Barton honors alumni at homecoming

Posted 10/21/18

Barton honored five school alumni during its Alumni Reunions and Awards Breakfast on Saturday morning on campus in Hardy Alumni Hall.

“We celebrate you today,” said Douglas Searcy, college …

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Barton honors alumni at homecoming

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Barton honored five school alumni during its Alumni Reunions and Awards Breakfast on Saturday morning on campus in Hardy Alumni Hall.

“We celebrate you today,” said Douglas Searcy, college president, acknowledging the award winners during homecoming weekend. “This moment is yours. You’ve had great accomplishments in your lives and experiences, and we recognize those things today as both Atlantic Christian and Barton College graduates.”

Searcy also acknowledged the 13 years of service by Summer Brock, senior director of donor relations and special events, who is retiring in the spring. Brock received a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 150.

“I didn’t get to say it all, but I think the applause said enough — we are very grateful for you,” Searcy said. “We love you, and in many ways this is celebration with her, and she is working hard to leave good notes for me so that we can make sure we can do this well in the future.”

In his comments, Searcy noted that the incoming fall class at Barton College is the largest enrolling class in the past 16 years. Searcy said several factors relate to the uptick in enrollment, including Barton’s history and tradition; the college’s alumni and friends; the energy, enthusiasm and love that the people who work at Barton have for the school; and outside parties noticing the strength of the college.

“For those of you who follow rankings, U.S. News & World Report has listed us at No. 7 in the south region for Best Value in 2019,” Searcy said. “And today we stand at fifth in Best Colleges in Regional Colleges South.”


• David Joel King, class of 2009 and member of the 2007 NCAA Division II National Champion basketball team, received the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award. King was introduced by friend and fellow basketball team player Errol Frails.

“One thing that David has always had is the skill to build relationships with people from all different walks of life,” Frails said. “If you know Dave, you are able to ‘have that moment’ with him. Doesn’t matter if you’re just meeting him or have known him 12 years.”

King now works with the Minnesota Timberwolves as director of partnership sales. He credits Barton College for giving him the platform for success.

“I can honestly say that the foundation Barton helped me to build and who I am today has played a major role in everything I get to do,” King said. “Since I’ve left Barton, I’ve had incredible experiences that have been presented to me over the years of travels and met some incredible people.”

King stressed that he learned plenty in Barton classrooms but also learned so much outside the classes.

“I learned so much because of the incredible people who are here, who were here and still are here at Barton college, so I’m very thankful for that,” King said. “I’m excited to see the college continue to grow, and I’m really excited to support and be a part of this community for the rest of my life.”

• Kathy Turner presented the Gary W. Hall Employee Service Award to Ronald Eggers, associate professor of business and dean of the School of Business.

Turner said that she began her college experience after the age of 50, and Eggers became her mentor.

“Ron became my adviser and would have no idea of the impact he would have on me as a student,” Turner said. “But he also had an impact on every student that went through the halls of Hines Hall.”

“Ron continues to encourage every student to reach their goals beyond their own imagination,” continued Turner. “He is truly committed to the success of every student, in and out of the classroom.”

Turner noted that Eggers was instrumental in developing the school’s MBA Strategic Leadership Program. Eggers was unable to attend Saturday morning’s event due to illness.

• Amanda Metts introduced her friend and sorority sister Kristie Lamm Bass, class of ’98, as an Alumni Achievement Award winner.

Bass graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing with a minor in biology. She began her career at Wilson Medical Center as an emergency department and intensive care nurse. After three years, she began working with PPD, Pharmaceutical Product Development, while continuing to work part time at Wilson Medical Center. At PPD, Bass focused on critical care research. She went on to be active in research in sepsis ventilator-acquired pneumonia and trauma.

Bass now works as director of project development for PRA Health Sciences and is spearheading the company’s Critical Care Center of Excellence and leads research into lupus and Crohn’s disease.

“To say that I am super proud of my friend is an understatement,” Metts said. “While all these achievements are honorable and awesome and show Kristie’s strength, she has unfortunately endured life’s largest heartache, losing her 11-year-old son, Landon, about a year-and-a-half ago in an accident. All of her friends know that Landon is her greatest achievement.”

“When I got the call this summer about receiving this award, I was in a pretty big valley, and it’s exactly what I needed to hear,” Bass said. “I can honestly say that when I graduated from Barton 20 years ago, I could never have imagined the paths my life would take or that I would end up back here at Hardy Alumni Hall accepting an alumni achievement award. This is truly an honor, and Barton always has and always will mean more to me than just an alma mater.”

Bass said out of all her achievements, being a mother ranked at the top.

“I cannot stand up here today, and not acknowledge my sweet boy, who like my dad, who I wish was right here with me, is also in heaven,” Bass said. “Landon taught me more in his short 11 years of life than I could have ever taught him. Even though Landon is not here with me physically, he is with me in spirit, and I know without a shadow of a doubt, that my best achievement will be carrying on his legacy in the way I live my life, the way I share with others, and the way I give back each and every day.”

• Winner of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Russell Rawlings, presented an Alumni Achievement Award to Greg Abeyounis, class of ’93.

“Today is a great day,” Rawlings said. “It is in fact a perfect day because we are here to honor Greg Abeyounis. He was a small-town boy from Elizabeth City, comes to this campus not knowing quite what the future holds and goes on to do amazing things.”

Abeyounis worked for Barton College as an admissions officer and a development officer. During the past 12 years, he has worked for East Carolina University, first as the director of planned giving and since 2018 as first, the associate vice chancellor and now the assistant vice chancellor in development.

“Thank you Barton College and the Barton Alumni Board for this wonderful award,” Abeyounis said. “I’m not sure I’ve done anything in life that merits this type of recognition, but it does provide me the opportunity to say thank you to a lot of people who have made such a difference in my life.

“Anyone who has had any measure of success, it’s most likely because of the caliber of people that they have surrounded themselves with,” Abeyounis continued. “That is certainly the case with me and from day one until the present, my family, friends and professional colleagues ... they are all the things that influenced my life the most.”

• The final award of the day was presented to Dr. Phillip Brooks Hyulemon, class of ’67. Tom Maze, Barton’s assistant vice president for leadership giving, introduced Hyulemon who received the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Hyulemon serves as a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Unless you’re in the science field, a lot of his accolades and accomplishments, well, it’s kind of over our heads,” Maze said. “His resume is 30-plus pages long, and his list of accomplishments is phenomenal. He has been parts of numerous research grants in excess of $22 million.”

“This is really is a special honor for me,” Hyulemon said. “I guess as you get older, you start to look back over your life and think, ‘What were the places and the people who really allowed me to take this direction in life?’ And I look back at my time at Atlantic Christian College and it was truly special to me.”

Hyulemon said that it was the support of Dr. Wiggs, who taught microbiology and genetics, that led him in the research direction and encouraged him to attend graduate school.

“I’ve had the experience of going to small liberal arts colleges like Barton and also large colleges like Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University,” Hyulemon said, “and I would have to say that for young people coming out of high school who are looking for a direction in life, I think a small, liberal arts college is probably best for you. You are able to meet with the faculty one-on-one and have the opportunity to do a lot of different things and there are less distractions”

“I look back on Atlantic Christian College as some of the best years of my life,” Hyulemon said.