Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award, given since 1970, is presented to alumni whose personal and professional accomplishments are exemplary of the ideals and aims of the University and thus bring honor to HSU. Awards are selected by a committee whose members are established by a campus leadership role.


Past Recipients

NameAward YearBio
Mr. David F. Hales, BS 1966 2014-2015 Bio
Mr. René Maciel, BBS 1981 2014-2015 Bio
Ms. Tina M. (Hendrix) Schiel, BBA 1987 2014-2015 Bio
Mrs. Sue (Fargo) Conley, BS 1989/1990 2013-2014 Bio
Mr. Ivan Smith Jr., BBA 1968 2013-2014 Bio
Mrs. Louanne (Worley) Stephens, BA 1964 2013-2014 Bio
Dr. Patricia Blanton, BA 1962 2012-2013 Bio
Mrs. Paula (Turney) Edwards, BM 1977/MM 1978 2012-2013 Bio
LTC James Fergerson, BS 1988 2012-2013 Bio
Mrs. Elizabeth (Cohorn) Abernethy, BA 1971 2011-2012 Bio
Mr. Charles Davis, BM 1984  2011-2012 Bio
Mr. Robert C. Moates, BA 1951 2011-2012 Bio
Dr. Ruth Schleifer, BA 1982 2010-2011 Bio
Mr. Marv Knox, BS 1979 2010-2011 Bio
Major General Jose S. Mayorga, MBA 1989 2010-2011 Bio
Mr. Harvey Catchings, 1974 2009-2010  
Dr. Jack Graham, 1972 2009-2010  
Mr. Gene Adams, 1954/1962 2008-2009  
Mrs. Rebecca (Barlow) Jordan, ex 1966 2008-2009  
Mr. Joe Strickland,1976 2008-2009  
The Reverend Canon Naim (Steve) Ateek, 1963 2007-2008  
Mr. Stacy Blair, 1977 2007-2008  
Dr. Hilton Hemphill, 1963 2007-2008  
Mrs. Ann Smith Coody, 1959 2006-2007  
Retired Brigadier General R.L. Herring Jr., 1946 2006-2007  
Dr. Bill O'Brien, 1955 2006-2007  
Miss Betsy Brown, 1977 2005-2006  
Mr. Larry English, 1969 2005-2006  
Dr. Carl O. Trusler, 1968 2005-2006  
Dr. Jan Evans Patterson, 1978 2004-2005  
Mr. Bill T. Teague, 1961 2004-2005  
Dr. W.E. (Bill) Thorn, 1948 2004-2005  
Mrs. Frances (Fran) Osborne Adkins, 1970 2003-2004  
Retired Lt. Colonel Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, 1976 2003-2004  
Dr. Dan Yeary, 1961 2003-2004  
Mr. Terry DuBose, 1966 2002-2003  
Retired Colonel Jack Grogan Jr., 1967 2002-2003  
Dr. Gene Wofford, 1952 2002-2003  
Dr. Lynne Abney, 1970 2001-2002  
Mr. Max Arrell, 1959 2001-2002  
Dr. Verney Sallee, 1964 2001-2002  
Mr. Charles Elliott, 1965 2000-2001  
Dr. Nathan A. Ivey, 1948 2000-2001  
Mr. Edmund Nichols, 1953 2000-2001  
Mr. Steve Stroope, 1976 1999-2000  
Dr. Jim Towns, 1965 1999-2000  
Mr. Bob Tremaine, 1957 1999-2000  
Mr. Claude Dollins, 1963 1998-1999  
Miss Marilois Kirksey, 1957 1998-1999  
Mr. Bob Evans, 1961 1997-1998  
Dr. Richard Ross, 1972 1997-1998  
Miss Margaret Waldrop, 1968 1997-1998  
Mr. Lonnie Allsup, ex 1951 1996-1997  
Dr. Francis McBeth, 1954 1996-1997  
Mr. Jerry Reynolds, 1963 1996-1997  
Mr. John Clayton, 1964 1995-1996  
Mr. Dale Coody, 1959 1995-1996  
Mr. Tom Womble, 1965 1995-1996  
Mr. Jaylon Fincannon, 1968 1994-1995  
