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BPC National Alumni Society honors its peers with annual awards

 

By Kelley M. Arnold

Director of News and Public Information

MOUNT VERNON—Brewton-Parker College’s National Alumni Society honored six individuals during the annual Alumni Tributes Service held in Saliba Chapel March 24 during Alumni Weekend 2007 on the Mount Vernon campus.

Let’s take a closer look at the winners and their awards.

Alumnus of the Year: Hugh Peterson Jr. (’48)

Hugh Peterson Jr.

Hugh Peterson Jr. (’48)

(Photo provided)

Hugh Peterson Jr. is chairman and CEO of VNS Corporation, based in Vidalia, and a longtime advocate of Brewton-Parker College, both in the surrounding community and within the state’s Christian college network.

According to Director of Alumni Relations Roger Byrd, “Hugh has led the way in strategic giving to benefit Brewton-Parker. BPC’s logo even appears on the VNS webpage as a testimony to its adoption of the college as worthy of support.”

Peterson echoed this sentiment in his acceptance speech.

“This is a great institution and a real credit to this area and for the southern part of the state. You provide something very rare and valuable, and worth preserving – a quality education in a Christian context,” said Peterson. “I’m so proud for my time I spent here to be recognized. Anything I’m affiliated with in the future will have BPC’s total support. Thank you so much for this award.”

Peterson also serves on the board of Reinhardt College, a United Methodist Church-affiliated college in Waleska, Ga.

Peterson served on VNS Corporation’s board of directors from 1961 until he became its president in 1993. He previously practiced law in Atlanta for 30 years.

Peterson attended BPC in the eighth grade, or the freshman year of the Brewton-Parker Institute. His wife’s name is Mary Jane.

 

Friend of the Year: Dr. Albert Sidney Johnson Jr.

Dr. Albert
Dr. Albert Sidney “Sid” Johnson Jr.  (BPC archives)

Dr. Albert Sidney “Sid” Johnson Jr. likes to reminisce about growing up – literally – at Brewton-Parker. His father, Albert Sidney Johnson Sr., served as the college’s athletic director from 1923 to 1925, and again from 1927 until 1934. He also taught history and political science classes at the then-Brewton-Parker Institute (high school). His mother, born Miss Charlie Will Salter, was employed as a member of the music faculty. An endowed lecture series, named in his father’s honor, began at BPC during the Fall 2006 semester.

Today, “Dr. Sid”, as he’s affectionately called by both students and co-workers, is both a professor of political science, like his father, and vice president emeritus at BPC. His wife, Claire, is the college’s director of the Annual Fund and grants.

“(Dr. Johnson) is generous with his time and resources and is a tireless promoter of BPC in the community and state,” said Byrd.

Dr. Johnson accepted the award with his typical, good-natured aplomb.

“This award is the fulfillment of Woody Allen’s observation that 90 percent of life is just showing up, and I’ve learned that the more you show up, the better things will happen to you,” Dr. Johnson said in his acceptance speech. “My first reaction was to be (self-effacing) about the award, but then I remembered a scene in the life of Forrest Gump. He said, ‘When somebody wants to give you something, take it, and then be sure to say thank you’. Thank you.”

 

Ministerial Alumnus of the Year: Rev. Dwain Eason (’68)

Rev. Dwain Eason, right, Al Rahn ('60), left

Rev. Dwain Eason (’68) accepts the award from presenter Al Rahn (’60), former campus minister/advisor to BCM (BSU). (Photo by Kelley Arnold)

Rev. Dwain Eason was recommended for the society’s annual outstanding ministerial award by “the people who know him best,” Byrd said, “his congregation.”

 “Pastor Joe”, as he is known among his “flock”, is the only pastor that Trinity Baptist Church of Nevels, Ga. has ever had.

“(Eason) was called to shepherd the new congregation in September of 1975. Rev. Eason has led the congregation from a founding group of 39 to today’s membership of over 1,000,” Byrd continued.

“Our church’s motto is ‘A voice for God and a heart for people’. It’s because of (my congregation) that I stand here today. I really am honored,” said Rev. Eason. “I was surprised as well, but I have thought that if I would receive an honor like this I’d want it to be from my home away from home, Brewton-Parker.”

“God has been good to me,” he continued. “I thank God for the witness BPC has been over the world today. You can go there and redefine what ‘home’ means. It prepared me to be a servant to do God’s work.”

