Core of civility

CivilityIn today’s world marked with divisiveness and discord, Lee Johnson feels there is no better time for the release of his “Civility” symphony No. 7.

“I actually wrote the piece in the early 2000s, but it is still so relevant today,” said Johnson, Coordinator of the Digital Creative Media and Film Program and Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Music. “Interestingly enough, civility is one of the core values of LaGrange College and is a cornerstone of who we are as an institution.”

An all-digital release, “Civility” is now available worldwide on download and streaming services. 

Johnson said he was approached by the nonprofit Art Reach Foundation in 2002 to go to Bosnia and Northern Ireland to learn about each country’s conflicts. Art Reach utilizes arts therapies to work with the growth and development of children who have experienced the traumatic effects of war, violence and/or natural disaster. 

“I was invited to be a guest of two very troubled parts of the world,” he said. “Both were internationally known places of strife and both were looking for new ways to think about old problems.”

Johnson spoke to government officials, activists, artists and residents, and was discouraged by what he found. He became convinced that the only lasting solution to those bloody conflicts would be a radical change of heart that reaches all factions.

 “I looked to the center of human morality for solutions rather than go to the edges,” he writes in the CD’s liner notes. “So often, the edges were associated with retaliatory behavior and vengeance. I found that the center, or the essence of morality, is best known as the ethic of reciprocity and that the texts on this subject spanned the ages, religions, governments, philosophies and cultural traditions.”

This became the message of “Civility,” he said.                                        

Later, when Johnson visited the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, he was introduced to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On Dec. 10, 1948, in Paris, the United Nations General Assembly declared the document a standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations.

The UDHR would become an essential element in “Civility,” and Johnson began to seek the appropriate person to read it, a person with the appropriate moral authority.  He was astonished when, after an early performance of the piece at the Carter Center in Atlanta, former President Jimmy Carter offered to be that person. 

“I was stunned by his generosity and humbled by his commitment to the UDHR,” Johnson said. “He is completely at home with this subject and continues to make speaking to human rights issues around the world a significant part of his life’s work.”

President Carter said he was honored to be a part of the “Civility” project.

“This is an important composition,” Carter said. “We live in a difficult and complicated world, in which peace and human rights are a matter of survival. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the conventions that derive from it serve as a beacon to a future of personal security, political freedom and social justice.  This project brings that beacon into closer view and brings hope and inspiration to all who hear it.”

Cultural Enrichment events


  • Tracy Xian and Andrew Harry, faculty recital, 4:30 p.m., Callaway Auditorium


  • Avant Garde Art Song Festival, 7 p.m., Beason Hall, West Side
  • Grad School 101, 11:15 a.m., Corn Auditorium in Lewis Library

In the headlines

Panthers chasing first win – LaGrange Daily News, Sept. 22, 2018

Panthers break through for first win – LaGrange Daily News, Sept. 24, 2018

Video of the Week



Mathias Anderson

The LC golf team placed third at the Rhodes College Fall Collegiate Classic played at the Tunica National Resort in Tunica, Mississippi. Sophomore Ben Womack tied for sixth in the individual standings. Freshman Mathias Andersen tied for 17th and was selected as the USA South Rookie of the Week. The Panthers play in the Royal Lakes/Oglethorpe Fall Invitational on Oct. 1-2.

Sam Perkins

Cam Perkins rushed for 88 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Panthers (1-2) to a 42-13 win over Apprentice in Callaway Stadium last Saturday. Perkins was selected as the USA South Offensive Rookie of the Week for his play. The Panthers play at N.C. Wesleyan on Saturday in a USA South game.

Men's Soccer

Men’s soccer
Adam Curry and Asher Hendon each had two goals as the Panthers (4-3, 0-2 USA South) defeated Warren Wilson 6-0 in a non-conference game Sunday. The Panthers host Methodist on Saturday and N.C. Wesleyan on Sunday in USA South contests. Game time is 1 p.m. each day.


The Panthers (2-7, 0-2 USA South) lost a pair of 3-2 decisions to USA South foes Covenant and Piedmont last Saturday. Junior Leigha Reynolds had a double-double of 12 kills and 25 digs against Piedmont. The Panthers face Brevard and Maryville as part of a USA South tri-match at Brevard, North Carolina, on Saturday.

Campus notes

Registration is open now for the 2019 3D Journey educational travel adventure to Morocco. Hosted by President Dan McAlexander and Celeste Myall, the trip will be April 27-May 8. Details and rates are available at the Office of Alumni and Community Relations, 706-880-8244 or


It’s getting closer – Homecoming 2018. Visit for more information.

October faculty and staff birthdays

2 Karen Aubrey
3 Mitch Turner
5 Melissa Reeves
11 Lee Johnson
12 Nicholas Raszeja
13 Jan Webb
14 Anthony Criswell
  Lori Harding
16 Martha Pirkle
18 Emma Trammell
20 John Lawrence
22 Dan McAlexander
  Forrest Johnson
23 Carlie Hinson
  Ginger Truitt
24 Nikkovia Sweet
25 Christopher Blocker
27 Christy Vanhoose
28 Gretta Milam
31 Tim Fitz-Gerald