Mr. Lewis Stephens, 1952 1994-1995  
Dr. Marijohn Melson Wilkin, 1940 1994-1995  
Mrs. Judy Malone Finch, 1966 1993-1994  
Mr. Fred McNab, 1976 1993-1994  
Dr. Fred E. Aurbach, 1966 1992-1993  
Mr. Robert Holladay, 1962 1992-1993  
Miss Frances Carol Knight 1992-1993  
Dr. Truett Latimer, 1951 1991-1992  
Mrs. Linda Loutherback Putnam, 1967 1991-1992  
Mr. Joseph Garrison, 1949 1990-1991  
Mrs. Mary J. Curtis Island, 1971 1990-1991  
Colonel Bryan Shelburne Jr., 1965 1990-1991  
Mr. Joseph Archer Gibson, 1924 1989-1990  
Mr. William (Bill) T. Morgan, 1948 1989-1990  
Mrs. Dellana West O'Brien, 1953 1989-1990  
Mrs. Maridell Fisher Fryar, 1957 1988-1989  
Mr. Charles Tandy, 1949 1988-1989  
Mr. David Wong, 1954 1988-1989  
Mrs. Nancy Sample Garms, 1960 1987-1988  
Mr. Elbert E. Hall, 1931 1987-1988  
Mrs. Elizabeth Junell Baugh, 1936 1986-1987  
Dr. Bryce Jordan, 1942 1986-1987  
Mrs. Helen Jean Bond Parks, 1948 1986-1987  
Mr. William Gaddis, 1938 1985-1986  
Mr. Charles McLaughlin, 1957 1985-1986  
Dr. Betty Pearce Stephenson, 1947 1985-1986  
Mr. Nelson H. Dyess, 1951 1984-1985  
Dr. James Flamming, 1955 1984-1985  
Mr. A.B. Foster Jr., 1947 1984-1985  
Mr. D. Dale Haralson, 1959 1983-1984  
Dr. David S. "Scotty" Holland, 1950 1983-1984  
Mr. Kenneth T. Whitescarver, 1942 1983-1984  
Dr. Hollis E. Bivens, 1948 1982-1983  
Mr. Doyle E. Larson, 1962 1982-1983  
Retired Brigadier General Jack T. Martin, 1948 1982-1983  
Mr. Guy Caldwell, 1927 1981-1982  
Mrs. Jeannette Tippitt Caldwell, 1928 1981-1982  
Miss Aletha Fuller, 1945 1981-1982  
Mr. Jack R. Taylor, 1953 1981-1982  
Mr. Joseph H. Arnette, 1953 1979-1980  
Dr. Claude A. Hicks, 1955 1979-1980  
Mr. Fred R. Higginbotham, 1948 1979-1980  
Mr. Gordon Wood, 1938 1978-1979  
Mrs. Magnolia Starks McCullough, 1967 1978-1979  
Mr. Jeter D. Fulbright, Jr., 1972 1978-1979  
Mrs. Virginia Dale Moore, 1948 1977-1978  
Mr. Glen Burroughs, 1949 1977-1978  
Dr. Conrad Ramsey Lam, 1927 1977-1978  
Mr. Fred Earl Ingerson, 1928 1976-1977  
Dr. Zollie Steakley, 1929 1976-1977  
Mr. Darold Hugh Morgan, 1944 1976-1977  
Mr. John Hanna Brewer, 1930 1975-1976  
Mr. Joe Wright Burton, 1929 1975-1976  
Mr. James Nathan Tidwell, 1929 1975-1976  
Mrs. Maye Bell Taylor, 1929 1974-1975  
Mr. William T. Reid, 1926 1974-1975  
Dr. W. Hines Sims, 1928 1974-1975  
Dr. Virginia Boyd Connally, 1933 1973-1974  
Mr. T. Burns McKinney, 1938 1973-1974  
Mr. Willie (Bill) L. Scott, 1947 1973-1974  
Miss Elizabeth F. Riley, 1929 1972-1973  
Mr. George H. Mahon, 1924 1972-1973  
Mr. C. Moxley Featherston, 1948 1972-1973  
Mr. Warren C. Hultgren, 1947 1971-1972  
Dr. Dossie M. Wiggins, 1919 1971-1972  
Mr. John Leland Atwood, 1926 1970-1971  
Mr. Byron E. Pollock, 1929 1970-1971  
Mr. Rupert N. Richardson, 1912 1970-1971  

