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Alice Lloyd College hosted its first convocation of the semester on Tuesday, January 17th, with ALC President Jim Stepp, guest Dr. Kenny Faught, and ALC Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles Marshall as speakers. The event began with an invocation by student Andrew Fuller which was followed by an ALC’s Voices of Appalachia choir performance of “Brightest and Best.” After the performance, President Stepp began his opening remarks.

President Stepp began by welcoming everyone back to campus and introducing the new Convocations Director, Nathan Hall. He then announced that this year is a milestone for the college as it is Alice Lloyd College’s Centennial. ALC began in 1923 as the Caney Junior College and became a four-year institution in 1982. President Stepp told a story of how a pandemic, similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, played a significant role in Alice Lloyd’s decision to teach in Caney Creek. In the 1910s, the world faced the Spanish Flu, which caused over forty deaths in Caney Creek. Mrs. Lloyd witnessed firsthand the need for more doctors in the region and decided the “best way to have doctors here is to home-grow them,” and she set out to accomplish that goal. Since ALC became a four-year institution, thousands of students have earned baccalaureate degrees, and numerous alums have completed graduate and professional programs. Many of these graduates have returned to the mountains as physicians, teachers, attorneys, and other leaders of their communities.

President Stepp then updated those in attendance on the many campus projects underway. He began by discussing campus internet and phone signal. ALC is working on enhancing its wireless network. Current target areas are Berger-Auen Hall and Howard Memorial Hall, the Andersen Science Center, and the Davis Student Center. In these areas, wireless access points will be replaced with newer and better technology. Once the access points are replaced, the areas will be monitored and surveyed for coverage to see if additional access points are needed. The long-term plan is to replace all access points throughout campus and survey areas that may need additional coverage. In addition to wireless upgrades, cell signal will improve soon, as Appalachian Wireless will construct a new cell tower on campus.

Other projects include Holmes Hall, the women’s dormitory under construction, which is ready for inspections and will be completed in the coming months. Construction continues on the campus chapel that will feature a clock and bell tower. A rendering of the chapel was displayed behind President Stepp, showing how the new building will look on campus. This spring, construction will begin on five new townhouses to add to campus housing. The new townhouses will be located behind the June Buchanan Alumni Center. Also, restroom facilities will be added to the softball field and the new multi-purpose field.

In addition to these projects, a plan is in place to protect our infrastructure against future flooding. In response to the tragic flooding of July 28th, a retaining wall will be installed alongside the creek banks. Not only will the retaining wall be aesthetically pleasing, matching the rock of our campus buildings, but it will also lower the water levels of future floods. Additionally, some paving will be involved, and five bridges will be worked on, with two bridges being completely replaced.

After President Stepp concluded, ALC student Kyleah Ward introduced the event’s guest speaker, Dr. Kenny Faught. Dr. Faught has pastored churches in Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. He has also been a college professor and a mental health counselor and has published scholarly articles and book reviews. A native of Kentucky, he graduated from the New Orleans Theological Seminary and completed the program in Advanced Methodist Studies at Duke Divinity School. Dr. Faught is married to Chrissy Faught, an English teacher, and has three children and four grandchildren. In his spare time, if any, he enjoys classical guitar, the outdoors, and Cincinnati Reds baseball. His message to those in attendance was not to sell yourself short in life.

Dr. Marshall closed out the main event with some academic announcements that began with an important reminder that students who have not already completed their FAFSA need to do so as soon as possible. He then mentioned some important dates, including Spring Break, which will take place from March 6th through 10th this semester. Later in the month, on March 20th, Pre-Registration will begin and will last through the 24th. Graduation will be on May 6th.

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Dr. Sara Pitts, then made a special announcement: the 30th annual James V. Mongiardo Speech Competition will take place on February 28th this semester. This year’s topic is resilience. The goals of the speeches are to discuss both what resilience means to the speaker or how the speaker has exhibited resilience and how one of the key concepts of the Purpose Road relates to this understanding of resilience. Prize money for the event has increased to $1300. This is made possible by the Mongiardo Speech Competition’s sponsors, the Mongiardo family, and Books by eCampus. Applications to participate in this year’s competition are due by January 31stClick Here for more information about the competition.

Following this announcement, student Christian Yates closed the event with the benediction. For a schedule of this semester’s convocation events, Click Here.