Reinhardt Honors Special Alumni and Friends at Second Annual Talon Awards Gala

Approximately 150 Reinhardt University friends – alumni, trustees, faculty, staff and students – gathered for the Talon Awards Gala on Thursday, March 22, 2012.  They honored seven individuals and one Sunday School class at the event at Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta.

JoEllen Bell Wilson ’61, vice president for institutional advancement and external affairs, emceed the affair, and she thanked SEI Investments, the presenting sponsor, for their generous support.  “Their gift will allow Reinhardt to use more of the ticket proceeds toward scholarship funds for deserving students,” she said. “In addition to recognizing some very special people, enjoying a theatrical performance and exceptional music provided by Reinhardt students and sharing a delicious meal, we also raised funds for scholarships. What a lovely evening!”

Alumni Awards

The first to be honored on this special night were the Alumni Award recipients, who were presented by Randell Trammell ’03, ’09, president of the Reinhardt Alumni Board of Governors. Dr. Franklin R. Croker, Reinhardt Class of 1954 and resident of Marietta, Ga., was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. This award recognizes an individual with outstanding personal achievement and an unselfish and dedicated personal devotion to Reinhardt. 

CrokerDr. Franklin Croker ’54

Croker is a retired teacher and administrator who served his community for more than 30 years. He was a teacher at Mableton Elementary School from 1956-57and served in the United States Army from 1957-59. He returned to teaching in 1959 at South Cobb High School and then went back at Mableton Elementary School from and 1960-63. He was appointed as principal at Lucious D. Clay Elementary in 1964 and served until 1970, when he then took a sabbatical leave to Auburn University for his doctoral degree. In 1971, he became principal at Garrett Middle School, and then he returned in 1981 to serve as principal at South Cobb High School until he retired in 1994.

He currently serves on the South Cobb Rotary, WellStar Regional Advisory Board, Reinhardt University Board of Advisors, Reinhardt Alumni Board of Governors, and Sweetwater Valley Community Action Mission Program Board.

Croker and his wife, Carolyn, reside in Marietta, Ga. where they attend Marietta First United Methodist Church. They have tree children: Ron, Beth and Karen (deceased); and four grandchildren: Mathew, Christopher, Kevin and Amy.

“Reinhardt was a special place…almost made just for me.”

As Croker accepted the award, he acknowledged the profound effect Reinhardt had on his life. “ I found that Reinhardt was a special place…almost made just for me. I needed somewhere that would help me grow academically and guide me spiritually; I needed somewhere that would help me with my life decisions. I found it to be a very good place for me, and I am glad I got a chance at Reinhardt to do so many things with my life.

“What Reinhardt has done for me and what it has enabled me to do…as Tennyson [Lord, Alfred] said it best, ‘I am a part of all I have met,’ and you know, that is a lot of people, and I want to thank them all for this award.”

Chanda BellChanda Aebersold Bell ’94

Chanda Aebersold Bell ’94, a resident of Snellville, Ga., received the Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year award. This Award was created in 2008 to recognize alumni who had graduated within the past 10 years, who have excelled in their profession and who have provided service to their communities.

Bell, co-author of The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition®, is not only a writer, but a full-time mom and co-CEO of CCA and B publishing and owner alongside her mother, Carol Aebersold, and her twin sister, Christa Pitts. Bell earned an Associate Degree from Reinhardt and a Bachelor of Art in Middle Grades Education from the University of West Georgia. She taught English, social studies, and reading to grades 5-8, and as a teacher, Bell designed a remedial reading curriculum for a local school system and was commissioned to design a county wide reading skills test.

With media appearances across the country, Bell, a resident of Snellville, Ga., has been featured on NPR and in The Atlanta Journal Constitution and USA Today, and she has been a featured writer for Guidepost’s “Angels on Earth” series. As a public speaker, Bell visits schools and communities throughout the nation to tell the inspirational story of CCA and B, and of course, promote The Elf on the Shelf®.

For the 2011 animated Christmas special, An Elf’s Story, Bell lent her talents by co-writing the screenplay for this animated feature, working as an executive producer, and writing the musical number “The Naming Song.”

“I learned more about myself while at Reinhardt.”

When accepting the award, Bell acknowledged how Reinhardt helped her follow her dreams. “I want to thank my family, and Reinhardt for this opportunity. The school gave me so many opportunities and is the reason for what I am doing today. I want to thank so many of the people in this room who poured so much into my life to help me become what I was going to be.

