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King University News :: King Alumni Recognized During 87th Annual Dogwood Weekend Celebration

In celebration of King College’s 87th annual Dogwood Weekend in April 2013, more than 350 alumni and friends joined together to reminisce and reconnect. 

Events for the weekend included such favorites as the King University Annual Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament, alumni luncheon, picnic on the Oval, cornhole tournament, alumni soccer games, alumni volleyball game, catch and release fishing tourney, production from King’s Performing Visual Arts (PVA) department performed at the Paramount Center for the Arts in downtown Bristol, Dogwood Ball, Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet, reunion gatherings, and much more. 

For a second year, both students and alumni enjoyed the cornhole tournament.  King senior Jason Ricker and junior Ken Poolton took home the prize, with each receiving $25 VISA gift cards as the tournament winners. 

Fourteen teams participated in the King University Annual Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament.  Due to inclement weather, originally scheduled for Friday, April 19, the tournament was rescheduled for Monday, April 22.  The BurWil Construction team took first place with each golfer receiving a $100 gift card to the Pro Shop at The Club.  Second place and a $50 gift card to the Pro Shop at the Club went to the Wellmont team, while third place and $25 gift certificates went to the team of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services and ACS Benefit Services.  The Johnson Controls team took home $100 VISA gift cards as winners of the putting contest.  Other door prizes for participants included an autographed UT football helmet, autographed UT football, and gift cards to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Edwin Watts, Logan’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Olive Garden, Cheddar’s, Blevins Tire and Recapping, Wilderness of the Smokies, Ripley’s Aquarium, and Dollywood.

During the annual celebration, several alumni were recognized for exceptional achievement in their career field, remarkable service to King, and commitment to serving as leaders in their communities.

Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award

The King’s Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award honors those who exemplify the University’s goals of excellence, achievement, and stewardship.  The award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to their career field, shown a commitment to King, and have continually endeavored to serve as leaders and mentors to their home community.  This year the Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award was presented to the Class of 1963.  The class members have made their world a better place, not only with their contributions to King, but to their churches and communities as well.

Many class members have earned advanced degrees in a variety of fields, including: English, education, Christian education, physics, chemistry, biology, business, and divinity.  The unofficial count includes 33 master’s degrees and seven doctorates.

In the professional field, class members have given back to their communities as educators, researchers, a nuclear engineer, an actor, writer, painter, and even a landscape designer.

At least three members of the Class of 1963 have had the opportunity to travel abroad as professionals.  Frank Regan served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria, and as a member of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange.  Gene Eller served as general director of the Amman Baptist School and other schools in Jordan and Israel.  David DuPuy lived and worked in both Nova Scotia and Germany.

Bettie Hite received Volunteer of the Year award in 2007, while Bill Junkin received the Alumni of the Year award in 1999.  King most recently recognized Frank Regan in the fall 2012 issue of the KING’S Legacy.

Perhaps one of the most significant contributions the Class of 1963 has made to King is the creation of the Class of 1963 Scholarship. Started in 2004, members of the class contributed gifts totaling nearly $43,000 as of July 1, 2012.  In anticipation of their 50th reunion, members of the class encouraged and challenged one another to reach a goal of more than $50,000 by Dogwood Weekend.

Due to her unfailing efforts and dedication to her class and to King University, many of the remaining gifts made were contributed in honor of Bettie Hite – the “glue” that has held the class members together these last 50 years.  Bettie and her husband Jim made the final contribution that took the scholarship fund to more than $50,000, allowing them to make the big announcement on Friday evening at their Class Reunion Dinner.  

The Class of 1963 was and remains a very close knit group of individuals who managed to maintain contact and regular gatherings of the group over the years, often including members from other classes who have also supported their scholarship.  They have likely been the most engaged class King has seen, returning to campus often, assisting in recruiting students whenever the opportunity arises, contributing to the annual fund for scholarships and programs, while also building the fund in their scholarship, volunteering and assisting whenever needed or whenever asked, and being faithful ambassadors of the school throughout their lives after King.  

