(Abilene, Texas – April 14, 2022) – McMurry University will honor seven alumni for excellence in their professional careers at the Annual Night of Distinction dinner set for Friday, April 22. The Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Achievement Award are the highest honors bestowed on alumni from McMurry and are presented to individuals who have showcased exemplary service and accomplishment in their professional careers and communities. Five additional alumni will be recognized with Outstanding Alumni Awards in their professional fields.
“It is always an honor to showcase our outstanding alumni,” said McMurry President Sandra S. Harper. “McMurry has produced influential leaders who have made a significant difference in their communities and industries, and it is always an honor to showcase excellence.”
“McMurry University has so many amazing alumni and the Outstanding Alumni Awards give the University the perfect opportunity to celebrate the strengths of our alumni community,” said Katelyn Scott, director for Alumni Engagement. “It’s such an honor to recognize the achievements of our outstanding alumni, their service to the University, and how they are making a difference in the world. Each honoree is an inspiration and a wonderful example of what one can achieve with a degree from McMurry University as their foundation.”
The Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 1971 by the McMurry Alumni Association to recognize alumni who have made a significant contribution through achievement and service to their profession, society, and McMurry. Mr. Terry Wheeler ’85 is the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Wheeler, an Abilene native, has excelled in business and healthcare, focusing primarily on healthcare management leadership and strategy engagements. Previously distinguished alumni include Mary Esther Bynum, C. Girvin Harkins, K.O. Long, Art Pertile, III, the Honorable Jorge Solis, Bishop Dan Solomon, Grant Teaff, Sarah Ragle Weddington, and Shirley Ann Wagley.
Officer Matthew Armbruster is being honored with the Young Alumni Achievement Award for 2022. In 2020, Armbruster was named the Abilene Police Department’s Officer of the Year after actions that were taken during SWAT callouts, and from resuscitating an injured child. He continues to serve Abilene as an honored member of the APD. Previous young alumni include Shannon Sedgwick Davis, Shawn Martin, and Chris N. Montoya.
McMurry established the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2017 to recognize alumni who have had a significant impact in their professional field through achievement and service. The areas represented currently are Business, Education, Fine Arts, Math & Sciences, and Religious & Spiritual Life. In addition to these two awards, five additional alumni will be recognized with Outstanding Alumni Awards.
Terry Wheeler ’85 – Distinguished Alumni Award, is the retired former CEO of Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital, where he worked for fourteen years. As CEO, he implemented a multi-year turnaround program, including a $60 million campaign to fund a 12-bed ICU, a 25-bed NICU, a new open-heart program, an expansion of the Emergency Department, upgraded imaging services, a designation as a Level 3 Trauma Center, and an Accredited Stroke and Chest Pain Center. Terry received a Bachelor of Business Administration from McMurry University in 1986.
Matthew Armbruster ’06 – Young Alumni Achievement Award is a patrol supervisor on C Company, evening shift in Abilene. Matt is also assigned as an assistant entry team leader to the department’s SWAT team and Bomb Squad. He 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. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice while dually enrolled in McMurry and Hardin Simmons University in May of 2006.
Paul Williams ’85 – Outstanding Alumni Award in Business, operates several diverse businesses, including his primary business Ways Company Inc. Paul graduated from McMurry College in 1984 with a B.A. degree in Economics, then got an MBA from Angelo State University in 2000. Paul is an elder of the Forgiven Ministries in San Angelo, the Coke County Appraisal District president, a County Commissioner for Coke County, and is the Judge Pro-tem for the county.
Carly Kahl ’98 – Outstanding Alumni Award in Education, is the Statewide Department Chair for General Education and Academics at Texas State Technical College, where she has worked for the past 14 years. She is a doctoral student in the History Department at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She is the adult leader of Venture Crew 260; a co-ed scouting group focused on building leadership skills in young adults. She attended McMurry University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with a Minor in Spanish and a certificate in Servant Leadership from The Servant Leadership Center of the Southwest.
John Landin ’09 – Outstanding Alumni Award in Fine Arts is the Director of Bands at Abilene Cooper High School, where the band improved their area marching placement by 10 spots last fall. As the director of bands at Coahoma ISD from 2013-to 2019, John led his band to multiple sweepstakes awards and led their marching band to numerous area contests. John enjoys playing trombone with the Big Spring Symphony and local Abilene churches. He graduated from McMurry University in the spring of 2009.
David Carver ’74: Outstanding Alumni Award in Math & Sciences, is the founder of Carver Scientific and inventor of the energy storage and energy generation technologies upon which the company was founded. He serves as the Chief Scientist responsible for all research and development efforts and is a director of the company. Dr. Carver is a 1974 graduate of McMurry University with a degree in Chemistry. Dr. Carver received his Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from Virginia Tech in 1979, and he holds over 200 issued patents in advanced energy, synthetic organic chemistry, and analytical instrumentation.
Tim Kennedy ’99 – Outstanding Alumni Award in Religious & Spiritual Life, serves in Hamilton, Ontario, as a minister to a new interdenominational faith community. He received a B.A. in Religion and a B.A. in Communication from McMurry University in 1999 and attended Princeton Theological Seminary, receiving his M.Div. in May 2003. Following graduation, Tim was ordained by the New Mexico Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and served as University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life at McMurry University for 10 years.
Every year, faculty, staff, and fellow alumni nominate McMurry graduates for the Outstanding Alumni awards, and this year’s honorees represent the best of McMurry’s servant leaders.