June 2008

Sandy Dilbeck Harris
Class of 1994

   When Sandy Dilbeck graduated from McEachern High School in Marietta, GA, in the spring of 1991, she and her best friend were planning to attend Georgia State University in Atlanta as commuters.  The friend found out about a small college in the mountains and told Sandy, “Let’s go visit Truett-McConnell College.”

Never having heard of TMC, Sandy’s reaction was, “Truett what??”  Nevertheless, the two came to the campus for a visit, and before they went home, they committed to enroll in the fall in Truett-McConnell.  Sandy says, “When we came to visit the campus, that did it!”

Sandy enrolled in the fall 1991 term and never left!  She completed her coursework at the end of the fall term 1993 and received an Associate in Business degree in the spring commencement of 1994.  Meanwhile, she worked for the college as a student worker in the newly-established Office of Institutional Research, gaining experience with computers, software and database management.

She was hired as a full-time employee in the fall of 1993, and while working at TMC, attended Piedmont College at night, receiving her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in computer information systems in 1996.  Immediately she began work on her master’s degree at Brenau University in Gainesville and graduated with a Master of Business Administration in 1998.

She met a young banker named Donald Harris, and the two were married on July 26, 1997.  Donald is a senior vice president of United Community Bank of White County.  Donald and Sandy are the parents of Isaac (almost 8) and Rachel (4).  Isaac plays soccer, basketball and baseball, and this fall Rachel will start to pre-school and will begin either soccer or gymnastics.  The Harrises are active members of New Bridge Baptist Church in Gainesville, where Donald is a deacon.
In 1999, Sandy transferred from the Office of Institutional Research to the Office of Information Technology at Truett-McConnell, where she serves as senior software engineer.  Her very busy job includes but not limited to troubleshooting software issues and database administration.  

On May 1, 2008, in the college’s annual Honors Day program, she was awarded the Presidential Achievement Award for her outstanding service to the college for 15 years.  Sandy Harris is unique because since the day she enrolled as a freshman student in 1991, she has never left the college, first as a student, then as a part-time employee and then as a full-time employee.  

Any college numbers among its major constituencies its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors.  Sandy Harris is most unusual in that she fits into every one of these categories.  She was a student, she is an alumna, she is a regular donor to the college, she is a member of the administrative staff, and from time to time, she teaches a course in computers, making her an adjunct faculty member also. 
   The 2008 Presidential Achievement Award could not have gone to a more deserving person.
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