Presidents Gala

March 23, 2023
From left to right: Coach Mark Richt, Kevin “Chappy” Hines, and BPC President Dr. Steven F. Echols on stage during the President’s Gala as they share stories of Richt’s life and his walk with Jesus.

MOUNT VERNON — On October 18, 2022, members of the community came together for Brewton-Parker College’s first annual President’s Gala. This year’s special guest was former Head Coach for the University of Georgia’s football team, Mark Richt. The funds raised during this event will be used to support the students and the college as it continues to grow.

The night started with Voices of Truth, BPC’s vocal ensemble. Followed by a video testimony shared by Brandon Schultz. Schultz graduated in May of 2022 and is now an employee at the college. During his time as a student, Schultz accepted Christ and became the two-time National Champion for indoor 60-meter hurdles. Chad Ritchie, Director of Advancement, got up to thank the event sponsors and introduce guest speaker, Mark Richt.
Mark Richt was joined by former UGA Chaplin, Kevin “Chappy” Hines. Richt shared how he came to know the Lord and how God has worked in his life both on and off the field. During Richt’s early football years, a fellow teammate shared the gospel and planted the seed of salvation. The seed that had been planted years before came to fruition and Richt came to know Christ under the leadership of Bobby Bowden at FSU. He reinforced that as believers we become perfect in His sight.

After retiring from coaching, Richt wrote a book entitled Make the Call – Game Day Wisdom for Life’s Defining Moments. Since his time as former head football coach at the University of Miami and the University of Georgia and long-time assistant coach at Florida State University, he knows a thing or two about making the call. At the gala and in his book, he shared some of those crucial moments. From his time as a player, through his years as an assistant coach and head coach for thirty-five years, he has been on some of the biggest stages of college football. He is currently a football analyst for the ACC Network.

Coach Mark Richt was also open about how he feels now after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. In July 2021, Richt publicly announced the diagnosis. He realizes the disease will complicate his life, but he is praying for and trusting in God’s plan. “If my hope is based on temporal things, if it is based on what is going to happen to me on this earth. I cannot face this life. But knowing that when I get to Heaven, I will be filled with God’s glory and have a new heavenly body. That’s what I put my hope in.”

To close the section with Coach Richt, he commented on the Brewton-Parker mission statement. Richt said, “I know you all are trying to equip people to become basically evangelists of the gospel through whatever area they choose to study. You are trying to teach people that when you love Jesus, there’s a difference in how you act. There are eternal things you can invest in on this earth, and this college is truly one.”

Following the presentation with Mark Richt, Dr. Steven F. Echols, President of BPC, shared a brief update regarding the college’s recent growth and took the time to thank all those in attendance. Echols stated, “BPC is very grateful for the overwhelming community support that made the gala a success for raising funds and sharing about our mission to see the lives of students transformed academically and spiritually for the glory of God. We deeply appreciate Coach Richt’s willingness to come and the delightful and powerful responses he gave in the interview format facilitated by Chappy Hines.”

Different sponsorship levels for the gala were available, some of which included access to the private meet and greet time with Mark Richt before the event. Brewton-Parker College offers a special thank you to their Platinum & Diamond Sponsors: Altamaha Bank & Trust, Dr. Steve & Julie Echols, BPC Board of Trustees, Meridy’s Uniforms, and Chick-fil-A Vidalia.

Coach Richt shared his thoughts on the Brewton-Parker mission statement,
“I know you all are trying to equip people to become basically evangelists of the gospel through whatever area they choose to study. You are trying to teach people that when you love Jesus, there’s a difference in how you act. There are eternal things you can invest in on this earth, and this college is truly one.”

Brewton-Parker College is the only accredited four-year Christian college south of Macon and north of Jacksonville, FL. As a comprehensive Georgia Baptist institution, Brewton-Parker College provides liberal arts and professional programs in a learning community of shared Christian values. Through the application of biblical truth in scholarship and a co-curricular focus on character, servant leadership, and cultural engagement, the college strives to provide a transformational experience that equips the whole student for lifelong learning and service in Christ.

Presidents Gala - Brewton-Parker College


The purpose of the nursing program is to prepare graduates who have the knowledge and skills to provide patient-centered holistic care that is safe, compassionate, honoring to Christ, and that meets the healthcare needs of diverse populations.

Mission Statement

In concert with Brewton-Parker College’s mission, the School of Nursing is committed to provide nursing education through the application of biblical truth to promote the formation of graduates who engage in evidence-based practice, lifelong learning, and servant leadership through the development of clinical reasoning, professional nursing skills, and Christian values.

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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