When Rodger Naugle attended Bryan, the motto Christ Above All meant little to him because he was not a Christian. He earned his degree in Elementary Education in 1964, but he did not accept Christ until the summer of 1965. Over the past 50+ years, God has taught him that Christ is truly above all. He says that the motto Christ Above All means more today than ever, and he will forever be thankful for Bryan College.
Rodger taught in Elementary schools from 1964 to 1968 while obtaining his master’s degree in school administration from Western Carolina University. From 1968 to 1978, Rodger served as an Elementary school principal. In 1981, he became a stockbroker with Edward Jones, where he became a regional leader and general partner. Rodger retired in 2006, but he continues to meet with men and encourage them to walk with the Lord.
Rodger married Mary Hall in 1968. Together they have two children, Wayne and Ruth, and nine grandchildren. Ruth is a ’95 alumnus and his granddaughter Charity is a current senior at Bryan. Mary passed away in 2017.
Peter Held served Bryan College for 28 years as Vice President for Student Life and Professor of Christian Studies and Senior Fellow. His fondest memories are the lifelong relationships with students that developed over the years. His career includes Administrator/Headmaster at North Hills Christian School, Salisbury, NC; Dean of Students and Professor at Southeastern Bible College; and adjunct faculty for Dallas Theological Seminary and for John Brown University Graduate School.
Dr. Held earned a Bachelor of Science degree from John Brown University, Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, Master of Arts in Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Doctor of Education degree from the University of Alabama.
He has been inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society for Education, and Chi Sigma Iota, International Honor Society for Counseling. He has been recognized in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, the National Distinguished Service Registry, Outstanding Young Men of America, and Who’s Who in America. Dr. Held has served on the Board of Advisors for Saints Bible Institute (Italy); Advisory Council for World Vision; the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Commission for Senior Student Development Officers; Advisory Board for Hillcrest Hospital (Birmingham, AL); Board of Directors for Greater Birmingham Youth for Christ/Campus Life; education consultant for Scripture Press; and chaplain for the original Birmingham Stallions Football Team (USFL).
He enjoys spending time with his family, day hiking in the Smokey Mountains, watching football, learning to play chess, and traveling. His two daughters and sons-in-law are Bryan graduates, and each daughter was selected by her graduating class as their commencement speaker. His daughter, Rachel, a writer, and speaker, tragically died in 2019. His daughter, Amanda, is an author, songwriter, speaker, and former international relief worker. Dr. Held and his wife Robin have been married for 49 years. Robin taught fourth grade in Texas and North Carolina, and recently retired after teaching for 15 years at Dayton City School. Their future plans include spending more time with their four grandchildren.
When Woody Duncan first arrived at Bryan College, he was unaware that he needed to decide on a course of study. As he went through the registration line, he was asked what his major would be. Woody asked what was available and chose Psychology, which ended up benefiting him greatly in the work environment.
During his four-year Bryan basketball career, Woody became Bryan’s all-time leading scorer with a total of 2,194 points. He averaged 20.2 points, 46% field goals, 76% free throws, 4.2 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game. The most points he scored in one game was 42. In addition to being named Bryan’s MVP for three seasons, Woody was on the Southern Christian Athletic Conference (SCAC) All Conference and/or All Tournament Teams all four seasons.
Woody graduated in 1974 and began his work career at the Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 1985, Woody was transferred to the National Security He held many positions during his 40 years of service and retired in 2014. Woody has been married to his wife, Peggy, for 17 years and currently resides in Kingston, Tennessee. He has two children, Jared and Kandi, and a stepson, Brian, as well as five grandchildren.
Alison Williams describes her time at Bryan as precious. Bryan is where she found her husband and made lifelong friends through both classmates and teammates. But most importantly, Bryan is where Alison found the Lord. She credits her coach, professors, and friends as being paramount to her new walk with Christ. As a student-athlete, Alison’s accomplishments include: second in Volleyball program history in career kills, first in program history in career aces, NCCAA All-American Honorable Mention, 3x AAC-All Conference, NAIA/AVCA All Region Player, NAIA/AVCA Daktronics Scholar-Athlete, 2x AAC All-Academic, Lion of Valor Recipient, and Bryan College Student Body President. Following graduation, Alison stayed at Bryan as Assistant Volleyball Coach for three years and saw the program amass an 85-33 (.720) record and win the first-ever Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) regular season and tournament championships in 2012 and 2013. This qualified the team for the NAIA National Tournament both seasons. She went on to head coach with great success at Tennessee Southern (formerly known as Martin Methodist College) and Lincoln Memorial University. In March of 2022, Alison took over the program at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, where she currently resides with husband Nick Williams ’11 and three children: Michael, Ava, and Andrew.
Reba (Arnold) Fitzgerald ’60 walked through the newly opened doors of Bryan College in 1930 at the age of 16. Her excitement resulted in involvement in many activities, including playing basketball so that the school would have enough students for a team. All the women who formed the Lady Lions Basketball team in 1931 were pioneers, breaking barriers in the world of Bryan sports. While Reba’s performance on the court was not remarkable, her appreciation for education and her willingness to contribute to the advancement of the college and its athletics program was exceptional.
Work, marriage, and family took a large part of Reba’s time, and she did not graduate until 1960. She often told students, “It only took me 30 years and if you persevere, you can finish your degree too.” She was a prominent classroom teacher in the Rhea County communities of Garrison, Spivey, and Frazier from 1956 until her retirement in 1978. Reba and her husband, Clyde Fitzgerald, had four children: Clyde, Jr., Arnold, Jim, and Becky Tucker. Throughout her life she often told of influential professors and experiences from her early Bryan days. She loved her years as a Bryan student and was supportive of the college all her life.