Three to be recognized at commencement

Three to be recognized at commencement

Posted on Friday, May 03, 2024

Mayor and retired orthopedist to receive honorary doctorates

An LC graduate, an honorary alum and a local city official who each have made significant contributions in the fields of business, government and health care will be celebrated at commencement on Saturday, May 4, at 8:30 a.m., at Callaway Stadium.

The Distinguished Service Alumni Award will be given to Greg Wright ’88 and honorary doctorates in medicine and law will be bestowed on Dr. Jim Bruce HA’12 and the late Mayor Willie Edmondson.

Wright graduated from LaGrange College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

He is the senior director of community and economic development for Coweta-Fayette EMC, a member-owned electric cooperative serving over 75,000 members in eight counties southwest of Atlanta. Wright also serves as Coweta County’s representative on the Coweta, Fayette, Meriwether Joint Development Authority.

Before taking on his current role, he was president of the Coweta County Development Authority, where he assisted new and existing companies on economic development projects that resulted in over 3,400 new jobs and more than $800 million in new investment in the community. Wright also held the title of president for the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce.

Early in his career, Wright worked as legislative director for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, state director for former United States Senator Saxby Chambliss and regional project manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

At LaGrange College, he served on the Board of Trustees and as president of the Leadership Council. Wright received the Shackelford Alumni Achievement Award in 2006. In addition, he is a member of the Quadrangle Society and Pillars Circle.

Wright’s community involvement includes serving as past chairman of both the Georgia Economic Developers Association and Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. He has also held board member positions with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Foreign Trade-Zone, Southern Economic Development Council, Greater West Georgia Joint Development Authority, and Three Rivers Regional Commission.

Dr. Jim Bruce Jr., of Tiger, Georgia, is a retired orthopedist who dedicated his time and energy to caring for LaGrange College student-athletes and Troup County residents for over 30 years.

He earned a bachelor of science degree from Auburn University and his medical degree from Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Dr. Bruce founded Orthopedic Clinic of West Georgia in LaGrange in 1982 and then, along with Dr. Daniel Guy and Dr. Robert Comerford, established the Southern Center for Orthopedics in 1995. He joined Emory Healthcare in 2011 and continued to practice orthopedic surgery and sports medicine in LaGrange until his retirement in 2017.

At LaGrange College, he serves on the Board of Trustees and held the role of president of the Leadership Council from 2003-2004. He received the Honorary Alumni Award in 2013.

Dr. Bruce is senior vice chair for the board of Local Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides education and healthcare in the Highlands of Guatemala. He also serves as chair of the organization’s Healthcare Excellence Committee and its Local Hope Forever endowment campaign. Dr. Bruce also volunteers with Faith in Practice, a medical mission to Antigua, Guatemala.

He and his wife, Debbie, have two children.

The late Rev. Dr. Willie Edmondson was a dedicated public servant who faithfully served the city of LaGrange for over two decades, first as a councilmember and then as mayor.

Up until his passing in February 2024, he worked diligently on launching initiatives to improve public safety and bring businesses to LaGrange.

A native of Antioch, north of LaGrange, Dr. Edmondson graduated from Troup High School and West Georgia Technical College before he entered the health care profession as a nurse at City County Hospital (now Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center). Following his health care career, he was called to serve as a pastor, a role he held at Bethlehem Baptist Church in West Point, Georgia, for 40 years.

Dr. Edmondson was also a business owner who acquired Lakes-Dunson-Robertson Funeral Home in 2002 after several years working there, caring for families in their time of bereavement.

He pursued studies at Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta and Jehovah Jireh Seminary in Alexander City, Alabama, where he earned a doctorate in World Missions and Apologetics.

Dr. Edmondson began serving as LaGrange’s District 2 councilmember in 1998 and was elected as the city’s first African American mayor in 2023. During his tenure, he helped bring important economic and community development projects to LaGrange. Some notable initiatives include The Thread, Great Wolf Lodge, the Downtown Corridor and the redevelopment of the Griggs Recreational Center.

He is survived by his wife, Glenda, their four adult children, Tony, Kim, Jay and Mercades, and 11 grandchildren.


