Commencement celebrates connections, achievements

Commencement celebrates connections, achievements

More than 220 members of the Class of 2016 are scheduled to cross the stage Saturday to receive their diplomas during the college’s 185th commencement ceremony.

Lindsay Munson of Senoia

Lindsay Munson of Senoia

Included in that group will be 23 legatees: students who have a parent, sibling, grandparent, child or spouse who is an alumnus of the institution. One of those legatees is Lindsay Munson of Senoia.

When Lindsay told her parents four years ago that she wanted to attend LaGrange College, their first reaction was astonishment – followed quickly by exhilaration.

“We never anticipated that Lindsay would want to go to LaGrange because it is so close to home,” said her mother, Leigh Burrell Munson ’88. “But she surprised us, and now she has the same love that we have for the college.”

Lindsay is the third generation of her family to earn a degree at LaGrange. Her grandmother, Regina Holbrook Burrell, graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education.

“In fact, that is the same degree I have, and the same one Lindsay is getting on Saturday,” said Munson, who is principal of Eastside Elementary School in Senoia. “It’s so exciting to be able to celebrate what LaGrange College has meant to our family.”

Legatees and their families will gather at 2:30 p.m. today for the Legacy Reception in the Bailey Room. It is only one of the events scheduled for this weekend’s commencement celebrations.

Nurse’s Pinning Ceremony

Nurse’s Pinning Ceremony

Last night, the Nursing Pinning Ceremony was held at First United Methodist Church, honoring the program’s 34 graduates.

The annual Baccalaureate Service will be at 5 p.m. today at LaGrange First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dr. David S. Naglee ’75, district superintendent for the Rome-Carrollton District of the North Georgia UMC Conference, as speaker.

After a week of watching the weather, Provost David Garrison said it will be a relief not to have to implement the college’s rain plan.

“Our outdoor commencement ceremony is a treasured part of the college’s traditions,” he said. “The last thing we wanted to do was move it indoors, but we must make the safety of everyone our first priority.”

As of Friday morning, the event is scheduled to be held on the Residential Quad, but participants and guests are reminded to pay attention to the weather. If necessary, the college will announce changes on its website, as well as through email and social media, no later than 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

Rain or shine, the institution will award approximately 220 degrees, with 168 bachelor’s degrees, including nursing. Graduate degrees to be presented total 19 Education Specialist, 25 Master of Education and 11 Master of Arts in Teaching.

Laura Turner Seydel

Laura Turner Seydel

Laura Turner Seydel, internationally known environmental advocate, will present the commencement address.

She and her husband, Rutherford, worked with LaGrange College Trustee Sally Bethea to co-found Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.  She serves as chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, and is a director of the Environmental Working Group that strives to limits the toxic chemicals in food, air, water and consumer products.

Seydel serves on the boards of her family’s foundations:  the Turner Foundation, Jane Smith Turner Foundation, the Turner Endangered Species Fund and Ted’s Montana Grill. She also is involved with many state and national nonprofit organizations.

Amos Theodore “Ted” Beason

Amos Theodore “Ted” Beason

Also during the event, Amos Theodore “Ted” Beason of LaGrange will be presented an honorary doctorate, and Stan W. Moor ’72 will receive the Distinguished Service Alumni Award.

Beason has enjoyed a long career in finance. In 1995, left his position in New York City to begin a three-year term as senior staff member of the House Banking Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. He returned to his finance career with Morgan Stanley and its predecessor companies in 1999, and in 2014, co-founded Lakeview Capital Partners.

His service to the college includes work as a member of the college’s Leadership Council from 2001 to 2007. He was named to the Board of Trustees in 2008 and has served as a member of the Executive Committee and chairman of the Investment Committee, as well as on the board of Friends of the LaGrange College Library from 2001 until 2003.

Honorary degrees will be awarded to Seydel and Beason during Saturday’s commencement event.

Moor teaches Spanish at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where he also serves as Community Service Coordinator and co-teaches a philanthropy class every summer.

He was awarded the William A. Parker Mentoring Award in 2004 and 2014. Other honors include the Merrill Award, Westminster Alumni Fellows Award, President’s Volunteer Service Award and 1980 Teacher of the Year at Walton High School.

At LaGrange College, he is a member of the Quadrangle Society. He was a member and class coordinator of the Alumni Council, a member and president of the President’s Leadership Council and a host for various alumni gatherings. He was named to the college’s Wall of Outstanding Alumni in 2006.

Carmen Brooke Findley, winner of the Waights G. Henry Jr. Leadership Award, will deliver a brief address. The most prestigious honor given to a student by LaGrange College, the award is based on scholarship, service and leadership.

An Early Childhood Education major from Lyons, Georgia, Carmen is a Servant Scholar and served on the Orientation Team from 2013-2015 and on its Service Committee from 2013-14. She is an active member of Baptist Collegiate Ministries (leadership team and vice president) and the Student Government Association (senator and executive council secretary).

Carmen, daughter of Mark and LaRee Parrish Findley ’79, volunteers extensively with community groups. She is a tutor for an afterschool program at local housing projects, a childcare volunteer for Circles of Troup and a worker at Our Daily Bread, a soup kitchen founded and run by students.

Graduates should be lined up for the procession on the Forrest Avenue sidewalk in front of Hawkins Hall at 7:45 a.m. The ceremonies also will be streamed live in the Dickson Assembly Room.

For more information, including a rain plan in case of inclement weather, visit

Following the ceremony, light refreshments will be served at the south end of the Quad.

In the headlines

Environmentalist to speak at LC commencement – LaGrange Daily News, May 17, 2016

LaGrange College names five to new roles – LaGrange Daily News, May 19, 2016

Environmentalist to speak at LC commencement – Troup County News, May 20, 2016

LaGrange College names five to new roles – Troup County News, May 20, 2016

LaGrange College VP named president of Bethany College – LaGrange Daily News, May 16, 2016

Bethany announces new president Will Jones – McPherson (Kansas) Sentinel, May 17, 2016


June birthdays

2 Siobhan Gehrs
Felecia Moore
5 William Yin
9 James Blackwood
16 Justin Thurman
19 Susan Laforet
20 David Beard
Luke Foco
21 Fred Wagenaar
24 Christi Hu
28 Laine Scott
30 Alex Lee

A promising start: More than 200 guests, 70 laboratory beakers on the tables, nine huge balloons – and one Panther mascot in a lab coat. From Promise to Prominence was launched in memorable fashion.

Will Jones
Will Jones,
Vice President for External Relations, has been elected president of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. Jones has served at LaGrange since 2010 and will assume leadership of his new institution on July 1.

Five individuals have been promoted to executive-level positions, effective June 1. The move comes with a restructuring of the current two-tiered president’s cabinet, which had included three vice presidents on the executive cabinet, and four individuals who reported to those vice presidents on the expanded cabinet. With the new structure, all cabinet members now report directly to the president.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform “Dead Symphony No. 6” by Lee Johnson, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Music, on July 14. Johnson said the symphony, inspired by the music of the Grateful Dead, had its world premiere with the BSO in 2008.

The college will be closed Monday, May 30, for Memorial Day. Have a safe and blessed holiday.

This is the last weekly issue of @lagrange for the academic year. We will go to a monthly schedule with the June 3 issue and will resume weekly publication in mid-August.