McMurry University to Honor Seven Distinguished Alumni

04/19/2024 Alumni McMurry News

(Abilene, Texas – April 19, 2024) – McMurry University will honor seven alumni during its annual Night of Distinction: Alumni Achievement Awards on Fri., April 26 at 7 p.m. in the Mabee Room of the rededicated Garrison United Methodist Campus Center.

“These alumni truly embody our core values of learning, excellence, and service,” McMurry University President Dr. Sandra S. Harper said. “We are proud to honor them and their families as we reflect on all the incredible achievements of our alumni community through the years.”

As Dr. Harper announced her retirement beginning in January 2025, this will be the last Night of Distinction she presides over as university president.

The following awards will be presented to alumni:

Bramer Owens

Outstanding Alumnus in Business: Bramer Owens ’03 has served as a healthcare executive for over 20 years. He is currently senior vice president of business development for Wellvana, a company he helped launch in San Antonio in 2019. Wellvana is now the fastest-growing healthcare company in its sector, with multiple capital raises and a nationwide footprint. Before Wellvana, Bramer held multiple executive leadership roles at Baylor Scott & White Health and Baptist Health System. Bramer has also served on several boards for various health related non-profits. While at McMurry, Bramer was Alpha Lambada Delta’s inaugural president, KIVA’s vice president, and an All-Conference first basemen for the baseball team. After McMurry, Bramer earned an MBA from Baylor University. Bramer met his wife, Dr. Candice Owens, at the McMurry freshman dance, and they have been together ever since. They reside in Horseshoe Bay with their two beautiful girls, Emma and Grace, and a spoiled Goldendoodle named Duke.

Hope Pamplin

Outstanding Alumna in Education: Dr. Hope Pamplin ’01 is the daughter of James and Barbara Pamplin and a native of Austin, Texas. While at McMurry (1997-2001), Hope was involved in many organizations and active in her local church, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, pastored by Dr. Kelvin Kelly, where Hope led the youth group and found a love for teaching. Hope moved to Houston and ran from her calling to teach. She didn’t get far! Hope became a fourth grade teacher, school counselor, and dean of instruction. After about 10 years in K-12 education, Hope transitioned into higher education. Hope currently serves as the Director of Disability Services at the University of Houston, Downtown, where she also established a counseling center for the University to meet the mental health needs of the 13,000 enrolled students. Hope earned a master’s degree in Counseling and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Dr. Pamplin owns a private practice, founded a group counseling practice, and leads a 501c3 that focuses on therapy and education. She has authored three books and daily works to find ways to empower and love those she serves.

George Levesque

Outstanding Alumni in Fine Arts: George Levesque ’96 hails from Colorado City, Texas. Levesque graduated from McMurry University with a degree in theatre in 1996. He had a long broadcasting career both during and after college. After years in radio, George began work as a TV journalist in February 2000. George anchored the news for KTXS television for nearly 18 years until he left to take the helm at The Historic Paramount Theatre in June 2018. In 2023, George was given the yearly award for Individual Contribution by the League of Historic American Theatres for his work with the Paramount. George has been married to Sidney Levesque for 21 years. They have one child, 13-year-old Julia Levesque.

Marcus Ramage

Outstanding Alumni in Math & Sciences: Marcus Ramage ’65 graduated from McMurry College in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science in Math and Business and earned a Master of Arts in School Administration in 1972 from the University of Wyoming. Marc was employed by Ector County Independent School District (ECISD) in 1965 and was at Odessa High School for 40 years, with the last 31 years as an administrator serving in the capacity of Instructional Services Director. He was ECISD’s Administrator of the Year in 2001 and retired in 2005. Marc has been married to Sandy, McMurry College, Class of 1965, for 59 years, and they have three children, 10 grandchildren, and five great grandsons. Since retirement, Marc has served on the Sacramento Camp and Conference Center Board of Directors, McMurry Alumni Board, and is currently serving on the Board of Region 18 Education Service Center as ECISD’s representative. Marc and Sandy attend Highland United Methodist Church in Odessa, Texas, where he has served as chairman of trustees, finance, and a New Mexico Annual Conference delegate. His favorite job now is being “Papaw” and attending the activities of his grandchildren.

