BPC Receives $1M for New Nursing Program

Dr. Steven F. Echols, President of Brewton-Parker College, discusses with Senator Blake Tillery the potential of the new nursing program beginning this fall.

MOUNT VERNON – Brewton-Parker College (BPC) is grateful to announce that its new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program was recently awarded a one-million-dollar grant from the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce. Dr. Steven F. Echols, President of BPC, expressed appreciation to Senator Blake Tillery for making this grant possible. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Tillery worked to create a special fund for expanding the capacity for training of future nurses in Georgia. Along with other schools, Brewton-Parker College was chosen as a recipient to help with the state-wide shortages of nurses.

Echols noted, “Senator Tillery was of immense help at every stage of the process. Without his vision and dedicated efforts, BPC and other schools would not have had this very timely provision to expand the capacity for training new nurses. This grant will not only create new capacity but also provides the resources to have a very high-quality program both in faculty and in equipment.”

Senator Tillery commented, “I’m not sure the public is aware of all the steps Brewton-Parker hit to bring this idea to fruition. They also received some divine timing and selfless assistance from other drivers in our community, including some that others would view as competition. They all worked together to make this idea a reality. The nursing shortage in Georgia is real, and if we can help fill it, we will provide jobs and opportunities for our neighbors and create relevance for our region across the state. I’m really proud of the forethought of Brewton-Parker’s team to address this need for our citizens and create a program that will add to their relevance in our community for another 100 years.”

Dr. Echols affirmed Senator Tillery’s comments about community backing for BPC’s nursing program. “President Larry Calhoun and other administrative officials at Southeastern Technical College have been very gracious in their support of BPC’s new program. In fact, as BPC’s program becomes established there are a few ways that have been discussed that the two institutions can partner together. Southeastern has been recognized as a top program. As a result of its excellence in training nurses, it has a waiting list. BPC’s program will provide additional capacity to train qualified applicants to meet the need for nurses in the surrounding area. As South Georgia’s only four-year SACSCOC (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) accredited Christian college, BPC will be recruiting nursing students throughout Georgia and surrounding states and not just in the local region.” 

Echols further noted, “BPC is grateful to Memorial Health Meadows Hospital and other hospitals in the region who have given enthusiastic support for its nursing program. They are providing clinical education space with the expectation of BPC’s program drawing additional candidates for employment at their hospitals, many of whom will come from outside our local area.” 

BPC’s aim for its Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is to fulfill one of its core values which is servant leadership. The college believes that providing opportunities for upward economic mobility to those who receive nursing training and helping to meet the acute shortage of nurses are ways that it can give back to the community. President Echols remarked, “God has truly blessed BPC to be able to have this new program by bringing support from many sources. This large grant from the legislative appropriation is a game changer and is an affirmation that great things are ahead for BPC and for the future of our surrounding region.”

Joanna Phillips-Mock

Student Enrichment Director

Joanna Phillips-Mock is a proud third generation Baron, both as a student and a staff member.

Beginning her teaching career in Middle Georgia in 1995, Mrs. Mock worked with a state funded program that served some of the most disadvantaged special needs students within the local school districts. She ultimately moved into leadership positions within the organization, serving and training others in multiple initiatives. She enjoys working with students of all ages to recognize and to achieve their greatest potential.

Mrs. Mock holds a Bachelor’s degree from Brewton-Parker College, a Master's degree in Education with a concentration in Behavior Disorders, and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Administration from Georgia College and State University. She resides in Ailey, Georgia, with her husband Don, their son Tye Lewis, her mother Carol Joyce, and multiple fur babies. She enjoys traveling, gardening, camping, and attending concerts.

Candace Lilford

Profeessional Tutor

Candace Lilford graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Theatre Generalism in 2021 from Anderson University and with her master’s degree in English Literature in 2023 from the University of Alabama. She presently serves as Professional Tutor for the Student Enrichment Center while also teaching sections of ENG 101 and 102. 

