LRU News

LR Debate dominates the Southeast Regionals

Fri Mar 14 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — LR’s debaters took home an arm full of awards during the team’s first trip to Southeast Regionals, held at Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn., from Feb. 28 to March 1.

The Bears won second place in the overall competition. The team also won second place in the Open/Varsity Division and made it to the semi-finalists in the Novice Division.

Adam Cohen walked away with the third Top Speaker award in Novice. Jeffrey Fisher won the sixth Top Speaker award in Open and Rebecca Payne was recognized as the seventh Top Speaker in Open.

In its first year in active competition in more than a generation LR defeated schools with far more experienced rosters like the University of Kentucky, Bryan College, Carson-Newman College and Walters State Community College.

This is the LR Debate Team’s first major tournament since the team was reactivated after 23 years of inactivity.

It was a team-building year during which the focus was on learning the fundamentals of debate and holding a series of on-campus debates. The team grew in number and skill as they prepared for their first year on intercollegiate competition since 1990.

From here it’s on to three more tournaments as LR continues its historic run:

Novice Nationals in Dekalb, Il.: March 14-16

Pi Kappa Delta Nationals in Indianapolis, In.: March 21-23

International Public Debate Association (IPDA) Nationals in Murfreesboro, Tn.: April 10-13

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Alex Lee Leadership Series Presents Vice President of Corning Optical Communications

Wed Mar 12 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — As part of the 2014 Alex Lee Leadership Series, Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Business Council and the Alex Lee Foundation will present Mr. Clark Kinlin, executive vice president, Corning Optical Communications on Wednesday, March 26. Kinlin will present on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University in the McCrorie Center, Fintel classroom at 6 p.m. He will speak on the topic of Global Leadership.

Kinlin was appointed executive vice president, Corning Optical Communications in August 2012. Kinlin is responsible for worldwide production, development and sales of optical fiber, cable and connectivity solutions that are used in carrier and enterprise networks.

Kinlin joined Corning in 1981, and started in the Specialty Materials division, where he served in the Sales and Marketing organization and subsequently led several strategy projects focused on Corning’s expanding interests in Asia. Throughout his long career with Corning, he has also served in various roles within the Optical Fiber, Consumer Products, and Corning International divisions. Currently, he leads the Corning Optical Communications business headquartered in Hickory.

Kinlin serves on the board of Providence Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from Kenyon College and his MBA from Harvard University.

The remaining speakers in the Alex Lee Leadership Series include: Ms. Kathryn Greathouse, Co-Chair United Arts Council of Catawba County, speaking April 9 on Leadership in the Non-Profit World; and Col Lee Ellis, Author of Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, speaking April 23 on Leadership When Called.

For more information on the Alex Lee Leadership Series, please contact Clem Geitner at

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Acclaimed Native American filmmaker and writer: Sherman Alexie to speak at LRU

Tue Mar 11 2014

HICKORY, N.C.— (Thursday, March 27, 2014 / Belk Centrum, 7 p.m.)

It takes a special kind of artist to find the humor, vitality and honor that continues to exist in the midst of oppression and poverty. Sherman Alexie is that kind of artist.

Alexie rose to national attention with his critically-acclaimed 1998 road movie “Smoke Signals,” based on his first collection of short stories, about two young Native American men who leave the reservation to set about a quest to collect a father’s ashes. He went on to publish novels, short stories and poetry, which convey life on a Native American reservation like the one where he grew up in Spokane, Wash.

His first novel, “Reservation Blues,” received an American Book Award. Prior to the novel’s publication Alexie was awarded a PEN/Hemingway Award for his short story collection “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven.” Recently, Alexie received a National Book Award for “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” a novel for young adults. He was also presented with the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for “War Dances,” a collection of short stories and poems.

A respected performer of his own poetry, Alexie has won several performance awards and continues to perform at poetry slams and festivals and other venues.

Content Advisory: Alexie is known to discuss topics containing mature themes during his public performances.

This event is open to the public, and free for all guests. No tickets or reservations are required.

Sponsors of the 2013-2014 Series include:  Crowne Plaza–Hickory, WFAE 90.7fm, Our State: North Carolina, the Hickory Public Library, the Greater Hickory Kia Classic, the United Arts Council of Catawba County, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and the Catawba Valley Community Foundation.

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We are what we remember – Lenoir-Rhyne University forum to focus on memory

Fri Mar 7 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — Memory matters. Think about it.