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2014-2015 Recipient(s)

David HalesMr. David F. Hales
B.S. 1966, Political Science
Diplomat & Education Administrator

David Hales serves as President and CEO of Second Nature, the Boston-based advocacy organization committed to promoting sustainability through higher education. He was previously president of College of the Atlantic. Under his leadership, COA doubled its endowment and was widely recognized for its educational excellence and sustainability leadership. As a diplomat, Hales has represented the U.S. in numerous intergovernmental negotiations, and was the first American to serve as Chair of the World Heritage Convention.

At HSU, he was active in student government, lettered in both varsity basketball and track, and pledged Sigma Delta Sigma. A native of Ft. Worth, he and his wife, Barbara McLeod, share a home on Mount Desert Island, ME, with their son, Daniel. He has three grown children and four grandchildren.

HSU, in the 1960s, an environment of nurture and intellectual challenge. Significant scholars. All-American athletes. Good Friends. A good place to grow…

Rene Maciel Mr. René Maciel
B.B.S. 1981, Religious Education
Education Administrator & Pastor

René Maciel is the seventh President and CEO of the Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio, with over 25 years’ experience in higher education administration. He is also serving as interim pastor of First Baptist Church, Castroville. Before coming to BUA, he was Assistant Dean for Administrative and Academic Services at George W. Truett Theological Seminary (Baylor University).

An active student leader at HSU, René was in Tau Alpha Phi, played varsity basketball, and lettered in varsity golf. In 2010, HSU’s Logsdon Seminary honored him with their Distinguished Alumnus Award. René and Sabrina (Dunham ’84) live in Castroville and have two grown children, Briana & Carmen.

I am grateful for the education I received at Hardin-Simmons, but I am even more thankful for the spiritual start it gave me away from my home and my family.

Tina SchielMs. Tina M. (Hendrix) Schiel
B.B.A 1987, Marketing
Business Executive

Tina Schiel is Executive Vice President and Chief Stores officer for Target. She was recruited straight out of HSU in 1987 to be an area manager for Target stores. Since then, she has held multiple leadership roles within the organization, including Senior VP roles for regional stores and for new business development and strategy. In her tenure as EVP, she has assumed responsibility for the Assets Protection team and, most recently, for Target Canada’s stores and distribution teams. Schiel now leads a team of more than 300,000 members in over 1,900 stores which generate above $70 billion in annual sales. She has been a member of The American National Red Cross Board of Governors since 2013. Tina, an HSU Delta and Gold Dusters alumna, lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her children, Sydney and Katrina, and is engaged to Adam Tyler.

At HSU, I got an amazing education from some of the best professors possible. And I got the opportunity to grow up and find myself in an environment that was caring, supportive, safe, and fun.

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2013-2014 Recipient(s)

Mrs. Sue (Fargo) Conley
B.S. 1989 / B.S. 1990
Healthcare Professional

Sue Conley started her career as medical technologist and is now a much-respected healthcare leader. In October 2012, Sue became CEO of both DeKalb Community Hospital, Smithville, TN, and Stones River Hospital, Woodbury, TN.

Conley holds a master's degree from Trinity University. From there, she moved to different hospitals, primarily working for the same company for 14 years.

She most previously served as CEO for Summit Medical Center in Van Buren, AR, where, among her many accomplishments, she implemented new wound care services with a projected first-year revenue of $297,000 plus spin-off revenue of $376,000.  Prior to this, Conley served at CEO at Mesa Vista Regional Hospital in Mesquite, NV.  Under her leadership, both of these hospitals were recognized as the highest quality hospitals in their states.

Sue and her husband Allen have two adult children and two grandchildren.

 Even though I was a nontraditional college student, I have many great memories of my time at HSU, particularly the great people I encountered, both students and faculty.

Mr. Ivan Smith Jr.
B.B.A. 1968
Business Entrepreneur

Ivan Smith of Shreveport, LA, began working for his father at Ivan Smith Furniture. In 1976, he bought the store from his dad and began adding an average of one store a year. Today, the company has 42 Ivan Smith Furniture locations and 4 Ashley Furniture Homestore locations throughout East Texas, South Arkansas, and North Louisiana. The company received the 2004 J. Pat Beaird Industry of the Year Award from the Greater Shreveport Area Chamber of Commerce, and the 2009 and 2010 Torch Award for Trust, Performance, and Integrity from the Better Business Bureau, Inc., the 2012 Volunteers of America Humanitarian Award, and the 2006 Harry Blake Civil Rights Humanitarian Award. Ivan recently concluded nine years of service as an HSU Trustee.

