As Darlington kicks off its Alumni Weekend celebration today, the Alumni Office is pleased to announce that Dr. Frank D. Stegall Sr. (’62) is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
"We look for individuals who have dedicated their lives to service both in their professional fields and their community and at Darlington. Dr. Frank Stegall has done just that," said Robert Hortman ('99, LD '18), president of the Alumni Council. "As a cardiologist, a community member and a Darlington trustee, he has dedicated his life to service. What you won't read about in the program, though, is the manner in which he conducted his service. Whether you are a patient, a colleague, a faculty member, a community member, or a young kid running around in your back yard, he always greeted you with a kind smile and sincerely wanted to know how you were doing. His kindness, dedication to service, and the way he treated others sets an example of that Portrait of a Darlington Graduate that we all aspire to be."
A native of Floyd County, Stegall enrolled at Darlington in the sixth grade. He was very involved on campus, participating in the Drama Club, Glee Club, The Darlingtonian staff and as a member of the 1962 Mid-South championship soccer team. After graduating, he went on to study at Emory University and graduated from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1971. He practiced medicine as a cardiologist for over 50 years.
Stegall served the Rome heath care community for many years and helped thousands of people. He has received numerous awards from the medical community throughout his career, including the Cardiology Leadership Award, CCMN Cardiologist of the Year, Best Practices Physician and the esteemed HCA Frist Humanitarian Award.
In addition to his service to the medical community, Stegall is a graduate of the Rome Floyd Chamber’s Leadership Rome program and served on the Board of United Community Bank in Rome and, for over 20 years, on Darlington School’s Board of Trustees. He was chairman of Darlington’s Board during the school’s historic Second Century Campaign, which raised over $90 million. Today, Stegall serves as a Life Trustee and is a member of the J. J. Darlington Society as well as the J. Daniel Hanks Sr. (‘27) Heritage Society.
"I do not feel worthy of this recognition but I am grateful to receive it," said Stegall in his address to Upper School students. "The values today taught at this school are the same values that were taught to us in the 50s and 60s. Years from now, you will look back and say, 'Darlington did a great thing for me and I really appreciate what it did.' I ask you to do three things when you have that 'a-ha' moment. The first is to thank your teachers and your coaches. Your success and the gratitude for their role in it is the gasoline that drives their engine. It's why they're here.
"The second thing I would ask you to do is to thank your parents for the sacrifice for sending you here," he continued. "Many of them struggle mightily to provide this opportunity for you ... And the third thing I would like for you to do is to pay your appreciation forward. All of the buildings and facilities and scholarships that you've enjoyed here were gifts -- gifts given by grateful, loving alums who donated to the school to ensure its availability for future generations. As a Darlington alum, you will bear that responsibility as well ... Darlington will need your time, your talent, and your treasure."
The Stegall family has a long legacy at Darlington. Frank's father, Jo H. Stegall (‘24), and brother, Dr. Jo H. Stegall Jr. (‘51) are fellow alumni. He and his wife, Rebecca, have three children who graduated from Darlington, Maury (Stegall) Hitchcock (’00), Frank Stegall Jr. (’02) and Blair (Stegall) Bowden (’03). The Stegalls have five grandchildren, Frank (’32) and Oliver (’35) Stegall, Charlie and Helen Hitchcock, and Elizabeth Bowden.
Click here to see a photo gallery from Darlington Celebration, where the award was presented.