The Arkansas Alumni Association proudly announces its 2010 award recipients, all of whom personify the University of Arkansas’ tradition of excellence through service and leadership. All 10 honorees were recognized during the 66th annual Alumni Awards Celebration on Oct. 29 at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House.
Three University of Arkansas graduates received the Citation of Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes exceptional professional and personal achievement and extraordinary distinction in a chosen field. The awardees included:
Walter C. Coleman III BSBA 1974, controller, Coleman Dairy Inc. and football official, National Football League, Little Rock. Coleman has maintained a family legacy of simultaneous careers—in the family business of Coleman Dairy and also as a football official. The family’s dairy operation began in 1862 as an opportunity to be of service by delivering fresh milk to the community and has evolved into a recognized corporation with state-of-the-art processing and packaging equipment. The company has received numerous awards for quality and service. Coleman joined the family business in 1974 as office manager following graduation from the U of A. He has held various positions also serving as president and general manager until he was appointed controller in 2004. Just as Coleman joined the company business, he also followed his father’s footsteps as a football official. His father, Buddy Coleman, officiated Southwest Conference games for 26 years spurring his son’s interest. The younger Coleman started officiating junior high and high school games and, while in college, took a course on officiating offered by the UA. That course inspired him to work college football games. His first collegiate game was Arkansas vs. Navy. Eventually, Coleman joined the National Football League and has officiated in both Europe and the United States.
Joan Dempsey MPA 1983, senior vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton, Annapolis Junction, Md. Dempsey leads the firm’s intelligence business in central Maryland as the client service officer for the National Security Agency team. Booz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of strategy and technology consulting with government agencies, institutions, corporations and not-for- profit organizations. Dempsey previously led the firm’s intelligence business in the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Dempsey began her federal civilian service as a presidential management intern in the Office of Naval Intelligence. She has a 25-year career in federal government in which she held political appointments twice. In May 1998, Dempsey was confirmed as the deputy director of central intelligence for Community Management for the Central Intelligence Agency. Later, she served as executive director of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Her experience with the Department of Defense spans 17 years as she held various leadership positions. Dempsey has been honored numerous times including recognition with the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement which recognizes a single exceptional contribution to the Intelligence Community and the United States. She is also a special advisor to the U.S. Strategic Command on intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance and information operations.
J. Chester Johnson BSE 1968, owner and chairman, Government Finance Associates Inc. and poet, New York. Government Finance Associates Inc. helps raise funds in the capital markets for many large governments and authorities, such as Louisiana, Vermont, Buffalo, New York, airports, water and sewer authorities, and numerous other clients. He established the company in the late 1970s after serving in the Carter Administration as a senior official at the U.S. Treasury Department. Previously, he had also run the public finance research and advisory group in the J. P. Morgan organization. Among other awards, he received the industry contribution award from the National Federation of Municipal Analysts. While Johnson spends his days financing governments, his nights and weekends are devoted to writing poetry. Author of numerous books of poetry, Johnson’s most recent book of verse, “St. Paul’s Chapel & Selected Shorter Poems,” is now in its second printing, a most unusual event for a book of poetry. The signature poem in the volume serves as the memento card at St. Paul’s Chapel at Ground Zero in New York City, which was the relief center for the recovery workers after 9/11 and which has become a memorial. His verse has been widely published and has received praise from many critics and writers, including Arkansas’ Miller Williams. Johnson and W. H. Auden were the two poets on the drafting committee for the retranslation of the psalms, now contained in “The Book of Common Prayer”. Johnson has read his poetry at Harvard University, The National Cathedral, among other places, and for distinguished lecture series, and several universities list several of his manuscripts among special literary collections.
Other alumni who will be honored during the awards celebration include:
B. Alan Sugg BSBA 1960 MED 1967, president, University of Arkansas System, Little Rock, Andrew J. Lucas Alumni Service Award. A native Arkansan, Sugg grew up and attended public schools in Helena-West Helena. There his father was a county superintendent of schools and his mother a teacher. The field of education was a legacy. Attending the University of Arkansas on a track scholarship as a pole vaulter, his higher education track was delayed as he was commissioned into the U.S. Army for a stay in Germany. Following his military career, Sugg returned to the University of Arkansas to receive a master’s degree, and later, his PhD in Higher Education from the University of Oklahoma. Sugg served higher education in the State of Texas for 22 years including 13 years as president of Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi until he took the helm of the University of Arkansas system in 1990. The UA System includes more than 60,000 students and 18,000 employees among its 17 campuses and units. Sugg has worked diligently on behalf of the UA System, his Arkansas alma mater and the Arkansas Alumni Association as an outstanding leader, advocate, supporter and alumnus. When he retires in June of 2011, he will leave an everlasting legacy of accomplishments.
Linda Caldwell Bender BA 1970, senior vice president for Corporate Community Development (Retired), BBVA Compass Bank, Dallas, Community Service Award. Growing up with a family’s spirit of service and helping others achieve their dreams, Bender was the daughter of educators. She was taught the value of learning and working hard to achieve her goals. Bender now serves as the senior vice president for Community Development and the CRA Compliance Office for BBVA Compass Bank. Under her leadership since assuming the role as CRA compliance officer in 1990, the bank has received an unprecedented seven consecutive “outstanding ratings” for the bank’s performance on community reinvestment. In 1985 she started a small real estate management firm and as a business woman, she began to recognize the complexities of the community. She believes the key to being successful at the job is knowing the community and working with the people who live and work there. She is the founder and president of the Jeffries Street Learning Center, an organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the residents in South Dallas and Fair Park neighborhoods by helping to improve educational and career outlooks. The Center provides educational and mentoring programs for low income and under privileged children and adults. Because of her vision, the Center has successfully assisted more than 15,000 children and adults during the past 24 years.
