President Crouch with Convocation speaker Liz Curtis Higgs

Liz Curtis Higgs
“I’m all about wretchedness because when you hit rock bottom there’s nowhere else to go but up” – Dr. Liz Curtis Higgs

Manning Award Winner
Manning Award winner Nancy Lumpkin, center, with Provost Rosemary Allen and President Crouch

SGA Executive Council
SGA Executive Council, from left, Kentucky natives all: junior Shelby King, Georgetown; junior McKenzie Albright, Crab Orchard; senior Emily Holt, Lebanon; (President) sophomore Molly Shoulta, Louisville; senior Kelsey Gregory, Henderson; sophomore Carolyn Allen, Manchester.

Jim Durham
News Bureau Director

Opening Convocation on Tuesday (Sept. 14) was filled with memorable moments – from the introduction of the all-female SGA Executive Council to the popular naming of Nancy Lumpkin as the 2010 Manning Award winner to the outrageous, hilarious and uplifting message of speaker/encourager® Liz Curtis Higgs.

The surprise announcement of the John Walker Manning Distinguished Mentor and Teacher Award winner is always special because students have a big say in the selection. Good thing the announcement of Dr. Lumpkin came before self-proclaimed “Former Bad Girl” Higgs took the stage, as the audience is still buzzing.

“I enjoyed her presentation immensely,” said Lumpkin, an Associate Professor of Business Administration. “I marveled at her ability to grab the audience’s attention and keep it.  She had such an important message to share:  we are not perfect and God does not need us to be so.  He is ready to love us wherever we are in our lives.  Dr. Higgs’ speech was the most engaging I have witnessed in the last 11 years!”

Dr. Higgs – that is, once President Bill Crouch and Provost Rosemary Allen had conferred the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters – immediately grabbed the attention of the largely student audience with, “OMG, this Former Bad Girl loves bad girls.”

Then, the author of the best-selling Bad Girls of the Bible series, said, “You will never disappoint God – he loves us broken because he can make us whole.” At the end, she smiled and gave great hope with, “All you real students, are you ready for this semester? God has a big plan for you.”

Dr. Lumpkin, by the way, has big plans for the nice $2,500 cash prize that comes with her award. She wrote: “It is so funny how things happen.  The day before I told my friends that anything we did together had to be free because I had just ordered a new back porch addition to my home and I did not expect to have extra discretionary funds for the next year.  The Manning will most definitely be applied to drinking ice tea on the back porch!”

Lumpkin graduated from Virginia’s Sweet Briar College, Phi Beta Kappa, before returning home to California for her M.A. and Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate University. She’s been a member of Georgetown’s faculty since 2000 and certainly knows how significant the Manning Award is. She said:

“I can tell you that although the size of my dissertation fellowship award was larger and, academically, the Phi Beta Kappa acknowledgement was a pretty big deal, the Manning Award fills me with the greatest pride and humility.  I was so touched by the comments made my students; this award eclipses all others for me.  I truly believe that my vocation is teaching and it is an amazing feeling to know that my students appreciate their classroom experience with me.”

Dr. Lumpkin has made quite a name for herself outside the classroom as advisor to the College’s student Investment Team. Clearly passionate about this relationship with GC students, she wrote:

“I love working with these kids outside the classroom.  Truthfully, the biggest factor in the team’s success has been the overall economy.  So, in my first year as advisor, 2000, the dot com bubble burst in October and we lost like 30% of the portfolio.  Last year, 2009, the team got to ride the market upwards…last year was a really fun year. Overall, the students have been fabulous…let’s just say that I wish my retirement was doing as well as the ITeam tends to do.”

The John Walker Manning Distinguished Mentor and Teacher Award has been established for the purpose of recognizing tenure-track faculty at Georgetown College who have shown a commitment to mentoring students and who have also demonstrated excellence in teaching.

Dr. Manning, class of 1921, was a professor of management at the University of Louisville and former commissioner of finance for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  The award has been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Manning’s late widow, Mrs. Sylvia Beard.