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.
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 a graduate of McMurry and must not be employed by the University.Nominate
Terry Wheeler '85
Terry Wheeler grew up in Abilene and is a 7th generation Texan. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of North Texas and his Bachelor of Business Administration from McMurry University. At McMurry, Terry lettered in football and track and was awarded the Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award for Outstanding Senior Business Student.
Terry joined Tenet Healthcare system in 1988 as a controller and worked his way up to CFO and CEO. He received five Circle of Excellence Awards for Hospital Leadership, was recognized as an Outstanding CFO four times, and is the first officer at Tenet to receive both CEO and CFO awards.
Before retiring in 2017, he served 14 years as CEO of the Cy-Fair Medical Center. During that tenure, he managed an expansion of ICU and NICU services, launched a new Women’s Imaging Center and a Radiation Oncology Center and expanded several urgent care facilities throughout the community. During his career, he also helped establish Tenet’s first Freestanding Emergency Department and received a Balanced Scorecard Performance in the top 15 of all Tenet hospitals for 15 of the 18 years he served as a hospital CEO.
A strategic developer with strong entrepreneurial and implementation skills, Terry has excelled as a business and healthcare consultant, focusing primarily on healthcare management leadership and strategy engagements. He has developed multiple ancillary business units, including two fiber optic companies and a landscape and golf course development and construction company.
Terry is a strong advocate for public education and is very committed to serving his community. He has served roles with the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation, Cy-Hope, Senior Adult Services, Cy-Fair Sports Association, Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce, American Heart Association, Metrocrest Medical Foundation, and Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. He currently serves on the McMurry Business Advisory Board.
Terry and his wife of 30 years, Renate, have three children: Austin (25), Sarah (21), and Lauren (18).
|Judge Jorge A. Solis ’73*||2021|
|Paul E. Stubbs ’61||2020|
|Ralph McCleskey ’65||2019|
|Arthur Pertile, III ’83||2018|
|Weldon S. Crowley ’57||2016|
|Roger W. Ward ’67||2015|
|Richard Max Wynn ’80||2014|
|Don E. Cain ’76||2013|
|K.O. Long ’70||2012|
|Jerry D. Campbell ’68||2011|
|Chuck M. Fallon ’85||2010|
|Stephen K. Mittelstet ’67||2009|
|Pug Parris ’73||2009|
|Joe Bill Fox ’56||2008|
|Mable F. Phillips ’34*||2008|
|Gene M. Tucker ’57||2008|
|Holland B. Evans ’66||2007|
|Jack Darnell ’55||2006|
|Ralph J. Turner ’74||2006|
|Bynum W. Miers ’59||2005|
|Wendell M. Tooley ’49*||2005|
|Bervin O. Caswell ’38*||2004|
|Dan E. Solomon ’58||2004|
|Mary Esther Bynum ’52||2003|
|Richard Cyril Stone ’46*||2003|
|Phil T. Brewer ’76*||2002|
|C. Girvin Harkins ’60||2001|
|Richard N. Countiss ’58||2000|
|Sam B. Smith ’66||2000|
*Indicates recipient is deceased.
|Shirley Ann Wagley ’57*||1999|
|Grant G. Teaff ’56||1998|
|Kenneth Day ’43*||1997|
|Howard L. Green ’43*||1996|
|Hershel E. Kimbrell ’50||1995|
|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 ’64||1992|
|Don Campbell ’59*||1991|
|Paul D. Lack ’66||1991|
|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 ’58||1988|
|Walter Morris Baker ’63||1987|
|Eldon B. Mahon ’42*||1987|
|Canon Bradley ’62||1986|
|Noel Bryant ’36*||1986|
|Kenneth J. Wyatt ’54||1986|
|Alsie H. Carleton ’33*||1985|
|Rigdon Edwards ’31*||1985|
|William S. Hotchkiss ’35*||1985|
|Raymon L. Bynum ’50*||1984|
|Willmon L. White ’53||1984|
|James E. Kirby ’54||1983|
|Neil Daniel ’39*||1982|
|Dan W. Dodson ’31*||1982|
|Bill M. Ellington ’43*||1980|
|Roy B. Shilling ’51||1980|
*Indicates recipient is deceased.
