Lees-McRae alumnus Melvin Whittenburg ’85 has many wonderful memories of his time on campus, many of which include wearing the green and gold Bobcats football uniform. But Lees-McRae means much more to Whittenburg than the memories made on the football field.
“Matthew 22:37-40 states ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ – LMC embraced me with open arms after many larger schools closed their doors of opportunity to me. LMC not only took me in, but provided a warm and loving attitude that motivated me to become a better student and extremely proud to be an LMC Bobcat,” said Whittenburg. “Stop and think about how profoundly this attitude would change the world if every campus carried it out? Jesus summed up the entire point of God’s law in two phrases, and both of them – loving God, and loving our neighbors – are all about putting the needs of others before our own. That’s what LMC meant to me. Lees-McRae molded a foundation that prepared me for the challenges life would through my way.”
Whittenburg can sum up the importance of Lees-McRae to him in a few points: Learning about life, memories, and chosen people.
“Lees-McRae taught me that the world is filled with many different people and cultures that are different from our own. Therefore, I shall strive to treat all with the same love and respect that I desire for myself. Secondly, it’s not the size of the school that matters, but the size of the hearts of its faculty and students that count the most. LMC was not just an institution of higher learning, it was a family that prepared its members to be loving, kind, and to strive to make a positive impact in the world for all mankind,” he said. “I also learned that I can achieve anything my heart desires if I put Jesus first and love my neighbors as I love myself.”
Whittenburg cherishes the everlasting friendships and memories he made at Lees-McRae that have been ongoing for more than 25 years.
“I believe that the LMC family of faculty, staff and students were handpicked by our Lord to bond, unite, and become one with the common purpose of making a difference in the world,” said Whittenburg.
Whittenburg attributes much of his success to the days spent at Lees-McRae College. “All of my past and future accomplishments are only because of the LMC degree that hangs on my home office wall. Without that LMC degree, I would not have been able to obtain more advanced degrees; I would not have been blessed with two outstanding careers as an Army Officer and ExxonMobil Corporation employee; I would not have met my wife; I would not have been blessed with two beautiful daughters; I would not have been blessed with a home and cars; and I would not have been blessed to give back to Jesus, my family, and LMC.”
When asked what advice he would share with current and future Lees-McRae students, Whittenburg responded, “Remember, you did not get to LMC by accident. The four years you spend on the highest elevated campus in the East will indeed be full of everlasting friendships and memories. Strive to be all you can be, give 100%, and be kind to all mankind. The roads of life are filled with many bumps and curves, but always remember that if someone else can do it, so can you. Never let Jesus, yourself, your family, or LMC down, always strive to make future generations better. Remember that many of your future accomplishments will be because of those who came before you and your LMC degree.”