LBWCC to recognize Thigpen as alum of year at graduation
Published 12:36 am Saturday, May 7, 2016
LBW Community College named Ward Thigpen of Greenville as the 2016 Outstanding Alumnus and will recognize him at the annual commencement ceremony in Andalusia on May 13, 2016.
“We are pleased to recognize this graduate for his accomplishments, both during his time at LBW and all he has achieved after graduation,” said LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel.
“I am indebted and blessed for the opportunities LBW gave me which continue to positively affect my life,” said Thigpen, who achieved an Associate in Arts Degree at LBW in 1988.
“The teachers, student body, and overall atmosphere at LBW made my two years such a special experience and I am overwhelmingly grateful for the acknowledgement,” he said. “I am truly honored and humbled.”
Thigpen played a key role as pitcher in a winning LBW Saints baseball team, which won the state championship in 1988 with then-baseball coach Mark Hogan.
“I had a good team. I won a couple of awards and was selected ‘Most Outstanding Pitcher’ that year for the team, and then was selected to the all-state team.”
He transferred on a baseball scholarship to Troy University, where his pitching helped lead the Trojan team to 50 wins in 1990, the most team victories in the program’s history. He was considered the backbone of a pitching staff that ranks in the top 10 of several Troy team record categories.
In 1991, he completed a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business at Troy, then returned years later to achieve a Master of Science Degree in elementary education in 1999.
He is a member of Troy University’s Baseball Hall of Fame, and was inducted last year in the Trojan’s Sports Hall of Fame.
All his athletic successes at LBWCC and Troy University are due to team effort, he said.
“It takes a team. I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time.”
His career spans more than a decade in the education field. Beginning in 2000, he served three years at Greenville High School as head baseball coach and driver education and career technology teacher. He then taught fourth grade at Greenville Elementary School until going back to Greenville High School in 2008 as assistant principal. In 2011, he became principal for three years at Georgiana High School.
He is now employed with the Alabama Department of Education in the driver and traffic safety division.
“I work in the pupil transportation department. At one time, I taught driver’s education and now I certify and re-certify bus drivers in Alabama.”
Thigpen said the educational foundation he gained at LBW allowed him to achieve academic success through the years.
“I owe everything to LBW for the foundation it gave me academically and athletically. There is nothing that could have prepared me more for the four-year college than LBW. I will always steer students in the community college path because it provides opportunities they may not otherwise have.”
LBWCC’s commencement ceremony is set for 7 p.m. on May 13 at the Kiwanis Community Center in Andalusia where graduates from all LBW locations will be recognized for completion of associate degrees or certificates.