Concord Alumni and Friends Honored, Best-Selling Author Delights Audience

For Immediate Release: 
May 22 2002

Concord Alumni and Friends Honored, Best-Selling Author Delights Audience

Athens, W.Va. - Concord College’s Alumni Association honored those who have contributed to the College and local community. Awards were given at the annual spring Alumni Banquet, Friday, May 17, in the following categories:

Linda Fink Service Award (Someone who has made outstanding contributions to his or her community.) Vice President for Development J. Douglas Machesney presented the award to Georgia Kelley, who retired in 1993 and currently volunteers with the College’s development office. Kelley was instrumental in establishing women’s sports at Concord.

"Linda Fink believed in service to the community," stated Machesney, "and Georgia characterizes that spirit. Georgia has volunteered hundreds of hours at Concord, and the development office could not operate without her. She also chairs the Athens/Concord Town Social Committee."

Alumnus of the Year (Someone who has made outstanding contributions to the Alumni Association and College.) Jack Lee Thompson (’55) from Roanoke, Virginia, presented the award to Larry Mazey, who graduated from Concord College in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a major in accounting. He is chief financial officer of the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. He spoke to the College’s student body in March as part of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Speaker series.

Golden Alumnus (An alumnus who has contributed greatly to the Association and/or College for 25 years or more.) Gilbert Eugene Bailey (’55) presented the award to Stanley Smith (’51), retired United States Air Force colonel. Smith resides in St. George, UT, and is a member of the Alumni Association’s Presidents Club. He has been actively involved in activities that support and promote Concord College. "I came to the campus in the fall of 1939," stated the colonel. "I’ve seen the College grow, but it really came home to me when I read about the academic quality of the institution and the community service performed by the students."


Outstanding Alumnus (An alumnus who has achieved notable accomplishments in their career and community). Two received awards this year.

Lane Bailey (‘74) began his career with Jay Rockefeller during his successful 1976 campaign for governor. Later, Rockefeller was elected to the U.S. Senate and Bailey served as the senator’s chief of staff. Bailey’s fingerprints are on much of the senator’s work where he traveled extensively on behalf of the senator. He is now managing director for public affairs for Golin-Harris, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Beasley accepted the award on behalf of Bailey, who was unable to attend the banquet.

Dr. Deborah Akers (‘74) is a native of Mercer County and graduated from Concord with honors. She was the first female superintendent of Mercer County Schools and oversees a $75 million budget and a staff of 1,300 employees and is recognized as one of the top superintendents in the state.

"This is special because public education has always been important in my life," stated Akers. "Through public education, we can continue to give opportunities to young people.

"Concord makes my job as superintendent easier because they send me great teachers!"

Concord College Alumni Association President Suellen Ferrell Hodges (’59) welcomed 150 guests to the spring banquet.

Special recognition was given to retiring Vice President for Development J. Douglas Machesney, the reunion classes of 1952 and 1977, alumni chapters and other College retirees including Gerald Arrington, Douglas Gilmer, Dr. John Elkins and Roger Lester.

"I’m sure you’ve heard the statistics about Concord’s phenomenal growth," stated Suellen Hodges. "The College’s Foundation has grown to $18 million from $250,000, and the enrollment continues to grow. This is due in no small part to the hard work of Dr. Machesney and his fundraising efforts to provide scholarships to deserving students."

President Beasley stated that Machesney was the first full time development officer at a public college in West Virginia, and there was much controversy when the position was established. "Raising money for scholarships is akin to trying to grow palm trees on the top of Spruce Knob," chuckled the president. "Doug is irreplaceable because of the deep affection that he has for all of us."

The College’s alumni association presented a print by Robert E. Tuckwiller (’76) to the retiring vice president.

Machesney thanked the association and commented that it was a combination of Dr. Beasley’s leadership and the hard work of College supporters that contributed to the success of the College. "It has been a real pleasure working for all of you!"

Keynote speaker for the banquet was best-selling Appalachian author Sharyn McCrumb. Her award-winning novels celebrate the history and folklore of Appalachia, and have received both scholarly and popular acclaim. She delighted guests with stories that linked the history of this area to Ireland and Scotland, and the differences between "flatland" southerners and southerners who live in the mountains. Flatland southerners are reminiscent of characters in Steel Magnolias or Gone with the Wind. "If you want to understand the ‘mountain’ south," she said, "watch Brave Heart."

For more information about involvement with the Concord College Alumni Association, call Kati Whittaker at 1-304-384-5348, or e-mail at


Concord College Notes: The Concord College Alumni Association was incorporated November 23, 1951. Currently, there are seven alumni chapters located throughout the eastern United States. The association fosters higher academic standards, sponsors scholarships, recruits new students and helps students who are currently enrolled.