John Honeycutt said his experiences as a student at Emory & Henry reached far beyond the four walls and whiteboard, making a positive impact in his life a decade later.
As an attorney in Abingdon, Va., Honeycutt believes his college experience opened the door for his eventual profession.
“Becoming an attorney was not a driving force for me during college, but I enjoyed the legal classes I took through the political science department and eventually decided the study of law was more than a passing interest for me,” he said.
Honeycutt credits many members of the College community, including political science professor Dr. Joe Lane, for building his confidence.
Dr. Lane helped me become a big fish in a small pond, but at the same time, he made sure I knew there were lakes and oceans out there. When I got to the ‘lakes’ and ‘oceans,’ I wasn't shocked by the fact that smart, capable people are everywhere. Instead, I knew I was one of them and found my own place. John Honeycutt
As is typical for many college students, Honeycutt struggled early on to find the right academic path. “I come from a family of ministers, and I initially took a lot of religion courses with Dr. Reiff and Dr. Kellogg,” he said. “I was close to going down the path of religion for my major and profession, but I was never quite as comfortable and confident with religion as I am with the law. It's funny how things work out. I really appreciate what Joe Reiff and Fred Kellogg taught me. What I learned from them was a vital part of my E&H experience.”
Following graduation from E&H, Honeycutt earned a Masters of Public Administration at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before attending the College of Law at University of Tennessee. For the past four years, he has practiced employment law at Penn, Stuart & Eskridge in Abingdon, primarily representing employers in workers' compensation claims filed by their employees. He also represents employers in federal employment discrimination law suits.
“E&H challenged and grew my capacity to work hard,” said Honeycutt. “When I was in graduate school and law school, I drew on the experience of classes I took from Dr. Lane, Dr. Kathleen Chamberlain, and Dr. Joe Reiff to get me through. The papers, tests, and presentations for these classes made me realize I had to be better to be successful. Those challenges pushed my limits, and when I got to graduate school and law school, I was able to handle the difficulty when other students from less strenuous undergraduate institutions could not.”
Honeycutt said E&H helped him learn about work ethic and self-awareness. “Most any institution of higher education can teach students facts and figures, but E&H does better than most,” he said. “What sets E&H apart, however, is the unique environment in which it teaches students those facts and figures. To those students who engage the entire college community, E&H provides context better than any other institution of higher education I've seen.”
He added, “I also appreciate my experience at the College because it’s where I met some wonderful friends with whom I’m still close more than 10 years later. I also met my wife, Jenna, while we were students at E&H. We have a precious little girl, Anna Claire. We love her, and we’re so proud of her.”