John Hinnant ’93, one of the newest members of the Alumni Board, will tell you that Lees-McRae College taught him to truly love learning. “I’m on my 4th professional career. I have never feared career change as I know I am capable of doing anything if there is a way to learn how. Lees-McRae was constantly teaching us how to love learning. I still read and I still enjoy a learning environment even though it’s not a classroom environment.”
John advises current students to take advantage of all the opportunities Lees-McRae has to offer, and not just in the classroom. “Take advantage of any opportunity for real world experience, where you have deadlines, expectations and an opportunity to perform, even if the opportunity does not pay. Take advantage of your alumni network. Several of us are happy to talk with students when they are home for the holidays, summer break, etc. Pick up the phone and call us, and above all, don’t hesitate to ask us for help finding a job. Also, find a civic club, a cause you can volunteer with. While volunteering, find ways to network with the professionals on the boards of those nonprofits. At a minimum, they’ll give you a good reference down the road if you make a good impression.”
John has so many great memories from his time at Lees-McRae. He is most fond of the close friendships that were developed. “To think we finished school before the cell phone was an accessory, and way before social media and we are still such close friends. The snowball fights on Tate Lawn were always epic.”
He also feels it is important to give back to Lees-McRae. “To borrow or paraphrase former President John F. Kennedy, 'If we don’t, who will?' Those that have benefitted from the Lees-McRae experience must invest to ensure that future generations can receive the same benefit. Many before us gave, and we benefitted greatly. I don’t think anybody I attended college with would argue that Lees-McRae didn’t change their life for the better. It sure made me a better person and I’m proud to say so.”
John lives with his wife and children in Wilmington, N.C.
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