March 8, 2019


LC Baseball team helps with tornado clean-up

Students, faculty, staff aid tornado victims

It’s often said tragedy brings out the best in people. That proved true last weekend when a series of tornadoes decimated parts of Alabama and Georgia. Students, faculty and staff pulled together in various ways to aid victims of the storms.

Matthew BeckerMarch 3 started out as a great Sunday for junior Matt Becker. He and his baseball teammates had just defeated Berea College 8-0 at home, with Matt pitching two innings to seal the win.

But soon after the game, he got a call from his parents in Waverly Hall, Georgia. A huge storm has just passed the area.

“Dad’s outside getting the generator going, but I’ve got to go,” said Cindy Becker. “There’s another one coming. I’ll call you later.”

As Matt helped pull the tarp over the baseball field to protect it from the rain, he mentioned the call to his teammates. And he waited.

It was three hours before Matt heard from his parents – three very long and stressful hours.

Meanwhile, player Trey Pearce sent out a Facebook message to the team, asking if anyone wanted to go Waverly Hall to help the Becker family with cleanup.

“Half the team responded,” said Matt, seen here, far right. “On Monday, we had 23 guys in six trucks and two cars headed to my house.”

The Becker home sustained minor damage, but toppled trees and piles of debris littered the yard and surrounding land. The students went to work and soon cleared the area. They then went to a neighboring subdivision and helped in cleanup there.

Matt said his parents, Bryan and Cindy Becker, were grateful for the assistance.

“My dad was overwhelmed,” Matt said. “He kept trying to give everyone gas money, but no one would take it. Finally, my mom said, ‘Fine, I’m feeding you, then’ as she brought out hamburgers, hot dogs and chili for us all.”

Michael Coniglio, director of the college’s physical plant, remembers watching the news Sunday night.

“We had been following the storms on radar and later on TV,” he said. “They were just beginning to get a sense of how deadly those storms were.”

Later that night, he woke up from a deep sleep.

“I knew God was willing me to do something,” he said. “The next morning, I knew I had to go to Beauregard.”

He gathered supplies and hit the road to Lee County, Alabama. Unfortunately, first response teams on the ground were overwhelmed with the magnitude of what they were facing.

“They didn’t really have a plan, especially for the volunteers who showed up to help,” Coniglio said. “As I waited in the gym, I started talking to the woman beside me. She is a contractor, so we decided to head out on our own to see what we could do.”

Coniglio grew up in the country so he knows his way around the woods and how to use a chainsaw. He is also a compassionate man who knows how to comfort people. Those skill sets came in handy.

“Initially we were told that we were doing search and rescue,” he said. “But once we saw the complete devastation around us, we knew darn well we would be doing more recovery than rescue.”

Armed with tools, he was assigned to a team and followed cadaver dogs into the ravaged area.

“You couldn’t help but get emotional,” he said. “You saw the piles of debris where houses used to be and you knew no one could survive that. You wanted to recover bodies because that was your job and we needed to do that for the families, but you really hoped you wouldn’t.”

He said it was a meticulous process.

“There was so much debris all over the place, and you had to check it all. You couldn’t go through one pile and skip the next because you may be missing someone. It was overpowering.” Hear his story here

On campus, Dr. Karen Pruett, Associate Dean of Student Development, organized a drive to collect items to help recovery efforts in Lee County. She is a graduate of Auburn University and a resident of Lee County.

“I figured people in LaGrange might want a way to help, but it might not be convenient to drive the donations to the collection sites,” she said. “This seemed like an easy way to connect people who want to help with those who need the support.”

