Alumni Awards

Each year, the McMurry University Alumni Association celebrates alumni achievement at the Night of Distinction event, where we recognize alumni who are leading lives of distinction and who embody McMurry’s core values of Learning, Excellence, and Service.

Nominations for the 2023 Alumni Awards have closed. 

The deadline for the 2024 Alumni Awards nomination submissions is December 31, 2023.

Dr. Doug Wofford '77

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award, established in 1971, is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni by the Alumni Association on behalf of McMurry University. This award honors alumni who have made a significant contribution to their profession, society, and McMurry University. The nominee must be an alumna/alumnus of McMurry but not necessarily a graduate. Current members of the faculty or staff and active Board of Trustees and Alumni Association Board of Directors are not eligible for this award.


Dr. Doug Wofford '77

Dr. Doug Wofford '77

Doug grew up in New Mexico and West Texas as the son of a United Methodist minister, graduating as Valedictorian at Van Horn High School. At McMurry, he was a member of the band, a senator, Vice President, and President of McMurry Student Government and the recipient of the Harry Soloday Memorial Award for outstanding graduating senior. He served for nine years as a member of the McMurry University Board of Trustees and has been actively involved in the United Methodist Church.

His life-long commitment to the value of a broad liberal arts education is reflected in his academic and career choices. Starting with a BS in Chemistry/Biology (McMurry) and then winding through a BA in History (McMurry), a master’s in marketing management (Abilene Christian University) and a doctorate in Higher Education Finance (Teachers College, Columbia University) he, of course, spent most of his career in enrollment management software. He has worked as a Director of Admissions (McMurry), a higher education consultant, principal investigator of a National Science Foundation grant, founder of two enrollment management software companies, Senior Vice President of the College Board’s higher education products and services, Senior Vice President for Technology at Ruffalo Noel Levitz and Senior Vice President of Operations and CFO of the Associated Colleges of the South.
Doug has written articles on enrollment management, higher education finance, marketing demographics, and the uses of technology in publications such as College and University, The Admissions Strategist, Capital Ideas, Financing Higher Education in a Global Economy and the College Board’s Higher Education Landscape. He is an experienced and seasoned executive with strong problem solving and communication skills. His particular strengths are in building highly successful technology and operational teams, in defining coherent strategy and goals over time and bridging the gap between developing technologies and practical business applications.

Career Highlights

  • Founded, led, grew and sold two successful technology growth companies.
  • Involved in multiple acquisitions on both the seller and buyer sides.
  • Part of the senior team at that evaluated major acquisition targets with detailed company and product analysis, on-site visits and key employee interviews.
  • Original developer and technical architect for two successful Constituent Relationship Management systems for higher education.
  • Leading practitioner in adopting and effectively using key technology trends including personal computer networking, client/server architectures, distributed processing, Web development and software as a service.
  • Senior team manager in the development of the College Board’s Enrollment Planning Service, Predictor PLUS and Descriptor PLUS, advanced data services for colleges and universities.
  • Managed the College Board’s higher education services as Senior Vice President at and then the College Board. These services included (at the time) Student Search Service, Profile, PowerFAIDS, Recruitment PLUS, Admitted Student Questionnaire and the Enrollment Planning Service.
  • Lead researcher and project manager for a $1.5 million National Science Foundation funded study of the application of leading-edge analytic approaches to higher education data.
  • Manages the strategy and operations of a higher education association of the top residential liberal arts colleges in the South.

Doug and his wife Janna Wyatt Wofford (’78) live in Atlanta, GA, and have two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren: Nathaniel and Mary Helen Wofford of Charleston, SC, and their children Damian and Clare and Jesse Wofford of San Francisco, CA. Both his brother Darrell Wofford of Atlanta, GA, and Celieta Leifeste of Llano, TX, are also McMurry graduates.

Terry Wheeler ’852022
Judge Jorge A. Solis ’73*2021
Paul E. Stubbs ’612020
Ralph McCleskey ’652019
Arthur Pertile, III ’832018
Weldon S. Crowley ’572016
Roger W. Ward ’672015
Richard Max Wynn ’802014
Don E. Cain ’762013
K.O. Long ’702012
Jerry D. Campbell ’682011
Chuck M. Fallon ’852010
Stephen K. Mittelstet ’672009
Pug Parris ’732009
Joe Bill Fox ’562008
Mable F. Phillips ’34*2008
Gene M. Tucker ’572008
Holland B. Evans ’662007
Jack Darnell ’552006
Ralph J. Turner ’742006
Bynum W. Miers ’592005
Wendell M. Tooley ’49*2005
Bervin O. Caswell ’38*2004
Dan E. Solomon ’582004
Mary Esther Bynum ’522003
Richard Cyril Stone ’46*2003
Phil T. Brewer ’76*2002
C. Girvin Harkins ’602001
Richard N. Countiss ’582000
Sam B. Smith ’662000

*Indicates recipient is deceased.