Without memory we would live in an eternal present devoid of internal and external context. Its loss would cost us a portion of our humanity.

Memory is essential for self awareness, vital for interpersonal connections and key for the development of community. The reason is simple: Humans are born storytellers. The stories we tell about ourselves help us form and display our identities. The stories we tell about our friends, family and community are key to finding and maintaining our place in the world.

The theme for Lenoir-Rhyne University’s 2014 Humanities Forum is “Memory Matters.” The forum is being held at the Blowing Rock Conference Center from May 30 until June1. Early registration has begun.

As memory is key to storytelling, storytelling is key to LR’s 2014 forum. This year’s keynote speaker is Jim Dodson.  He will be speaking on “Memory and Memoir.”  He’ll also be leading a writing workshop called “The Memoir: Getting Started.”

Dodson is one of today’s most esteemed golf writers, and is editor of award-winning PineStraw Magazine in Southern Pines, North Carolina—the arts and culture magazine of the Carolina Sandhills.

He wrote a column for Golf Magazine for nearly 20 years. Dodson’s work has appeared in more than 50 magazines and newspapers worldwide. His bestselling books include a memoir of a golf trip across the U.K. with his terminally ill father called “Final Rounds.” Dodson also wrote “A Golfers Life: Arnold Palmer,” and “Ben Hogan: An American Life,” which won the USGA International Book Award in 2005. His most recent book is “American Triumvirate: How Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson Created the Modern Age of Golf”.

This is the 33rd year of Lenoir-Rhyne’s Humanities Forum. The three-day event allows the public to reserve a place to listen to some of LR’s best and brightest experts shed some insightful light on the topic of memory.

LR’s six presenters come from a variety of disciplines including the schools of music, philosophy, communication, psychology, English and history.


Dr. John Cheek is a music professor and an accomplished concert pianist. He will address the methods musicians use to memorize and perform massively complex compositions. Cheek will detail the process of integrating analytic skill with tactile, aural, and visual intelligence.

Cheek is a top prize-winner in a number of important national and international music competitions. He’s also a Fulbright Scholar who spent 2001 in Armenia performing in concerts and teaching courses on American music. Cheek’s most recent performance album is called “The 99 Beautiful Names of God.”


LR philosophy professor Dr. Michael Deckard is going to examine the intersection of memory and imagination. He will seek to answer the question, “What is the difference between memory and imagination—fantasy and reality?”

Deckard will discuss the therapeutic function of déjà vu and the “ah-ha moment.” He will draw from several literary and scientific sources as he works to answer a single poignant question: “What is the difference between memory and imagination, fantasy and reality?”


If you don’t know something—Google it. How many of us keep Google close by so that we can gather information instantly when we’re using our computers?

What we remember depends in large part on how we retrieve information and how we process what we discover. Communication professor Dr. Jeffrey Delbert will explore how the pervasiveness of Google’s search engine is changing our brains.

Delbert says Google is making a big difference on how human’s think. It’s not the first innovation that has impacted human memory but it’s the most recent one and it’s changing us daily. Delbert will outline how Google has changed what we remember, how we remember events and also how we use information.


If you’ve ever reminisced with people about shared experiences you’ve probably found yourself listening to a friend’s version of events and been surprised by how different it is from the version you remember.

Psychology professor Dr. Amy Hedrick is going to focus on the ways in which we learn to tell our stories and how our conversations with others about the past can strengthen and elaborate not only our memories, but also our sense of self.

Hedrick specializes in how social exchanges influence the development of children’s cognitive skills in multiple contexts and the causal link between young children’s exposure to elaborative language during and after a novel experience and subsequent recall.


English professor Dr. Jennifer Heller’s session will be interactive. Participants will bring an object that reminds them of a personal story. Heller will expound on how humans excel at triggering memories and narratives through the use of personal totems as the audience participates by telling the tales inspired by their chosen items.

It takes very little—a photo, a stone, a scent—to recover the rush of emotive recall that accompanied the acquisition of the object. We can make virtually anything into a souvenir whose function is to help us remember the stories that form our own histories.


Generations have common historical touchstones. You can get a good estimate of someone’s age by evaluating their answers to the following questions: Where were you when:
Martin Luther King was assassinated?
Men first landed on the moon?
The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded?
The Twin Towers fell?

Osama bin Laden was killed?

