Emory & Henry promotes successfully an educational culture of excellence while leading among small colleges in promoting diversity and the values of creativity and independent thinking, according to James L. Waits, the keynote speaker during the annual Founders Day celebration.
At 179 years old, Emory & Henry is an institution in rural southwest Virginia that has “taken the road less travelled by” and reflects thinking and action in areas of need and challenge where few have gone before, said Waits before a large audience assembled in Memorial Chapel.
Waits, a professor emeritus of theology at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, was one of 28 white Methodist clergy who spoke out against school segregation and racial intolerance during the height of the civil rights movement.
Emory & Henry students, Waits said, are independent thinkers with a strong sense of conviction. “The majority of Emory & Henry students are far from predictable; they ask questions, sometimes impertinent questions. Sometimes they organize protests. But that is why they are here – to engage in the great questions of the day.”
Waits commended the College for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. “Let Emory & Henry continue to espouse its commitment to diversity and let its advocacy continue to be reflected in its hiring and recruitment practices.”
The former dean of the Candler School of Theology also praised Emory & Henry for its commitment to the arts, recently expressed through the construction of the Woodrow W. McGlothlin Center for the Arts. Emory & Henry, he said, recognizes that art influences all aspects of an institution’s life educational mission.
Founders Day at Emory & Henry, which marks its 179th year of existence, is a time to recognize others who have been generous to their College and their communities through their service and success.
Two individuals were honored with Founder’s Day Service Citations: J. Thomas Fowlkes, former president of The United Company, and Charles M. Quillin, a retired Air Force colonel and former executive director of the Virginia Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Fowlkes, a native of Mississippi, earned a law degree from the Univeristy of Virginia. After practicing law for several years in Abingdon, he was named general counsel for The United Company in Bristol, which was co-founded by Woodrow W. McGlothlin, a member of the E&H Class of 1937. He advanced in the organization, eventually becoming division president, senior vice president and president. He served as chief development officer and athletic director at Emory & Henry and, in 2007, was named vice president for institutional advancement at the College. Today, he is back at The United Company as its senior vice president and general counsel. Outside of law and business, Fowlkes serves as Board chair for Barter Theatre and Johnston Memorial Hospital, president of th4e Virginia Highlands Festival, chair of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, campaign chair for the United Way of Washington County, and long-time scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 222.
Quillin, a member of the E&H Class of 1970, was born and raised in Scott County, Virginia. After graduating from Emory & Henry with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, he was appointed an officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a fighter pilot, instructor pilot, squadron operations officer and squadron commander at air bases across the county. Quillin received his master’s degree from Livingston State University in Alabama and earned a doctor of education degree from the University of Miami. He served as professor of aerospace studies at Duke University before retiring from the Air Force as a colonel in 1995. He then returned to Emory & Henry to serve as senior development officer and dean of institutional advancement. Shortly thereafter, he became a volunteer member of the Virginia Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which encourages civilian employers to support members of the National Guard and armed forces Reserves.
During Founders Day, the following individuals were honored as recipients of distinctive alumni awards:
Dr. Laura J. Hainesworth, James A. Davis Faculty Award: Hainesworth is an associate professor of chemistry and environmental studies at Emory & Henry. She serves the College as director of both the Bartlet-Crowe Field Station and as director of the Environmental studies Program. She has held the Hull Chair in the Natural Sciences and served as chair of the Chemistry Department.
William T. Reisinger, A.L. Mitchell Young Alumnus of the Year Award: Resigner graduated magna cum laude from Emory & Henry in 2005 and earned his law degree at Ohio Northern University’s Claude W. Petit College of Law in 2008. He works for the Richmond law firm GreenHurlocker, PLC, with a practice focused on energy law, utilities regulation and commercial litigation. Before joining GreeneHurlocker, he served for more than four years as an assistant attorney general for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2015, he was appointed by Gov. McAuliffe to serve on Virginia’s first Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency.
Jonathan D. Crutchfield, Fred Selfe Distinctive Service to Emory & Henry Award: Crutchfield graduated from Emory& Henry in 1991. He serves as an administrator for Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, Va. He has served the Franklin County school system as associate principal, director of operations, teacher, coach and athletics coordinator. He also has served as an adjunct professor for James Madison University. Mr. Crutchfield has served on the staff/parish committee of Redwood United Methodist Church in Rocky Mount, is a member of the Franklin County Recreation Advisory Board, and is a past member of the Emory & henry Alumni Board of Directors.
Pamela G. Kestner, Distinguished Achievement Award: Kestner graduated from Emory & Henry in 1983 and received a master of social work degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1988. She served the Council for Community Services in Roanoke as director of community resources for 14 years, and then as president and CEO of that organization for 12 years. She served on the Board of Directors for the Roanoke Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the National Association of Planning Councils and the Virginia Alliance of Information & Referral Systems (on which she continues to serve). Previously, she was a juvenile probation officer for the 29th District Court Services Unit in Lebanon, Virginia. In 2011, she was honored by Emory & Henry with a Charter Day Citation. In 2012, Ms. Kestner was tapped by the governor’s administration to serve as Virginia’s homeless outcomes coordinator, and also serves as special advisor on families, children and poverty.
Dr. Gregory McMorrow, Carl and Ruth Looney Humanitarian Award: McMorrow graduated from Emory & Henry in 1968. He received a medical degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine in 1972, and is now a retired physician from Nephrology Associates in Lexington, Kentucky. He is a member of Broadway Christian Church in Lexington Kentucky and has been a medical volunteer for Christian Flights International missions teams for more than 30 years.