Nominate someone who has made a distinction through career or community service. Deadline for nominations is January 15.
About The Awards
There are five E&H Distinguished Alumni Awards:
The Carl and Ruth Looney Humanitarian Award
Awarded to an individual who has demonstrated special service to humanity (civic, community, church, nation, etc.); has made unusual personal sacrifice; has shown a long and dedicated commitment to service; has achieved a remarkable single accomplishment; has shown special creativity and innovation which benefits humanity; and/or deserves special consideration because of the urgency of other person’s needs being met by this person. This award is named for Rev. Carl and Ruth Looney and their family who excelled at using humble means to achieve amazing service.
The Distinguished Achievement Award
Awarded to an individual who has attained distinguished achievements in a professional or volunteer capacity; has demonstrated a sustained record of excellence in a professional or volunteer capacity; and/or has shown special creativity and ingenuity in achieving accomplishments.
The Fred Selfe Distinctive Service to Emory & Henry Award
Awarded to an individual who has provided extraordinary participation in alumni activities, admissions, development, governing boards, special projects, etc., and has had a consistent record of financial support to E&H. The award is named for Fred Selfe, E&H class of 1969, who served the Emory & Henry College Athletic Department with exceptional dedication and valor until his death in 2003.
The A.L. Mitchell Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Awarded on the basis of any of the qualifications listed above, but the individual must have achieved such accomplishments during the first 15 years after graduation. The award bears the name of A.L. Mitchell, E&H class of 1946, who began his employment at Emory & Henry while still a very young alumnus and served students faithfully for 38 years.
The James A. Davis Faculty Award
Awarded to an E&H faculty member with a distinguished record of excellence in teaching; has shown exceptional service beyond the classroom; has made some outstanding single achievement within his/her discipline; and/or has provided distinctive service to the community, the region or beyond helping to promote the good name of Emory & Henry. This award is named for the first E&H alumnus to return to E&H as a faculty member.
Review the lists of recent E&H Distinguished Alumni Award honorees since the year 2000.
Note: Descriptions of honorees reflect accomplishments at the time of the award. Many of these individuals have added news to their biographies since receiving an award.
The E&H Distinguished Alumni Awards are presented during Founders Day (held annually on the last Thursday of March).
Meet Our Alumni
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1746-cathy-cuskey-large" title="Cathy Large" aria-label="Cathy Large"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/201,93,535,426/3153_cuskey_large.rev.1518207527.jpg" alt="Cathy Cuskey Large" title="Cathy Cuskey Large" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="604" data-max-h="453"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1746-cathy-cuskey-large"/></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Cathy Cuskey Large (’93) used to avoid physics like the plague: so, of course, she is now flourishing as a Medical Physicist.</p><p> “I took physics in high school and just hated it. But I had a teacher at Virginia Highlands Community College who made me love it.”</p><p> So she transferred to Emory & Henry, graduated with a major in physics and a minor in math, and then headed to UT for a master’s in physics. While there she ventured into the engineering department to explore a more applications-based area of physics (less theoretic), and that’s where she first heard about medical physics. She’s never looked back.</p><p> She has worked at the clinic level where she had to implement logistics necessary to make it safe for cancer patients and health workers to be around radiation treatment. “We even have to take into consideration someone who might be working on the roof on a given day.”</p><p> Her work there involved everything from selecting proper building materials to measuring wall widths. These days she’s working for Phillips Medical as a consultant, and is writing algorithms for the administration of radiation. “It’s a great career, and there aren’t a lot of people doing this – so there are great opportunities for new grads.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1746-cathy-cuskey-large" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1304-laura-craven-duncan" title="Laura Duncan" aria-label="Laura Duncan"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,68,1092,1156/1928_IMG-1206.rev.1515599982.JPG" alt="Laura Craven Duncan" title="Laura Craven Duncan" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,68,1092,1156/1928_IMG-1206.rev.1515599982.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,68,1092,1156/1928_IMG-1206.rev.1515599982.JPG 3x" data-max-w="1092" data-max-h="1791"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1304-laura-craven-duncan"><p> Laura Craven Duncan is a teacher with a passion for the environment</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Laura Craven Duncan (’84) is National Board Certified Teacher, but she is not only known for her teaching skills. Now a first-grade teacher in Perquimans County Schools in North Carolina, Laura formerly taught at Ballentine Elementary in Irmo, South Carolina. While at Ballentine, she and her classroom were written up in the regional school newsletter for raising more than $3,000 for the South Carolina Sea Turtle Rescue – a sea turtle hospital located at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston. This was their second year to accomplish this impressive feat.