Mars Hill University Announces New Trustees

Mars Hill University begins 2024 with new leadership on its governing body. The university’s board of trustees welcomes two new trustees, two trustees serving their second consecutive term, and two former trustees returning to service following required time off the board.

Don Icenhower and Paula Kahn

Don Icenhower and Paula Kahn

Don Icenhower of Weaverville, North Carolina, is one of the new trustees. He is an alumnus of Mars Hill’s class of 1980 and was a standout on the basketball team, scoring more than 1,000 points. He also holds two master’s degrees from Western Carolina University. Icenhower received the Educational Alumni Leadership Award from Mars Hill University in 2000 and was inducted into the Graham County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. He retired from the North Carolina public schools as the principal at Enka High and the South Carolina public schools as the Chief Operations Officer in Lexington School District Two. He currently holds licenses as a private pilot, real estate broker in charge, and general contractor, and now serves as a construction consultant for multiple school districts in South Carolina. He and his wife, Sandy Odom Icenhower, have two children and three grandchildren.

Also joining the board is Paula Kahn of Bristol, Virginia. Paula Corbin Kahn attended Mars Hill on a basketball scholarship and graduated in 1979 with a degree in education. She subsequently attended Western Carolina University and received master’s and education specialist degrees. Kahn spent several years as a teacher, coach, and school administrator. She was elected to the Halls of Fame at Mars Hill College and Franklin High School for playing basketball, and the Jackson County, North Carolina, Hall of Fame for coaching. Kahn worked at The Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas, as the coordinator of a nationwide health-related fitness program based on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. After moving to Southwest Virginia in the 1990s, she managed industrial rehabilitation programs and recently retired from the role of contract analyst for a major pharmaceutical company conducting clinical drug trials. She and her husband, Rob, have been married for 41 years.

Trustees Wayne Higgins of Weaverville, North Carolina, and Gene Holdway of Greer, South Carolina, are beginning their second consecutive four-year terms, while Mike Cranford of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, and Mike Kelly of Mason, Ohio, are returning to board service.

Brent Townsend of Tyrone, Georgia, begins a term as chair of the board. Other officers are Anna Renfro of Gastonia, North Carolina, as vice-chair; Higgins as treasurer; and Paul Powell of Greensboro, North Carolina, as secretary.

The Mars Hill University Board of Trustees is the governing body of the institution. It approves all major policy decisions, adopts the official budgets of the university, and conducts other matters of university business. It is composed of 32 members who serve in staggered four-year terms.