Piedmont College welcomed 286 new alumni December 15 during Commencement exercises in the Johnny Mize Athletic Center on the Demorest campus.
President James F. Mellichamp and Board Chairman Thomas A. “Gus” Arrendale III presented diplomas to students receiving Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, Education Specialist, and Doctor of Education degrees.
The Commencement speaker was associate professor of political science Dr. Tony Frye, recipient of the Vulcan Materials Company’s 2018 “Teaching Excellence Award.”
During a 15-minute address Frye described his journey from the Midwest rust belt to Piedmont. A first generation college student, the professor worked in construction and in a lumberyard before entering college. He worked in banking and attended law school, but received his professional calling when – as a graduate student – he was required to teach a class.
Reticent and shy, Frye found his voice and confidence at the lectern. “At the end of that first day I knew what I wanted to do,” he said.
His message to graduates: Recognize your life-changing moments and make decisions for the right reasons.