<br/><br/> She used the opportunity to teach her class about the plight of this endangered species, and the wonders of this magnificent creature. Students learned about South Carolina’s state reptile, the Loggerhead turtle, and got to see the Loggerhead up close when the senior biologist at the Sea Turtle Rescue visited the school. Her students visited the Sea Turtle Rescue facility to present the check, and to tour the operation. The school’s technology assistant creates sea turtle commercials to be shown during the school news each morning so that everyone in the school can learn about turtles. Laura said the televisions spots had a dual purpose. “The commercials were so important to our students because they not only helped us advertise our fundraiser, but they also allowed students to share ways we can all make a difference in helping save the turtles.” <br/><br/> Each year the class put together an item to sell that displays original artwork by the students –a calendar, a magnet, a book. One year they made reusable shopping bags which also encouraged less use of plastic bags. (Bags floating in the water look like the sea creature that is a major part of a turtle’s diet: jellyfish.)<br/><br/> “This experience impacted every child and showed them the importance of how we can protect endangered species. They are learning while making a positive difference for the environment.”<br/><br/> Now in a new school system, she received a grant in 2017 to take all the school’s first graders to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island this semester.”Most of our students have never been to the beach, only 55 miles away, or explored any of our county’s 100 miles of shoreline.It will be the chance of a lifetime for many.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1304-laura-craven-duncan" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1914-erin-griffin" title="Erin Griffin" aria-label="Erin Griffin"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/46,207,430,591/3448_Erin_Griffin.rev.1520282800.jpg" alt="Erin Griffin" title="Erin Griffin" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/46,207,430,591/3448_Erin_Griffin.rev.1520282800.jpg 2x" data-max-w="720" data-max-h="960"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1914-erin-griffin"><p> Erin Griffin, E&H ’13, is completing her veterinary medicine degree. </p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Erin Griffin, a native of Saltville, Virginia, is in her last year of veterinary school at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. This is one of only 28 veterinary medicine colleges in the United States and is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International. The school is considered a constituent college of both Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland<a title="University of Maryland, College Park" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Maryland,_College_Park">,</a> with a main campus located on Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg, and a branch on the University of Maryland’s campus in College Park. </p><p> She has passed the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination and looks forward to graduating in May of 2018. She hopes to eventually establish her own practice in Southwest Virginia.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1914-erin-griffin" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2451-david-bledsoe" title="David Bledsoe" aria-label="David Bledsoe"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1024,1365/5644_David_Bledsoe.rev.1541708682.jpg" alt="David Bledsoe" title="David Bledsoe" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1024,1365/5644_David_Bledsoe.rev.1541708682.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1024" data-max-h="1365"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2451-david-bledsoe"><p> David Bledsoe started making headlines before he ever graduated from law school.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> David Bledsoe is an associate attorney for Breeding Henry Baysan PC that dedicates his practice to a variety of legal fields including criminal defense, business litigation, personal injury, and general civil litigation.</p><p> Mr. Bledsoe is originally from Big Stone Gap Virginia and subsequently received his undergraduate degree from Emory & Henry College located in Emory, Virginia, where he majored in Business Management and subsequently graduated Magna Cum Laude.</p><p> After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Mr. Bledsoe attended law school at Lincoln Memorial University where he graduated 6<sup>th</sup> in his class with the honorable distinction of Cum Laude. Mr. Bledsoe was awarded the Justice Gary R. Wade Award in his second year in law school, which is given every year to one law student who demonstrates outstanding academic performance and an unwavering dedication to the community. Mr. Bledsoe was also awarded the Lincoln Memorial University Lincoln Lawyer Award, a faculty-voted award given to three students annually who demonstrate strength in legal writing, oral argument, and leadership. Mr. Bledsoe was also a member of the Duncan School of Law Mock Trial Team, where he competed as both a witness and as an attorney in both civil and criminal cases. Mr. Bledsoe received a CALI award in his Federal Income Taxation class, an award given to the student with the highest overall grade in a class for that semester.</p><p> David has worked in a variety of areas and has achieved a variety of notable accomplishments since he began working in the legal field. One of which was clerking for his father, where he successfully assisted in writing an appellate brief to the Virginia Court of Appeals, which subsequently received a favorable reversal on an underlying felony conviction. He has interned for the Washington County Commonwealth Attorney’s office in Virginia, clerked for the Honorable Judge Tim Irwin of Knox County Juvenile Court, worked as a research assistant to various law professors in academic writing, and clerked for other esteemed criminal defense attorneys in Knoxville.