“Interestingly enough, I was president of Student Government Association at Reinhardt when I attended. At a special end of the year SGA meeting for our families, Dr. Falany [Reinhardt president from 1984-1999] told my parents ‘Chanda is going into education. I have only met a few people like her in my life. I don’t think she’ll make it longer than 4 years as a teacher.’ My parents did not tell me that at that time, and I proceeded and I outdid it and made it 6 years! But he was right. He knew God had a different calling on my life, and I was going to be a writer and affect children in a different way.

“I want to thank all of you for this opportunity, and all of you that support Reinhardt. It was so important for me to grow up and learn about myself a little bit. And I have made a lot of special friends and a lot of special memories at Reinhardt, and I am so grateful.”

John Wesley Awards

The John Wesley Laity and Clergy Award recipients were also named: Christopher E. Dupree, a resident of Acworth, Ga., and the Friendship Class at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Ga., respectively. The Wesley Award was established in 1991 to recognize a layperson who had made a significant contribution to United Methodist institutions of higher education and ministries. Two years later, the clergy award was added. These awards are named for John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The Rev. Dr. Ron Flowers, president of the Reinhardt Ministerial Association, presented the awards.

Dupree and family

Christopher Dupree (center), celebrates his award with his wife, Deborah, and son, Jacob.

Christopher Dupree

Dupree is director of sales for The Coca-Cola Company. He is a 1979 graduate of University of Alabama, and served a commissioned officer in the United States Army. He is an ex-officio member of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and an active member of the Reinhardt University Board of Trustees. Dupree volunteers his time with youth basketball, Boy Scouts of America Troop 540 and Feed My Lambs. He and his wife, Deborah, and son, Jacob, are members of Due West United Methodist Church.

“The students are important in everything we do.”

Dupree shared his sincere appreciation for being honored. “Thank you, and I am very humbled for this honor. Being on the Board of Trustees is really a privilege. I can stand here and say that all the Trustees have God in everything we do, and we are there to support the young people. Those are the two focuses that we have on the Board. Being the chair for the [Board of Trustees] Student Development Committee…I love it. It’s because the students are involved. The students are important to everything we do. That’s what our job is. To prepare the young people for the future. Thank you to my family and thank you to Reinhardt!”

Friendship Sunday School Class

The Clergy Award recognized a Sunday school class that “has a longtime association with Reinhardt, and their primary outreach is to support students seeking careers in Christian ministry,” said Flowers. “There is no more important work for the church or the University to be doing than this.

“The class began as a young married couples class, and today, as many of you know, it has evolved into a class where most members have grandchildren. The Friendship Class has supported many Christian outreach projects and needy individuals, and has made an impact on Reinhardt with generous gifts for students scholarships since the early 1960s.”

Gloria Landreth, class president, accepted the award on behalf of the Friendship Class. “Thank you and I really appreciate this, as does the class as well. Thank you very much.”

Honoree Awards

The Honoree Awards were given to three special recipients this year, including Canton, Ga., residents Judge Marion T.  Pope, Jr. and Curtis A. Chapman, and in memory of Calhoun, Ga., resident the late Rev. Willie Mack Tribble, Jr. The Reverend Dr. James Mooneyhan “66, elected to Reinhardt’s Board of Trustees in 1992, recommended that Reinhardt’s Ministerial Association create a Ministerial Honoree Scholarship Program. The Honoree Award recipients are identified by a selection committee as those persons whom they wish to honor and lift up to their students, faculty and staff – persons whose character epitomizes the “core values” taught at Reinhardt. These awards were presented by Mooneyhan, pastor of Tuckston United Methodist Church.

Judge Pope

Judge Pope (center) is congratulated by his son Jonathan, and Reinhardt President Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood.

Judge Marion T. Pope

Pope is a retired Court of Appeals Judge, and has been a member of the Reinhardt Board of Trustees since 2006. He is a fellow of the American Bar, State Bar of Georgia and is a member of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta and Commerce Club of Atlanta. He is a founder of Cherokee Federal Savings Bank and served on the committee to build the new Cherokee County Courthouse in Canton, Ga.

He is a 1953 graduate of the University of  Georgia, and was admitted to the Bar in 1953. He earned a Master of Law from the University of Virginia in 1988. He and his wife, Judy, belong to First Baptist Church in Canton.

“This is one of the greatest moments of my life.”

“This is a great honor, and I appreciate it very much,” said Pope. “I have met a lot of good friends at Reinhardt, and this is one of the greatest moments of my life. Of all the awards and plaques that I have received coming from Reinhardt University, this is top drawer and I thank you very much.”