Debbie Shearer Walker, executive director, Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Fayetteville, Honorary Alumni Award. A native of Mountain Home, Walker has served as the executive director of the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation since 2004. She is a former University of Arkansas student who majored in secretarial studies and worked for seven years as a legal secretary. Walker has always been a passionate advocate for education at all levels. She has put her life’s values to work in numerous ways—including involvement as a member and two-term president of The New School (a non-profit private school), a member of the University of Arkansas Women’s Giving Circle, and a charter member of the University of Arkansas’ Board of Advisors. A devoted Razorback, she was instrumental in her efforts to assist the UA’s fundraising efforts and also served on the University of Arkansas’ Campaign for the 21st Century. Additionally, she is especially devoted to Razorback baseball and served as the coordinator for the Razorback Diamond Dolls for 13 years. Through her devotion to education and Razorback spirit, Walker has made a difference in the lives of countless individuals. She has been an enthusiastic ambassador who has worked diligently on behalf of the University of Arkansas—pride of our hearts, loyal and true.
Juhee Cho MA 2004, director, clinical assistant professor, Cancer Education Center, Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, Seoul, South Korea, Young Alumni Award. A Fulbright scholar, Juhee Cho completed her master’s degree in journalism in 2004 from the University of Arkansas with an emphasis in advertising and public relations, and went on to complete a doctorate of philosophy at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. Cho currently holds a dual appointment at the Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea and at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. The Samsung Medical Center is the third largest university hospital in Korea and is a state-of-the-art hospital and medical center. As well as being a clinical assistant professor of the Cancer Education Center, Cho is also the director of the Cancer Education Center. She oversees the information and education services aspect to cancer patients and caregivers and is responsible for developing and implementing materials and programs as well as researching and evaluating the success of these offerings. At Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Cho is an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society as well as an associate in the Department of Epidemiology. The faculty are dedicated to research and training that advance scientific understanding of behaviors related to health and how to influence them and improve health outcomes.
Each year the Alumni Association also presents three Distinguished Faculty Achievement Awards for outstanding success. The 2010 recipients are:
Carol Reeves, associate professor of management in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Teaching Award. She is an exceptional teacher who has also mentored many successful students in business plan competitions. Reeves founded the S.A.K.E. program (Students Acquiring Knowledge through Enterprise), which is a not-for-profit organization operated by a select group of students within the Walton College. The business offers students the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of business enterprise operations and is a part of the management curriculum. Reeves is also holder of the Cecil and Gwendolyn Cupp Applied Professorship in Entrepreneurship. During the past 10 years, she has developed a phenomenal record of mentoring students, many of which have taken her New Venture Development class, through national and state business plan competitions. In the spring of 2010, she had one student team, BiologicsMD, take the “Grand Prize” in the Rice University Business Plan Competition and be selected “Global Champions” at the Global Moot Corp Competition, “Super Bowl of World Business Plan Competitions,” at the University of Texas. Two other graduate teams she mentored this spring, Silicon Solar Solutions and InnerVision, also excelled in national business plan competitions.
Larry Foley BA 1976, professor of journalism, has been named the recipient for Research/Creativity. Foley’s contributions to the field of documentary video are widely known and his work is highly regarded. A three-time Emmy award winner, Foley has been a member of the Lemke Department of Journalism faculty for 17 years coming to the university from AETN. He has developed a body of work that includes 20 documentaries, which have received more than 40 national, regional, academic and professional awards. Many of his works have been selected for national distribution by the Public Broadcasting System. Though he is nationally renowned for his work, his most significant contribution has been to the State of Arkansas—in telling stories through images and sound of its natural, cultural and historical heritage. Included in his works are the Emmy award-winning documentaries: the 2008 documentary film “The Buffalo Flows” about the first ‘national’ river; the 2007 “Beacon of Hope,” a first-ever documentary film that chronicles the history of the state’s flagship institution of higher learning; and the 2006 documentary “Charles Banks Wilson: Portrait of an American Artist” on the life of 88-year-old artist and the people he has known and painted.
Amy Apon, professor of computer science and computer engineering, Award for Service. She serves as director of Arkansas High Performance Computing Center. Apon led the effort to bring a high profile team of experts in high performance computing to the State of Arkansas and coordinate this advisory committee visit with state academic and business leaders. After presenting the recommendations of this committee to the governor and other advisory councils and committees, the Arkansas Cyberinfrastructure Initiative was funded through the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority in May 2008. Apon led initiatives for cyberinfrastructure for the state of Arkansas, which resulted in two bills being passed by the Arkansas General Assembly in support of these initiatives. The supercomputer resources have been instrumental for the study of computing policies and software architectures. Besides providing a service to the university as a leader in this industry, Apon also provides extensive professional service to many professional organizations including the coalition for Academic Scientific Computation, Association for Computing Machinery, and SIGMETRICS.