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2451-david-bledsoe" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1946-brooklyn-sawyers-belk" title="Brooklyn Belk" aria-label="Brooklyn Belk"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,28,347,376/3466_BrooklynSawyersBelk.rev.1520453426.jpg" alt="Brooklyn Sawyers Belk" title="Brooklyn Sawyers Belk" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="347" data-max-h="495"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1946-brooklyn-sawyers-belk"><p> Brooklyn Sawyers Belk is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Brooklyn Sawyers Belk is an attorney with Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn and Dial in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a Partner of Counsel, & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.</p><p> She was formerly an Assistant United States Attorney for the Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Sawyers Belk was admitted to the United States Supreme Court bar in November 2015. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee (UT) College of Law, where she teaches trial practice and interviewing and counseling. Additionally, she teaches a host of undergraduate history and pre-law courses. </p><p><br/> Sawyers Belk graduated from Emory & Henry College in 2002 and serves on the College’s Board of Trustees. She obtained a Master of Arts degree in history in 2004 from East Tennessee State University and is a 2006 graduate of the UT College of Law. </p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1946-brooklyn-sawyers-belk" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1840-adam-taylor" title="Adam Taylor" aria-label="Adam Taylor"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/535,58,1256,781/3315_Adam_Taylor.rev.1519072284.jpg" alt="Adam Taylor" title="Adam Taylor" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/535,58,1256,781/3315_Adam_Taylor.rev.1519072284.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/535,58,1256,781/3315_Adam_Taylor.rev.1519072284.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1280" data-max-h="853"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1840-adam-taylor"><p> Adam Taylor is director of the Catawba Sustainability Center.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Adam Taylor is the manager of the <a href="http://vtrc.vt.edu/Catawba_Sustainability_Center0.html">Catawba Sustainability Center</a>, which is situated on a 377-acre property in the Catawba Valley and is devoted to environmental education activities.</p><p> The center is a collaboration between Outreach and International Affairs, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Roanoke County.</p><p> Adam previously worked at the West Virginia Farmers Market Association, a statewide organization in West Virginia, where he worked to support and grow West Virginia’s local food economy through project development and management, stakeholder outreach, and policy change.</p><p> Adam also carried out a two-year assignment with the Peace Corps as a forestry Extension agent in Zambia and a yearlong internship on the 100-plus-acre organic farm owned by Dr. Stephen Hopp, Environmental Studies instructor at Emory & Henry, and author Barbara Kingsolver. The farm is highlighted in the book <strong><em>Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.</em></strong></p><p> A native of Tazewell, Virginia, Taylor earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Emory & Henry College in 2008 and a master’s degree in agriculture from Oklahoma State in 2014.</p><p> One of the projects that Taylor oversees at the Catawba Sustainability Center is a wetlands restoration project, which received a $15,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation.</p><p> The center, in collaboration with Virginia Tech and <a href="http://www.wetlandrestorationandtraining.com/">Wetland Restoration and Training</a>, plans to do three things:</p><ul><li>restore at least three wetlands in an effort to enhance a biologically diverse habitat for sensitive and endangered plant and animal species </li><li>improve water quality of Catawba Creek </li><li>train professionals in wetland design and restoration using techniques that can be replicated to restore wetlands in diverse environments. </li></ul></div><a href="/live/profiles/1840-adam-taylor" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1751-erick-long" title="Erick Long" aria-label="Erick Long"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,612,515/3181_Erick_Long.rev.1518214003.jpg" alt="Erick Long" title="Erick Long" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="515"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1751-erick-long"><p> Erick Long is a vice president for the Academy of Country Music in Los Angeles.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Erick Long joined the Academy of Country Music in 2009 after many years in the events industry. He currently manages Operations & Events at the Academy including several components of the Academy of Country Music Awards, ACM Party for a Cause Festival as well as ACM Honors. Long oversees the general operations of the ACM, event production, red carpet, talent logistics, sponsor fulfillment, catering, board meetings, security, transportation, the All-Star Jam (official after party), IT, as well as the internship and volunteer programs.