Shirley Ann Wagley ’57*1999
Grant G. Teaff ’561998
Kenneth Day ’43*1997
Howard L. Green ’43*1996
Hershel E. Kimbrell ’501995
Alex Bickley ex ’38*1994
Ed N. Wishcamper ’38*1994
Holland Hope ’40*1993
Jere M. Lawrence ’54*1993
William A. Hunt    ’29*1992
Sarah Ragle Weddington ’641992
Don Campbell ’59*1991
Paul D. Lack ’661991
William A. Ward ’48*1990
Faye Bryant White ’48*1990

*Indicates recipient is deceased.

Jerald D. Lee ’61*1989
Marshall D. Turnbull ’46*1989
Verdain Barnes ’581988
Walter Morris Baker ’631987
Eldon B. Mahon ’42*1987
Canon Bradley ’621986
Noel Bryant ’36*1986
Kenneth J. Wyatt ’541986
Alsie H. Carleton ’33*1985
Rigdon Edwards ’31*1985
William S. Hotchkiss ’35*1985
Raymon L. Bynum ’50*1984
Willmon L. White ’531984
James E. Kirby ’541983
Neil Daniel ’39*1982
Dan W. Dodson ’31*1982
Bill M. Ellington ’43*1980
Roy B. Shilling ’511980

*Indicates recipient is deceased.

Jewell Posey1977
Wilma Jane Huddleston ’581977
William A. Cantrell ’40*1976
Ralph L. Mills ’491976
Thomas H. Greer ’38*1975
Ashley D. Jameson ’39*1975
Joe E. Boyd ex ’321974
Josephine Crutchfield ’37*1974
Vernon G. Spence ’46*1974
C.E. Sonny Bentley ex ’421971
Chad Harris, DVM '03

Young Alumni Achievement Award

The Young Alumni Achievement Award (formerly the Spirit of McMurry) was established in 2011 by the Alumni Association. This award honors alumni who have graduated in the last 20 years and have excelled in their profession, served their community, and served McMurry University. The nominee must be an alumna/alumnus of McMurry but not necessarily a graduate. Current members of the faculty or staff and active Board of Trustees and Alumni Association Board of Directors are not eligible for this award.


Chad Harris, DVM '03

Chad Harris, DVM '03

Following in the footsteps of his grandmother and great-uncle, Dr. Chad Harris graduated from McMurry University in 2003 with a B.S. in Biology. During his time at McMurry, Chad was very active on campus. He was a member and officer of KIVA, a T.I.P. Anchorman, and an officer for MSG. After completing his undergraduate studies, Chad attended graduate school at Texas State University, became registered in ECG and echocardiography, and went on to complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Shortly after obtaining his D.V.M., Dr. Harris was hired as an associate veterinarian at North Austin Animal Hospital in Austin, Texas. While focusing on companion animal and exotic animal medicine, Chad also developed an interest in aquatic medicine and became one of four veterinarians in the state of Texas that would routinely treat fish.
As Dr. Harris loves to give back to his profession, he has been heavily involved in organized veterinary medicine. He has been an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Texas Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Fish Veterinarians, and the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association. In 2015, Chad was elected as a director-at-large of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association and also became chief of staff of North Austin Animal Hospital. In that same year, Dr. Harris was voted as one of “America’s Favorite Veterinarians” by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. He is also a current member of McMurry’s Science and Mathematics Advisory Board (SMAB) which offers advice, sponsors educational projects, helps recruits students, and funds activities that benefit McMurry, its faculty and students.

While working as an associate, Dr. Harris helped pilot the TVMF PALS program, which is a collaboration between the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation and Meals on Wheels. Through this program, Meals on Wheels clients who are enrolled in the program are provided veterinary care to their pets free of charge, ensuring they will remain happy, healthy, and in their homes for as long as possible.

Dr. Harris took over as president of the Texas Veterinary Medicine Foundation in 2017 and has helped grow the TVMF PALS program, now known as the TVMF LEAP (Lending Economic Assistance to Pets) program. Currently, the program can be found in Austin, Dallas, Bryan/College Station, Houston, Collin County, Montgomery County, Lubbock, Victoria, Kingsville, Fort Worth, and Abilene. Shortly after assuming his role as president of TVMF, Hurricane Harvey hit Southeast Texas over several days, resulting in catastrophic flooding. Dr. Harris was able to gain donations through the TVMF in excess of $400,000 which was directed back to the veterinary community. Funds were used to help reunite lost pets, provide medical care to animals in the disaster, and even help rebuild several practices. The TVMF was named a “Harvey Hero” by the Houston SPCA for its efforts in aiding the community through this disaster.