Campus Notes

Faculty and staff recognized at appreciation ceremony

  • Faculty and staff members were honored April 25 at the annual employee appreciation ceremony. Service awards were presented to: five years – Elissa Lawson, Amber McGlawn, Justin Muller, Tim Fitz-Gerald; 15 years – Lee Davis, Jon Ernstberger; 20 years – David Wiggins; 25 years – Laine Scott, Kevin Shirley; 30 years – Martha Pirkle; 35 years – Greg McClanahan; and 40 years – Maranah Sauter.                                 Staff member recognized for excellenceCounseling director recognized for student serviceFaculty member recognized for student serviceStaff member recognized for student serviceFaculty member recognized for innovation
  • Congratulations to Amber Baldridge ’07, Ratoya Mason ’20, Kelli Tolbert, Dr. John Tures and Dr. William Yin, this year’s recipients of the Presidential Awards. Baldridge was recognized in the excellence category. Mason, Tolbert and Dr. Tures were recognized in the student service category. Dr. Yin was recognized in the innovation category.                                                                                         Business professor honored at employee ceremony
  • The college celebrated Ely R. Callaway Sr. Professor and Business Chair Dr. Linda McMullen who retires this semester after 25 years of service. She is a two-time recipient of the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Exemplary Teacher Award.
  • President Susanna Baxter will give a commencement address at her alma mater Pfeiffer University on Saturday, May 11.

  • Congratulations to our graduating seniors who rang the Chapel Bell to celebrate their accomplishments. The list includes Leia Avery, accepted a full-time job at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Aubrie Cardwell, accepted into LC’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s program; Faith Burgamy, accepted into LC’s Master of Education Curriculum and Instruction program and received a full-time teaching position at Elbert County Elementary; Christian Dyer, accepted into the financial planning master’s program at the University of Georgia; Logan Frady, accepted into the financial planning master’s program at the University of Georgia; Lindsey Green, accepted a full-time job at Joanie Lowe LLC in Bremen, Georgia; Emilee Johnson, accepted into LC’s Master of Education Curriculum and Instruction program and received a full-time teaching position at Franklin Forest Elementary in LaGrange, Georgia; Cam Lyons, accepted into the sport education master’s program at Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina; Sydney Rojo, accepted into LC’s Master of Education Curriculum and Instruction program and received a full-time teaching position at Hollis Hand Elementary in LaGrange, Georgia; Tyler Rowland, accepted a full-time job at Rosenthal & Kaplin in Dunwoody, Georgia; Annabell Sapp, accepted a job as a year-round company member at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Hayleigh Sebaugh, accepted into LC’s Master of Arts in Teaching program; Jonyka Tenney, accepted into LC’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s program and Lily Thompson, accepted into LC’s Master of Education Curriculum and Instruction program and received a full-time teaching position at Hollis Hand Elementary.




Team plays Huntingdon

The Panthers had a 3-2 loss, a 4-1 win and an 8-7 loss to Maryville College April 26-28. The team wraps up the regular season at Huntingdon College May 2-4. The Panthers won 7-4 in game one on Thursday. LC will play in the CCS Baseball Tournament that starts on May 8.

Sophomore earns conference honor

Sophomore Eduardo Peralta was named CCS Pitcher of the Week. In last weekend’s win over Maryville, he pitched in eight innings and struck out eight batters.


Team competes against Belhaven

LC took an 8-7 loss to Piedmont in round one of the CCS Softball Tournament on Wednesday, May 1. The team ended their postseason after a 3-8 loss against Belhaven in game two of the tournament on Thursday, May 2.

Junior players receive conference honors

Junior Alexa Gonzalez was named to the CCS Second Team All-Conference. Junior Kenzie Hornsby was named to the CCS All-Sportsmanship team.


Team plays in conference championship

The Panthers placed fourth overall in the CCS Golf Championship April 29-May 1. Sophomore Jeremy Edmunds led the Panthers with a plus six, placing him fifth out of 30 golfers.


Team plays Brevard

LC crushed Brevard College with a 25-7 win on Saturday, April 27. The team closed out their season on Tuesday after taking a 12-16 loss against Methodist University in round one of the USA South Conference Championship.


Panther Calendar

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

Friday, May 3 – Baseball at Huntingdon, 3 p.m., Montgomery, Alabama

Saturday, May 4 – Baseball at Huntingdon, noon, Montgomery, Alabama

Wednesday, May 8 – Baseball (CCS Championship-Opening Round) vs. Piedmont, 7 p.m., Maryville, Tennessee


In the Headlines

Pfeiffer alumna to give commencement address, Stanly News & Press, April 24


Video of the Week

Exit Interview: Business major Bailey Boswell ’24

A native of Winder, Georgia, Bailey Boswell has owned her own handmade jewelry business for years, so she's tasted the limitless opportunities a business degree can offer—one that will allow her to work in a variety of settings.

Category: Community, College, Academics

Keywords: Medicine, Business

Press Contact

Lindy Oller

Last updated: 05/08/2024