</p><p> Prior to joining the Academy, Long spent more than six years in special events at Universal Studios Hollywood where he managed large-scale events including the MTV Movie Awards After Party, the Tahitian Noni International Conference, Lance Armstrong’s Tour of Hope, and New Year’s Eve events, among others. Before Universal, Long spent more than 10 years in event production and operations with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Pallotta TeamWorks - Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, Up with People as well as independent contracts with the Grammys, Latin Grammys, and the Inland Valley Humane Society. A Tennessee native, Long graduated from Emory & Henry College in Virginia. He has lived in Los Angeles since 2000.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1751-erick-long" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/16-" title="Hannah Taylor" aria-label="Hannah Taylor"><img src="/live/image/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/25_3352ba2f2869555aca164cdd562e5444_f47341.rev.1490710878.jpg" alt="Hannah Taylor" title="Hannah Taylor" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/25_3352ba2f2869555aca164cdd562e5444_f47341.rev.1490710878.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1000" data-max-h="666"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/16-"><p> Hannah Taylor (’15) Exploring Gender Stereotypes</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Hannah Taylor, a member of the E&H Class of 2015 from Atkins, Va. majors in psychology. Using her pet rabbit in an animal therapy program she seeks to help mentally challenged individuals and residents of nursing homes.</p><p> “They love getting to see him (the rabbit), and it warms my heart to see their reactions and how much they enjoy visiting with him. This is one of my passions, because it amazes me how people can connect with animals, and he is always able to put a smile on their face, even if they are having a bad day.”</p><p> Hannah Taylor, a member of the E&H Class of 2015 from Atkins, Va. majors in psychology. Using her pet rabbit in an animal therapy program she seeks to help mentally challenged individuals and residents of nursing homes. “They love getting to see him (the rabbit), and it warms my heart to see their reactions and how much they enjoy visiting with him. This is one of my passions, because it amazes me how people can connect with animals, and he is always able to put a smile on their face, even if they are having a bad day.”</p><p> Taylor says about Emory & Henry: “Emory & Henry is known for its quality education, which is ranked nationally, and when you attend Emory, you know you are getting a great education that you will always take with you. The professors at Emory are also ranked nationally; they do not hand you anything, you really have to earn it. With that being said, even though the professors are tough, they are always there for you and to help you in anyway they can. When you graduate from Emory & Henry College, it is something you can be proud of because you know you have worked very hard for your degree and your achievements. “</p><p> As a student at Emory & Henry, Taylor is currently completing her second internship through Abingdon Health and Rehabilitation in occupational therapy. Her first internship was completed last fall with Highlands Community Services at the Stepping Stones location where she worked primarily with bipolar and schizophrenic individuals. Last spring, Taylor and fellow classmate, Amy Wilson, completed a research project involving gender stereotypes and careers. Although the research did not bear significant findings, Taylor plans to expand her sample group and explore a wider range of demographics.</p><blockquote> Emory & Henry inspired me to become a psychology major, and I am very thankful for that. I love it, and couldn’t imagine majoring in anything else. Emory & Henry also has helped me gain professional contacts through internships. Being able to go out and intern at a future place of work is amazing; you are able to gain valuable experience while getting class credit. It has been an amazing experience for me, and I will always be thankful for it.</blockquote></div><a href="/live/profiles/16-" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1433-toni-atkins" title="Toni Atkins" aria-label="Toni Atkins"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,56,800,857/2267_Toni_Atkins.rev.1516131104.jpg" alt="Toni Atkins" title="Toni Atkins" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,56,800,857/2267_Toni_Atkins.rev.1516131104.jpg 2x" data-max-w="800" data-max-h="1054"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/1433-toni-atkins"><p> Toni Atkins is the leader of the California Senate – and is the first woman to hold this position.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Toni Atkins, E&H ’84, recently made history by becoming the first woman to serve as president pro Tempore of the California Senate. She has served as interim Mayor of San Diego, and was Governor of California for nine hours in 2014 – making her California’s first openly gay governor, and it also landed her a spot on the Jimmy Kimmel talk show.</p><p> </p><p> Below is an article by Lisa Renner written for Capitol Weekly in 2017:</p><p> State Sen. Toni Atkins has come a long way since she was a girl growing up poor without running water in rural Virginia.</p><p> This month, the San Diego lawmaker is set to replace Kevin de León as leader of the California Senate. She will be the first woman and first open lesbian to hold the position. She also will be the first person since the 19<sup>th</sup> century to hold both of the Legislature’s top jobs – Assembly speaker and Senate leader.</p><blockquote><p> “She came with a sense of wanting to make a difference but didn’t think she could make a difference because of her background.” — Stephen Fisher </p></blockquote><p> Atkins, 55, is a real coal miner’s daughter who grew up in a house without indoor plumbing or running water, and her mother cooked on a wood stove, according to her college professor and close friend Stephen Fisher. When Atkins and her family moved to the city of Roanoke, she was teased for her hillbilly accent.