By JAMES F. MELLICHAMP
Several weeks ago, if you were having lunch in the Student Commons on Sept. 4, you may have noticed a group of “older” folks gathering in the private dining room. Actually, the room is not so very private – it’s the room with the folding glass wall – and, frankly, I like the fact that it is very bright and open. That’s how I would describe Piedmont – a place that is bright and open to everyone.
After the lunch, several students asked me who the group was that had met, so I thought everyone might enjoy knowing what was going on. Actually, it was a luncheon to honor the longest-serving Piedmont College trustee, Nathan Burgen, upon his “retirement.”
Burgen first joined the board of trustees in 1969, which was forty-six years ago. So, for almost fifty years, he has been one of the most important “behind the scenes” individuals at this college. Now, he is stepping aside.
All universities and colleges are governed by independent boards of trustees, just like we have here at Piedmont College. For state universities, there are boards of regents, but it’s the same thing. Trustees are the “owners” of the school, responsible for its health and well-being, and they meet regularly to see how things are going.
At Piedmont College, the trustees meet twice each year – once in late April and once in late October. The entire board will gather here in about one more month for their fall business meeting.
Burgen is a local businessman who has volunteered his time and resources to help Piedmont become one of the strongest independent colleges in the region.
If you notice a sign on campus that says “Burgen Tennis Courts,” you will now know who they are named for. But, he has helped in so many ways that you will never know about – like all the other trustees who are indeed our very special friends.