Remembering “Where you were when” can be a key indicator for who you were, who you are and how far you’ve come. History Professor Dr. Veronica McComb will discuss the way we orient ourselves by creating a kind of time capsule of memories that we share as oral histories. She calls it the transformative power of collective experience and collective memory. She will examine the art, artistry, and limitations of creating collective memories through oral history.

For more information and to register go to or call Dr. Rand Brandes at (828) 328-7077.

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View Stars, Planets and the Moon at LRU

Fri Mar 7 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — Lenoir-Rhyne University in conjunction with the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club is sponsoring a “Public Observing Night.” This event will be held on Friday, March 21, weather permitting, at the LR Observatory on top of Minges Science Building. This free event will begin at 8:00 pm and conclude at approximately 10:00 pm.

The public is invited to come to the top of Minges Science Building where several telescopes will be set up in addition to the 12.5 inch Cassegrain telescope in the observatory dome.  To access the rooftop observatory, enter the building then take the elevator to the 4th floor and come up the steps.

Television monitors should be available outside the observatory for many people to view the sites. In addition telescope views will be streamed live to Classroom Minges 107, where they can be viewed on a large screen.  Should weather not permit observing, an alternate program will be offered in room Minges 118.

During this viewing, participants will observe Jupiter and its moons, the Orion Nebula plus the Pleiades star cluster. Visibility permitting, Mars will be seen rising around 9:30 pm, along with several other impressive star clusters.

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LRU Student Among Recipients of Wells Fargo Scholarship

Thu Mar 6 2014

Hickory N.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne University student Rachel Lewis, class of 2016, was among 24 other students from private colleges and universities in the state of North Carolina to receive part of$67,600 in Wells Fargo Scholarship money, made possible through the Independent College Fund of North Carolina (ICFNC). Lewis is a double major in History and Studio Art.

Wells Fargo distributed scholarships to students from the following institutions: Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Brevard College, Campbell University, Catawba College, Chowan University, Gardner-Webb University, Greensboro College, Guilford College, Lees-McRae College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Louisburg College, Mars Hill University, Meredith College, Methodist University, Montreat College, Mount Olive College, N.C. Wesleyan College, Pfeiffer University, Queens University of Charlotte, St. Andrews University , Salem College, Warren Wilson College, William Peace University, and Wingate University.

“Wells Fargo is pleased to partner with the Independent College Fund of North Carolina to provide the scholarships,” said Leslie Hayes, regional president for Wells Fargo in Triad West. “This helps demonstrate our ongoing and deep commitment to North Carolina. We have been proud supporters of ICFNC for more than 55 years and we are honored to continue our partnership.  At Wells Fargo, we share the belief that supporting education is one of the most important investments we can make in our country’s future. We know the returns on an investment in a great education far exceed those from the best mutual funds.”

Dr. A. Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, expressed appreciation to Wells Fargo on behalf of the Independent College Fund of North Carolina and the students attending the state’s 36 private colleges and universities in North Carolina. “The Wells Fargo scholarship makes a positive difference in the lives of students and their families and their ability to make the American dream of a college education come true.  We thank Wells Fargo for making this important investment in our students and in the state’s future.” said Dr. Williams.

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International Accreditation is reaffirmed for LRU’s Charles M. Snipes School of Business

Wed Mar 5 2014

Hickory N.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Charles M. Snipes School of Business recently received International Accreditation reaffirmation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

The ACBSP is a leading specialized accreditation association for business education supporting, celebrating, and rewarding teaching excellence. The association embraces the virtues of teaching excellence and emphasizes to students that it is essential to learn how to learn.

ACBSP offers programs, services, and an accreditation process uniquely focused on teaching excellence and student learning outcomes. ACBSP accredits business, accounting, and business-related programs at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degree levels worldwide.

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Lenoir-Rhyne University Nursing Program Receives $150,000 from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc, for Student Scholarships

Wed Mar 5 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — Lenoir-Rhyne University was recently awarded a grant of $150,000 for nursing scholarships from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc. This gift includes an increase of $20,000 over last year’s grant amount of $130,000. According to the award letter, the Foundation is pleased to increase awards to those institutions that demonstrate their ability to attract, retain, and graduate female students with financial need.

The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc. is a charity dedicated to the support of women in nine southeastern states, primarily for scholarship grants to deserving female students. Lenoir-Rhyne University has received this support for many years and uses it to provide nursing student scholarships for needy and deserving students.