ChapmanCurtis Chapman

Chapman began his career at Reinhardt in 1966 after he earned a bachelor of art degree from LaGrange College that same year. He earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Georgia in 1969, and completed post-graduate study at Emory University from 1973-’74, Atlanta College of Art in 1982, and North Georgia College in 1989. Chapman held post-graduate fellowships at the National Endowment for the Humanities, University of Illinois in 1984, State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1987, and John Hopkins University in 1988.

At Reinhardt, Chapman became a tenured faculty member in 1978, where he served as professor of art up until his retirement in May 2005. He served as an adjunct faculty instructor at the University for several years after retirement, and was named Professor Emeritus in May 2006.

“It was a special privilege to work there.”

Chapman shared a very sentimental moment with the crowd. “I had no idea in 1965 that my life would turn out how it did,” said Chapman. “I didn’t apply to Reinhardt; I was recruited. I think many times I stood trembling, wondering why I was given such a wonderful privilege to discover my calling. I never doubted a time that I was at the College, which is now a University and I am so proud of that, that it was a special privilege to work there. Reinhardt changed my life, as it has so many other people I have worked with and met there. I am so grateful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”

Tribble Family

Pam Tribble ’70 (center) accepted the Reinhardt Honoree Award in memory of her late husband, The Rev. Willie Mack Tribble, Jr. She was joined by her family, pictured from left to right, Ritchie and Emmie House, Tribble, Mitzi Callahan and Chip Grant.

The Rev. Willie Mack Tribble, Jr.

Tribble was born November 16, 1926. He is a graduate of Duke University and Chandler School of Theology at Emory University. He served in the U.S. Navy in WWII. As a Pastor, he served many churches in the North Georgia Methodist Conference, including: Thompson First UMC; Waleska UMC; Acworth UMC; Calhoun First UMC; Young Harris UMC; East Point UMC; Level Creek UMC; Buford UMC; St. Philip UMC; and Jackson UMC (from which he retired).

He had close ties with Reinhardt serving as the Waleska UMC Pastor and Reinhardt Campus Minister from 1958-60. He passed away in August, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Pam Haney Tribble ’70.

“He gave us hope, faith and love.”

Pam Tribble accepted the award in his memory. “We lost Mack 7 months ago,” she said. “I want to thank all my friends and family, and the people who put this honor together. Mack believed in love. for a man who spent 40 years of his life loving others, It was hard for him to accept the love from others. Mack Tribble, thank you for giving us hope, faith and love.”

Special Alumni Recognition and Presentation

The evening concluded with a special alumni recognition and presentation by Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood, Reinhardt president. “The Hubbard family is a model for alumni everywhere,” said Isherwood. “Their consistent support is an inspiration to all of us at the University.”

Glenn H. Hubbard ’36 and Marjorie Humphrey Hubbard ’37

Glenn Hubbard and Marjorie Humphrey Hubbard, a resident of Woodstock, Ga., attended and graduated from Reinhardt College: Glenn in 1936 and Marjorie in 1937.  Both became teachers in Cherokee County. They married in 1940. While Marjorie continued to teach in Cherokee County until her retirement in the 70s. Glenn left teaching to work at an aircraft plant in Marietta. After WWII, he returned to teaching in 1950, and in 1951, began a career in accounting, which he continued until his retirement in 1980.

During the early 1990s, the classes of 1934-1938 decided to work together to raise funds for a Carillion on campus. The Hubbard’s co-chaired the committee, established to generated contributions—they wrote letters, they called friends, and ultimately more than 200,000 was generated to construct the Bell Tower and establish the William M. Bratton Scholarship Endowment.

Hubbard Recognition

Elaine Hubbard accepts a special alumni recognition gift on behalf of her parents, Marjorie H. Hubbard ’37 and the late Glenn H. Hubbard ’36.

“A history of commitment to Reinhardt.”

“Marjorie continues a gift each year in memory of her last husband to benefit Reinhardt students, and over the years the family has been very generous and helpful, including a wonderful request that Marjorie has planned for the future needs of Reinhardt,” Isherwood said. “Elaine, Glenn and Marjorie’s daughter, who is here tonight, is very supportive of the University’s desire to create a lasting memorial to her parents and their devotion to Reinhardt. In response to this history of commitment offered by the Hubbard family, I am pleased to announce the naming of the new residence hall, currently under construction, which will be utilized by students in the fall of 2012, as the Glenn H. and Marjorie Humphrey Hubbard Residence Hall.”

Student Performances

Also taking part in the evening were Reinhardt students Lauren Coleman ’12 and Matt Bearden ’14, who performed David Ives’ “Sure Thing,” and Marjorie Saviano ’14, Brandon Sosebee ’14 and Isabella Novaes ’15, who provided the musical entertainment for the evening.

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