Award Winners Announced at Founders Day

Posted by Jeffrey Cowart
During the 2019 Founders Day event, community members and E&H alumni were honored for their contributions to the school and the community. Joining us as keynote speaker was John E. Oden.

On Thursday, March 28, 2019, Emory & Henry College celebrated Founders Day at the Emory Memorial Chapel. The keynote speaker was John E. Oden, a principal and 26-year veteran of AllianceBernstein, a global money management and research firm with approximately $550 billion under management through 47 offices in 22 countries. Oden leads the firm’s offices in both New York and Hong Kong. Before joining AllianceBernstein, Oden worked for ten years as a real estate investment banker.

Emory & Henry annually observes Founders Day to celebrate the founding of the College and those individuals and groups whose efforts were instrumental in establishing Southwest Virginia’s first institution of higher education. In acknowledgment of the four community members who founded Emory & Henry College and to recognize those persons and institutions making significant contributions to the region today, the College presented citations as part of the Founders Day ceremony. The following are the 2019 recipients:

David P. Helms, ’63, of Marion, VA for his extraordinary leadership as mayor and his enthusiastic support for his alma mater’s efforts to establish the Emory & Henry College School of Health Sciences in Marion, Virginia.

Charlotte Lewis Parsons, of Abingdon, VA in recognition of her dedicated service and professional commitment to improving literacy in the region as director of the Washington County, Virginia Public Library System for 25 years.

Stewart A.Taylor, ’74, of Kingsport, TN for his entrepreneurial spirit and creative talents that turned a hobby into an international business success, and for his distinguished record of charitable giving and community support. Along with the citations, the Emory & Henry Alumni Association chose notable alumni and one faculty member to be recognized by the Association for outstanding professional and volunteer contributions. The following individuals were honored for their outstanding achievements at the 2019 Founders Day ceremony:

James A. Davis Faculty Award: Dr. Douglas Arnold, of Abingdon, VA of the E&H Education Department, for his energy and creativity serving teachers and students in our region.

A.L. Mitchell Young Alumna Award: Meghann Cotter, ’04, of Fredericksburg, VA for her work with the homeless community.

Fred Selfe Service to Emory & Henry Award: Aubrey “Jay” Rosser III, ’03, of McLean, VA for his assistance in career development and devotion to his alma mater.

Distinguished Achievement Award: Rev. Myron Wingfield, ’83, of San Diego, CA for leadership at all levels within the United Methodist Church that is marked by a commitment to justice and equality.

Carl and Ruth Looney Humanitarian Award: Mwenda Kazadi, Jr., ’10, of Monrovia, Liberia for his work to build sustainable economic communities in his home community in Liberia.

With these awards came the honoring of the Class of 1969, as they were inducted into the Emory & Henry College Gold Club, which is composed of all E&H alumni who have been out of college fifty years or more. In 2019, members of the Class of 1969 were inducted into the Gold Club and honored by their alma mater with a brass medallion depicting the Emory & Henry College seal.

Initial planning for the founding of Emory & Henry began in October 1835, when members of the Holston Conference of the Methodist Church voted to establish a college in the region. By January 1, 1836, the site had been selected, and the cornerstone for the first building was laid September 30, 1836, at a founding celebration. Classes began in the spring of 1838.
Four area individuals are credited with raising funds and choosing the site for the College: Tobias Smyth, a local farmer and enthusiastic Methodist lay person; the Reverend Creed Fulton, a circuit-riding Methodist minister from Grayson County, Virginia; Colonel William Byars, a distinguished Presbyterian layperson from Glade Spring, Virginia; and Alexander Findlay, a successful business entrepreneur from Abingdon, Virginia.

View all photos from Founders Day

  • John E. Oden speaks at Founders Day 2019.
    John E. Oden speaks at Founders Day 2019.

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