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Truett-McConnell College held its fifty-seventh annual commencement on Saturday, May 7, 2005, at 10:00 AM in the gymnasium.  Forty-two associate’s degrees were awarded, and the college awarded its first two bachelor’s degrees in the ceremony.


   Rich Terry, chairman of trustees (left), stands with Melissa Clanton (second from left), her parents (third and fourth from left), Matthew Papa (third from right), and his parents (at right). Clanton and Papa were honored as the recipients of the first two bachelor's degrees ever awarded by the college.

The two students receiving the bachelor’s degrees, Melissa Sue Clanton of Fayetteville and Matthew Michael Papa of Gainesville, received framed certificates designating them members of the first-ever class of bachelor’s degree candidates of Truett-McConnell College.  Their parents were recognized also.

Guest speaker for the commencement was Dr. J. Robert White, Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, who challenged the graduates not to run away from life.  He said:  “It does make a difference which way you go.”  He used the example of John the Baptist from Scripture to exhort the graduates to display the qualities of humility, honesty, and holiness in their lives.


Dr. J. Robert White, Executive Director of Georgia Baptist Convention, was the guest speaker.


On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Board chairman Richard L. Terry presented the first two trustees emeriti ever named by the Board: Joe T. Wood, Sr., and James F. Bagwell, both of Gainesville.  Each of these men has served more than one term on the Board of Trustees of Truett-McConnell, and both come from long-standing family traditions of involvement with Truett-McConnell. 


The Board of Trustees also honored Donald E. Stanley upon the occasion of his retirement from the college after more than 32 years of service with the presentation of a framed certificate designating him Vice President for Business Affairs Emeritus.


The following students received degrees:

Associate in Arts

  Annie Elisabeth Andrews

LaGrange, GA


  Jessica Leia Berry

Fayetteville, GA

Magna cum laude

  Steven Shawn Crenshaw

Newnan, GA

Magna cum laude

  Lacey Gail Daniels

Dahlonega, GA


  Karis Elizabeth Fowler

Clarkesville, GA

Cum laude

  Joshua T. Griggs

Gainesville, GA

Cum laude

  Jason Ashley Johnson

Smyrna, GA


  Alison Charity Kinney

Clermont, GA


  Kyle Lee Nelson

Marietta, GA


  Kelly Allison Nettles

Suwanee, GA

Magna cum laude

  William Franklin Nix

Cleveland, GA


  John Derek Partridge, Jr.

Hephzibah, GA

Cum laude

  Henry Grant Peabody

Macon, GA


  Lee Michael Smith

Douglasville, GA


  Trevor Hamilton Smith

Clarkesville, GA


  Kristin Leigh Stidham

Fayetteville, GA


  Candace Whitworth

Gainesville, GA


  Joshua Ryan Wyatt

Dahlonega, GA





Associate in Arts (Concentration in Education)

  Sheila Diane Edwards

Cornelia, GA

Magna cum laude

  Nicholas Frank Gentile

Flowery Branch, GA


  Tara Nicole Kidd

Cleveland, GA


  Katie Rana Malcom

Americus, GA


  Jennie Leigh Rice   (two degrees)

Toccoa, GA





Associate in Business

  Jordan Asher Armstrong

Clarkesville, GA


  Robert Clay Kelly

Dillard, GA


  Mark Allen White

Alpharetta, GA


  Johnny Cody Wiley

Alto, GA

Cum laude

  Jennie Leigh Rice  (two degrees)

Toccoa, GA





Associate in Christian Studies

  Joseph Tristan Hurley

Atlanta, GA





Associate in General Studies

  Heather Marie Allen

Thomson, GA


  Danielle Lynn Boone

Cleveland, GA


  Shawn Paul Breinlinger

Dahlonega, GA


  Alicia Renee Daniel

Athens, GA

Magna cum laude

  William Frank Jackson

Brevard, NC


  Whitney Susann Ledford

Cleveland, GA


  Natalie Gail Lehmann

Snellville, GA

Cum laude

  Nicholas Chad Owens

Toccoa, GA

Cum laude

  Patrick Blake Ryan

Newnan, GA


  Jason Marshal Wisdom

Dacula, GA





Associate in Music

  Christopher Lamar Willis

Carrollton, GA





Associate in Science

  Stephanie Ann Bowden

Conyers, GA

Summa cum laude

  Jonathan Edward Ostrosky

Cleveland, GA





Bachelor of Arts in Music (Concentration in Church Music)

  Melissa Sue Clanton

Fayetteville, GA

Cum laude

  Matthew Michael Papa

Gainesville, GA

Magna cum laude


Faculty lead the academic procession as it approaches the gymnasium with the faculty marshal, Dr. Roy Hardy carrying the college's mace in front of the procession The graduating class of 2005 stands in place as the faculty marshal takes his seat following the academic procession.










On Saturday, July 30, 2005, Truett-McConnell College honored the women who have played on its basketball teams through the 30 years since women’s basketball became a permanent intercollegiate sport at the college.  The event was sponsored by the Office of Institutional Advancement as a  kick-off for fundraising to establish a women’s basketball scholarship fund.  Many of those attending had not seen each other in 25 or more years, and the entire day took on the atmosphere of a family reunion.


1980 National Championship Team 

The luncheon and program celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 1980 TMC Women’s Basketball National Championship.  The team of national champions was introduced, and each team player, manager, and trainer was presented a signed and numbered print of a watercolor of the Truett-McConnell campus by renowned North Georgia artist John Kollock.