As part of her two-year master's program, Ms. Lilford taught sections of ENG 101 and 102, while also serving as teaching assistant for British Literature Survey courses and volunteering in the university’s Writing Center. Ms Lilford has also presented papers at the Hudson Strode Conference and the South Eastern Christian and Literature Conference as well as working on various theatrical productions.

Born in North Carolina of South African descent, Ms. Lilford has lived in Uganda, Botswana, South Africa, and Trinidad before settling in Mount Vernon with her family in 2016, where she attended Brewton-Parker College as a dual enrollment student. She presently resides in Mount Vernon with her family and spends her free time watching old TV shows.

Linda Armstrong

Academic Advising and Career Specialist

Linda Armstrong earned an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Technology from Southeastern Technical College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Walden University. Throughout her career, Linda has worked with diverse populations, including at-risk youth and families and youth in crisis because of mental health and other issues. Her empathetic nature has made her an effective advocate for those in need. In addition to her professional work, Linda is also is committed to volunteerism. She has dedicated countless hours as a youth mentor, and to teaching about her faith at various Christian organizations. She believes in the power of positivity and its ability to transform not only her life but also the lives of others.

"If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you will look forward, do so prayerfully. But the wisest course would be to be present in the present gratefully." ~ Maya Angelou

Willie Ford

Academic Advising and Career Specialist

Greetings, Baron Nation!

It's truly a joy to be back in a place that has shaped me so profoundly. I'm Willie Ford, a proud 2022 graduate of historic Brewton-Parker College, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a Minor in Education. Following my graduation, I embarked on a journey in education, teaching Special Education within the Vidalia City School District. In addition to my role as an educator, I had the privilege of serving as the Unit Director at the J.D. Rabun Boys and Girls Club. All the while, I was honored to pastor at the esteemed New Hope Baptist Church of Rhine, Georgia. With God's grace, I managed these responsibilities, and now, I'm thrilled and ready to contribute to the welfare of our students, aiming to inspire through service.

Dusty Arnold

Mental Health Counselor

Dusty Arnold  is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst as well as a BPC alumnus. He has years of experience working with a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, grief, and challenges related to Autism. He specializes in behavior-related interventions that can help college students build on their strengths to set achievable goals while also learning how to deal with the thoughts and feelings that sometimes get in the way. He incorporates Biblical values and evidence-based treatments to meet students wherever they happen to be on their journey to spiritual and psychological health. 

Carl Anthony "Tony" Wardlaw

Assistant Student Enrichment Director & Student Success Coach

Carl Anthony “Tony” Wardlaw – For over 25 years, Dr. Wardlaw has worked in leadership, counseling, and pastoring. Beginning with working in middle management for a manufacturing company in Douglas, GA, Dr. Wardlaw has also worked in the academic, nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Additionally, he served over 7 years in the United States Military as a Military Intelligence Officer before resigning his commission as a Captain in the Army.

Currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Student Enrichment Center, Student Success Coach, and Adjunct Faculty at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, GA, he also serves as the Pastor of The Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Dublin, GA.

As a member of the renowned International Gospel Singing Group, The Wardlaw Brothers, Dr. Wardlaw has traveled all over the nation and abroad ministering and singing the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Dr. Wardlaw has served as a consultant for various agencies and has worked as a Fatherhood Coordinator and G.E.D. instructor within the Technical College System of Georgia and participates in local and national civic and philanthropic work.

Dr. Wardlaw holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Business from the University of Georgia, two master's degrees from Troy University (Master of Science in Clinical Counseling and Psychology and Master of Education in Counseling), and a Doctorate in Education from Argosy University in Organizational Leadership. Dr. Wardlaw is a Lifetime Silver Member of The NAACP and a member of The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is happily married to the former Mrs. Stephanie Scott. They have 3 Children; Chambria, Marc, and Carleigh.

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