McMurry 100

The McMurry 100 includes individuals whose impact can be categorized in one or more areas: academic, emotional, financial, leadership, or mission-driven support. These individuals are considered super representatives of groups, including students, faculty, staff, donors, civic leaders, and trustees. The selection process was designed to ensure that honorees represented all 10 decades of McMurry’s 100 years.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M |
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Bert Affleck

The Rev. Dr. Bert ’55 and Patsy ’55 Affleck
Dr. Affleck was McMurry Student Government president and later college chaplain from 1961 to 1971. Patsy was student government secretary twice and Reservation Princess.


Jimmy Allen

Jimmy Allen ’75
Inspirational volunteer football coach from 1971 to the 1990s and member of the Athletic Hall of Honor. Inducted 1997.


Morris Baker

Dr. Morris Baker ’63
First African American to graduate from McMurry. After working as an administrator for the Peace Corps, he returned to his alma mater as a professor of psychology and taught from 1983 to 1994. Dr. Baker was named a Distinguished Alumni 1987. He currently serves on the McMurry Board of Visitors.


Clark Beasley

Dr. Clark W. Beasley
Professor of biology for 41 years, from 1969 to 2010, and a Tardigrades scholar. With assistance from other English speakers, Dr. Beasley translated the Tardigrade “bible” (Ramazzotti and Maucci 1983 Il Phylum Tardigrada) from the original Italian and published the English version at McMurry. He was honored with the Outstanding Professor Award, and the Clark W. Beasley Endowment Fund was established in 2012 by Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Turner for summer research biology students.


Gordon Bennett

President Gordon Bennett
First layperson to serve as McMurry president from 1959 to 1970. Dr. Bennett led McMurry through many years of forward growth.


Caroline Blair

Caroline Couch Blair ’30
Dedicated speech faculty member from 1930 to 1936 and 1950 to 1979.


Virgil Bottom

Dr. Virgil E. Bottom
Scholar, faculty leader, and professor of physics from 1958 to 1973. Dr. Bottom mentored many students who went on to exceptional careers. The Dr. Virgil E. Bottom Professorship was established in 2018 by former student Larry Conlee.


Brenda Breeden

Brenda Breeden ’00
Breeden managed McMurry’s business office from 1971 to 2015. She was active with the United Methodist Women.


Tucker Bridwell

Tucker Bridwell
Member of the McMurry Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1999 and chair from 1990 to 1991, Bridwell received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from McMurry in 2017. He is president of the Mansefeldt Investment Corporation and the Dian Graves Owen Foundation. An energy industry executive, his commitment to Abilene’s economic development has ignited the city’s growth. He serves on the board of First Financial Bankshares. His civic honors include Abilene Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Distinguished Citizen Award by the Boy Scouts of America, and SMU Distinguished Alumnus. He is a major supporter of the University personally and as trustee of the Dian Graves Owen Foundation.

Maurice Brooks
McMurry Board of Trustees secretary from 1959 to 1976.


Claude Brown

Dr. Claude Brown ’70
McMurry Board of Trustees member who supported the J.W. Hunt Physical Education Center and political symposium initiatives. The first Brown Symposium on Texas politics was held at McMurry in 1967. He opened the matching fund drive for the Hunt PE Center with a gift of $75,000.



Dr. Raymon ’52 and Mary Esther ’52 Bynum
Devoted donors and supporters of McMurry. Dr. Bynum served as Texas Commissioner of Education, and Mary Esther was an educator for many years. Both named Distinguished Alumni, Dr. Bynum was honored in 1984 and Mary Esther in 2003. She was awarded her maroon Trailblazer jacket in 2018. Four scholarships have been established by Mary Esther, including the Raymon L. Bynum Sr. Endowed Scholarship, Mary Esther Bynum Endowed Scholarship, Jack and Bettie Holden Endowed Scholarship, and Hershel and Georgia Kimbrell Endowed Scholarship.


Raymond Bynum

Raymond T. “Prof’ Bynum
“Prof” Bynum was the beloved professor of music and band director from 1946 to 1972, and the band hall was later named in his honor. The scholarship established in memory of Prof Bynum and his wife is named the Raymond T. “Prof” and Mary Catherine Adamson Bynum Endowed Band Scholarship.


Alsie Carleton

Bishop Alsie H. Carleton ’33
Served as McMurry Student Government president in 1933, and then later as a bishop in the Methodist church from 1968 to 1980. Bishop Carleton was untiring in his efforts to raise money for the building of the United Methodist Campus Center. When it was dedicated in December 1979, the chapel — named the Alsie H. and Artha Blair Carleton Chapel — was a focal point of the new building. The Bishop and Mrs. Alsie Carleton Scholarship was established in the couple’s honor in 1983, and he was posthumously named a Distinguished Alumni in 1985.


Maudell Carney

Maudell “Sue” Carney ’49
Served McMurry for more than 40 years in the business office. She was a devoted member of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Abilene. In 2015, the Maudell Sue Carney Business Scholarship was established in her memory by longtime friend Barbara Swagerty.


