News & Events
Alumni of the Year Honored
Mars Hill College honored four Alumni of the Year during homecoming festivities on Saturday, October 8. They were: Carolyn Laughlin Jackson of Shelby, NC (class of 1958); Fred Crisp of Raleigh, NC (class of 1955); Rev. Linda Judge-McRae of Knoxville, TN (class of 1986); and Bill Murdock of Arden, NC (class of 1984).
Each year at homecoming, Mars Hill College honors two alumni from its junior college years, and two alumni from its senior college years, who have distinguished themselves through significant contributions of service to others.
Carolyn Laughlin Jackson spent a productive career in education, beginning as a science and math teacher in the 1960s before moving into administrative and supervisory positions. She retired last year as Assistant Provost in the College of Distance Learning and Continuing Education (now the GOAL Program) at Gardner-Webb University, a position she had held since 1997. She followed her 1958 graduation from Mars Hill College with a BS from Southern Illinois University; later received a M.Ed. from N.C. State University; then an Ed.S. from East Carolina University; and in 1990 received her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. Throughout her career and retirement, Carolyn has held many professional memberships and served in numerous community leadership positions, including her church, Shelby Presbyterian, where she is an elder. She married fellow 1958 MHC alum, and later MHC administrator, Jerry Jackson, who passed away in April. They had two children and four grandchildren.
Fred Crisp followed his two years at Mars Hill College with two years at UNC Chapel Hill, graduating in 1957 with his Bachelor of Arts degree. He immediately went into the newspaper business in advertising with the Charlotte Observer, followed by several years with newspapers in Virginia, before beginning a 31-year tenure at the Raleigh News and Observer. Fred retired in 2000 as president and publisher. He has been active in professional and service organizations, including terms on the Mars Hill College Board of Advisors, the Peace College Foundation Board and Board of Trustees, and the N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry board. He is a past president of the North Carolina Press Association and former board member of the Newspaper Association of America and the Newspaper Advertising Bureau. Fred also served in board positions with the Wake County Boys’ Club, the Salvation Army, United Way, and the Carolina Hurricanes Kids ‘n’ Community Foundation, among others. He and his wife, Betty, were married in 1956 and have two children. Fred is a member of First Presbyterian Church of Raleigh.
Bill Murdock co-founded Eblen Charities in 1991 and is the organization’s executive director. Eblen’s revenues have grown from just $400 in the early 1990s to $5.6 million last year, and the charity’s numerous programs and partnerships help thousands of western North Carolina families each year with medical and emergency assistance. Bill has also served as an instructor in Duke University’s Non Profit Management Program. He’s also a prolific author, writing numerous articles and five books. His awards are numerous, ranging from the Peter F. Drucker Foundation Award (for the most innovative nonprofit program in the nation) to selection to the International Wrestling Hall of Fame (Bill is a wrestling historian). Beyond his work with Eblen Charities, Bill is also involved in numerous other community programs.
Linda Judge-McRae graduated from Mars Hill College in 1986 and continued her education with a Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She served in several ministry positions, including Baptist Campus Minister at Lexington Community College; and church ministry positions with churches in Kentucky and Tennessee. In the mid-1990s she moved much of her professional emphasis toward nursing, earning an Associate of Applied Science and then a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She worked for hospitals in Kentucky and Tennessee, and since 2003 has been the Director of Education for Caris HealthCare, a hospice care provider in Knoxville which she and her husband, Norman (also an alumnus of MHC), founded. In 1998, Linda established a scholarship at Mars Hill College to honor Sue Fitzgerald and Marie Bean, and which benefits a female student who plans to enter into Christian ministry after graduation.
The Alumni of the Year were recognized during half-time of the homecoming football game at on October 8, and at a dinner that evening in their honor.