January 2008

Don Howell (Class of 1984)

   When Donald Howell and Sandra Sadler met as students at Truett-McConnell College in 1959, they had no idea that almost 50 years later they would still have a presence on the college campus.

Donald and Sandy were married, and eventually their son, Don, enrolled in Truett-McConnell as a student in the fall of 1982.  After he completed his degree work in 1984, Don pursued career options in other locations.

Finally in July of 2000, he was hired as Truett-McConnell’s network engineer in the information technology offices, and he had come back home to the Truett campus.

Says Don:  “I was so happy to come back to TMC and work because of the fond memories that I had here as a student.  I was proud that the college let me come back.  I was also so happy to see familiar faces here—Edna Holcomb, Gloria Sutton, George Warwick, Rita Webb, Willie Pruitt, Nora Barrett, Janice Wilson, Don Stanley and Don Palmer, all of whom were here when I was a student.  In fact, I used to work for Don Palmer [director of facilities management] as a student worker cutting wood for the boiler heating system, changing light bulbs and doing maintenance work in the dorms.  I loved doing that.”

For the past seven years, Don Howell has served TMC as senior network engineer, overseeing the network, email, network cabling, virus protection and network security.  He has been a friend to every student, every faculty member and every staff member of the college, always doing his often-frustrating job with smiles, humor and a gentle and thoughtful manner.

Don is leaving Truett-McConnell at the end of 2007 to work as Coordinator of Network Operations and Customer Support for the Gwinnett County Public School System, where he will manage the technical support specialists at each school in the system and head up the help desk. 

Everyone associated with Truett-McConnell College feels that Gwinnett’s gain is TMC’s loss and wishes Don well in his new employment.  His parting words: “I’ve so much enjoyed working with the students here.  They are just a great group of kids.  TMC is by far the best place that I have ever worked.”

Don Howell and his wife Tracie are the parents of four sons: Cody, 19; Caleb, 11; Blake, 11; and Zac, 9.  The family is active in the Cleveland United Methodist Church, where Don is youth choir director and Tracie is minister of youth.

Don enjoys fishing, reading and computers (even in his spare time!).  Giving a glimpse into Don Howell’s character, this quotation is carried on the bottom of all his e-mails:  “If God is anything, then He must be everything.  And if He’s not everything, then He is nothing.”—Dick Woodward.
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