Arvalee Chappell

Arvalee Chappell
Professor of education and dean of women from 1950 to 1974. In addition to her teaching duties, Chappell served as secretary to the president before her appointment as dean in 1951.


Willie Christopher

Willie Mae Christopher
“Miss Chris” taught English from 1926 to 1957. She established Wah Wahtaysee in 1926, a pep squad for female students that later became a service organization during World War II and remained active until the 1980s. She was honored in 2020 as one of the six founding women of McMurry.


Harold Crawford

Harold Crawford
Devoted Abilene civic leader, McMurry Board of Trustees member in the 1990s, and donor. In 1973, he was named Abilene’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce.



Barbara Crousen
Legendary men’s track coach who won 17 conference titles and was the first woman to lead a men’s NCAA team in any division to national titles in 2008 and 2012. The McMurry women’s team won 10 American Southwest Conference (ASC) championships under Crousen’s guidance. Her teams have a total of 10 top-four national finishes. She was named the ASC Men’s Coach of the Year all 14 seasons and named the women’s ASC Coach of the Year 10 times. Created through individual donor support by friends, colleagues, and former student athletes, the Barbara Crousen Track and Field Endowment was established in 2015.

J.M. Cunningham, Edward S. Hughes, Kirvin Kade “K.K.” Legett, and Henry Sayles Jr.
These Abilene civic leaders, Hughes, Kade, and Sayles, came together to donate the 42 acres of land for McMurry’s campus. Cunningham made a financial contribution to ensure the college could be established.


Neil Daniel
Frances Daniel

The Honorable J. Neil ’39 and Frances “Weeze” Daniel ’38
Daniel served as a longtime district judge and was honored as a Distinguished Alumni in 1982. Weeze was awarded her maroon Trailblazer jacket in 2018. She was McMurry’s oldest living graduate before her death in 2021. The couple were dedicated, generous donors and established the J. Neil and Frances Hill Cooper Daniel Endowed Scholarship in 2002.


Kenneth Deckard

Kenneth Deckard ’68
Member of the McMurry football team in 1960s and recognized for his role in the integration of Texas football in Robert D. Jacobus’ book Black Man in the Huddle: Stories from the Integration of Texas Football.


Dan Dodson

Dr. Dan Dodson ’31
Instrumental in the integration of Major League Baseball through his efforts with Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Dr. Dodson also played a substantial role integrating pub thelic school system in New York. In 1982, he was posthumously honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award.


Fane Downs

The Rev. Dr. Fane Downs
Faculty leader and professor of history from 1970 to 1988. Dr. Downs was a contributing author of Pride of Our Western Prairies McMurry College, 1923–1988. She also worked to collect and organize McMurry archives for the purpose of preserving records and memorabilia of the college.

Bill Dulin
Diane Dulin

Dr. Bill and Dianne Dulin
Both mathematics professors at McMurry. Dr. Dulin was a member of the faculty from 1971 to 1990, as well as faculty leader, chair of the science division, and chair of the math department. In 2017, Dianne and her sons established the Dr. Bill Dulin Memorial Scholarship for math and science students.


OH Finch

O.H. Finch and the Finch Family
Finch, a Dalhart, Texas, businessman, and his son, Gary, were members of the McMurry Board of Trustees. The Finch family were key donors to the Finch-Gray Science Building in 1967. Dr. Finch’s daughters, Jennifer and Elizabeth, are alumnae of McMurry.


Manuel Flores

Lt. Col. (Ret) Manuel “Manny” Flores Jr., PhD ’66
After serving 14 years in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Flores retired as lieutenant colonel from the military and returned to McMurry as chair of the division of business and professor of economics from 1970 to 1978.


Charles Fornes

Charles “Buddy” Fornes ’56
Played football at McMurry for three years. He served in Korean War before returning as a member of the 1961 football coaching staff and later served as head coach from 1966 to 1973. He was instrumental in integrating athletics at McMurry.



Shirley L. and Mildred Garrison and the Garrison Family
Generous supporters of McMurry, and Shirley was a member of the board of trustees. The couple established the S.L. and Mildred Garrison Scholarship in 1981. In 1995 the board of trustees bestowed upon Shirley the honor of trustee emeritus, and then in 1999 the University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humanities. In 2016, Garrison family members established the entrepreneur programs in business and the Garrison Lectureship in honor of their parents.


Iris Graham

Iris Graham ’28
Iris Graham was at McMurry from 1925-1945, first as a student and then after graduation, she worked at the college, serving as the registrar. The ex-students association began a fund drive in 1944 to build a new dining hall. Graham chaired the fundraising committee, and the committee completed the campaign by the time the groundbreaking for the two-story dining hall was held in the fall of 1945. Tragically, Miss Graham was killed in an automobile accident in December 1945, and the new dining hall was named in her honor.


Sarah Graham

Sara Hernandez Hudman Graham ’63
Long-serving board of trustees member, from 1998 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2019 and honored as trustee emeritus in 2020. Graham was the lead donor for the Walter F. and Virginia Johnson School of Business. In 2016, she received the John Wesley Award for philanthropy. A loyal fan, supporter, and donor to athletics, Graham was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Honor in 2017 as recipient of the Bob and Clara Brown Award. She was and named Trustee Emeritus in 2021. To support Hispanic students attending McMurry, she established the Sara Hernandez Hudman Graham Endowed Scholarship and the Reverend Richard and Sarah Herrera Hernandez Endowed Scholarship in honor of her parents.

