LMU Bestows Hall of Fame Honors at Virtual Homecoming
Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) recognized 12 distinguished graduates for the Educators’ Hall of Fame and the Professional Hall of Fame during a virtual homecoming celebration in October.
Manerva Watson (’49), of Jonesville, Virginia, was inducted into the Educators’ Hall of Fame. She graduated from LMU with honors majoring in math and minoring in chemistry and physical education. She was involved in the Girls Independent Organization, LP House Council, IRC, Business Education Club, FTA, and worked as a teaching assistant and a tutor. She taught at Flatwoods School, Dungannon High School, Ben Hur Elementary School, Jonesville High School and Lee High School in Lee County, Virginia. She was dedicated to preparing her students to succeed after high school and she was well-known for her teaching skills and subject knowledge.
Dana Campbell Smith (’93), of Tazewell, Tennessee, was inducted into the Educators’ Hall of Fame. Campbell earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from LMU and a master’s degree in education from Tusculum University. She is an EdS candidate in the Educational Leadership Academy at the University of Tennessee. She is the GEAR UP TN Claiborne County Site Coordinator and teaches grades 6-8 in the Claiborne Virtual Learning Academy. She is an advocate of the ROHO Charitable Trust and Donate Life Tennessee as well as a graduate of Leadership Claiborne County. She has also served on the Mid-East Tennessee Regional P-16 Council and collaborates with LMU’s Initial Teacher Licensure Undergraduate Program to interview potential program candidates.
Troy Poore (’74), of Harrogate, Tennessee, was inducted into the Educators’ Hall of Fame. He graduated from LMU with honors majoring in health/physical education and biology. He earned a master’s degree in secondary education from Union College in 1982 and went on to earn an endorsement in administration and supervision. He taught in Claiborne County, Tennessee, at Powell Valley High School and Forge Ridge High School, where he also coached as served as assistant principal and interim principal. In Claiborne County, Tennessee, he was principal of Ellen Myers Primary School and was the first principal of Cumberland Gap High School. He served as a Claiborne County Commissioner and was chairperson of the County Commission for 10 years, served as a basketball coach for the J. Frank White Academy of LMU and is now a Title IX coordinator at LMU.
Pearl Goins (’72, ’90, ’03), of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was inducted into the Educators’ Hall of Fame. She was the first Black female to graduate from LMU. She holds three degrees from LMU – a Bachelor of Science in elementary education, a Master of Education and an Educational Specialist degree in educational administration and supervision. She served as an elementary teacher at Claiborne County and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, schools, and was principal at Glenwood Elementary School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, from 2001-2018.
Richard Davis (’78), of Seymour, Tennessee, was inducted into the Educators’ Hall of Fame. He earned an associate’s degree in health and physical education from Ferrum College, a Bachelor of Science in education from LMU, and a master’s degree in special education and a master’s degree in safety from the University of Tennessee. He taught at Clairfield Elementary School in Claiborne County, Tennessee, and Washburn High School in Grainger County, Tennessee, the Tennessee School for the Deaf in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the University of Tennessee. His career at the Tennessee School for the Deaf spanned 34 years, serving students as an educator and a coach. He had a positive impact on the lives of countless students.
Mike Burchette (’72), of Gas City, Indiana, was inducted into the Educators’ Hall of Fame. Burchette earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and physical education. At LMU, he participated in the Omega Chi fraternity, Student National Education Association, and was president of his senior class. He also played baseball for the Railsplitters. He earned his Master of Arts in education at Ball State University in 1977. He taught and coached at Glen Estes School Corporation and Mississinewa School Corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio, worked for Indiana Wesleyan University as pitching and recruiting coordinator and served as director of Three-Way Recreation in Gas City, Jonesboro and Mill Township, Indiana.
Benny Powers (’73), of Chesterfield, Virginia, was inducted into the Professional Hall of Fame. Powers graduated from LMU with a major in physical education and a minor in English. He was a member of the L Club, Gamma Lambda Sigma fraternity, Major’s Club, and played baseball and intramurals for the Railsplitters. He was a Virginia State Police Trooper from 1973 to 2012. Powers was active in Special Olympics and Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is involved with Trap/Neuter/Release TNR for feral cats in his neighborhood. He coordinated two golf tournaments to benefit the Canines for Warriors Foundation raising over $69,000 for training and maintenance for two service dogs for wounded veterans.
Darrell Bennett (’72), of Muncie, Indiana, was inducted into the Professional Hall of Fame. Bennett graduated from LMU with a Bachelor of Science in physical education and a minor in business administration. He was a member of Omega Chi, Student Government Association, L Club, Majors Club, and played basketball for the Railsplitters. Since 1973 he has sold furniture for Sears Roebuck and currently Gill Brothers in Muncie, Indiana. He has earned numerous top sales awards and contests over the years including the courtesy award chosen by customers. Multiple times in his 26 years at Gill Brothers, he has been honored for selling $1 million in furniture for a year.
Lorraine Daniels Murphy, of Pleasanton, California, was inducted into the Professional Hall of Fame. Murphy attended LMU from 1966-67 majoring in education and went on to earn degrees from Northern Virginia Community College, Los Positas Community College, and Chabot College, in Hayward, California. She worked for Bank of the West in San Francisco, California, until 2011 where her titles included secretary/community relations, business development officer, commercial loan intern, commercial loan officer, vice president and branch manager. Since 2010 she has served as the founder/president of People to People Foundation, which is educating 70 children and five college students in two orphanages.
Curtis Morris Lawson (’70), of Rose Hill, Virginia, was inducted into the Professional Hall of Fame. He received a Bachelor of Science in business administration and worked in the family-owned business, Lawson Building Supply, while in high school and college. He now serves as President of Lawson Building Supply and has worked in the business for over 50 years.
Chris Lawson (’93), of Ewing, Virginia, was inducted into the Professional Hall of Fame. Lawson received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from LMU and is part of a legacy of Railsplitters including his parents and brothers. He made his career with the family-owned Lawson Building Supply and Lawson Family Farms. He is the son of Curtis Lawson – also a 2020 Professional Hall of Fame inductee – and together they have made Lawson Building Supply one of the top 10 Kubota dealers in the territory.
Freddie Hendrick (‘76), of Columbus, Georgia, was inducted into the Professional Hall of Fame. He received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from LMU and was involved in numerous theatrical and vocal productions while a student. He has been a teacher at Tri-Cities High School, Atlanta, Georgia, a professional actor, and the founder and artistic director at The Freddie Hendricks Youth Ensemble of Atlanta where he created over 20 critically acclaimed productions that tackle contemporary issues. He was honored as a Distinguished Teacher of America by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and 1998 in Washington, D.C. Hendrick won an Abby Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2002 and won the LMU Dr. Charles Holland Alumnus of the Year Award in 2012.
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educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus
is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and
graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280
or email at admissions@LMUnet.edu.