LaGrange College names three as honorary alumni

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2018

LaGrange College welcomed Dr. Robert Copeland, Kirby McCartney and Dr. Brenda Thomas as honorary alumni during the annual homecoming alumni recognition breakfast.

Copeland of LaGrange earned a bachelor’s degree in science at Auburn University and his medical degree with honors from the University of Alabama. He did his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and was a visiting fellow with Royal Free Hospital in London, England. After finishing his post-doctoral training in internal medicine and serving a clinical and research fellowship in cardiovascular diseases, Dr. Copeland came to LaGrange in 1967 to work at Clark-Holder Clinic.

He founded the Georgia Heart Clinic in 1972, and became a clinical professor of medicine at both Emory and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He directed the Callaway Fellow in Cardiology for 17 years and had an active research program in partnership with UAB. Along with Dr. Tom Gore, he co-founded Troup Cares Free Medical Clinic in LaGrange. He is a Rotarian and a former deacon at First Presbyterian Church.

McCartney of Hogansville is a graduate of Hogansville High School and attended some classes at LaGrange College. She recently retired from the college after serving 35 years in Student Life – 13 years as a house mother. She also worked at Mt. Carmel Christian School in Decatur for 10 years. After moving back to Hogansville, she was youth director at First Baptist Church for several years.

While at LaGrange College, she received the Stellar Service Award that is presented to the staff member who has been selected by staff, faculty and students in recognition of their outstanding customer service, commitment to teamwork and demonstrated support of the college’s mission and core values. 

Dr. Thomas of Clearwater, Florida, earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Samford University, her master’s in English at Auburn University and a doctorate in English from Georgia State University. She specialized in Renaissance poetry and prose and Restoration and 18th century literature. She began her teaching career at Troup High School and continued teaching English at LaGrange Academy after completing her master’s degree at Auburn.  She came to LaGrange College in 1974 as an adjunct professor of English, and after completing her Ph.D., became Professor of English, serving two terms as English Department Chair and one term as Humanities Chair.

During her tenure, Dr. Thomas developed three Interim Term travel courses to England and Ireland and was content developer for the Master of Arts of Teaching graduate program. She also was named a Governor’s Teaching Fellow in 2009.  She retired from the college in 2011.