Rev. Eason was especially thankful that his wife, Nancy, and children, Joseph and Molly, were able to join him during the service as he received this prestigious award from his alma mater, saying, “I thank them for working with me to serve the Lord.”

 

Young Alumni of the Year: Barry (’98) and Shannon H. (’97, ’00) Bull

Barry and Shannon Bull

Barry (’98) and Shannon Hinely (’97, ’00) Bull

(Photo provided)

Barry and Shannon (Hinely) Bull’s names are synonymous with Brewton-Parker campus activities. At each of the on-campus – and some off-campus – events, Barry and Shannon can be found working behind-the-scenes. For this dedication, the couple was honored with the Young Alumni of the Year award.

“Barry and Shannon are the essence of what BPC alumni represent,” said Byrd. “They are enthusiastic about the mission of the school, and they live lives suitable to be imitated. They are always ready and willing to lend a hand to carry out worthwhile alumni activities. Most times they never wait to be asked.”

Barry and Shannon were “humbled” and “blessed” with the both the award and the fact that they were being honored together – as husband and wife.

“To be recognized in this way is truly humbling. To be recognized with Shannon is a memory I will never forget,” said Barry.

The Bulls met at popular ‘90s BPC hangout, “Doodles” restaurant, which is now closed but bears the name of “Venitas Diner”. Their love story was written by God, Shannon proclaims, and Barry says the first time he met Shannon, “her smile melted my heart.”

Both are employed at BPC in the Fountain-New Library. Shannon is Assistant to the Director of the Library and Barry is a reference librarian. The campus rejoices with the Bulls as they expect their first child in late September, 2007. Shannon’s brother, William Hinely (’99), is a member of the college’s 1997 National Championship baseball team.

 

Half-Century Alumna of the Year: Myrtice Edwards (’43)

Dr. David Smith and Myrtice Edwards ('43)

Myrtice Edwards (’43) accepts her alumni award from Dr. David R. Smith, BPC President.

(Photo by Kelley Arnold)

Myrtice Edwards was overwhelmed by the honor her alma mater bestowed on her March 24, 2007. So much so that she was speechless and overcome with emotion during the tribute service. Needless to say, this award is one of the highlights of Edwards’ life.

Several years ago, Edwards saw a need in her home church to continue a Sunday school class founded to minister to women who attended church but whose husbands, for whatever reason, chose not to. The class was facing a potential leadership collapse when she revitalized the JOY Sunday School Class at the First Baptist Church of Eastman, Ga. Because of her love and dedication, say the nominees – members of the class – it has grown over the years in both numbers and community support.

Starting as the “Jesus, Others, Yourself” class, it has evolved to include all ages and is affectionately called “The Maternity to Eternity” class at First Baptist.

“Mrs. Myrt’s nomination was supported by virtually her entire church family,” said Byrd.

Edwards also serves on the Half-Century Club’s executive committee. A retired teacher, she earned a B.A. from Tift College.

 

Music Alumnus of the Year: David Williams (’82, ’84)

David Williams ('82, '84)

David Williams (’82, ’84)

(Photo provided)

David Williams, an elementary school music specialist at Appling County Elementary School in Baxley, Ga., was honored with the Music Alumnus of the Year award. Williams, a pianist and vocalist, is the director of the county’s first elementary school-age show choir, “Aces”, and was named the county’s 1999 Teacher of the Year. His was the featured performance of the college’s 2003 Musical Showcase held during that year’s Alumni Weekend.

Though he was not able to attend the award ceremony this March, he listened to the honor through Byrd’s cell phone. Williams prepared a 15-minute piano medley, which played over the chapel’s sound system following the acceptance by former classmate, Phyllis Scaggs (’85).

“David Williams has done what we hope BPC graduates will always do: make a difference in their communities. David has excelled in the education profession while continuing to use his musical talent to witness,” said Byrd.

"The most rewarding experience (of my job) is watching students develop into outstanding musicians and citizens in the community," said Williams in a later interview. "I have three students who have made it on Broadway, and many others who hold roles as music teachers and work in their churches. I love hearing stories about the success of my former students and how they're attempting to make a difference in the lives of others. God has richly belssed me!"

Williams has released two CDs: “Remember When…” and “reflections & memories”. The 23-year teacher holds an associate degree from Brewton-Parker and completed a bachelor of arts degree in music education with major emphasis in piano performance from Tift College/Mercer University in 1984. He is currently continuing his education in Augusta. Keep in touch with Williams through his website, www.thekeyboardkid.com.

-BPC-

 

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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
 
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
 
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM