Three North Greenville University alumni were honored by the school’s alumni association during an awards ceremony held on the campus during homecoming weekend.
Lottie Trail Caldwell of Woodruff was named distinguished alumnus of the year. Josh Epton of Spartanburg was named young alumnus and Jesse Smith of Greenville was recognized with the alumni service recognition.
Caldwell is a 1959 graduate of North Greenville. She came to North Greenville as a wee girl of 18 in the fall of 1958. She earned a bachelor of arts in education and spent her teaching career in Pauline, SC. She married James Caldwell and eventually settled near Woodruff where the couple had two children, Todd and Rovvie who have provided her with five grandchildren.
Her pastor, Andrew Shull of First Baptist Church, Woodruff, describes Caldwell as the most genuine Christian lady he has ever encountered.
“She is creative, generous, exudes a spirit of love, and has the spiritual gift of encouragement,” Shull said.
She has served as Sunday school director, Sunday school teacher, and deacon. She currently serves on the NGU Alumni Council.
Epton, Class of 2003, currently serves as minister of music and worship at First Baptist Church North Spartanburg. He conducts the choir and worship teams, leads in the worship services, and directs the large musical performances presented by the choirs and orchestra at First North. The Twin Living Christmas Trees, with a cast of hundreds, is seen by thousands of people each year. For more than ten years, Josh has also worked with Dean and Gayna Forrest of Forrest Ministries as the Band Leader for the popular Big God Conference youth events in Myrtle Beach, SC. More than two thousand teens have accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior at this event.
In addition to his duties at First North, he has served as the music director for Joyful Sound, NGU’s music ministry ensemble, since 2008. He helps prepare three vocal teams and band for their music ministry across the Southeast. Epton coordinated Joyful Sound’s 35th reunion concert held on campus during homecoming weekend.
Smith from the class of 1970 is a current volunteer for the NGU Office of Alumni Affairs. Smith served our country for more than 20 years as an executive staff support officer in the US Air Force retiring as a Captain. He then went on to work for more than twelve years for the State of South Carolina as a substance abuse counselor. Smith exemplifies what a servant is through his everyday volunteer service and commitment to the university. Not only does he volunteer in the Alumni Office, but he also has a gift to lift spirits around campus.
Photo: L to R: Jason Ross, NGU Director for Alumni Affairs; Jesse Smith, Class of 1970 and Alumni Service Award recipient; Lottie Caldwell, Class of 1959 and Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award recipient; and NGU President Dr. Jimmy Epting. (Not pictured: Josh Epton, recipient of the Young Alumnus of the Year Award)