Rebecca Estes Gray
Her estate gift supported the retirement of the science building’s debt. Her name was added to the building, now known as the Finch-Gray Science Building.


JT Griswold

Dr. J.T. Griswold
A Methodist minister, he shepherded the idea of establishing a new college through the Northwest Texas Conference. Without his visionary leadership, McMurry might not exist today. Dr. Griswold went on to serve on the McMurry Board of Trustees.


Bill Hadley

William (Bill) “Doc” Hadley
Affectionately known as “Doc,” he served as athletic trainer from 1982 until his death in 2004. The William (Bill) “Doc” Hadley Memorial Endowed Scholarship was established in his memory in 2007.


Elton Hailey

Elton Hailey ’43
The estate gift from Hailey, a retired lieutenant commander in the military, funded renovation of the Wilford Moore Stadium and athletic operations in 2012.


Esperanza Hope Harmon

Dr. Esperanza Hope Harmon ’55
Served President Nixon as an appointee and advisor for Hispanic issues. Harmon then worked as president of HOPE Associates in Washington, D.C., an international research and development firm. She earned a PhD in psycholinguistics from Georgetown University. A former McMurry Board of Trustees member, she was named a McMurry Distinguished Alumni in 1984 and continues to support the University as a donor. She established a scholarship in memory of her friend Lenore Cain Waldrop and provides funds for a women’s initiatives at McMurry.


Genie Henson

Genie Henson
The “voice of McMurry,” she greeted incoming callers as the switchboard operator from 1966 to 1988.


Ralph Hester

Dr. Ralph Hester
Chair of the department of physical education from 1967 to 1984. Dr. Hester designed the J.W. Hunt Physical Education Center and redesigned the required PE classes, making them more appropriate for a liberal arts program. He served as McMurry accreditation chair for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges .

R.A. Hodges
As a business leader, he provided seed funding to support the campaign to establish a Methodist college in Abilene. Dr. J.W. Hunt credited Hodges with the campaign’s success.


William Holden

Dr. William Curry Holden
The first professor at McMurry to hold a doctorate degree, he taught history from 1923 to 1928; V.O. Key, H. Bailey Carroll, and Ralph Steen were among his students. Dr. Holden enrolled students in a museum project that collected artifacts of Indian and early pioneer life. The museum was located behind Old Main. His efforts garnered attention from Texas Tech University, which hired him in 1929. Dr. Holden later attributed the origins of the Texas Tech Museum, National Ranching Heritage Center, and Southwest Collection to his time at McMurry.


Charlie Hukill

Charles Hukill
Theatre professor, whose playwriting students swept state awards for many years, Hukill served McMurry for over three decades and was honored as Outstanding Faculty member. Now professor emeritus, he is a playwright, actor, director, visual artist, designer, and educator. In 2021, he and his wife received honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from McMurry. Hukill’s career accomplishments include directing more than 70 plays, set designs for over 130 plays, and light designs for more than 100 plays. In 2022, he was honored with the Founders Award by the Texas Educational Theatre Association for his contributions to educational theatre. Hukill is also a talented artist whose style is akin to Edward Hopper.


Joe Humhrey

Dr. Joe C. Humphrey
Known as the keeper of the iris garden. Dr. Humphrey was professor of education from 1928 to 1941 and from 1955 to 1979. During his tenure at McMurry, he was an academic dean and became chair of the department of education in 1963. He tended the iris garden from the early 1960s until well after his retirement.


JW Hunt

President J.W. Hunt
Founder and first president of McMurry, serving from 1923 to 1934. Dr. Hunt was untiring in his efforts to make the college a reality and proved his abilities as a fundraiser and publicist. In Abilene, he advocated the founding of a Methodist college from the pulpit of St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church, where he assumed a pastorate after the closing of Stamford College in 1918, where he was president. Bishop William Fletcher McMurry appointed Dr. Hunt to be commissioner of the new college in 1921, and he served as president until his untimely death in 1934 at the age of 59. One area newspaper surmised that Hunt indeed had given his life for McMurry College.


Henry James

Henry James
The fourth president of Farmers and Merchants National Bank (now First Financial Bank) and longtime member of St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church when the church’s pastor, Dr. Hunt, launched the campaign to establish McMurry. James joined Dr. Hunt and became a leader in the movement. He was one of the college’s founders and served on board of trustees for many years. The relationship between First Financial Bank and McMurry began before the college doors opened in 1923.


SM Jay
WB McDaniel
OP Thrane

S.M. Jay, W. Bryan McDaniel, and O.P. Thrane
Known as The Triumvirate Interim, these three leaders ran McMurry while awaiting the arrival of the next president. Jay served as chair of the board of trustees from 1931 to 1937 and again from 1942 to 1950. The Jay-Rollins Library is named in his honor. McDaniel was professor of chemistry and academic dean from 1941 to 1953. Thrane served as business manager from 1937 to 1951.


