Thanks to all of those who have supported the Academy of Richmond County Hall of Fame.
I also want to express my gratitude to those of you who have taken the time to send in nominations. We have received many nominations over the past five years, and out of those nominations, we have inducted 41 individuals into the Hall, and will be adding another outstanding group of 11 on Oct. 20.
Since ARC was established in 1783, there have been a great number of graduates who have made an impact on our society – not just locally, but nationally and internationally in the areas of medicine, art, the military, law, athletics, education, media, architecture, politics and music. The process of selecting inductees is not an easy one, and is not taken lightly.
THE PURPOSE of the Hall is twofold. First, the Hall is an effort to show our gratitude, through inductions, to those alumni who have influenced our society positively. Second, we hope to help students understand that, through hard work, they too can be successful.
One of the 2012 inductees, Forrest “Spec” Towns, is a perfect example of hard work and perseverance.
During his years at ARC, Mr. Towns played football but did not participate in track simply because, during the Depression years, purchasing track shoes was not a priority. After graduation in 1932, a neighbor observed him running and jumping in his back yard, and was so impressed that he contacted a person from The Augusta Chronicle who, in turn, contacted the University of Georgia’s track coach, the famous James Stegeman. This chain of events led to Towns’ athletic scholarship to Georgia. As a member of the UGA track team, he excelled in the 110-meter hurdles.
MR. TOWNS became Georgia’s first Olympian and won the gold medal in the 110 hurdles at the Munich Olympics in 1936, running a 14.2 on a dirt track. He also won the NCAA national championship in the 110 hurdles in 1937. Mr. Towns became the track coach at UGA in 1939, a title he held for until his retirement in 1974.
The list of past inductees is very impressive, and for those who are unfamiliar with the ARC Hall of Fame, I will list inductees by year.
The 2012 inductees were Pat Dye, NCAA Hall of Fame coach; Frankie Hull, federal judge; Frank Inman, former ARC football coach and athletic director; Joseph R. Lamar, former Supreme Court justice; James Longstreet, Confederate general; Jacqueline Marshall, former ARC English teacher; Carl Sanders, former Georgia governor; Forrest “Spec” Towns, 1936 Olympic gold medalist; Dr. Bennie Ward, renowned physicist; A.L. Williams, former ARC baseball coach; and Judy Woodruff, PBS News Hour anchorwoman.
The 2013 inductees were Doug Barnard, former U.S. representative; George P. Butler, former ARC principal; Dr. Hervey Cleckley, well-known psychiatrist and author; Jack Connell, former Georgia legislator; George W. Crawford, former Georgia governor; Dr. Lamar Fleming, orthopedic surgeon; Joseph Jennings, highly regarded choral director; Ruth McAuliffe, former ARC math teacher; and George Tweedy Stallings, manager of the 1914 “Miracle Braves” World Series champions.
THE 2014 inductees were Dudley H. Bowen, federal judge; Dr. Paul Fitzsimmons Eve, 10th president of the American Medical Association; Bill Fulcher, former NFL player and Georgia Tech coach; Dr. William D. Jennings III, former Augusta mayor; Renee Kelly, former University of Missouri All-American basketball player; Elizabeth Otwell, former ARC chemistry teacher; William Richardson, retired U.S. Army general; Dr. Randy Smith, local physician and humanitarian; Mickey Steinberg, businessman; and the Rev. Jerry Taylor.
The 2015 inductees were Langston Bolton, former ARC math teacher and track coach; Lawton B. Evans, former Richmond County school superintendent and author; E. M. Jackson, well-known artist; Derwent Langley, retired U.S. Air Force colonel; C. Ashley Royal, federal judge; Dr. Pat Scannon, physician and researcher; Pleasant A. Stovall, former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland; Leroy Suddath, retired U.S. Army major general; and Jim Whitehead, former Georgia senator and local businessman.
This year’s inductees are Dr. Herman Lam, University of Florida professor; Angela Grubbs, retired U.S. Air Force colonel; Charles S. Finch, retired U.S. Army colonel; James E. Pyle, retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel; Mont Miller, former president and CEO of Club Car and practicing attorney; Marion Wash, former ARC English teacher; John Pendleton King, former U.S. senator; Isaac S. Hopkins, first president of Georgia Tech; Neely Plumb, highly respected composer, arranger and record producer; Dr. Doug Dilts, devoted humanitarian to the poor of Indonesia; and Dr. David Potter, Pulitzer Prize recipient.
THE 2016 Academy of Richmond County Hall of Fame banquet will be 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in the Fellowship Hall at First Baptist Church. Admission cost is $35 per person, which includes a buffet dinner. In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, we also will be honoring/recognizing the members of the 1951-1957 state championship baseball teams and the 2004 boys’ state championship soccer team.
Anyone interested in nominating an ARC graduate can go to the ARC website at www.rcboe.org/arc and click the “Club/Organizations” tab, click on “Alumni” and click on “Hall of Fame Nomination.” Nomination forms should be mailed to: Academy of Richmond County, Attention Tim Spivey, 910 Russell St., Augusta, GA 30904. Also, to get detailed biographical information on past inductees, click on “About Us” and “ARC Hall of Fame.”
(The writer is chairman of the Academy of Richmond County Hall of Fame.)