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by Abi DobsonStudent Contributor

In 1917, Abisha Johnson donated land to Mrs. Lloyd so she could teach his children. Over one hundred years later, Alice Lloyd College resides on that same land and educates Abisha Johnson’s descendants. Thomas Evan Caudill, known as Evan, is a senior Biology (Pre-Medicine) major from Pippa Passes, Kentucky, and he is the great, great, great-nephew of Abisha Johnson. Evan graduated from The June Buchanan School, and although he had many different college options, he felt a connection to ALC. He decided to continue his educational walk on the Purpose Road.

At a young age, Evan’s aunt, a health and human services professor, showed him models of the human body and broke down each bone while explaining to him what function it performed. He took trips to her office and was amazed when he got to touch bone replicas. Being able to see a little into the life of a health care worker led Evan to one of his passions – the human body. Observing and talking with his aunt ultimately led to his decision to become a physician. Evan plans to take his academic success a step further into Medical School and then return to Eastern Kentucky to follow his childhood dream.

At ALC, Evan excelled in making the President’s List and the Dean’s list for multiple semesters. He is a recipient of the Robert T. Thacker Scholarship, which provides his books for each semester. Evan received the Geddes Scholarship, which aids in free tuition for up to ten semesters and automatic acceptance into the Caney Scholars Program. To be a Geddes Scholarship recipient, students must show exemplary character, consistent with traditional Christian values, as evidenced by outstanding leadership, strong work ethic, and community service, be a resident of a 108 service county, a desire to be successful, a minimum ACT score of 27 or an SAT score of 1820, and a minimum GPA of 3.5.

Evan is also a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society. This semester, Alpha Chi gave back to the community through a coat donation drive. Members of Alpha Chi asked students, faculty, and staff on campus and community members to donate coats they no longer use.  Along with other members of Alpha Chi, Evan took the coats to children at local schools who would not have had a coat for winter. He states, “I have learned the importance of community service and what it means in the real world. If not for us, there could have been someone’s child who went to school without a coat this winter, despite the temperature being below freezing. I believe that if we helped at least one kid have the proper clothing for this climate, we have succeeded.”

Through his classes at ALC, Evan has been reassured of his career and developed a new hobby. He says, “I have a very strong passion for Paleontology and finding fossils in the creeks around my house. I also love to read about the universe and explore the planets and stars with my telescope. I find it so fascinating.” Evan has not only found a way to expand his knowledge in his free time, but he has also found a way to bond with his professors. When Evan discovers a fossil or finds something unfamiliar with his telescope, he contacts his professors, who help him properly name and understand what he has found. He states, “I am so thankful to attend a school where I can have close relationships with my professors who want to see me succeed.”

While the College wants to see the students succeed academically, they also want to prepare them for the workforce.  All full-time students at ALC must complete a 160-hour work-study contract, working from ten to twenty hours a week. Evan’s work-study position is as a teacher’s assistant for Mr. Paul Sturgill at The June Buchanan School. He says his work-study position has taught him the importance of putting in the work to achieve his goals.

After attending medical school, Evan plans on returning to this area to practice medicine, saying, “I feel that by returning to the mountains, I will be able to give people quality treatment. I also see it as a gesture of appreciation to the place where I grew up. These mountains have been my home since birth, and it is the least that I can do to care for the people who also call them home.” Evan is what Mrs. Lloyd envisioned as a servant leader of Appalachia – someone who uses their education to serve others and improve their community.