Norton Jones

Dr. W. Norton Jones Jr.
Professor of chemistry from 1948 to 1975, textbook author, and faculty leader. During his tenure, he and the science faculty established McMurry’s reputation of excellence in the sciences. Dr. Jones was committed to preparing students for the rigors of graduate and professional schools and was mentor to those who went on to medical careers. His legacy is alive today as generations of McMurry graduates credit their success to Dr. Jones. To honor him and continue his legacy, McMurry alumni established the W. Norton Jones Endowed Professorship.


Jonnie Kahl

The Rev. Johnnie Kahl ’63
Student president of the Texas State Student Movement, Kahl and later returned to McMurry to serve as University Chaplain from 1978 to 1994. With a heart for students and always with a smile on his face, he served his last few years while undergoing cancer treatments. The Johnnie Kahl Memorial Scholarship was established in his name.


Thomas Kim

President Thomas K. Kim
McMurry’s first academic president, the University’s eighth and longest serving, from 1970 to 1993. Early in Kim’s tenure, the college embarked on the Thrust for Excellence campaign to raise $10.7 million over a seven-year period for endowment and further construction. He was the first chair of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas Committee on Research. Because of the committee’s efforts, the Texas legislature in 1971 enacted the tuition equalization grant program.


Hershel Kimbrell

Hershel Kimbrell ’50
Longest running and winningest basketball coach in McMurry history, from 1959 to 1990. Under Kimbrell, the men’s basketball team won the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (TIAA) title every year but one from 1978 to 1988. In 1987, he won his 400th game as a college coach. Kimbrell was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of Fame in 1985 and given the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995. The Hershel and Georgia Kimbrell Scholarship was established in 1987 for “his impact on hundreds of McMurry students.”


Paul Lack

Dr. Paul D. Lack ’66
Professor of history, he served McMurry in many roles from 1971 to 2002, including vice president of academic affairs and director of institutional research. Dr. Lack led the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges self-study in 1989. He authored books, including The Texas Revolutionary Experience: A Political and Social History, 1835–1836, and was a contribuing author of Pride of Our Western Prairies: McMurry College, 1923–1988. Dr. Lack was a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association and honored with the McMurry Distinguished Alumni Award in 1991.


Neel Lemond

Neel Lemond
“Coach Neel” left a legacy at McMurry through his servant leadership of more than 50 years. He was active in every aspect of campus life outside the classroom, and in 1996 he was inducted into McMurry’s Athletics Hall of Honor. The Neel Lemond Endowed Scholarship was established by his many friends and is awarded annually to students or organizations that embody the characteristics that exemplified Lemond’s life — servant leadership and Christian faith.


Beverly Lenoir

Dr. Beverly Lenoir
Dr. Beverly Lenoir came to McMurry University in 1983 as a computer science instructor. After only six years at McMurry, Dr. Lenoir was named chair of the computer science department and provided superb leadership to that department for 13 years. In 2000, while still serving as department chair, Dr. Lenoir also assumed the responsibilities of Director of Institutional Research and Planning. For two years, she “wore both hats” and effectively moved McMurry University into a more data-informed decision-making era. In 2002, Dr. Lenoir was named McMurry’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, a position she held until 2010. During her 26-year tenure at McMurry, Dr. Lenoir consistently served her students, her university, her church and her community and amassed an impressive list of accomplishments and service contributions, including serving as chair of the educational programs for the McMurry SACS Self-Study in 1998, chair of the Abilene Library Consortium Board in 2009 and was named McMurry’s Outstanding Administrator in 2004.


Bill Libby

Col. (Ret) Bill Libby
A U.S. Army Chaplain, Colonel Libby served his country in 101st Airborne during the Vietnam War until his retirement in 1991. He then came to McMurry and became a professor of religion and history. Through his work with the religion and philosophy department, he led archeological digs in the Middle East with a team of professors from area universities. He also served as athletic director from 2006 to 2008, established the cross-country program, and coached cross-country teams from 1996 to 2003. In 2011, he was inducted into the McMurry Athletic Hall of Honor, receiving the Bob & Clara Brown Award. In 2014, Libby donated land to create Firebase Libby for field research in biology. He was co-host of the daily radio talk show “The Professors” on KWKC from 2005 to 2017. He established endowments, including the Iva Libby Gray Endowed Scholarship in his mother’s name and the Bill Libby Student Support Endowment for the Walter F. and Virginia Johnson School of Business, which provides internships, externships, and other experiential learning opportunities for business students. Libby received the John Wesley Award for extraordinary service and philanthropy. He was a dedicated member of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Abilene, where he served as the associate pastor for many years.


Julia Luker

Julia Luker
English professor from 1923 to 1956 and one of the six founding faculty women of McMurry. She was national vice president of Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, which recognizes achievements in general scholarship.


Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Maedgen
C.E. was founder of Lubbock National Bank, and he established the Maedgen Foundation in 1952. In 1955, funds from the foundation were transferred to McMurry College, where C.E. served on the board of trustees. In 1957, McMurry awarded C.E. an honorary Doctor of Law degree. The Maedgens donated funds to build the administration building in 1962.