|Wilma Jane Huddleston ’58||1977|
|William A. Cantrell ’40*||1976|
|Ralph L. Mills ’49||1976|
|Thomas H. Greer ’38*||1975|
|Ashley D. Jameson ’39*||1975|
|Joe E. Boyd ex ’32||1974|
|Josephine Crutchfield ’37*||1974|
|Vernon G. Spence ’46*||1974|
|C.E. Sonny Bentley ex ’42||1971|
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 a graduate of McMurry and must not be employed by the University.Nominate
Matthew Armbruster ‘06
Matt Armbruster received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice in 2006, while dually enrolled at McMurry and Hardin Simmons University. Shortly after graduation, Matt was hired by the Lubbock Police Department as part of Class 2006-Alpha, where he worked on midnight and evening shift patrol as well as a field training officer. In the fall of 2009, Matt was selected as a member of the Lubbock SWAT Team. He served as an entry team member on high-risk search warrants and deployed as a sniper on SWAT call-outs to barricaded suspects and hostage rescue operations. In the spring of 2010, Matt was selected as a member of the street crimes and gang unit and served for five years, assisting in undercover and plain clothes investigations along with the apprehension of known felons, gang members, and suspected murder suspects. Matt also assisted in human trafficking investigations that spanned across the country.
In 2016 Matt completed a lateral transfer to the Abilene Police Department, so he could return to his hometown and raise his family in a smaller community. In 2018, Matt was selected to become a member of the Abilene SWAT team and the Bomb Squad, and in 2019 he became a licensed FBI Public Safety Bomb Technician. Matt was named the Abilene Police Department’s Officer of the Year in 2020 after actions that were taken during SWAT callouts and from resuscitating an 18-month-old child that had sustained serious injuries due to a motor vehicle collision. Matt was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2021 after completing the department’s supervisor promotional and assessment process. Currently, he is assigned as patrol supervisor on C Company, evening shift and an assistant entry team leader to the department’s SWAT team and Bomb Squad.
During the time Matt has been a police officer, he has obtained his Master Peace Officer’s license. Matt has advanced training in firearms and is a firearms instructor and armorer. He has advanced training in hostage rescue, counter terrorism, tactical combat casualty care, and sniper over watch. Matt is also certified in Dignitary Protection and has been a part of security details for multiple United States Presidents and their families, as well as other heads of state. Matt also has received advanced training in explosive disposal techniques and has recently become an assistant instructor at the National Center for Explosives Training and Research facility located in Huntsville, AL. In the fall of 2020, Matt became a certified Gracie Survival Tactics Instructor for the Abilene Police Department.
Matt also serves as the Region 5 Training Director for the Texas Tactical Police Officers Association. The Association is responsible for providing thousands of training hours and schools for tactical teams and law enforcement officers in Texas and throughout the country. In his free time, Matt trains in Brazilian jiu jitsu and assists with teaching children’s classes.
Matt is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle Alexander Armbruster ’07, and together they have two sons, Wyatt (8) and Logan (6).
|Hunter Sims ’07||2021|
|Shawn Martin ’99||2020|
|GaBrielle Mallet ’05||2019|
|Dr. Ryan Higley ’03||2018|
|Chris N. Montoya ’00||2016|
|Clayton P. Bulls ’95||2015|
|Steven C. Bristow ’96||2014|
|Colby Stone ’97||2013|
|Lon Outland ’93||2012|
|JoLisa K. Hoover ’92||2012|
|Kay L. Younggren ’02||2011|
|Shannon Sedgwick Davis ’96||2011|
Please note that before 2018 this award was known as the Spirit of McMurry Award.
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.Nominate
|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|