NGU News

Alumnus Wilkey Honored for 44 Years of Service During SBC Annual Meeting

Posted on: June 24, 2024
By Marty O'Gwynn,

NGU alumnus Lonnie Wilkey, right, received the Paula and Ken Hemphill Denominational Service Award from NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., during the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Indianapolis on June 11. They are joined by, Dr. Ken Hemphill, left, and Paula Hemphill.

Tigerville, SCLonnie Wilkey, a 1978 North Greenville graduate who has served in denominational journalism posts for 44 years, received the Paula and Ken Hemphill Denominational Leadership Award from North Greenville University during the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Indianapolis on June 11. 

The Marietta, SC, native has served as editor of the Baptist and Reflector, Tennessee Baptists’ news journal, for 26 years, after serving for 10 years as associate editor. He announced in late April that he will retire at the end of 2024. 

“Lonnie is a shining representative of the historic mission of North Greenville University,” said NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. “He has faithfully served God through his unwavering commitment to being a professional journalist and a devoted Christ-follower. Throughout his career he has strengthened global ministry efforts by reporting on how God is at work among us, and providing editorial perspective which is built on decades of experience.” 

The Hemphill Award recognizes “servant leadership empowering Southern Baptists’ kingdom growth.” It is named in honor of noted Southern Baptist ministry leaders Paula and Ken Hemphill. With careers spanning global missions, local pastorates, a seminary presidency, and writing books on varied Christian topics, the Hemphills are engaged in developing resources that enhance strategic work in evangelism and church revitalization. 

Following his associate’s degree from North Greenville, Wilkey completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Carolina. He referenced the impact of his North Greenville experiences as he accepted the award at a dessert reception for NGU alumni and friends at the Indiana Convention Center. 

“I can remember a couple of my USC professors, but I can recall almost every faculty member from North Greenville,” he said, as he named many of the educators at the college. “That reflects the way they influenced my life.” 

President Fant was joined by the Hemphills in the award presentation, along with Dr. Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. Davis echoed comments he made when Wilkey announced his retirement. 

“Lonnie Wilkey has been a great shepherd of the Baptist and Reflector,” Davis said. “He is a consistent, convictional, fair minded journalist and editor. It has been my great honor to watch Lonnie Wilkey work hard to serve churches by keeping Tennessee Baptists informed of relevant news and inspired by telling God stories.” 

Wilkey and his wife, Joyce, have two children, Joanna Beasley, a 2007 NGU graduate who currently serves as the university’s archivist, and Daniel Wilkey. They will live in north Greenville County, close to NGU’s Tigerville campus, in retirement. 

© North Greenville University. All Rights Reserved. | Accessibility Statement

North Greenville University (NGU) admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.