LaGrange College retired professor and trustee receive honorary alumni awards

Published 4:44 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2022

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Dr. Joe Cafaro, a retired LaGrange College history professor and Bobby Carmichael Jr., vice chairman of LaGrange College’s Board of Trustees, were named honorary alumni at the college’s alumni awards luncheon on Oct. 7.

Established in 2012, the Honorary Alumni award recognizes individuals who have achieved a distinguished record of service, support, advocacy and commitment on behalf of LaGrange College.

Dr. Cafaro came to LaGrange College in 1984 as a history professor, a position he held until his retirement in 2017. Previously, Cafaro taught at Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Florida Atlantic University, and a master’s degree and doctorate in modern European studies with a concentration in Russian history from Florida State University.

While at LaGrange, he prepared three lectures focusing on Spain, Croatia and Vietnam for the college’s 3D Journeys program. Cafaro also helped with the implementation of “Gateway to Success,” a college 101 program for entering freshmen. He served as its co-director from 1987-2000 and 2009-2011.

Cafaro is a two-time recipient of the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Exemplary Teacher Award. He has also received the John R. Hines Undergraduate Research Faculty Award and the Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award.

In his retirement, Cafaro became involved with Panther Treks, a LaGrange College alumni travel program that ran through 2020. He led trips in England, France and Italy.

He and his wife, Beth, have three children.

Carmichael, who has been a board member since 1994, was first elected chairman in 2018. He has worked on the college’s three most recent presidential search committees.

Before retiring as the executive director of the Development Authority of LaGrange and the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority in 2018, Carmichael was the president of Commercial Bank and Trust for 22 years and a Certified Public Accountant for seven years. He also served as a Captain in the U.S. Army.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Auburn University and a graduate degree from Louisiana State University’s School of Banking.

Carmichael’s volunteer work includes serving as chairman in the following organizations: LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, West Georgia Health System, First United Methodist Church Council, United Way, LaGrange Development Authority, Downtown LaGrange Development Authority, LaGrange Rotary Club, West Georgia Tech Foundation, Georgia Bankers Association and Georgia Department of Human Resources. He was also a board member in the Private Colleges and Universities Authority of Georgia.

In 2017, the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce named Carmichael the first recipient of the Tom Hall Innovation Award.

He and his wife, Molly, have two sons and four grandchildren.