Inspired by a wonderful weekend of camaraderie, renewed friendships and acknowledgements of their class contributions, the group immediately began making plans to increase their scholarship fund to $100,000 by the time of their 60th class reunion.

Graduate and Professional Studies Award

Graduate and Professional Studies, or GPS, has become a vital part of King University’s success over the past few years.  Each year, King recognizes alumni from GPS who exemplify the University’s goals of excellence, achievement, and stewardship.  The Graduate and Professional Studies Award for 2013 was presented to Robin Foreman for achievement and stewardship of the nursing profession. 

Foreman began her journey to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse after being a stay at home mom of four for many years.  She chose King to pursue her dream, and, in 2004, received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  She went on to receive her Master of Science in Nursing from King in 2007.  She currently serves King as assistant professor of Nursing.

Foreman has worked tirelessly to improve the profession of nursing through the lives of each nursing student she has taught.  Her current research is on incivility in Nursing.  She is currently working to complete her Ph.D.  

Young Alumni Achievement Award

In 2004, the King Alumni Office introduced an award to recognize those young alumni who have made outstanding professional contributions to their field since graduating, and who have shown a strong commitment to the service of others.  The 2013 Young Alumni Achievement Award recipient was 2006 King graduate, Bridgett Campbell Tsepas

Tsepas has exhibited a very unselfish way of life, continuously being of service to others.  She has made significant professional achievements since graduating from King.  She has served as a pediatric hematology/oncology registered nurse at Duke Children's Hospital in Durham, N.C., since 2006. Currently, Tsepas is the on-site co-director for Camp Kaleidoscope, Duke's summer camp for children with chronic illnesses.

Tsepas is a member of the peer-elected leadership committee of her hospital unit.  She received the Rookie of the Year Award at Duke, and was the Strength, Hope, and Caring Award winner for all of Duke Health System in both 2007 and 2009.  In 2009, she became the first nurse at Duke to ever speak at Hospital-wide Grand Rounds.  In 2009, she was also a poster presenter at the annual Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Conference in Orlando, Fla.  In 2012, she was a speaker for the Jim Valvano Kids Klassic in 2012.  She also created a video for the Jim Valvano Kids Klassic which has been shown at various events; it can be viewed at

Tsepas has made multiple mission trips to rural Haiti with a medical team to provide care for patients who rarely receive medical care.  She was a volunteer for the Mix 101.5 RadioThon to raise money for Duke Children's Hospital in 2013.  She also participated in St. Baldricks in March 2013, by shaving her head to raise awareness of childhood cancer by raising money to donate to childhood cancer research.

Legacy Award

In 2009, King conveyed a new award, the Legacy Award.  King is blessed to have numerous families who have made attending King “a family affair.”  The award recognizes their commitment to King as well as their lifetime of service and achievement.  This year the Legacy Award recognized the Wingard family.  Many members of the family, including extended family, have chosen King over the years. 

Sarah Wingard graduated from King in 1997 and currently teaches at Saint Anne Catholic School.  Her son, Kevin Wingard, and daughter, Maggie (Wingard) Hall, followed suit.  Kevin graduated from King in 2008 and now serves as a safety inspector for a gas line installation company.  Maggie received her bachelor’s degree in Education in 2009.  She now teaches third grade at Fairmount Elementary. 

While at King, Maggie met her now husband, Chris Hall.  Chris received his bachelor’s in Business from King in 2009, and then returned to receive his Master of Business Administration in 2011.  He now serves as marketing specialist with BVU. 

Maggie’s sister and Chris’ cousin have also joined in what has become a family legacy of studying at King University.  Rachel Wingard is currently studying Business Administration and minoring in Psychology.  Katie Barron is currently majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. Both Rachel and Katie will graduate in 2013.  Katie’s finance, James Stergios, graduated from King in 2011.  He is currently in pharmacy school at East Tennessee State University. 

For more information on King’s annual Dogwood Weekend or to donate to either the Class of 1963 Scholarship or the Annual Fund for Scholarships and Programs, contact John King, chief development officer, at 423.652.4832 or visit


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university.  Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, digital media, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available.  King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams.  For more information about King University, visit  King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability.  King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia.  For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.