Currently, Dr. Chad Harris is Vice President of Veterinary Leadership for VetCor. In this role, he focuses on mentorship, innovation, leadership development, and medical support. VetCor owns about 800 practices across USA and Canada and has over 15,000 employees. He is married to the love of his life, Mandy Seay. They live with their two dogs, Burt and Blue, and their cat, Morty, in Georgetown, Texas.

Matthew Armbruster ’072021
Hunter Sims ’072021
Shawn Martin ’992020
GaBrielle Mallet ’052019
Dr. Ryan Higley ’032018
Chris N. Montoya ’002016
Clayton P. Bulls ’952015
Steven C. Bristow ’962014
Colby Stone ’972013
Lon Outland ’932012
JoLisa K. Hoover ’922012
Kay L. Younggren ’022011
Shannon Sedgwick Davis ’962011

Please note that before 2018 this award was known as the Spirit of McMurry Award.

Dr. Sandra S. Harper, 2023 Honorary Alumna

Honorary Alumni Award

Established in 2023, the Honorary Alumni Award is presented by the McMurry University Alumni Association to individuals (non alumnus) who have displayed exceptional interest, dedication, and/or service to the University, and have made a positive impact on the McMurry community. It is presented to a person who is not an alumna or alumnus of McMurry University, but who has earned this recognition and honor through loyalty, service, and support of the University.

Dr. Sandra S. Harper, 2023 Honorary Alumna

Dr. Sandra S. Harper

The Alumni Board of Directors recognized Dr. Sandra S. Harper as the first and 2023 Honorary Alumna. Dr. Harper  has been a tireless champion for McMurry during her many years dating back to 1985 as a professor, dean, and as McMurry’s first female President. She famously said that although she is not a graduate of McMurry, she got back here as fast as possible. She has doubtless, done more for the University than many if not most graduates.

As an educator, she has impacted students in the classroom, so much so that she still maintains relationships with many of them. As the Dean of Arts and Sciences, she expanded her influence to even more students and faculty. And, now as McMurry’s 12th and first female President, she has lead the University to its largest enrollment in 12 years, the largest fundraising year in school history, and the largest single project in school history and the list goes on and on. She is the University’s greatest ambassador and vision caster to Abilene and the regional community. Her deep involvement in community and statewide academic affairs puts McMurry in the spotlight. And through her personal style and talent, she demonstrates McMurry’s commitment to excellence. Dr. Harper embodies the best of McMurry.

Night of Distinction 2023

Outstanding Alumni Awards

These awards, established by McMurry in 2017, recognize alumni who have had a significant impact in their professional field and their community, through achievement and/or service. The fields represented currently are Business, Education, Fine Arts, Math & the Sciences, Religious & Spiritual Life. The nominee must be an alumna/alumnus of McMurry but not necessarily a graduate. Current members of the faculty or staff and active Board of Trustees, Alumni Association Board of Directors, and advisory board members are not eligible for this award.


Gaylene Taylor
Gaylene Taylor ’60 

Dr. John E. Chapman, III '96
Dr. John E. Chapman, III ’96 

Lenworth McIntosh ’09
Lenworth McIntosh ’09
Fine Arts

Alan C. Howell, MD ’95
Alan C. Howell, MD ’95
Math & Sciences

The Rev. Dr. Helen Neinast ’75
The Rev. Dr. Helen Neinast ’75
Religious & Spiritual Life
Paul Williams ’85 Business
Carly Kahl ’98 Education
John Landin ’09 Fine Arts
David Carver ’74 Math & the Sciences
Tim Kennedy ’99 Religious & Spiritual Life
Leslie Chalmers ’99 Business
Rory Peacock ’01 Education
Tom Turner ’01 Fine Arts
Aletha Lizette Williams ’04 Math & the Sciences
Rev. Zachary Harrison Kerzee ’11 Religious & Spiritual Life
Rochelle McSherry Johnson ’86 Business
Don Taylor ’56 Education
Sarah Sheppard Shaver ’02 Fine Arts
Tyler McCracken ’08 Math & the Sciences
Sara von Ende Orr ’93 Religious & Spiritual Life
Jason Rodriguez ’00 Business
Vernon D. Asbill ’69 Education
Cheyenne Cruz ’09 Fine Arts
A. Ray Hamilton ’66 Math & the Sciences
Bishop James G. Nunn ’79 Religious & Spiritual Life
Jimmy Stallings ’50 Business
Joey Light ’82 Education
Brady Nichols Sloane ’04 Fine Arts
Jennifer Codding-Bui ’06 Math & the Sciences
Rev. Karen Greenwaldt ’73 Religious & Spiritual Life