Alumni Breakfast - 8:30AM Saturday, November 2, 2002

Eight men of God who sought to form a brotherhood of Christian excellence started Upsilon Xi on September 26, 1962. Never would they have imagined at the time that what they were putting into motion would effect generations of Godly men and affect many thousands of people who have been the beneficiaries of Upsilon's many prayers, service projects, and gifts of benevolence. Several of the original members were on hand for the event as well as many of the early members.

Heritage & Horizon was the theme of Upsilon Xi's 40th Anniversary, which as the title states, focused both on the rich and deep history of Upsilon's past as well as the bright expectations of Upsilon's future. Over 225 Upsilon alumni and members attended the breakfast, which resembled a "who's who" of the medical, legal, spiritual, and professional ranks. In the middle of the room was a round table labeled "spokes," at which sat several members of the original club. Each decade had a series of tables, which radiated outward from the middle table.

Even a panorama view could not show all of the alumni who were present (click to zoom)

Before the breakfast began, Lee University President Paul Conn dropped by to say a few words to the members. Obviously impressed by the accomplishment of excellence, Dr. Conn stated, "I am reminded once again of what tremendous campus leadership the members of this group have provided. Upsilon leadership, throughout its history, has been comprised of the most outstanding leaders on our campus. That certainly hasn't changed . . .For those guys who are here, who are current members, you have no way fully to appreciate what a great tradition you have inherited in Upsilon Xi. I want you to know how much I respect and admire the tradition of this group . . .Congratulations on your fortieth Anniversary."

Dr. Conn was warmly received by Upsilon

The Alumni Breakfast was moderated by current Upsilon Xi Alumni Association President Dan Boling. Dan opened the breakfast with a word of prayer and a few brief remarks. Dan drew attention to Junus Fulbright and led the club in a moment of silence in remembrance of his passing. Dan then dismissed the club to begin breakfast, which alumni enjoyed in order of their seniority.

Current UXAA President Dan Boling

Dr. Duran Palmertree congratulated Upsilon on 40 years of excellence, achievement, service, and brotherhood to Lee University

Duran is always quick to enjoy a laugh

Dr. Duran Palmertree, the original president of Upsilon was the first speaker who addressed the crowd. The following are some excerpts from his speech:

"This is an awesome sight. I suppose that you start with things like, "who would have ever thought it 40 years ago?. . .Doug Leroy shared with me a letter that I written in 1965. Now, I do not have the gift of prophesy. But, I had indicated that by 1975, Mr. Junus Fulbright would be the Director of Evangelism and Home Missions for the Church of God; and he was. I also indicated that (by 1975) Dr. Leroy would be the superintendent or overseer of the Church of God missions in Africa. I (was correct, but) simply missed the continent."

"We have accomplished far more than maybe many of us even realized we would. But you are a realization from a lot of us who felt that with vision and dream and God's help, truly as the scriptures indicate, ALL things are possible. There is nothing that you and God cannot do together."

"Upsilon always had leaders and leadership flowed from Upsilon, because that is the nature of who we are. I'm proud of that."

"We were chosen because someone loved us. I know that scripture. We did not choose Christ, but Christ chose us . . . If we loose that, Upsilon basically looses its reason for existence. We were chosen in Upsilon because someone loved us. Someone saw in us the possibilities. They saw in us someone who they wanted to fellowship with . . ."

"It has been 40 years and for the first part of that I was nearby, but one of the real regrets that I have had over the last three decades, is that I have not had the privilege of knowing every one of you by name, and personally, and to be able to gleam from your excellence that which is a part of you which can enrich my life. That bothers me. That affects me."

"Yet I feel that love when we are together. What can love do? Love can lift a burden when it's heavy. Love can speak a word of encouragement when somebody is down and out. Love will lift up a person who is stumbling and falling. That is a part of Upsilon. That is who we are. That is what we are."

"There are in this gathering today executives, bishops, leaders, financial advisors, flirts (who said it was all work). There is a lot of success in this room today. I commend you, I am proud of you. All of us are proud of each other. Let's continue to build each other up.

"And never forget that that which brings us together and hold us together is love, God-love. Who knows? We used to think in terms of General Overseer, and Dr. McGuire is First Assistant General Overseer now (and may shortly become General Overseer). Who knows? Forty years from now, we may be thinking in terms of somebody for the White House. Notice I'm not smiling . . . I'm serious. Oh, I talked foolish stuff like this forty years ago and you are. Yes, a president, senator, ambassadors. There are plenty of you here today that would qualify abundantly. I love you and I thank you for all that you are, and I ask the blessing of the Lord upon you."

Dr. Palmertree concluded by reciting Romans 8:31-32 and 37-39 from memory.

The beautiful plaque presented to Duran was designed by Bill George and Wayne Slocumb.

After finishing his speech, the club awarded a special "Lifetime Achievement Award" to Duran Palmertree for his invaluable contributions to the formation of Upsilon Xi.

"The following lifetime achievement award is presented to Duran Palmertree by the members of Upsilon Xi of Lee University on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the organization with deep appreciation for his formative role in its establishment. The imprint of his spiritual and organizational leadership, and his vision for service and brotherhood have touched the lives of generations of students."

After Duran spoke, a representative from each decade shared a few memories and/or stories from their respective decades. The first speaker was Ted Gee who was also Upsilon's first inductee. Dan Boling introduced him and thanked all of those who had been praying for Ted. Dan reported to the alumni body that God had indeed healed Ted of his anorexia. Upon taking the microphone, Ted remarked that the only reason he was chosen to speak was because he was the only member from the 1960s who could make it up there.

