BPC Historic Village Roars to Life

The first post-COVID History Under the Stars at the Brewton-Parker College Historic Village in Mount Vernon, Georgia was a resounding success. 

From left to right: Dr. Brandi Simpson-Miller, assistant professor of history at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, Dr. Matthew Jennings professor of History at Middle Georgia State University, and Dr. Timothy Miller, BPC assistant professor of history and curator of the historic village. 

MOUNT VERNON — The first post-COVID History Under the Stars at the Brewton-Parker College (BPC) Historic Village in Mount Vernon, Georgia was a resounding success. More than 125 students, faculty, and members of the community came together for hot chili, period music, poetry, and history under the twinkling lights of the heavens on Thursday, October 27, 2022. The event known as History Under the Stars was just becoming an annual tradition when the pandemic stopped all public events and closed the site. The BPC Historic Village features the Cooper-Conner House dating back to 1798 and the Thompson House from 1842. 

Nearly one hundred BPC students, BPC faculty & staff, history professors from three other Georgia colleges, and one out-of-state consultant were all in attendance. The attendees were able to tour the historic homes of the village and inspect tools and household items up to two hundred years old. 

The keynote speaker for the evening was Dr. Matthew Jennings of Middle Georgia State University. Jennings is a professor of history and is the author of two books, New Worlds of Violence: Cultures of Conquest in the Early American Southeast (2011) and Ocmulgee National Monument: A Brief History with Field Notes (2018). He is a specialist in Native American history and spoke about Muscogee/Creek struggles to maintain their lands during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Jennings was preceded by BPC alumnus Mr. Hunter Kennedy who gave a brief history of History Under the Stars and Dr. Frank Sharpe who read a seasonally appropriate poem by Edmund Spencer. Mr. Kennedy is a history teacher at Pinewood Christian Academy. Dr. Sharpe is the Director of the BPC Academic Success Center and Professor of English at BPC. 

“I asked [Dr. Jennings] afterward about some book recommendations on Creek culture and mythology,” said Dr. Sharpe, “I’m about to order a couple of those right now.” 

Also in attendance were Dr. Grant Lilford, Humanities Division Chair; Dr. Adam Coker, associate professor of history and president of the faculty; Shaffett, BPC librarian; Dr. Billy Puckett, professor of Christian studies and director of missions for the Daniell Baptist Association; Registrar Dr. Deokhyo Kim; Dr. Matthew Haley, assistant professor of music, Dr. Sharpe, and Dr. Timothy Miller, assistant professor of history and curator of the historic village. Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert, a public historian and museum consultant, drove from Greenwood, South Carolina to attend the event. Finally, in the crowd, were Miss Dianne Wilcox, professor of literature at the Georgia Military College, and Dr. Brandi Simpson-Miller, assistant professor of history at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.

“I want to thank Chartwells for providing the food tonight,” said Dr. Miller, “and our IT department along with maintenance for helping with our lights and sound. I am most appreciative of Dr. Haley and the students who played such lovely music, setting the mood for a beautiful evening.”

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.

Visit Brewton-Parker College online at www.bpc.edu.


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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