Alumni Spotlight: Billy Smith ’12

November 13, 2015

What is your favorite memory of Lees-McRae College?
My favorite memories at Lees-McRae College were spending the spring on the porch in the Village and riding the cyclo-cross course in the fall. 

Can you attribute any of your current success to Lees-McRae College?
Yes, I totally can. During my time there I was able to learn about my ideals in life and my sense of adventure. It was there I realized that I don’t need to conform to the status quo, but instead do what I feel is right for my life. Instead of looking for a 9-5 job right out of school, I was able to take my wildlife biology degree all over the country. With it, I worked at three national parks (Jewel Cave, Oregon Caves and Yellowstone), a butterfly farm and a zipline company. LMC sparked this light in me, and it will be a hard one to extinguish.

What advice would you give to current LMC students?
Just be tenacious. Life post-college is going to be hard. There will be personal and financial struggles. Just realize that if you always hold on to your goals, they are achievable. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you chip away at it piece by piece, they are achievable. 

Sometimes though, you’ll realize these goals aren’t what you thought. As a result, you just have to roll with the punches and see what life brings. That’s where the tenacity really comes in. A lot of time, if you can survive the down periods, you’ll be amazed at how good the up periods are and the opportunities they bring.

Why do you feel it’s important to give back to LMC?
To keep the cogs turning. A lot of the amenities we enjoy at LMC come from prior alumni, and it’s only fair that we allow the next generation of students to enjoy the same services we did.

What are you currently doing?
Right now I am the head brewer at Beech Mountain Brewing Co. and I'm engaged to my best friend Nichole. This upcoming spring, we’re doing a cross-country trip out to Yosemite National Park where we’ll be getting married.

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