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- June 2006 / Don Thigpen named BPC Alumnus of the
Don Thigpen named Brewton-Parker College Alumnus of the Year
BPC Director of Marketing
|Dr. David Smith (left), president of Brewton-Parker
College, presents Don Thigpen with the 2006 Alumnus of the Year Award.
Thigpen, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Mount Vernon Bank, received
his award during the annual Alumni Weekend festivities on the main campus
in Mount Vernon. (Photo by Taylor Hereford)
Don Thigpen is the type of person that loves
to do all of the work on a project and, when it’s complete, quietly
blend in with the crowd and allow others to bask in the spotlight.
This time, though, it’s going to be
hard for him to get lost in the crowd. He is the spotlight.
Thigpen, the CEO and Chairman of the Board for Mount Vernon Bank, was named
the 2006 Brewton-Parker College Alumnus of the Year during Alumni Weekend festivities
on the Mount Vernon campus.
“I am very appreciative of the award,” Thigpen said. “I
don’t do something to receive recognition. I do it because it’s
the right thing to do.”
Don was born in Brunswick to Robert E. Thigpen, Sr. and Bernice Edgy Thigpen.
With the exception of living in Mount Vernon during first and second grade,
Thigpen grew up in the Brunswick area with his brother, Robert E. Thigpen,
Jr. (Bob), and his sister, Wanda Thigpen Miller. As a child growing up in Brunswick,
Thigpen and his family would make many trips to the Montgomery County area
to visit his grandmother, Mrs. Missouri Thigpen, who lived in Mount Vernon.
Upon graduating from Glynn Academy in Brunswick in 1959, Thigpen never really
considered taking the next step in his educational career.
“When I graduated from high school, I remember I just didn’t have
any aspirations to go on to college,” Thigpen said. “I thought
I would just begin work straight out of high school.”
Ironically, though, Thigpen remembered seeing the Brewton-Parker College campus
during his many trips to Mount Vernon. After much thought and consideration,
Thigpen decided to enroll at Brewton-Parker which at that time was a two-year
“My dad and I had an agreement. He would pay my tuition and I would
have to work to earn some spending money,” Thigpen said.
To fulfill his end of the bargain, Thigpen began to work at the Brunswick
Pulp and Paper Company. Agreement or not, enrolling at Brewton-Parker turned
out to be the best decision he would ever make. It was during those two years
of college that he met his future wife, the former Miss Beverly Jean Conner,
who was also a student at Brewton-Parker.
“I didn’t officially meet her on campus,” Thigpen remembers. “We
actually met one Friday night at a Montgomery County High School football game.” Soon
after their first meeting, the couple began dating and remained together through
the rest of their time at Brewton-Parker.
Thigpen graduated from Brewton-Parker in
June 1961 with an Associate of Arts degree. Immediately following graduation,
he submitted an application to First
National Bank and Trust Company in Brunswick. It was through this job that
Thigpen’s banking career officially began.
Three months later – on September 2, 1961 – he
married his college sweetheart.
In June 1963, Thigpen moved to Vidalia to begin work with Vidalia Banking
Company, which later changed to First National Bank and Trust. In 1972, an
opportunity was presented to purchase the Brogdon Bank in Uvalda. Thigpen and
a group of other investors bought the bank from Mr. Milton Brogdon thus creating
what is now Altamaha Bank and Trust Company. In 1986 Thigpen accepted the position
of President of Bank South in Tennille and Sandersville. He was there until
1994 when he moved to Blackshear to serve as President of the Blackshear Bank.
The present day Mount Vernon Bank was chartered
in 1901. There were name and ownership changes over the years, and in 1995,
Thigpen learned that the bank – known
as Citizens Bank of Mount Vernon at the time – was for sale. He, along
with his brother Bob and a group of ten investors were able to purchase the
bank and give it back its original name. Eleven years later, the Mount Vernon
Bank continues to serve the people of Toombs, Montgomery, and surrounding counties.
Looking back on more than forty successful years in the banking industry,
Thigpen knows what an important role Brewton-Parker College played in his life
and has been an avid supporter of the overall mission of the college since
his days as a student.
“Brewton-Parker College is a big asset to the Toombs and Montgomery
County area. It is vital to our economic well-being,” Thigpen said. “There
are some who are unaware of just what the college has to offer. I want to do
everything I can to help the college and community grow.”
Dr. David Smith, president of Brewton-Parker
College, is thankful for Thigpen’s
service to the college over the years.
Year in and year out, very few people mean as much to Brewton-Parker College
as Don Thigpen,” said Dr. Smith. “He was one of the first people
that I met when I was introduced to Mount Vernon in 1998. He has been a constant
encourager, donor, guide and advisor since that time. He and Beverly are
among a handful of folks that BPC can always count on to help us advance
our style of Christian higher education.”
Roger Byrd, Brewton-Parker’s Director of Alumni Relations, is also grateful
for Thigpen’s dedicated service to his alma mater.
“The best word to describe Don is faithful,” said Byrd. “He
has been a true friend to Brewton-Parker College. This recognition was long
Don Thigpen and his wife Beverly have two
children – Janet T. Stanley
and D. Alan Thigpen – both of whom work with their father at the Mount
Vernon Bank. He has been an active member of the community, serving in various
capacities with numerous clubs and organizations. He and Beverly are members
of McGregor Presbyterian Church where he serves as an Elder.