Heather Gates

Outstanding Alumni in Religious & Spiritual Life: Rev. Heather Gates ’04 is an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church who is honored to serve as the lead chaplain for the Galveston Police Department. Being a law enforcement chaplain was not part of her original career plans, but it has been the most wonderful shift. With a background in youth ministry, Heather knew she needed further training. So, she pursued a master’s in social work at Tulane University, which she completed in May 2023 and passed her licensure test in January 2024. In her work, Heather offers a ministry of presence in some of the most difficult and darkest moments. It can be to a family who has just suffered a loss or to an officer who has just experienced something traumatic. Heather’s biggest joy in life is being an aunt to a sweet nephew and niece. When not at work, you can often find her nose in a book or listening to music.

Karl Scott

Young Alumni Achievement Award: Karl Scott ’07 is an accomplished football coach known for his expertise in developing defensive backs and coordinating defensive passing games. A native of Houston, Texas, Scott honed his skills on the football field at McMurry, where he earned a degree in exercise and sports studies in 2007. Following his collegiate career, Scott began coaching at Delta State in 2007, where he served as a graduate assistant. Scott transitioned to Tusculum College in 2008, where he took on the roles of recruiting coordinator, defensive backs coach, and linebackers’ coach and mentored standout players who garnered all-conference honors. In 2012, Scott joined Southeastern Louisiana University, where he spent three transformative years as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, steering the Lions to consecutive Southland Conference Championships and two NCAA Football Championship Division playoff appearances. Scott continued to climb the coaching ranks into Division I football, joining Skip Holtz’s coaching staff as the safeties coach at Louisiana Tech University in 2015. In 2018, Scott served as the cornerbacks coach for the University of Alabama. His tenure coincided with the Crimson Tide’s dominance, resulting in a National Championship victory in 2020 and establishing several defensive players as top NFL prospects. In 2021, Scott made his mark in the NFL, joining the Minnesota Vikings as the defensive backs coach. Scott’s journey reached new heights when he assumed a key role in the Seattle Seahawks as the defensive passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach after starting as the team’s defensive pass game coordinator/defensive backs coach in 2022. Scott has been a visionary leader, dedicated mentor, and relentless competitor throughout his career. As he continues to inspire and shape the future of football, Scott’s coaching legacy will endure for generations. Scott and his wife, Taron, have two daughters, Kina Bailey and Kari Mae.

Shannon Sedgwick Davis

Distinguished Alumna: Shannon Sedgwick Davis ’96 is the CEO of Bridgeway Foundation and the author of “To Stop a Warlord.” The Bridgeway Foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to ending and preventing mass atrocities around the world. Established in 2000 as the charitable giving arm of Bridgeway Capital Management, the organization serves as a catalyst for peace and reconciliation in international communities suffering from oppression, genocide, and other human rights violations. An attorney, activist, and passionate advocate for social justice, Ms. Sedgwick Davis has guided the Bridgeway Foundation in pioneering solutions to seemingly intractable issues around the world. Ms. Sedgwick Davis and the Bridgeway Foundation have been credited for their pivotal role in mobilizing awareness, civilian protection, and recovery efforts to counter the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army and its leader, Joseph Kony, the first-ever indictee of the International Criminal Court. The work of Ms. Sedgwick Davis and the foundation has been featured on NBC’s “TODAY,” “TEDxSanAntonio,” “PBS NewsHour,” and in Forbes. Before joining Bridgeway Foundation in 2007, Ms. Sedgwick Davis served as Vice President of Geneva Global. This leading philanthropic consulting firm advises individuals, foundations, non-profit organizations, and corporations on international development, global health, and poverty solutions. Previously, Ms. Sedgwick Davis was the Director of Public Affairs at the International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights agency that focuses on ending slavery, forced prostitution, and illegal land seizures in the developing world. Her work in helping rescue children from sex trafficking in the Svay Pak village of Cambodia was featured in the 2005 Emmy award-winning piece, “Children for Sale,” on Dateline. Ms. Sedgwick Davis is an honors graduate of McMurry University and Baylor Law School, from which she received the institution’s Young Lawyer of the Year Award in 2011. Her other recognitions include the Nomi Network’s 2014 Abolitionist Award; a Global Human Rights Hero award from Saving Innocence; the Navy SEAL “Fire in the Gut” Award; and the 2022 International Citizen of the Year Award from the World Affairs Council of San Antonio.

Spring Alumni Weekend is from April 26 – 27, 2024, with events including club reunions, a tour of the Garrison Campus Center, and an alumni band performance. More information on all the events can be found at


Nicholas Ocheltree, Director of Integrated Communications