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King University Honors Alumni during Dogwood Weekend

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 28, 2016 – Each year during Dogwood Weekend, several of King University’s alumni are recognized for exceptional achievement in their career field, remarkable service to King, and commitment to serving as leaders in their communities. King’s Office of Alumni Services is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Dogwood Awards presented during the University’s 90th annual Dogwood Weekend, which took place April 8-10.

Samantha LaneThis year’s Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Samantha N. Lane (’11). This award recognizes individuals who have committed a significant portion of their time and talents to furthering the mission of the University, either through their service to King or within their communities and throughout the world in a volunteer capacity. This year’s recipient is a creative communications professional, with past work in advertising, marketing, public relations, and business development. In Lane’s current role as a territory manager, she builds brand recognition for King University in the Knoxville and surrounding markets with the goal of increasing the University’s overall enrollment.

Lane is an expert at connecting external needs with internal resources to ensure positive outcomes for students, faculty, staff, and business and community partners. She is actively involved in various regional chambers and professional associations in the Knoxville region and currently serves as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year co-chair, Executive Women International’s Knoxville Chapter board member & program director, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce membership committee member and Chamber Ambassador, and a mentor for TN Achieves.

The Young Alumnus of the Year Award was presented to Richard B. Neufeld (’04). This award recognizes those who are established and future leaders among King’s young alumni and have made outstanding professional contributions to their field since graduating and have shown a strong commitment to the service of others. After graduating from King in 2004, Neufeld continued his education at the Graduate School at Duke University where he obtained a Ph.D. in Physics. He then went to work at Los Alamos National Lab as a postdoctoral fellow, working in high energy plasma physics. Upon leaving Los Alamos in 2012, Neufeld earned an MBA from Cornell University. In 2013, he began work at Electro Magnetic Applications in Denver, Colo., where he currently serves as the senior scientist and program manager.

Neufeld works with aerospace customers to help design against harmful electromagnetic environments such as lightning and space plasmas. He recently had the opportunity to oversee a space charging program, which simulated electrostatic effects in a geosynchronous plasma for NASA’s Orion program.

Legacy AwardKing’s Legacy Award recognizes a family in which multiple family members have attended King. In this case, the family ties run across 30 years, three families, and seven family members. The award was presented to members of the Ridenour, Brantley, and Greer families. David Ridenour graduated from King in 1961. While at King, he met his wife Elizabeth Brantley, whose sister, Carol Brantley Kendall, and brother, David Brantley, would later attend King. The Brantley’s, Carol and David, graduated in 1965 and 1971, respectively. While at King, David Brantley met Julie Greer, who would graduate in 1972. Julie Greer’s brother, Dean, followed in his sister’s footsteps, graduating from King in 1979. The families’ story continued in 1981 when Mike Ridenour, son of David and Elizabeth, enrolled at King. Mike would graduate in 1985, followed by his sister Lynne Ridenour in 1986.

Beth RhinehartGraduate, Professional, and Online Studies, or GPS, has become a vital part of King’s success over the past few years. Each year, King recognizes alumni from the GPS program who exemplify the University’s goals of excellence, achievement, and stewardship. This year’s Graduate and Professional Studies Award was presented to Beth Rhinehart. A Bristol Va., native, Rhinehart earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Mary Washington College. She earned both a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Master of Science in Counseling from Johns Hopkins University. In 2007, she earned an MBA from King University. Rhinehart currently serves as the president & CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. She has spent some years on the Chamber Board of Directors and Executive Committee as the vice-chairman of government relations.

Before joining the Chamber, Rhinehart spent 10 years as director of government relations for Wellmont Health System. As a registered lobbyist, her primary responsibility was building key relationships and overseeing the Virginia legislative processes as they apply to hospitals and healthcare. She also served as chairman of the Bristol Virginia Public School Board and was a Governor’s appointed member of the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

FlannaganThe Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award recognized three graduates of King University who have made extraordinary contributions to college, church, and community - W. Patrick “Pat” Flannagan (’74), his wife, Elizabeth L. Flannagan (’74), and William “Bill” R. English (’58).

The Flannagan’s returned to King in 1982, when Pat became the first full-time instructor in King’s Music Department. Throughout the years, they have both been highly involved with the choirs and the Theatre program, including hosting an annual homemade soup and bread dinner each December. They both serve as members of the sanctuary choir at First Presbyterian Church next to King’s main campus. Pat serves as the charter conductor of the Voices of the Mountains, a local, regional chorus that sings with the Symphony of the Mountains; Elizabeth sings in the group. Elizabeth has spent time serving on a local, regional development committee for the city of Bristol, Tenn., while Pat was a charter member of AAME a regional board that supports the arts in the region. As a result of their volunteer efforts, Beth was awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from King in 2009, and Pat was a recipient of the Greater Kingsport Arts Leadership Award in 2006.

Bill EnglishBill English has spent a lifetime in service both professionally and as a volunteer to King University, Central Presbyterian Church, and the Bristol community. During his career, he served as a member of the Bristol Virginia Police Department and later as the juvenile court counselor for the City of Bristol, Tenn., and as the district scout executive for Sullivan County, Tenn., and the southern portion of Washington County, Va., districts. Bill also served King University as the Director of Admissions. As a volunteer, he coached minor league Little League teams, elementary basketball and football teams, served as a scout master for the Boys Scouts, was a member of Bristol Jaycees and Kiwanis Clubs, served on the budget committee for the United Way of Bristol, as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, and sang with the Bristol Concert Choir and Voices of the Mountains Chorus for 46 years. He has also held numerous roles within his church and worked as a volunteer for Meals on Wheals. He continues to be an active member of his church and currently serves on the King University Alumni Advisory Council.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-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, 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 sports. 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 on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.