During the weekend of March 17-20, Emmanuel College alumni from across the United States made their way to Franklin Springs to celebrate Homecoming Weekend!
The festivities began with the fifth annual, Sherman B. Smith Memorial Golf Tournament. Sherm (’61) was a faithful supporter of Emmanuel College and served as the president of the National Alumni Association for many years. Sherm’s wife, Bett, and daughters, Sebring and Shaunda, were in attendance to greet the golfers and open the tournament.
On March 18, Emmanuel welcomed leaders from the International Pentecostal Holiness Church Women’s Ministries Department for the 73rd annual Vision 4 Education. The ladies presented Emmanuel with a generous offering of $34,884.61. This event represents years of commitment and hard work by the Women’s Ministries Department to help provide scholarships for students to pursue a Christ-centered education at Emmanuel College.
That evening, the Swails Center was transformed to a tropical paradise, as alumni, current Emmanuel students, faculty, and staff enjoyed a BBQ meal, fellowship, and fun at the Tropical Breeze Cookout.
Next, alumni and friends were treated to an evening in “New York” at the EC Fine Arts Café. Guests enjoyed coffee, desserts, and entertainment from the Emmanuel Chorale and ACTS (Actors for Christ in Musical Theatre). The evening concluded with an opportunity to watch the Lions Men’s Volleyball team in action.
On Saturday, graduates from the 1970 and 1971 classes were honored and inducted into the Golden Grads. They enjoyed sharing stories of former teachers and of fond memories of their time at Emmanuel. The celebration continued as the brand-new tennis courts were dedicated along with the Diversified Agriculture program’s Outdoor Classroom, dedicated in memory of Dr. Fred Westfall.
At the Alumni and Friends Luncheon and Award Ceremony, Vice President for Advancement, Brian James shared on the exciting projects and updates happening around campus and how alumni can get involved.
At the luncheon, several alumni and one staff member were recognized.
Bob (’70) and Sylvia (’72) McConnell, along with Dr. Cyndee Phillips (’83) were awarded the President’s Award to honor their dedication and decades of service to the college.
After retiring to Northeast GA in 2005, the McConnell’s have served Emmanuel through programs like EC Serve, which Bob oversaw. To date, Bob has been successful at assisting over 200 individuals to become involved in missions and service work in over 20 countries and 12 states. His wife, Sylvia has served right by his side, taking on the role of mother, mentor, and spiritual guide for countless students. She bakes and delivers birthday cookies for student-athletes, often travels to watch the EC Singers perform or athletic teams compete whenever she can, and prays for Emmanuel, its students, and employees.
Dr. Cyndee Phillips spent 32 years working in K-12 public education, having taught middle grades for 14 years and as curriculum director and Assistant Superintendent for 18 years. After retiring from the school system in 2018, Cyndee has served Emmanuel College in various volunteer capacities. Currently, she serves as the Director of Institutional Research and the Assessment Coordinator for the School of Education, where she teaches as an adjunct professor.
Her love for Emmanuel extends outside of the academic arena as she and her husband, David, along with Bob and Sylvia McConnell have been instrumental in serving the campus through EC Mission, helping with campus beautification and building expansion projects each summer.
Director of Facility Management, Wayne Crider was then awarded the “Heart of the Lion” award which is given each year to a faculty or staff member who has gone above and beyond for Emmanuel.
Wayne has served Emmanuel for 38 years. In his time with the college, he has witnessed the college grow and his role expand. In his role as the Director of Facility Management, Wayne has his hands in most projects, helping keep the campus running daily. He is reliable, a hard worker, and a friend to all.
The Emmanuel College Medallion Award, the highest honor of the college was awarded posthumously to, Elliott “Eddie” Williams. His wife, Jan, daughter, Kris, and granddaughter, Avery, were on hand to accept the award on his behalf.
Eddie graduated from Emmanuel in 1960 and became one of the college’s biggest supporters. He served as president of the National Alumni Association and as a member of the Emmanuel College Board of Trustees for 35 years.
Eddie believed that alumni should support the college financially, but more than that, they should help recruit students to the college. As an alum, he did both of those things. He gave sacrificially over the years especially by providing funds to help needy students enroll and stay enrolled. He set up a scholarship fund at his church, Living Word Church of Maiden, NC to which he gave, and at one point had recruited 11 students from his church to attend EC in the same year. Over the years, he has recruited dozens who have attended Emmanuel.
On Saturday afternoon, we celebrated the newly renovated Wellons Hall with a ribbon-cutting dedication. Stories and fond memories of the Wellons family were shared, and visitors toured the beautiful space. Present from the Wellons family were sisters, Beth Morrice, Gaye Mashburn, Kathy Todd, and Joy Moore. We are deeply appreciative of the Wellons family for their generous contributions to creating a space that will be enjoyed by generations to come!
Following the dedication, four former Lions and one team were inducted into the Emmanuel Athletics Hall of Fame!
Dick Armstrong (’67) – Armstrong played basketball for Emmanuel under coach Charles Fleming. In his sophomore season, he led the conference in scoring with 28.6 points per game. On several occasions, he scored more than 40 points in a game, before the 3-point line was introduced.
Natasha Pittman-Bolden (’91)- Natasha played basketball for the Lady Lions from 1989-to 91, under coach, Mike Bona. After suffering a season-ending injury her freshman year, Natasha went on to average 20 points and 12 rebounds per game for the Lions over the next two years. Following her time at Emmanuel, Natasha finished her career at the University of Auburn at Montgomery where she broke the single-game scoring record and became an All-Conference All American.
Frank Arthur (’70) – Arthur played basketball for the Lions under coach, Lloyd Turlington from 1968-to 70. He became the first African American to be introduced into the Lion’s starting lineup in October of 1968 and the first to play two consecutive seasons for the Lions. When he left the college in 1970, Arthur recorded the most rebounds in team history, with an average of 16.3 per game. In his final game in a Lions uniform, Frank scored 30 points and dominated the boards with 32 rebounds, becoming the only 30-30 player in the 60-year history of the program.
The 1969 Men’s Basketball team – The 1969 Men’s Basketball team broke barriers at Emmanuel, becoming the first integrated basketball team in school history. On the court, the team compiled a 19-game home winning streak which lasted from January 1969 to November 1970. The team finished the season with a runner-up performance in the 1969 SCAC tournament, with three Lions earning All-American honors.
Coach Lloyd Turlington – Coach Lloyd Turlington became the third head basketball coach at Emmanuel on August 12, 1967. He arrived at Emmanuel with great expectations of changing the direction of the program through the addition of athletic scholarships. Coach Turlington began recruiting in 1968-69, ultimately finding James Rix and Frank Arthur, who became the first African Americans to be recruited and offered scholarships to play at Emmanuel. On the court, Turlington saw great success, compiling a home win streak that lasted 19 games. In his five seasons with the Lions, Coach Turlington accumulated a 67-50 overall record. Over his final four seasons at the helm, he recruited 25 athletes on scholarship with the assistance of prominent alumni.
On Saturday evening, guests enjoyed a special night of worship featuring Resound, a small group of Emmanuel Singers. Also featured was alumna, Danielle Meads Maynor (’89, ’95) who joined the group for a few songs.
Thank you to all who joined us in celebrating Emmanuel and the work God continues to do on our campus!