Order of the Tower

Established in 1962 by Don Baker ’57 and former faculty member Lewis Hall, the Order of the Tower is an organization serving the College and the Office of the President in a leadership capacity to promote the general welfare of the College.

For over 50 years, the Order has done a great deal to promote qualities of leadership and responsibility among students, thus making membership an honor for a select group. Membership is limited to twenty-five outstanding students, and selections are made in April. Along with a nomination from a faculty member, students must have a minimum grade point average of 2.75, and take part in an interview. 

Members make a deep commitment of time and energy to the Order, as they are Lees-McRae’s top ambassadors in skills such as leadership, marketing and teamwork. The Order of the Tower's duties include assisting with Open House programs for future bobcats, serving as hosts for visiting groups and for social functions sponsored by the College, and assisting with the development of the annual Honors and Awards program and Commencement.

Meet the Current Order of the Tower Members

Maggie Thomas, President

Major: Nursing
Hometown: Boiling Springs, NC
Graduation date: 2019

Favorite thing about Lees-McRae: The way that faculty, staff and community members alike provide students with ample opportunities to grow as individuals, both academically and personally through classes, extracurricular activities and leadership opportunities. 

After college: I am looking to attend graduate school to become a Certified Nurse Midwife. Nurse Midwives are an integral part of the health experience for many women globally and I am looking forward to traveling domestically and abroad as a Nurse Midwife. 

Campus involvement: Student Nurses Association, cheerleading team, peer tutoring, Order of the Tower, Alpha Chi honor society, and Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership honor society

Hobbies: Walking on the beach, reading, photography and watching any sort of documentary that has something to do with birth! 

Mary Whiteacre, Vice President

Major: Wildlife Biology (concentration in wildlife rehabilitation) and Psychology, minor in Communication Arts and Design
Hometown: St. Cloud, FL
Graduation date: 2019

Favorite place on campus: The balcony of Cannon Cottage. It looks out over the mountains and is a perfect spot to hang out, bird watch, do homework, or watch the sunset on a nice evening.

My heroes: Mae Jemison (astronaut on the Space Shuttle Endeavour), Lilias Trotter (artist and missionary), Elon Musk (founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors), and David Allen Sibley (American ornithologist)

Hobbies at Lees-McRae: I started clogging my freshman year (I’d never heard of it before) and have been doing it ever since! Other hobbies I’ve picked up since coming to Lees-McRae include pottery and photography.

After college: I want to attend graduate school and do research with birds!

Josh Cady, Secretary

Major: Criminal Justice, minor in Cycling Studies 
Hometown: Aiken, SC
Graduation date: 2018

Favorite thing about Lees-McRae: The unique classes it offers such as skiing and snowboarding, and of course, Banner Elk’s average annual snowfall—because who doesn't love snow!? I like to ride my bike and go skiing in my free time.

After college: I plan on continuing my education and getting my master's degree in public administration.

Rebecca Pierce

Major: Criminal Justice and Religious Studies
Fernandina Beach, FL
Graduation date: 2019

Favorite place on campus: It’s a tie between the beautiful river and waterfall on campus and the gym during home basketball games. Both of these places are so unique because there is nothing like looking at the beautiful leaves and water while studying, but there's also nothing like that Bobcat pride when the team makes that basket.

Campus involvement: Tennis, Residence Life staff, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society

After graduation: I want to work with at risk youth when I graduate, specifically middle to high school teens. I am so excited to carry every experience and memory Lees-McRae has provided me throughout the years to come even after college is long gone.

Britney Carswell

Major: Criminal Justice
Hometown: Burke County, NC
Graduation date: 2018

Favorite places on campus: The Student Development Office and the campus post office. SDO is like a small family that I get to engage with every day! Everyone in the office is so welcoming and will look after you as their own. The post office is also one of my favorite places to hangout, because not only do I get the opportunity to work there, I also get to hang out with Mrs. Sandy who is the absolute best! I look at her as family instead of a boss because she is so loving and caring and helps me love my job. But most of all I get to meet all the different students and engage in small talk as they pick up their packages or check their mail.

Hobbies: Painting and DIY projects are my life, and spending time with all my friends and family is a must! I'm obsessed  with One Tree Hill and Riverdale! Ask me who my spirit animal is and hands down I'll say Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis).

Favorite quote: "If you had a friend you'd never see again, what would you say? If you could do one last thing for someone you love, what would it be? Say it, do it, don't wait. Nothing lasts forever." – Brooke Davis

KJ Woods

Major: Business Administration with concentrations in Accounting and Finance
Hometown: Gastonia, NC
Graduation date: 2019

Favorite place on campus: Athletic facilities

Favorite thing about Lees-McRae: It’s a tight-knit community. I chose Lees-McRae to better my education while still having the opportunity to play soccer.

Fun fact: I was born in Germany and lived there for eight years.

Favorite quote: "Each day is a new beginning." 

Tariana Nguyen

Major: Psychology and Wildlife Biology with a concentration in Wildlife Rehabilitation, minor in Business Administration
Hometown: Worcester, MA
Graduation date: 2018

Why I chose Lees-McRae: I was initially attracted by the wildlife rehab program, but fell completely in love when I knew it could be home. Lees-McRae has given me the most incredible opportunities and friends I would have never imagined having, and I'm the happiest I've ever been.

Campus involvement: SGA President, Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership honor society, Alpha Chi honor society, Supervising mentor at MWRC, Competition Rock Climbing Team, Institutional Research Assistant, Honors Class Representative, Backpack Program with Common Ground

Fun facts: After college, I would love to work for a non-profit organization dedicated to animal welfare, on the business/administrative side of things. And I refuse to own a color other than pink, but you'll occasionally see me in green and gold. #GoBobcats

Meredith Tillman

Major: Biology (Pre-Veterinary Medicine), minor in Wildlife Rehabilitation
Gibson, NC
Graduation date: 2018

Campus involvement: I am a Resident Director and have been a part of our Residence Life team for three years. I am also heavily involved in our campus life events and am a member of our Programming Committee. When I am not in class, working in Student Development, on tours, or “doing rounds,” I am hanging out with my friends enjoying all our campus has to offer.

Favorite thing about Lees-McRae: Enjoying the nature that surrounds us or checking out some of the awesome events that we host. There is always something to do!

Chloe Maddox

Major: Biology and Psychology
I am from a small town in the mountains of Georgia, so Banner Elk feels like home to me. 
Graduation date: 2018

Favorite thing about Lees-McRae: I can bring my dogs to class!

Fun facts: I’m on the track and field team and I love to climb big rocks and explore these beautiful mountains. I also live off campus. It’s great to me that commuters can be involved just as much as a on-campus student!