The Raymond McDaniel Family
The family’s support and donations began with Raymond Sr., who was chair of the trustees and building committees. Raymond Sr. oversaw two large building projects, the Maedgen Administration Building and the Jay-Rollins Library, both made possible by gifts from the estate of S.M. and Inez Jay, Raymond’s aunt. Years later, following in his father’s footsteps, Raymond Jr. served on the board of trustees from 1981 to 2001 and was chairman from 1993 to 1996. Raymond Jr. and his wife, Gloria, continued the family’s support, which has lasted more than 70 years. The couple established a history scholarship in the name of Raymond’s mother, Ruth Barr McDaniel. Then their son Bryant McDaniel and his wife, Nancy, established an endowed scholarship in honor of his parents, Raymond Jr. and Gloria McDaniel.

Boyd McKeown

Boyd M. McKeown
Served as the first academic dean from 1923 to 1930. Believing that the success of the college depended on high scholarship of its faculty, McKeown implemented methods in the 1920s that resulted in better credentialed faculty. In 1927, he made efforts to help inadequately prepared freshmen by developing a study skills course.


RM Medley

R.M. Medley
McMurry’s first coach, from 1923 to 1939. Medley coached four sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and tennis. In its second year in the conference, the football team won the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship in 1927. In the early 1940s, a new football stadium was built and named Medley Field in honor of the coach who had carried the college through the early years.



Bynum ’59 and Barbara Miers Ex ’59
Bynum served on the McMurry Board of Trustees from 1971 to 1975 and 1984 to 2005 and was chair from 2002 to 2005. A respected civic leader, he was elected to the board of directors at First Financial Bank in 1975 and was a member until his retirement in 2008. Bynum was co-chair of the Shaping the Future Capital Campaign in 2007 to 2010, which resulted in the construction of Furr Welcome Center and restoration of Old Main. Barbara also served McMurry and the Abilene community, and together they were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.The Miers established the Bynum and Barbara Miers Scholarship.


George Miller

George “Bud” Miller
For 50 years, Bud was head of the custodial and maintenance staff at McMurry. He is a Totem dedicatee.


Robert Miller

J. Robert Miller ’51
Miller joined McMurry in 1962 as an adjunct instructor of art and shared his talents with students for more than 30 years.


Robert Monk

Dr. Robert C. Monk
Professor of religion from 1964 to 1995 and unofficial chaplain, he also served as a study leader at Perkins School of Theology at SMU. During 1967 and 1995 with Dr. Monk as department chair, the religion professors pioneered many new teaching techniques, including the course “Introduction to Religion.” In and out of the classroom, Dr. Monk shared his knowledge and mentored students. Former students are quick to say, “Bob taught me to think for myself.” Dr. Monk is a well-respected scholar in Wesleyan studies. He served as a bridge between McMurry and the Methodist church, and in 2015 he received the Cross & Flame Award. John Keith established the Robert C. Monk Distinguished Professor of Religion Endowment in 2018 in honor of Dr. Monk’s mentorship of Keith’s sister while she was a student at McMurry. Dr. Monk established the Robert and Carolyn Monk International Student Travel Fellowship in 2020.


Wilford Moore

Wilford Moore
The stadium at McMurry honors the University’s winningest football coach. He coached from 1946 to 1955 with a 60% win rate. He returned to McMurry in the 1960s to work with admissions and financial aid, continuing his tradition of attracting students to McMurry. Moore was in the first class inducted into the Athletic Hall of Honor in 1984. In 2014, his children established the Wilford Moore Memorial Flow-Through Scholarship in honor of their father.


Betty Jo Mowry

Betty Jo Hamill Mowry
Mowry attended McMurry for one semester in fall 1945. Despite her short time on campus, the longtime Methodist laywoman and supporter of Methodist causes did not forget her experience. In 1977, she established an endowment in memory of her husband, Eugene Mowry, to provide scholarships for students from Hockley County to attend McMurry. In January 2008, the University announced the Betty Jo Hamill Mowry estate gift as the largest in the school’s history. This transformational gift made possible the 2014 restoration of Old Main, the original building known as the administration building, which is the centerpiece of campus and the iconic symbol of McMurry’s rich heritage.

Patrick Munn
A member of the board of trustees from 1993 to 2003. Munn was instrumental in spearheading the Shaping the Future Capital Campaign, which supported renovations and modernizations, including expanding the space in the Finch-Gray Science Building and the earlier renovations of Old Main and Bynum Band Hall. Radford Auditorium was also upgraded with additions, including the Furr Welcome Center. He and his wife, Jan, have generously supported the University for more than 30 years.


Elizabeth Myatt

Elizabeth Myatt
Recognized as one of the six founding faculty women. Myatt taught Spanish from 1923 to 1925 and 1931 to 1969, until her retirement. She was appointed director of girls’ sports in 1924, and in 1926 several athletic activities were offered for women, including basketball and an invitation-only pep squad. During the 1930s, she worked at a low salary, taught heavy loads, and performed many duties beyond the classroom to keep college costs down. When Gamma Sigma social club was organized in 1936, she was the first sponsor and remained so until her retirement. She loved to attend McMurry football and basketball games and traveled to cheer for the teams. In 1956, she was chosen the dedicatee of Totem and was awarded an honorary degree of Humane Letters in 1990.