</p><div id="div-gpt-ad-1395717372217-22_container" class="idm_ad_unit"/><p> </p><p> Only two others have served as both Assembly speaker and Senate leader — Ransom Burnell (Assembly Speaker in 1861 and Senate pro Tem in 1864) and James T. Farley (Assembly speaker in 1856 and Senate pro Tem in 1871-1872), said Alex Vassar, author of <em>California Lawmaker: The Men and Women of the California State Legislature.</em></p><p> Fisher recalls that when she arrived at Emory & Henry College, where she ultimately majored in political science, she had a lot of “anger and shame” about her upbringing. “She came with a sense of wanting to make a difference but didn’t think she could make a difference because of her background,” he said.</p><p> But as she grew more comfortable, she became more confident in her skin. She was part of a group of students who asked Fisher to teach a course on feminism. He agreed if the students would help him create the course, including decided what texts do use and how the class would be structured. “It was a transformative experience for all of us,” he said, adding that Atkins wasn’t the only participant who went on to have great success in professional life.</p><p> Atkins also showed courage by helping arrange for a visit to campus by lesbian folk singer Holly Near in the early 1980s when the college “was not a safe place to come out in,” Fisher said.</p><blockquote><p> Atkins was elected to the state Assembly in 2010. becoming Speaker of the Assembly in 2014. </p></blockquote><p> But Fisher said he had no idea back then that Atkins would end up where she is now. “I knew that she was going to do well but I had no notion that she was going into public work.”</p><p> Atkins ended up continuing her education at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University before relocating to San Diego in 1985.</p><p> She initially served as director of clinic services of Womancare Health Center but soon began working for then San Diego City Councilmember Christine Kehoe, the city’s first openly gay elected official. Atkins’ first jump into elected office came on the San Diego City Council in 2000, when she replaced Kehoe after Kehoe moved on to the state Legislature.</p><p> Atkins was herself elected to the state Assembly in 2010. becoming Speaker of the Assembly in 2014. She set her priorities as access to health care, affordable housing and educational opportunities.</p><p> Among her achievements was getting the bipartisan support for a $7.5 billion water bond approved by voters in 2014. “That was a clear example of her leadership because folks believed it could not be done,” said Assemblymember Shirley Weber of San Diego.</p><blockquote><p> “She has that coal miner’s daughter perspective that comes out of that environment.” — Shirley Weber </p></blockquote><p> Weber also credits Atkins with getting her to run for office. Weber was recently retired after a long career as a professor of Africana studies at San Diego State University when Atkins asked her to consider running for the Assembly.</p><p> When Weber won the election and joined the Assembly in 2012, it was Atkins who opened doors for her and helped her make the transition. “She said I will help you do this and she did,” Weber said. “Other people say I’ll help you and you can’t find them. They don’t do anything for you.”</p><p> Weber said she is impressed that Atkins has been able to rise so far while keeping her dignity and maintaining her integrity.</p><p> “She has that coal miner’s daughter perspective that comes out of that environment,” she said. “You don’t get out of that environment if you don’t take what you have, make it better, learn from strengths and minimize your weaknesses.”</p><p> Atkins was elected to the state Senate in 2016 and was able to get all 12 bills she sent to the governor, signed and approved. In her December newsletter, she said she is especially proud of Senate Bill 2, which creates a permanent funding source for affordable housing and Senate Bill 179, which requires the state to legally recognize “nonbinary” as a gender for people who do not identify as male or female.</p><p> Rick Zbur, executive director for Equality California, said Atkins is one of the best advocates for the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. He applauded her upcoming advance to leadership of the senate.</p><p> “It’s important that she has shattered yet another glass ceiling,” he said. “These kinds of achievements are important for LBGTQ people because we have been historically underrepresented in government.”</p><p> Through it all, she remembers her Virginia roots. She invited Cameron Chase, a 20-year-old Emory & Henry student, to Sacramento for a three-week internship with her earlier this year. “Sen. Atkins is literally so down to earth and so kind and generous,” he said.</p><p> In a 2014 statement to the Washington Post, Atkins reflected on her rise from poverty to high office in California. “What that says about our opportunities as Americans and our democracy is profound.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/1433-toni-atkins" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/3-" title="Taequan Kates" aria-label="Taequan Kates"><img src="/live/image/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/8_alumni-kates-taekuan.rev.1490105709.jpg" alt="Taequan Kates" title="Taequan Kates" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/8_alumni-kates-taekuan.rev.1490105709.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1000" data-max-h="666"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/3-"><p> Taequan Kates (’16) Learns Legal Lessons While Interning With Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Summer breaks are meant to be exactly that: a break from the stress and hard work of the academic year. However, rising Emory & Henry College senior Taequan Kates has a tough time slowing down.</p><p> Kates who grew up in Dewitt, Va. spent much of the summer in Richmond completing an internship at the Office of Attorney General Mark Herring.