The Dr. Wallace Hinson Legacy


Dr. Wallace Hinson conducts his ensemble in their “Beyond the Viel” performance on Mar. 21. This performance concluded Hinson’s career at Piedmont Univerisity. PHOTO//James Whitmer

Connor Creedon, News and Features Editor

The date is May 1, 1993, and a young musician with ambitions makes his first visit to the campus of, then, Piedmont College. Ahead of him is the decision to become the second full-time professor, clouded by uncertainty. Fast forward 30 years and countless accomplishments later, Associate Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communications is a title Dr. Wallace Hinston has felt privileged to dawn.

In the early stages of Hinson’s Piedmont career, he instructed the four music majors enrolled as undergraduates. There was also only one choir, which made it very clear what the next major focus of the department should be: recruiting. 

Filling the newly formed Piedmont Chorale with talented musicians was goal number one, and under Hinson’s guiding eye, growth continued. Eventually, there was a need for another ensemble; thus the Piedmont University Singers was born.

Most of the recruitment process was done on the road, and before COVID-19 forced methods to adjust, Dr. Hinson had amassed up to 50 music majors in the undergrad program. Many of these students have continued into the two Masters’s programs in Music Education that Hinson created about 20 years ago, which has continued to help his department flourish. 

“It has never been about me,” said Hinson. “It’s about making our students and this program successful.” 

Academic and musical advancement are some of the more obvious ways to develop growth, and due to a focused effort from Hinson, students radiate kindness and acceptance towards one another that is contagious in the halls.

“He created a family of kind, loving and supportive people, and with the help of the music faculty, turned us into musicians with a bright future,” said Kristy Lightsey, a Piedmont undergrad alum and former student of Hinson’s. 

Kindness speaks volumes and in this case, sings it. The Piedmont campus and the surrounding community feel the effects, and during Dr. Wallace Hinson’s final performance on Mar. 21, the support in the building proved this is all much bigger than music.

“Most of the time you don’t realize, but even in just the smallest interaction, something you say can make a real difference for someone,” said Hinson.

The final concert was beautifully executed by the Piedmont University Singers and the Pro Musica Choir, all accompanied by the Pro Musica Orchestra. The trio did a fantastic job in displaying the hard work, time, energy and love Dr. Hinson put into his work with each individual.

“The only thing I’ve wanted to do here is play my part in helping these outstanding students reach the heights they are destined for,” shared Hinson.

The ensemble presented their conductor with a bouquet of flowers and a card, which was only the beginning of the other gifts and cards Hinson’s office would be flooded with. While many mixed emotions may come with retiring from your life’s work, the appreciation received is a feeling that Dr. Hinson will not soon forget.

From top to bottom, Piedmont University is beyond grateful and appreciative of all the progress Dr. Wallace Hinson has inspired. To a man who was so kind to others, retirement should surely share with him this same kindness.