportsmanship team.


Freshman receives post season honorFreshman named to conference team

Freshman Jeremy Edmunds was selected to the CCS First Team All-Conference. In addition to those performances, he also notched a pair of CCS Men’s Golf Rookie of the Week honors, collecting those on March 8 and March 22. Freshman Martin Prlender was selected to the CCS All-Sportsmanship team.


Tournament against Agnes Scott

The Panthers dropped a 7-5 decision to Agnes Scott in an elimination game at the Collegiate Conference of the South Tournament on Friday, April 28. Sophomore Kenzie Hornsby led LaGrange with a pair of RBIs on a pinch hit double while freshman Katelyn Minnihan posted a double and RBI. Junior Lindsey Swearngin and senior Reagan Gunter each had an RBI, and sophomore Abby Vanhoose was 2-for-4.

Freshmen earn post season honorsFreshman receives post season accolade

Freshman Claire Chamberlain was named the Collegiate Conference of the South’s Rookie Pitcher of the Year. This marks the eighth overall honor for the program in 2023, with Chamberlain claiming seven of them. She previously earned Rookie of the Week on April 17 and swept both Pitcher and Rookie honors on March 6 and April 3. Freshmen Katelyn Minnihan and Jaiden Gay were selected to the CCS First Team All-Conference and CCS All-Sportsmanship teams, respectively.


Tournament against Maryville

LaGrange suffered a 6-4 loss to Huntingdon on Friday, April 28. Senior Joe Ruth anchored the LaGrange offense, going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs, and senior Jared Aldridge drove home two with plays at the opposite ends of the spectrum – a homerun and a bases-loaded walk. On Saturday, the Panthers rallied from a five-run deficit in the opener and blew the nightcap open late to sweep Huntingdon 14-8 and 10-2 and claim the inaugural regular season championship of the Collegiate Conference of the South in a doubleheader game. During the first game, freshman Curt Bonner fueled the offense for LaGrange with a homerun, four RBIs and a pair of runs as part of a 3-for-5 day and Ruth was 2-for-4 with four RBIs. In the second game, junior Adam Dorn anchored the Panthers' offense, going 2-for-4 with a double, run, walk and four RBIs, and freshman Jackson McElvy went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs. On Thursday, LaGrange suffered a 7-3 loss against Maryville in the opening game of the 2023 Collegiate Conference of the South Baseball Tournament. Sophomore Jorge Fragoso anchored the Panthers' offense with a 3-for-4 day that included an RBI. McElvy rounded things out with a walk as part of a 2-for-4 day.

Student athlete graduates recognized at ceremony

Prior to Saturday’s game, the Panthers recognized seniors Ethan Kramer, Matt Eden, Jared Aldridge, Rhett Mixon and Baley Coleman.

Player receives post season honorPlayer earns conference accoladePlayer earns post season award

The Collegiate of the South announced Joe Ruth as Pitcher of the Year, Curt Bonner as Rookie Player of the Year, freshman Eduardo Peralta as Rookie Pitcher of the Year and David Kelton as Coach of the Year.

Player receives conference awardPlayer receives accoladeBaseball player recognized with award

Bonner, junior Ethan Fry, Rhett Mixon, Joe Ruth and junior David Smigelski were selected to the CCS First Team All-Conference.

Player named on conference team

Peralta and sophomore Ashton Shackelford were selected to the CCS Second Team All-Conference.

Player recognized with conference award

Junior Christian Dyer was selected to the CCS All-Sportsmanship team.

Players recognized for weekly conference awards

Ruth was named Player of the Week, senior Baley Coleman was named Pitcher of the Week and Bonner was named Rookie of the Week. This is the fourth time the program has swept the Collegiate Conference of the South weekly honors. On the year, Ruth is hitting .407 (66-of-162), slugging .611 and has an on-base percentage of .459. This season, Coleman has compiled a 4-3 record while striking out 54 and walking just 17 in 56.0 innings of work. On the year, Bonner is hitting .426 (52-of-122), slugging .582 and has an on-base percentage of .503.

Men’s Tennis

Senior player given post season honor

Senior Al Robertson was selected to the CCS Second Team All-Conference. Freshman Kyle Moore was selected to the CCS All-Sportsmanship team.

Women’s Tennis

Female student athlete receives conference honor

Junior Journey Oden was selected to the CCS All-Sportsmanship team.


Panther Calendar

(Please note that schedules may change due to circumstances beyond our control. Please check to confirm.)

Friday, May 5 – Baseball (Home) vs. Covenant (Collegiate Conference of the South Tournament), 3 p.m., Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium

Saturday, May 6 – Baseball vs. TBA (Collegiate Conference of the South Tournament), TBA, TBA

Sunday, May 7 – Baseball vs. TBA (Collegiate Conference of the South Tournament), TBA, TBA


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Last updated: 06/08/2023