Mrs. Louanne (Worley) Stephens
B.A. 1964
Actress 

Louanne Stephens, a native Texan, has been active in radio, television, film, and theater for over 25 years. Her film credits include the role of Marjorie Powell, Anthony Hopkins' wife in Instinct, and Laura Fleming, Blaze Star’s mother in  Blaze, with Paul Newman. Louanne’s television credits include the recurring award-winning role of Grandma Saracen in  Friday Night Lights on NBC, and Ruby on  Longmire, presently on AETV, plus hundreds of commercials. On stage, Louanne has twice been selected as outstanding actress in a major role by the Dallas theater critics. Louanne recently completed an indie film, Mahjong and the West, shot in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 

The former HSU varsity cheerleader has been an active volunteer at First Baptist Church, Richardson, since joining in 1977. Louanne and her husband Michael will celebrate 50 years of marriage in 2014. They have three adult children and two grandchildren.

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2012-2013 Recipient(s)

Dr. Patricia L. Blanton
BA 1962

Patricia Blanton has led a distinguished career in dentistry dating back to her first faculty appointment in 1967. Most recently, she became president of the American College of Dentists in October 2011 and first vice president of the American Dental Association that same month.

The first female president of the Texas Dental Association, she received her PhD in anatomy from Baylor University in Dallas and her DDS from Baylor College of Dentistry.

Patricia has spent most of her professional career at Baylor College of Dentistry where she is currently a professor emeritus in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

Among her many honors are a nomination to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame for health and research, the Baylor College of Dentistry Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Commanders Award from the Europe Regional Dental Command.

Pat is a member of HSU’s Ex-Cowgirls, is a founding member of Tri Phi, and has served on the University’s Board of Development.

In addition to her numerous academic positions and professional appointments, Patricia practices periodontics and implantology full-time in Dallas.

Mrs. Paula (Turney) Edwards
BM ’77/MM ’78

Paula Edwards has been choral director at her alma mater, Robert E. Lee High School, in Midland, TX, since 1989.

As a student at Hardin-Simmons University, she was involved in Student Foundation and Sigma Alpha Iota. Studying with conductor Dr. Loyd Hawthorne, she earned degrees in Music Education and Conducting.

Paula began her career teaching all-level music in Brandenburg, KY. She returned to Texas to become choral director at Madison High in San Antonio. During her nine years at Madison she served as Fine Arts Chair, All-State Section Leader and Region Vocal Chair.

While at Lee, Paula has served in many leadership roles for the TMEA All-State Choir program including Mixed Choir Organizer. She frequently hosts Area Auditions, UIL Contests, and Region Clinic and Concert events.

During Paula’s tenure at Lee, the choirs have received consistent “Sweepstakes” ratings at UIL contests, sung four times at TMEA, and participated in numerous overseas concert tours.

Paula is married to Phillip Edwards ’76. They have two children, Clare and Elizabeth.

Col. James L. Furgerson, MD
BS ’88

An ROTC scholarship helped make it possible for James Furgerson to attend Hardin-Simmons, where he ran varsity cross-country, worked in the biology lab, and served as cadet commander of the ROTC detachment.

After graduation, James attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine (’92), entered active duty as an intern at Brooke Army Medical Center in 1992, and completed a residency in internal medicine in 1995.

He became a member of the teaching faculty at Brooke and served as CCU medical director and asst. chief of the cardiology service before becoming the fellowship program director in 2004, the position he holds today.

In 2007, James was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, where he served as an attending cardiologist and intensivist at the 28th Combat Support Hospital.

Highly-decorated, James is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and cardiovascular computed tomography. He is an Asst. Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

James is married to Teresa K. Lee ’89. They live in near San Antonio with their children Jase (19) and Meredith (17).

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2011-2012 Recipient(s)

Mrs. Elizabeth (Cohorn) AbernethyMrs. Elizabeth (Cohorn) Abernethy
BA 1971

Since her days as a rookie teacher for Hamilton ISD, Beth Abernethy has invested 41 years of her life as an educator, with 23 of those years spent in Administration.

Beginning in 2002, Beth has served as executive director of the Region VII Education Service Center. Based in Kilgore, Texas, Region VII encompasses 17 countries. Beth was just the third female awarded this role with any of the 20 Education Service Centers since their inception in 1967.

Beth (MSEd University of Central Arkansas) holds both a Lifetime Texas Superintendent and Principal certificate. She was a finalist for the Texas Association of School Boards 2002 Superintendent of the Year Award.

At HSU, Beth was a member of Alpha Chi, Delta Social Club, and Student Congress. She is married to Nathan Abernethy '71. Their son Barrett '07 is a newly-minted member of HSU's Board of Young Associates.