She said she is dropping off items today (Friday) but there may be additional drives in the coming weeks. For more information, contact Dr. Pruitt at


Cultural Enrichment events


  • Choral Festival concert, 4 p.m., Callaway Auditorium


  • Study Away Presentation: Cultural Explorations of Thailand, 11:15 a.m., Bailey Room


  • Medical School and Master of Science info session with Mercer University, 11:15 a.m., Corn Auditorium in Lewis Library
  • Tamlin Hall: I Am Holden On, 11:15 a.m., Bailey Room


In the headlines

LaGrange College fundraiser soars millions over goal. Here’s how much and for what. – Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, March 5, 2019

Grammy award winner returns to LaGrange College – LaGrange Daily News, March 1, 2019

Panthers win USA South series – March 4, 2019

LaGrange College campaign surpasses $50 million goal – Troup County News, March 1, 2019

LaGrange College campaign surpasses $50 million goal – North Georgia Conference of the UMC newsletter, Feb. 28, 2019


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Video of the Week



Rhett Hollon had two of LC's season-high five doubles as the Panthers (10-4) defeated visiting Roanoke 7-4 on Wednesday. LC had five players with two hits each.

Men’s tennis
The Panthers (2-1) defeated Huntingdon 9-0 on Wednesday and Gordon 7-2 on Thursday. Freshmen Daniel Assumpcao and Mathias Vera, along with sophomore Caleb Tyler won their first conference matches in the win over Huntingdon.

Women’s tennis
Visiting Gordon defeated the Panthers (2-3) 8-1 on Thursday. Jenna Eppes won at No. 1 singles for LaGrange.

Upcoming sporting events

Friday, March 8
Softball vs. Fontbonne (doubleheader), LC Softball Complex, 4 and 6 p.m.
Baseball at Huntingdon

Saturday, March 9
Men’s tennis vs. Berea 2 p.m.
Baseball at Huntingdon (doubleheader)

Sunday, March 10
Men’s and women’s tennis vs. Maryville, noon

Tuesday, March 12
Softball vs. Huntingdon (doubleheader), 5 and 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 13
Baseball vs. Emory, Cleaveland Field at Williamson Stadium, 7 p.m.


Campus notes

David Harris speaks to students

David Harris ’08, a Composition and Music Technologies graduate, returned to campus March 1 to talk to students about how to make it in the music business. Harris, who goes by the professional name of Swagg R’Celious, recently won a Grammy award for his work as a songwriter and producer for the artist, H.E.R. Watch his lecture here

Dr. Toni Anderson, Coordinator of the Music program, was interviewed as a scholar on the Fisk Jubilee Singers for a new PBS series entitled “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War.” The series is narrated by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and premieres April 9 on the PBS network. Dr. Anderson was named Georgia Author of the Year in 2013 for “Tell Them We Are Singing for Jesus”: The Original Fisk Jubilee Singers and Christian Reconstruction, 1871-1878.”

Political Science major Agrlin Braxton and History/Political Science double major Katie Still presented at the annual Georgia State University conference March 2 in Atlanta. Agrlin presented his paper “Civil Asset Forfeiture: Crime’s factor in legislation,” while Katie presented “Diversionary Theory of War, And Peace?”

Nominations are being taken for alumni awards to be presented during Homecoming 2019, Oct. 18-20. Deadline for submissions is March 22.The Shackelford Distinguished Achievement Award is given to alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and brought honor to the college. The award is named for Walter Malcolm Shackelford, a former professor of education (1958-1972) and academic dean of the college (1972-1982). The Outstanding Young Alumni Award goes to someone who graduated from LaGrange College within the past 10 years and who has been distinguished in his or her career and community, and has brought honor to the college. For more information or to make a recommendation, contact Martha Pirkle, Director of Alumni and Community Relations, at or by calling 706-880-8245.

The box office is now open for LaGrange College Theatre’s production of “August: Osage County.” The show will run March 20-24. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens (55 and older) and non-LC students and free for LC students faculty and staff. The box office is open weekdays from noon until 4 p.m. Email the box office to make reservations at When emailing please include name, the performance date/time and number of tickets desired, type of tickets and a call-back number for confirmation.

It’s time to “spring forward” for Daylight Saving Time. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed Saturday night.