Vernie Newman

Vernie Newman
One of the six founding faculty women, her 44-year teaching career at McMurry began in 1926. Newman taught Spanish briefly but spent most of her time teaching in the history department. She sponsored numerous campus organizations and attended every McMurry football and basketball game. In 1985, a year before her death, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities from McMurry. The most extensive historical publication of the University, Pride of Our Western Prairies: McMurry College, 1923–1988, was dedicated to Newman. The authors consulted a variety of sources, but they began with the work of Newman in her master’s thesis, A History of McMurry College, 1920–1936. The McMurry History Department established the Vernie Newman Outstanding History Student Award in 1983, and in 1984 the Women of McMurry gave her its first Trailblazer Award during Women’s History Week.


C.B. Oates
A prominent Abilene contractor and civic leader who attended McMurry. His buildings are seen across campus, including the remodel of President’s Hall; construction of Gold Star Residence Hall, Iris Graham Dining Hall, Maedgen Administration Building, and Finch-Gray Science Building; and completion of the Bynum Band Hall. The veteran’s housing village, which is now occupied by the baseball and softball fields, was also built by Oates.


Mark Odom

Mark Odom ’82
Worked for the university from 1982 to 2022 as McMurry’s first security officer; he was also football manager. Odom has been a loyal donor to the University for over 35 years. He is also an unofficial historian of McMurry — if you need to know where to find something, ask Odom.


Hann Ollison

Hann Ollison ’10
Ollison had a remarkable track and field career at McMurry and helped to elevate one of the NCAA Division III’s top programs to national success. He lettered four seasons from 2006 to 2009 and became a 17-time All-American. His six NCAA Division III national championships included two wins in the 4×100 relay, two wins in the indoor 400 meter dash, and two wins in the outdoor 400 meter dash. Ollison was instrumental in the program’s first-ever national championship, with the team finishing first overall in 2008. His five school records still stand today, including the indoor 200 meter (22.04), the outdoor 400 meter (46.40), and three different relays. He was inducted into the McMurry Athletic Hall of Honor in 2021.


Pug Parris

Dr. Pug Parris ’73
A McMurry campus leader during her student days and professor of kinesiology for 42 years. Dr. Parris’ historical knowledge of McMurry is legendary, and she is known as the champion of the iris garden. Dr. Parris was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Honor in 2003. She received the Cross & Flame Award in 2003 and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009. The Pug Parris Classic, an area women’s basketball tournament, is named in her honor. Dr. Parris is well known in the Abilene area for the many years she taught aerobics classes to the public. She worked hard to garner support for the Centennial Iris Garden in 2022, and many of the varieties of irises in the garden were replanted from her personal collection. The Dr. Pug Deavenport Parris Endowed Scholarship was established in 2012 in her honor.


Harvey Pinner

Harvey Pinner ’39
Maintenance director for 19 years. During this time, Pinner was at the nerve center of the most progressive period in the history of the school. The 1958 Totem was dedicated to Pinner, honoring his years of service.


Jewell Posey

Jewell Posey ’27
A member of McMurry’s first graduating class in 1927, she served as student government secretary. Posey joined the University as a professor of English and religion and as student dean. She served McMurry from 1931 to 1943 and again from 1961 to 1972. In the 1980s, an academic writing contest was named for Posey and Vernie Newman.


Bessie Radford

James and Bessie Radford
At 21, James Radford started a grocery wholesale business in Abilene, then 50 years later he sold it for more than $400 million. The Radfords have dedicated their wealth to enterprises help Abilene prosper. In their lifetime, they supported and built over 40 buildings. Radford Auditorium was made possible with two donations by Bessie, the first gift in 1947 and the second in 1949. In honor of her generosity, McMurry gave her an honorary Doctor of Letters.

Nat ’28 and Eva Rollins
The estate gift from the Rollinses, along with a gift from the S.M. Jay Estate, made possible the construction the new Jay-Rollins Library, which opened in 1963.


Basil Ryan
Amy Graves

Dr. Basil and Amy Graves Ryan
Dr. Ryan, who served as a member of the McMurry Board of Trustees from 1955 to 1958 and 1962 to 1969, donated $1 million to honor his late wife, Amy, in 1967. The fine arts building bearing her name houses the departments of art, music, communication, and theatre. After Dr. Ryan’s death in 1973, he left an additional $600,000 to McMurry in his estate. Their granddaughter Barbara Ryan attended McMurry.


Gary Shanafelt

Dr. Gary Shanafelt
Professor of history from 1981 to 2017 and then adjunct faculty member through the 2020s. Dr. Shanafelt was a contributing author of Pride of Our Western Prairies: McMurry College, 1923–1988. He worked with Dr. Fane Downs to collect and organize the McMurry archives for the purpose of preserving records and memorabilia of the college. His current work has guided the development of the Centennial photo and historical collections.


