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by Abi DobsonStudent Contributor

Ty Reagan enrolled at Alice Lloyd College to receive a quality education at an affordable cost; however, when he began the fall semester, he found a passion for an uncommon subject, Appalachian Literature. In English 350, Dr. Cindy Salmons challenges students to read literary works from past and present Appalachian authors to focus on the history and development of the region. During her class, Ty learned about the complex history of Appalachia and developed a desire to serve the area. He became aware of Appalachia’s struggle but also its influence on the world. He states, “Through Appalachian Literature, a world of creative writing was opened up to me.”

Ty is an English major from Jamestown, Tennessee. His future plans are to receive his master’s and doctoral degrees in English and return to the area as a college professor. Ty wishes to inspire the future generations of Appalachia to return home and give back to the area. He says, “The region is full of beauty and friends at every turn. I do not think there is a better place to be, and I cannot imagine leaving a place like this. Appalachia is home to me and always will be.”  

When Ty came to ALC, he desired to be absorbed by the mountains and was ecstatic to run cross-country as most courses pave their way through the mountains. However, not long into his cross-country career, he was diagnosed with Congenital Hip Dysplasia, and he could no longer run. Ty did not let his injury stop him from being a part of the sport he loved and has served as the cross country team manager ever since. Cross Country Coach Brandon Arnold states, “I know that I can count on Ty to make sure that everything is taken care of. This is invaluable to me as the coach. I can take care of other things and not worry about Ty’s jobs, such as loading items off the bus. He has truly been a blessing to me and our program.” When his life did not turn out exactly how he planned, Ty did not falter. Instead of giving his athletic abilities to the cross country team, he presented himself as a helping hand. Ty’s actions display the servant-leadership ALC desires to instill in students to create the future leaders of Appalachia.

Ty further expresses and builds his servant leadership skills by participating in Alice Lloyd College’s Student Government Association (SGA). SGA is an election-based, on-campus organization dedicated to improving student life and giving students the ability to voice their opinions and views effectively to the faculty/ staff. SGA is also responsible for reviewing various curriculums, student activities, and college policies. Ty serves as the Executive Vice President of SGA.

“At ALC, you are a part of something much larger than yourself,” he states. Every year on Honors Day, the A lumni Association gives out a Campus Spirit Award that recognizes a junior who has demonstrated service, leadership, a spirit of volunteerism, and most importantly, a student who appreciates the Alice Lloyd College experience. Ty was presented the Campus Spirit Award on Honor’s Day in the spring of 2021. In addition to his servitude and leadership on campus, Ty has also thrived academically. He receives the Dean’s Distinguished Scholarship, which offers students guaranteed acceptance into the Caney Scholar’s Program, guaranteed tuition for up to ten semesters, and covers the cost of a student’s books up to $500 per semester. Ty has also been on the honor roll throughout his academic career.  

As Mrs. Lloyd said, “The leaders are here.” Alice Lloyd College was founded upon the principle of shaping the future leaders of the Appalachian region so they could use their gifts to help their area prosper. Leaders such as Dr. Cindy Salmons inspire and put forth a sense of servitude within her students and challenge them to grow and dig deeper into questions that do not have one correct answer to find their passion and calling in life. Ty heard this calling whisper from the back of the mountains and echoed into a small library classroom. Walking out of class, he knew his purpose in life was to inspire the future of Appalachia.