1960s - Ted Gee

"I just feel fortunate along with all of these other graybeards back here to be a part of Upsilon. It was a defining factor of my life."

Ted Gee was certainly the funniest speaker of the day

Keith spoke passionately about Upsilon in the 1970s

1970s - Keith Mumford

"words that come to mind are respect, strength, pride, dignity, character. . .Upsilon was strong because of its history, but it wasn't just "history." There was something mystical about it . . . there was something spiritual about hearing that history. . . it was precious and very meaningful to us. . . It was THE group to be in and we were very strong and proud."

1980s - Chuck Ramsey

"In the 80s, Upsilon rocked! I know that things change, and Dr. Conn has had his way with induction, but back then, induction lasted 2 ½ years. . . "

Chuck Ramsey is one of many successful senior pastors who are Upsilon alumni

Kevin highlighted the importance of induction

1990s - Kevin McGlammery

"Induction was a great experience for me. . .there are times in your life when you are facing those mountains and you don't think that you're going to be able to overcome. . . and (because of induction) you know you can conquer those things."

Kevin also mentioned and honored the late Dr. Thomas Johnson.

2000s - Paul Rankin

"So often we got in a mindset where we got all geared up for induction . . .but, with retreat being restructured, there's now been a re-emphasis on being a Upsilon man every day you wake up. A Upsilon man is a man of character, a Upsilon man is a man who serves God with all his heart, and today, I'm going to be a Upsilon man. We live it 365 days a year, and that's exactly how we should live the Christian life."

Paul Rankin commented on the strong relationships between Upsilon members

Jonny Moore shares the impressions of the club

2002 Distinguished Alumni - Chuck Ramsey

Jonny Moore, the current Alumni Coordinator of Upsilon then gave away several "door prizes" to the Upsilon men in attendance. Among the winners were Keith Mumford, and Bedford Smith.

Jonny then awarded the 2002 Upsilon Xi Alumnus of the Year Award to Chuck Ramsey, the Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Church of God in Deluth, Ga. Chuck has taken a very small congregation and has turned it into a prospering local church by the grace of God. Chuck has recently led Metro into a new million dollar building project and drew national attention in the past year.

Chuck has had a profound effect on his local church and many Upsilon members and alumni. Chuck regularly speaks at camps and area churches and has represented Upsilon with excellence.

Bill George then took several minutes to talk about a new service project for the upcoming year that will be one of the focuses of the club and Alumni Association. Upsilon will be raising funds to purchase a "ceremonial mace" for Lee University. Most major universities have ceremonial maces, which are held by the leader of the University's graduation procession. When not being used, the mace is normally housed in a glass case in the president's office. Since Lee College became Lee University in 1995, they have not yet purchased a mace. The mace would "lead" each graduation procession and would be made of a dark, black wood (hickory wood is not an option), with a silver heading (black and gray).

To purchase this ceremonial mace, Bill announced a fundraising campaign called the "50 friends of Upsilon." The goal of this campaign is for 50 alumni and members to donate 100 dollars over the next year. If you would like to become one of the "50 friends of Upsilon," please send an e-mail to current Alumni Coordinator Jonny Moore.

Perhaps Upsilon's best friend : Bill George

Derek was all smiles as he talked about today's club

Derek Smith, the current President of Upsilon Xi, then gave the annual "State of the Club" address. Derek spoke of the success of Sadies this past year. He recalled a statement made by Alan McClung, the Dear of Students at Lee University (and also a former Chi alumni), who stated that, "Sadies is the best social event that Lee has."

Derek highlighted the aspect of service and shared with the gathering the many projects that Upsilon has been involved with over the last year.

"personal mentoring programs, volunteering every Thursday at the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland, painting at the Westmore Church of God, Remodeling at East Cleveland Church of God for their youth ministry, helped with construction at Steven Smith's church in Knoxville, did construction and painting during the Campus-wide service day in October, distributing food at Thanksgiving (upcoming),."

"It is an honor to be standing in this room right now in the presence of rich tradition."

After President Smith finished his address, Alumni Association President Dan Boling, resided over the election of officers for the Upsilon Xi Alumni Association. Officers for the UXAA are elected every four years. The results of the election were as follows:

President - Joe Giove
Vice-President - Bill Winters
Secretary - Bill George
Treasurer - Nick Humble

Joe shared his passion for Upsilon's alumni

Joe Giove then briefly addressed the crowd.

"When I started the Upsilon Website six years ago, I had two focuses. The first was on rediscovering and recording Upsilon's history, and the second was the desire to link people together . . . I discovered that I have a passion for both. I hope to bring that same passion to this job . . . I don't feel worthy of this, but I will do the best job as President that God gives me the strength to do."

Current Upsilon Chaplain Brandon Ledford concluded the alumni breakfast by giving the benediction.

Not only did Upsilon have the most impressive alumni breakfast in history, but also took home the most impressive award of Homecoming 2002. The highest honor that Lee University can give to one of its alumni is the annual Alumnus of the Year Award. This year, Dr. W. Donald Price was awarded the 2002 Lee University Alumnus of the Year Award. This marks the second year in a row that a Upsilon man has won the award and the third time in the last four years.

-Reported by Joe Giove