At the celebration Joe Campbell talked about the origins of the women’s basketball program in 1974, telling some humorous stories about its beginnings. A women’s basketball team had been organized at TMC in the early 1950s, soon after the college began.  However, it was disbanded after two or three years, and women’s basketball did not appear again as an intercollegiate sport for 20 years. 


Joe Campbell
Coach 1974 - 1976

In the fall of 1974, a women’s basketball team went to the courts, organized and coached by Joe Campbell, who was employed in the admissions office of Truett-McConnell.  Campbell was a former basketball, baseball and track star at South Hall High School in Gainesville and a standout on the Danes basketball team at Truett-McConnell in 1969-70.

The 1974-75 inaugural team of Danettes (as the ladies’ team was called then) played a 20-game schedule.  Four of the five starting players on the team had played on the 1974 State Class A champion team from Pickens County High School, making the TMC Danettes a strong force to be reckoned with, even in their very first season. 

The third year of their existence brought the Danettes a new head coach, Colby Tilley.  With his quiet manner, wry humor, and strong spiritual guidance, Coach Tilley was to lead the Danettes to many years of glory and to a reputation as a national powerhouse in women’s basketball among two-year colleges. 


Colby Tilley
Coach 1976 - 1985 

During the nine years (1976-1985) that Tilley coached, the Danettes won five state championships, four NJCAA Region 17 championships, and the national championship in 1980.  During his nine-year tenure at TMC, he steered the team to a 236-46 overall record (.837 winning percentage).  In the 1979-80 season, he led the team to a 36-win season and a national championship, followed the next year by a 31-win season.

Tilley left Truett-McConnell College in 1985 to start a women’s basketball program at Auburn University-Montgomery.  His stellar record during his nine years at AUM resulted in an overall record of 218-74 (.747), and his teams made seven appearances in the NAIA National Championship tournament.

In 1995 Tilley left AUM to become head women’s basketball coach at Kennesaw State University, where he remains today.  Now in his tenth season at KSU, he is the winningest coach in the history of Kennesaw State University.

At the celebration luncheon, Tilley introduced each former player who attended and shared some interesting information about each one.  He commented: “The years I spent coaching at Truett-McConnell College were the best years of my coaching career and of my life.”  The program ended with a challenge by Dr. Sam Cash, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at TMC, for the former players to support the college with their prayers, by recommending students, and by contributing to the newly-established women’s basketball scholarship fund.

Former players attending were Catherine Whiddon, Cordele; Daria Myers, Loganville; Deanna Stacks, Gainesville; Doris Metcalf Coleman, Atlanta; Elaine Higginbotham Kenyon, Cornelia; Glenda Long Folsom, Johnson City, TN; Jeanette Dorsey Fuller, Duluth; Jeanette Balsam Looney; Winterville; Kay Bramblett Brown, Dalton; Kristi Mullinax Helton, Buford; Lynn Underwood Mosely, St. Simons Island; Martha Moss Hufstetler, Shannon; Montey Walters Nix, Flowery Branch; Phillis Thomas, Buford; Rhonda Coker Sillesky, Dawsonville; Robin Hendrix, Kokomo, IN; Robin Rainwater Hardy, Kennesaw; Sandra Turner Renfroe, Stone Mountain; Stephanie Grogan, Marietta; Tammy Allen, Ellijay; and Teresa Dunbar Landers, Rome. 

In addition to players, those attending also included four former team managers, Gina Elrod Brissy, Talmo; Penny Sosebee Cain, Jefferson; Susan Thompson Chapman, Peachtree City; and Dan Alexander, Seneca, SC, as well as former trainer, Joe Gailey, Toccoa.  Claude Smith, former Dean of Students at TMC, now retired, returned for the event, as did Rodney Fitzgerald, former Director of Admissions, now retired, and his wife, Alice. 

A handful of loyal fans of the women’s teams also attended: Terry Thomas, Douglasville; Kent Tench, Gainesville; Miriam Tilley, Marietta; Connie Campbell, Cleveland; and Steve Hood, Cleveland, as well as a number of family members of the honorees.

According to Dr. Sam Cash: “This event was one of the best alumni events I have ever attended—at Truett-McConnell or any other college.  Bringing these players together again after all these years and honoring the 1980 National Championship team on the silver anniversary of its championship can only strengthen their ties to the institution that gave them their start in higher education.”

Edna Holcomb, 30-year employee of the college who had known all of those attending when they were TMC students, ended the program by saying to the gathering:  “Welcome back.  We’re glad to have you home.”


             On October 6, 2005, Truett-McConnell College dedicated the meeting room of its Board of Trustees in honor of Joe T. Wood, Sr., and the Wood family of Gainesville.  The Wood Board Room is located on the second floor of the Nix Student Center on the TMC campus in Cleveland and is the site of all meetings of the Board of Trustees of the college.  Joe T. Wood, Sr., co-founder of Turner, Wood and Smith Insurance Center in Gainesville, is a friend and supporter of the college, having served four terms as a trustee and having been named a Trustee Emeritus of the college in 2004.  His son, Joe T. Wood, Jr., is currently serving as a trustee. 


Left to right:  Joe T. Wood, Jr., Joe T. Wood, Sr., and Dr. Jerry W. Pounds, Sr., president of Truett-McConnell College.



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