AC Sharpe

Dr. A.C. Sharp
Sharp attended McMurry for three years before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1955. After two years in Korea, he returned to finish his degree. Eight year later, Sharp joined McMurry as a professor of physics, who occasionally taught math and astronomy. He mentored numerous students during his tenure from 1965 to 1999. In addition to teaching, he was active in many aspects of campus life, serving as faculty athletic representative and sponsoring mission trips. He was interim president of the Lone Star Conference and served on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Ethics Committee for several years. The Dr. A.C. Sharp Scholarship was established in his honor by McMurry alumnus Larry Conlee for students majoring in science or math.


Rob Sledge

Dr. Rob Sledge
History professor and author, and known as “Mr. Alpha Chi.” From 1969 to 2001, Dr. Sledge served as faculty leader, university historian, and contributing writer of Pride of Our Western Prairies: McMurry College, 1923–1988. In 2014 to 2015, he created a database of all memorial markers located on campus, and in 2021 he began the research for the McMurry 100 as the first step in the selection process. Even though he resigned his position as university historian due to his wife’s failing health, he continued his research and remained active as a project consultant.


Dan Soloman

Bishop Dan Solomon ’58
Served as a bishop in the United Methodist Church from 1988 to 2000 and bishop-in-residence at McMurry from 2000 to 2012, as well as president of the Texas United Methodist College Association. Dr. Solomon was recognized as Distinguished Alumni by Perkins School of Theology at SMU in 1995 and by McMurry in 2004. He served as Pacesetter Gifts chairman for Shaping the Future Capital Campaign from 2007 to 2010 and has faithfully and generously supported the University for many years. In memory of his parents, Dr. Solomon established the Henry and Mabel Solomon Endowed Scholarship in memory of his parents in 2003.


Joe Specht

Joe Specht
Co-founder of the Abilene Library Consortium and McMurry’s librarian from 1975 to 2007, the longest serving librarian at the University. Specht conducted research for the McMurry 100 and the Centennial Museum project, and he is author of several books chronicling the history of Abilene.


Ann Spence

Ann Spence
Servant leadership is one of McMurry core values, and Spence was the director of servant leadership from 1995 to 2006. In addition, she was an assistant professor of business administration from 1982 to 2018. She received the Heartbeat of the Campus Award in 2013.


Dian Graves

Dian Graves Owen Stai
Former member of the McMurry Board of Trustees from 1984 to 1993 and recipient of an honorary doctorate in 1988. Stai was co-chair of Shaping the Future Capital Campaign that led to the renovation of Old Main in 2014, and her foundation was the lead donor to the Walter F. and Virginia Johnson School of Business campaign in 2017. She was co-founder of Owen Healthcare, Inc., which merged with Cardinal Healthcare in 1997, and then founder of Mansefeldt Investment Corporation and the Dian Graves Owen Foundation, both headquartered in Abilene. Stai has served on the boards of First Financial Bankshares and Zale Lipshy University Hospital in Dallas and as commissioner of the Texas Department of Commerce. She was the first chairwoman of the Texas Department of Commerce and Abilene Chamber of Commerce, which recognized her with Abilene’s Outstanding Citizen award. In 2016, she was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.


Joseph Stamey

Dr. Joseph Stamey
A professor of philosophy, he taught from 1967 to 1999. In 1990, Dr. Stamey was recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education as Texas Professor of the Year, the only winner in the history of McMurry.


George Steinman

Dr. George J. Steinman
Professor of religion and department chair, training many of the Northwest Texas Conference ministers during his 1948 to 1969 tenure. In 1984, the George Steinman Ministerial Scholarship was established in his honor. In 2014, Dr. Steinman’s children generously donated his cherished cross collection to McMurry. Many of these crosses were collected during the professor’s travels or given to him by former students and proudly displayed in his office for many years.


Barbra Swagerty

Barbara Seidel Swagerty ’56
At McMurry, when you hear tennis you think of Swagerty, who has supported the sport and student scholarships for decades. She was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008 and awarded an honorary doctorate in 2018, the same year she received her maroon Trailblazer jacket. Students benefit from the 10 different scholarship funds she endowed in honor of family members and friends. In addition to the Barbara Seidel Swagerty Tennis Center, she regularly provides support to T.I.P. Social Club. Her most recent capital funding project was the paving of a parking lot near the Tennis Center and repaving of the lots between the Bynum Band Hall and Wilford Moore Stadium.


Michael Swanson
Mary Swanson

Mike and Mary “Corky” ’77 Swanson
This dynamic husband and wife team both worked at McMurry. Mike was with McMurry from 1966 to 2011 and started the computer science program. Corky worked as director of financial aid from 1979 to 1997. The Vida R. Swanson Family Endowment Fund was created in 2007 by Mike’s mother.


Jennie Tate

Jennie Tate
Mathematics professor and dean of women. Tate devoted 40 years to McMurry, from 1923 to 1963. She is one of the six founding faculty women of McMurry and has a classroom dedicated to her in Old Main. She headed the mathematics department until her retirement in 1963 and served as dean of women from 1935 to 1951. In 1923, she organized Alpha Theta Nu, a girls’ literary club, and served as faculty sponsor. Following her death, a tribute in the Abilene Reporter-News read: “Like others on the original faculty who shared the college’s hopes and problems with her, Jennie Tate contributed in a very substantial way to what McMurry is today.”