Contact Beth at eabernethy@aol.com

Mr. Charles DavisMr. Charles Davis
BM 1984

In June of 1999, Chuck Davis joined the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer. Since then he has served in Hong Kong, Beijing, London, Amman, and Singapore. He has held positions in Political/Economic affairs, Consular affairs, Management, and served as the Deputy Director of the Iraq Support Unit in Amman, Jordan. He currently works in Management at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Previously, Chuck enjoyed over nine years as a Baptist Student Ministries Director following two years as Minister of Youth and Music for Calvary International Baptist Church in Taipei, Taiwan.

At Hardin-Simmons University, Chuck was active in Phi Mu Alpha, Baptist Student Ministries (BSU) and Cowboy Band.

Chuck is married to HSU alumna Elaine Martin Davis, class of 1983, an Abilene native and licensed Social Worker. They have two children, Daniel (19) and Allison (16).

Contact Chuck at diplodad@yahoo.com

Mr. Robert C. MoatesMr. Robert C. Moates
BA 1951

WWII veteran Bob Moates worked for 20 years as an executive with Palmer Broadcasting Company (Cable TV Division), the predecessor to Comcast Cable, in Naples, Florida. Following his retirement in 1987 as vice president of the company's board of directors, Bob became a Realtor.

Bob also worked energetically with a wide variety of service and professional organizations including a stint as president of the Naples Chamber of Commerce. As a charity auctioneer, he helped raise over $11 million for various groups.

Since 1978, Bob and his wife Jane (Rowland '51X) have donated over 13,000 pairs of sneakers to children in need. In 2006, Bob was named Naples' Outstanding Citizen of the Year and was invited to Washington, D.C., to receive the Jefferson Award for Public Service.

As an HSU student, Bob served as business manager of the Brand, as Vice President of the Student Body, and helped found the HSU Rangers organization.

Contact Bob at auxshunear@aol.com

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2010-2011 Recipient(s)

Dr. Ruth SchleiferDr. Ruth Schleifer
BA 1982

Ruth Schleifer is a solo medical practitioner, specializing in Obstetrics & Gynecology. In 2000, she opened her West Hartford, CT, private practice, WomanCare.

Dr. Schleifer was the first female elected to the PHO Board of Directors at St. Francis Hospital and is currently serving her third term. She is also on the peer review committee for Women and Infants. She served her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford 1990-1994.

More recently, Ruth attended the University of Connecticut School of Law, 2000-2004, and passed her Bar Exam (on the first try) in 2005.

She has two medical publications to her credit, and has participated in four Surgical Mission trips to the Dominican Republic with Medical Missions International.

While a student at HSU, Ruth was active in Delta Zeta Chi social club, among other organizations.

Mr. Marv KnoxMr. Marv Knox
BS 1979

Marv Knox is editor of the Baptist Standard, newspaper of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, a position he’s held since January 1999 after serving for three years as associate editor.

Mr. Knox’s writing and editing have been honored with awards from the Dallas Press Club, the Religious Public Relations Council and the Baptist Communicators’ Association. He is past chairman of the board of directors of Associated Baptist Press; past president of the Whitsitt Society, a Baptist heritage organization; and past chairman of the HSU media relations advisory board.

In 1996, he was named a distinguished alumnus of the HSU’s Logsdon School of Theology, and he was awarded the honorary doctor of humane letters degree from DBU in 2004.

At HSU, he was Brand editor for three years, and was president of both Alpha Phi Omega and Student Foundation.

Marv and his wife Joanna (Jarchow ’79) have been active in the HSU Alumni Association since graduation.

Major General Jose S. MayorgaMajor General Jose S. Mayorga
MBA 1989

Major General Mayorga became the 50th Adjutant General for the State of Texas in April, 2009.

He is responsible to the Texas Governor for providing ready trained forces of the Texas Army Guard, the Texas Air Guard, the Texas State Guard, and the Adjutant General’s Department, better known as the Texas Military Forces, in support of state operations.

The general is also responsible to the President of the United States for providing ready trained forces in support of federal missions.

Jose earned his B.S. degree in 1977 from Texas A&I, Kingsville. He served four years on active duty with the Regular Army, before accepting a Reserve commission. He joined the Texas Army National Guard in 1982.

He is a registered Professional Engineer and, prior to becoming Adjutant General, had a 27-year civilian career with the Railroad Commission of Texas.

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