</p><p> Kates was tasked with editing <em>Virginia Rules</em>, a book containing state laws to ensure it lined up with the current code statutes. His daily responsibilities found him working closely with attorneys in the office reviewing laws relevant to current cases.</p><h2> Work on Campus</h2><p> When not in the courtroom, Kates was making plans for his next big job – student body president. Kates along with fellow rising senior and student body vice-president Katie Beth Bordwine (who was also in Richmond, Va. for an internship) has been focused on a list of goals for the academic year.</p><p> Their first consideration: the feasibility of building an outdoor basketball court on campus.</p><p> “I’ve spoken with several colleges asking them about their program and trying to figure out a way to incorporate an outdoor court into our campus, and I hope this is something we can bring to Emory & Henry,” Kates said.</p><p> In his remaining free time, Kates spent time working as a counselor for at-risk children in his community. It’s a cause close to his heart, and he said he wants these children to become better citizens so they can grow up with the opportunities to chase their dreams.</p><p> “I’ve done a lot this summer, but I know all the hard work was worth it.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/3-" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2554-jess-daddio" title="Jess Daddio" aria-label="Jess Daddio"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/417,0,1781,1365/6047_53503806_306647530022179_877872142568390656_n.rev.1552061143.jpg" alt="Jess Daddio" title="Jess Daddio" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/417,0,1781,1365/6047_53503806_306647530022179_877872142568390656_n.rev.1552061143.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/417,0,1781,1365/6047_53503806_306647530022179_877872142568390656_n.rev.1552061143.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2048" data-max-h="1365"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2554-jess-daddio"><p> Jess Daddio, E&H ’13 – always working, but she’s not likely to be found in an office.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p><a href="https://www.ehc.edu/live/image/gid/68/width/1000/6048_54049565_992585280938743_4455543676382216192_n.jpg" class="lw_preview_image"><img width="1000" height="667" alt="Jess Daddio, E&H Class of 2013." src="/live/image/gid/68/width/1000/height/667/6048_54049565_992585280938743_4455543676382216192_n.rev.1552061210.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image6048 lw_align_left lw_column_width_full" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/1000/height/667/6048_54049565_992585280938743_4455543676382216192_n.rev.1552061210.jpg 2x" data-max-w="2048" data-max-h="1365"/></a>Jess Daddio is a freelance photographer, videographer, and journalist.</p><p> She is the former travel editor for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. She is a regular contributor to the REI Co-op Journal, and her articles have appeared in Outdoor Retailer Magazine, Elevation Outdoors Magazine, and the Matador Network.</p><p> Some of her most recent commercial clients include IMBA Trail Solutions, Farm to Feet, Harrisonburg Tourism, and Sigora Solar.</p><p> Jess says her mentors at Emory & Henry prepared her for the work she is doing today. “My teachers at E&H taught me much more than their syllabi suggested. Through their unconditional support and guidance, I learned that it’s not enough to dream big. You have to put in the hard work, you have to flounder, you have to fail, and still you have to show up day in and day out in order to make that dream become reality. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”</p><p> Jess is a 2013 graduate of E&H. When she’s not behind the camera, she can usually be found playing in the woods by bike or by foot. You can learn more about her at <a href="https://www.jessdaddio.com/?fbclid=IwAR32MgacNSYJLwEFhparqrr0UmbfUBMCB07PSKSbYDh8K2JvLu1XKAqa_oY" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-lynx-mode="hover" data-lynx-uri="https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jessdaddio.com%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR32MgacNSYJLwEFhparqrr0UmbfUBMCB07PSKSbYDh8K2JvLu1XKAqa_oY&h=AT25wmqp3vyjyzjMKWiiUY_x5n5o_dIscoK7qbMnii3tDcUkd1LzWh5u-ZQIJ3q0NDC7J17kaNROxXR3WGcTIM0fFbGXzcz7pfo7smkI2PBdEeylIgY2vczfrAEqJ7CDaa0">https://www.jessdaddio.com/</a>. </p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2554-jess-daddio" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2553-dana-broyles-hutton" title="Dana Hutton" aria-label="Dana Hutton"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/13,72,400,458/6046_Dana_Hutton.rev.1552059001.jpg" alt="Dana Broyles Hutton" title="Dana Broyles Hutton" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="600"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2553-dana-broyles-hutton"/></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Dana Broyles Hutton is president of Southeastern College West Palm Beach.</p><p> Hutton’s career in education began in admissions in at National College in Bristol, Tenn. She was named the school’s rookie of the year for 2008. Hutton received numerous promotions before joining Southeastern College as the regional director of admissions in 2014.</p><p> Two years later, Hutton was tapped for her current role as president. She was instrumental in leading the campus through a reaccreditation visit and introducing two new programs – Cloud and Information Technology and Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Under her leadership, SEC West Palm Beach was named a finalist for the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) School of the Year in 2018; and Hutton was nominated for FAPSC Administrator of the Year.</p><p> Dana graciously gives a nod to her alma mater for preparing her for this important leadership role.“Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of going to Emory & Henry College and it was the best decision of my life. E&H not only provided me the education but also instilled a student first culture in which has become a core value of mine as an Administrator in higher education.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2553-dana-broyles-hutton" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2028-stewart-whitmore-plein" title="Stewart Plein" aria-label="Stewart Plein"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2133,3200/3894_34169_S_BFP_0136_XX.rev.1522863006.jpg" alt="Stewart Whitmore Plein" title="Stewart Whitmore Plein" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2133,3200/3894_34169_S_BFP_0136_XX.rev.1522863006.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2133,3200/3894_34169_S_BFP_0136_XX.rev.1522863006.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="3200"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2028-stewart-whitmore-plein"><p> Stewart Whitmore Plein (E&H ’82) is the Curator of Rare Books and Print Resources in the West Virginia & Regional History Center, the special collections unit of West Virginia University. </p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Growing up, Emory & Henry was always an essential stop for Stewart Whitmore Plein and the Whitmore family, on the way to visit grandparents in Gate City, Virginia. Her father, Ernest, a 1956 E&H graduate in History, made the detour through campus, driving slowly and pointing out favorite places and telling stories of his time at E&H. From her first trip through campus, Stewart knew she wanted to attend Emory & Henry someday. That day arrived in 1978, when she enrolled as a freshman.</p><p><br/> Born in Abingdon, Stewart is a 1982 graduate of Emory & Henry, with a degree in History, just like her father. She met her husband, Christopher Plein (’84) on campus and they married in the Emory & Henry Chapel in 1983. Stewart’s first job after graduation was working in the E&H Admissions office.</p><p><br/> Stewart is the Curator of Rare Books and Print Resources in the West Virginia & Regional History Center, the special collections unit of West Virginia University. Stewart says, “I double majored in history and religion at E&H and I use my degree every day in my work. My love of history and my education at Emory & Henry have been essential to my success as a curator, teaching students, working with donors and collections, and assisting faculty.”</p><p><br/> Stewart is also the Managing Director for the West Virginia National Digital Newspaper Project (NDNP) National Endowment for the Humanities grant in partnership with the Library of Congress. She received her Masters of Library Science from the University of South Carolina, and a certificate in Rare Book Librarianship from the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School.</p><p><br/> Stewart’s research and publishing interests include book history, bookbinding design, and Appalachian Studies. She is currently working on a book focusing on the development of the Appalachian stereotype on the covers of local color literature. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Appalachian Studies, the West Virginia History Journal and the Smithfield Review, among others. Her forthcoming book chapter, “A Sense of Place: The Rhododendron as Regional Identification on the Covers of Appalachian Local Color Literature,” is forthcoming in the two volume ecocritical anthology, Appalachian Nature, Appalachian Environment, from West Virginia University Press.</p><p><br/> Stewart works extensively with donors, teaches book history and rare book pedagogy sessions in the WVU rare book room, guest lectures, and always looks forward to reading a good book!</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2028-stewart-whitmore-plein" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/842-ken-noe" title="Ken Noe" aria-label="Ken Noe"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/203,60,416,273/744_noe.rev.1507061099.jpg" alt="Ken Noe" title="Ken Noe" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="450" data-max-h="490"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/842-ken-noe"><p> Weather can influence more than your picnic: it also affects entire military campaigns.</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> When Dr. Ken Noe (’79) was growing up in Elliston he remembers that weather played a huge role in the work done on his grandfather’s farm. “If rain was coming, we dropped everything else to put up hay.” He thinks this experience planted a seed in the back of his mind about the impactful influence of weather. Later, his interest in weather grew when he took a geography course at Emory & Henry with Dr. Ed Bingham.</p><p> But even he could never have predicted that he would now be writing a two-volume book on weather’s impact on the American Civil War.</p><p> Ken is the Draughon Professor of Southern History at Auburn University. He is the author or editor of seven books, and he has published scads of articles, essays and chapters about the Civil War. He is a decorated history professor serving at West Georgia College before heading to Auburn. He was a Pulitzer Prize entrant and won the 2003 Kentucky Governor’s award, the 2002 Peter Seaborg Book Award for Civil War Non-fiction, and the 1997 Tennessee History Book Award. He has won several teaching awards, has served as president of the Alabama Historical Association, and is serving on the Advisory Board of the Society of Civil War Historians. He has even been a consultant for the NBC series <em>Who Do You Think You Are? </em></p><p> But in all his prolific writing and research and publishing even he is surprised that his biggest and most industrious work to-date will be about weather. “Meteorologists are still trying to work out why the weather during the Civil War was so unusual. They dealt with incredibly snowy and rainy winters and droughts in the summer that affected Southern food supplies. There were dust storms, flooded rivers, and only two hurricanes. It had a profound effect on many campaigns.”