Grant Teaff

Grant Teaff ’56
All-conference defensive player for the McMurry football team in the mid-1950s. In 1960 Teaff returned to his alma mater and coached football for five years, followed by 20 years at Baylor University. His career college football record was 170-151-8. He became executive director of the American Football Coaches Association in 1994. McMurry honored Teaff with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998 and as a Trailblazer for philanthropic support in 2018. In 2022, a statue of Teaff was unveiled on campus, honoring him and his 1963 team who survived a plane crash. Teaff credits McMurry with providing him solid footing for life: “McMurry was a very important part of my development as a person, football coach, a teacher — everything.”


SB Thompson

Dr. S.B. Thompson
Professor of government and history from 1950 to 1972. Dr. Thompson also served as dean of students.

Lila Mae Sears Touchstone
One of the first women trustees on the board of trustees, her passion helped lead the campaign to build the band hall, which was finished in 1959. Touchstone was a civic leader and a tireless advocate for McMurry for many years. She was honored in 1976 for 50 years of service as an insurance underwriter for Southwestern Life Insurance Company.


Jerome Vannoy

Jerome Vannoy
Vannoy joined McMurry as head basketball coach and assistant football coach in 1946. He also taught algebra and trigonometry. During his first year as basketball coach, he coached freshman Hershel Kimbrell, who became an all-conference player and then a basketball coach for the University. In 1948, Vannoy became registrar, a position he held for more than 30 years. He was active in the Abilene Speakers Club and Kiwanis Club and was a charter member of Aldersgate Methodist Church. He was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.


Richard Von Ende

Dr. Richard C. Von Ende
Professor of music and director of the Chanters. Dr. Von Ende taught at McMurry from 1950 to 1963. He helped with the design of the Amy Graves Ryan Fines Arts Center.


Roger Ward

Roger Ward ’67
Distinguished Alumni Award honoree, Ward established the Ward-Bottom Science Fund in 2004 in honor of Dr. Virgil Eldon Bottom, former professor of physics, whose guidance and teaching helped prepare him for a successful career. Ward credits Dr. Bottom for a summer job working for Hewlett Packard Company in the quartz crystal R&D group in 1966. After graduating with a physics degree in 1969, Ward returned to work for the company full time. He later became president and CEO for Quartzdyne, Inc. Ward’s generosity continues to benefit the advancement of science programs at McMurry. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from the University.


Sarah Weddington

The Honorable Sarah Ragle Weddington ’64
Served as McMurry Student Government secretary. After graduation, Weddington attended law school and later became the youngest person to argue and win a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. She served in President Carter’s administration and was a representative in the Texas legislature. McMurry honored her with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1992. Weddington established two endowed scholarships at McMurry, one from she and her brother in memory of their parents, and the other for pre-law students. Weddington named McMurry as beneficiary in a sizeable estate gift in 2022.


Anthony Williams

The Honorable Anthony Williams ’94
The 1987 Abilene High School alumnus attended McMurry, where he played football. After graduation, he become a respected civic leader in Abilene, contributing to the stability and growth of the city. He served on the city council for almost two decades and then became mayor, the first African American to hold this position. Williams was a member of the board of trustees from 2008 to 2016.


JM Wilson

J.M. Willson
This Floydada, Texas, lumberman is the longest serving McMurry Board of Trustees member, from 1951 to 1969, during which time he also served as chairman. Willson guided the destiny of the college for more than two decades. In 1945 he donated funds to establish a lectureship, which has evolved in the Willson-Bennett Lecture Series featuring prominent philosophers and theologians.


HO Wooten

Horace “H.O.” Wooten
Wooten was the first chairman of the board of trustees, from 1923 to 1926, and he served as a member on the board for many years. An entrepreneurial businessman and civicleader, he believed, along with Dr. Hunt and Henry James, that it was important for Abilene to have a Methodist institution of higher education.


Gypsy Ted

Gypsy Ted Sullivan Wylie
Recognized as one of the six founding faculty women of McMurry, she served the University from 1923 to 1954. Wylie was a professor of music who originated and directed the Chanters from 1923 to 1950, and she served as dean of fine arts. She was a charter member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and served on the committee that chose the state song, Texas Our Texas, in 1927. Wylie was a member of the original board of directors of the Abilene Philharmonic and was national program chairman of the Texas Centennial in 1936. She sang many leading roles in the Abilene Civic Opera, which she helped organize. As a member of St. Paul Methodist Church in Abilene, she was choir director for many years. The student gallery, which is home to the Centennial Museum in Old Main, is named in her honor, Gypsy Ted Gallery II.


Robert B. Wylie

Robert B. Wylie
Wylie was the first secretary-treasurer of the board of trustees ,from 1923 to 1927. He later rejoined the board and served from 1935 to 1950. He was the husband of one of McMurry’s six founding women, Gypsy Ted Sullivan Wylie.