The grant is named for Lettie Pate Whitehead who along with her husband, Joseph Whitehead, helped to bottle Coca-Cola throughout the United States beginning in 1899. Mr. Whitehead died in 1906 and Lettie Pate Whitehead assumed leadership of the family’s business affairs, which prospered significantly. She was one of the first women to serve on the board of directors of a major American corporation, serving as director of the Coca-Cola Company for almost twenty years beginning in 1934. She established the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation just prior to her death in 1953.

Lenoir-Rhyne University’s School of Nursing is well known for its high pass rate on the North Carolina Nursing Board examination, and has graduated 1,229 students with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Nursing, since 1960. Currently 300 students are enrolled in the undergraduate nursing degree program and 29 students are enrolled in the Master of Science in Nursing program that began in 2012.

Most recently, Lenoir-Rhyne School of Nursing has been a Member of the NC Future of Nursing Action Coalition Taskforce, and has created the Hickory Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program. This provides collaboration between Lenoir-Rhyne School of Nursing and five community colleges in the region wherein students are dually enrolled to improve the transition to the baccalaureate level, resulting in more graduates and better training.

Vice President for Advancement, Dr. Drew Van Horn expressed appreciation, stating “thanks to the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc., the future of Lenoir-Rhyne nursing students needing financial assistance is filled with hope and the promise of fulfilling careers in the nursing profession.”

School of Nursing Chair, Dr. Kerry Thompson, echoed similar thoughts, proclaiming “it is remarkable that during challenging economic conditions, Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, Inc. has increased their support of our Nursing student scholarships. We are extremely grateful and honored to enjoy such a wonderful partnership that makes it possible for deserving students to earn their nursing degree.”

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LR recognizes community heroes – Volunteerism honored at local university

Fri Feb 28 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — They don’t do it for the awards. They don’t do it for the recognition. But Lenoir-Rhyne University felt that after decades of serving their community three local people deserve the honor of public appreciation.

LR gave this year’s Community Service Awards to Dr. Edward L. “Eddie” Beard, Jr., Andrea Triplette Benfield and Judy White in a ceremony held Thursday evening.

The honorees live out the spirit of leadership and service that LR seeks to instill in its students, and their lives serve as exemplary role models to the college community.


Beard graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne’s nursing program in 1985. He has since gone on to his current position of Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services, Catawba Valley Medical Center—a 258-bed hospital with $122 million in annual gross revenues.

“Eddie is perhaps most passionate about excellence in nursing care,” wrote Wheaton Williams, Md. in a letter nominating Beard for this award. “Eddie has the ability to match the unique talents and interests of nurses with the needs of CVMC.”

Beard’s compassion and desire for excellence led him to help the Hickory area’s first locally-based HIV clinic in 2003. Before the clinic came along infected patients had to travel to Charlotte, Winston-Salem or Asheville for treatment. The establishment of the clinic allowed patients from eight counties to be treated closer to home regardless of their ability to pay for their treatment.

“Eddie Beard has made significant contributions to improve the quality of life for people living with HIV infection in Hickory and the surrounding area,” wrote Williams. The specialty clinic, called Fairgrove Primary Health, now serves more than 200 HIV-infected patients. “Eddie Beard is one of those special individuals who has the vision and drive to make the world around him a better place.”

Fairgrove Primary Health is just one example of the many efforts Beard has made to help others.

“Eddie formed a team of nurses to travel to the site of the 9/11 attack in New York City immediately after the attack,” wrote Charles Dixon. “The team worked 12-14 hour days for two weeks.”

Board Service: NC Organization of Nurse Leaders (past president and bylaws chairperson), Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society for Nurses (past president), American Organization of Nurse Executives, American and N.C. Nurses Association, ALFA (past president), American Red Cross—Catawba Valley Chapter(past board president), Children’s Advocacy Center, Outright Youth of Catawba Valley, (Founding Board Member and Board Vice President)


Andrea Triplette Benfield earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Lenoir-Rhyne in 1962 and went on to become a licensed clinical social worker. She retired in 1998 after more than 30 years of service with the Catawba County Department of Social Services as Social Work Services Program Administrator.

The legacy she left at DSS continues to protect and serve Catawba County’s most innocent victims.

Benfield spearheaded the first multidisciplinary team of an attorney, law enforcement officer and social worker to jointly investigate physical and sexual child abuse—a model now commonly used across the nation. Her efforts also resulted in new statewide statutory rape penalties in 1992.

She penned several child welfare media campaigns, which have been used throughout the state to promote safety in child care.

The year after she left DSS Benfield went on to open a private practice: ATB Consultations—Consulting, Counseling and Psychotherapy.