</p><p> His research on weather has already taken several years, and he still has a few years left before he publishes. And even he was amazed to realize just how much information he had accumulated. “Very little has been written about Civil War environmental history. It is only now becoming part of the conversation about Civil War history.” </p><p> Ken says that even in a field of study like Civil War history where so many things have been written, there is still new area for research and a lot of topics that haven’t been covered. He has grad students asking new questions about the role of religion, the prison industries during the war, the role of friendship, and one young man, who is an E&H grad, is looking into camp life.</p><p> Even though we have just passed the 150<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the American Civil War, Ken points out that this conflict still has implications for current events; and he marvels that most conversations over the past 18 months have quickly moved from history to current topics like the Confederate flag, U.S. prisons, and race relations. He says his field has gotten so tangled with politics that there is a declining interest in Civil War history among the public. “But this event still has much to teach us. It was a great turning point in American History and opened up questions that are still being answered about equality of humankind, the status of women, states’ rights. I don’t know how we can answer all these questions unless we go back to the beginning.” He consistently stresses to his students the importance of going back to primary source information rather than depending on how the stories have been told and passed down.</p><p><a href="/live/image/gid/68/height/500/744_noe.jpg" class="lw_preview_image"><img width="450" height="490" alt="Photo: Dr. Ken Noe poses with one of his Auburn grad students, Peter Thomas (E&H, ’08). In ..." src="/live/image/gid/68/width/450/height/490/744_noe.rev.1507061099.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image744 lw_align_left" data-max-w="450" data-max-h="490"/><span class="lw_image_caption lw_align_left" style="width: 450px">Photo: Dr. Ken Noe poses with one of his Auburn grad students, Peter Thomas (E&H, ’08). In addition to the flag of his home state in the background, if you look closely, you can just make out the end of his lacrosse stick from college days.</span></a>Ken actually majored in education at Emory & Henry and still remembers panicking when he realized he didn’t want to be a junior high school teacher. “I had a lot of electives leftover and started taking history classes late in my college experience. I realized what I wanted to be was a historian and teach at a higher level.” A conversation with Patsi Trollinger (’72) reassured him that most alumni do not stick to work within their major. And a conversation with Dr. Gene Rasor in the history department led to a phone call which ended with Dr. Rasor telling Ken he had an interview with the history department at Virginia Tech.</p><p> The rest, as they say, is history.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/842-ken-noe" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2551-joshua-lee" title="Joshua Lee" aria-label="Joshua Lee"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/56,156,854,954/6044_Joshua_Lee_Pic_2019.rev.1551974189.jpg" alt="Joshua Lee" title="Joshua Lee" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/56,156,854,954/6044_Joshua_Lee_Pic_2019.rev.1551974189.jpg 2x" data-max-w="854" data-max-h="1280"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/2551-joshua-lee"><p> Josh Lee is an attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Joshua graduated from Emory & Henry in 2013, and finished his Juris Doctor Degree at Charlotte School of Law in 2016. He also studied abroad at the University College at Cork in 2011. Joshua says that E&H helping him study abroad was the best experience he had in college and the biggest educational experience he had throughout his college career. “The professors at E&H, such as Dr. Gaia, were phenomenal in helping me accomplish my dream of living in Ireland and traveling Europe.”</p><p> He is currently an Associate Attorney at Emblem Legal, PLLC where he practices family law and juvenile defense. </p><p> He has been working toward this goal since his high school years when he was an intern in the Ward Law Firm in Grundy, Virginia, researching statutes and case law regarding criminal matters. He got his feet wet compiling and organizing legal documentation and evidence for use at trial, and he shadowed an attorney working on misdemeanors and homicide matters.</p><p> Later he would do additional intern and extern work at Ingalls Law in Charlotte and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office. </p><p> In addition to his work for Emblem Legal, he is also a community manager for Startup Grind, an independent start-up community connecting thousands of entrepreneurs. Joshua is also active with the Mecklenburg County Bar and on their juvenile defense list where he regularly defends juveniles accused of committing various crimes. </p><p> Joshua says his days at Emory & Henry were important because he fully believes E&H prepared him for the rigorous experience that was law school. He says that the professors at E&H always went above and beyond to answer any questions he had regarding class or life in general. They helped him make the decision to eventually become the attorney that he is today.</p><p> You can find Joshua at: https://www.emblemlegal.com/joshua-lee</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/2551-joshua-lee" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>