In 1996 Benfield won the National Association of Social Workers’ award for Social Worker of the Year. In 2008, she received the Hancock-Settlemyre Award recognizing her years of child advocacy.

In December 2013 Benfield retired again, closed her practice and turned her attention to her current roles as babysitting-grandmother and volunteer. She continues to be an enthusiastic advocate and protector of vulnerable children in Catawba County and the state.

Board Service: Charter Member of Children’s Protection Council (past president and chair of Public Education Awareness Committee), Board of Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas (past president), NC Child Advocacy Centers Board, Board of Council on Adolescence, Board of Catawba County Parenting Network, Child Advocacy and Protection Board, appointed to NC Social Work Licensure and Certification Board (past president), Barium Springs Home (orphanage), Cooperative Christian Ministry, LR Alumni Board (past president), LR adjunct faculty (10 years), Appalachian State University adjunct faculty, Daughters of the American Revolution (past regent)


Judy White, President & CEO, Benco Steel, Inc., began running Benco Steel in 2000 after the untimely death of her husband, Joel, in 1999. Early on she considered selling the business, but decided to put herself to the test instead. Today, more than a decade later, it’s clear that she has triumphed.

Benco Steel is a regional steel service center, which specializes in providing industrial steel.

When not devoting herself to the demands of running a corporation, White is an enthusiastic advocate for orphans and children. She organizes and hosts events at her home.

White’s hobbies include reading, golf and charity work.

Board Service: Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center of Catawba County (10 years), Sipes Orchard Children’s Home (15 years), First Citizen Advisory Board (chair, five years), Chamber of Commerce, LR Business Council

LR also presented a trio of awards to a student, a faculty member and an organization in recognition of the community service they’ve rendered.

  • Stephen Amoah, LR junior: physics major, football player, student leader and honor society member

Amoah has created a number of events for his fellow students. He has taken every opportunity to develop the leadership skills in an effort to leave the world better than he found it.

“We have a biblical obligation to help others as Christ commands,” Amoah said. “The world is interdependent and in order for it to be a better place we must help each other.”

  • Men’s Lacrosse: 40-member team celebrating their fourth year on campus

The LR team hosted a lacrosse clinic for local young people to come out and learn about the game. The lacrosse team also volunteered during a local Special Olympics event. They assisted the athletes during a bowling competition.

The team also sponsored a Wilson Creek cleanup.

  • Dr. Sue Friguglietti leads study abroad programs, volunteers with the Boy Scouts, serves as the PTO president and volunteers with dog rescue

“I help to shape the lives of boys as we work in scouting to turn them into fine men,” she said. “I am honored to serve the community I live in.”

Friguglietti also serves as an assistant professor and academic fieldwork coordinator in LR’s School of Occupational Therapy.

“All the time, energy, stress and craziness is worth it,” she said.


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Alex Lee Leadership Series to Present WFAE Radio Station President

Thu Feb 27 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — As part of the 2014 Alex Lee Leadership Series, Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Business Council and the Alex Lee Foundation will present Mr. Roger Sarow, Wednesday, March 5 in the McCrorie, Fintel classroom at 6 p.m. Sarow will speak on the topic of Leadership in the World of Media.

Sarow is President and General Manager of public radio station WFAE in Charlotte, NC, a position he has held since 1988. He has spent more than 30 years in public radio at stations across the country, previously managing WEKU at Eastern Kentucky University and serving as Program Director at Wisconsin Public Radio.

Sarow was elected to the board of directors of National Public Radio in 2008, and currently serves as the chair of NPR’s Finance Committee.

He was chair of the board of the Public Radio Program Directors’ Association from 1991 to 1994, where he led the national organization’s strategic planning. He has also chaired both the board of Southern Public Radio and the North Carolina Public Radio Association.

Today, Sarow is also an adjunct faculty member in the Communications Department at Winthrop University where his wife, Dr. Marilyn Sarow, is a professor of Mass Communications.

The remaining speakers in the Alex Lee Leadership Series incluce: Mr. Clark Kinlin, CEO Corning Cable Systems, speaking March 26 on Global Leadership; Ms. Kathryn Greathouse, Co-Chair United Arts Council of Catawba County, speaking April 9 on Leadership in the Non-Profit World; and Col Lee Ellis, Author of Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, speaking April 23 on Leadership When Called.

For more information on the Alex Lee Leadership Series, please contact Clem Geitner at

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