UWG's National Alumni Association Announces Annual Awards Gala

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tickets are now on sale for the National Alumni Association’s Annual Awards Gala, which takes place Saturday, April 28 in UWG’s Townsend Center for the Performing Arts. The evening will kick off with a reception in honor of this year’s recipients at 6 p.m., and the ceremony will follow at 7 p.m.

Tickets are now on sale for the National Alumni Association’s Annual Awards Gala, which takes place Saturday, April 28 in UWG’s Townsend Center for the Performing Arts. The evening will kick off with a reception in honor of this year’s recipients at 6 p.m., and the ceremony will follow at 7 p.m.Pamela Kennedy ’01, crowned Miss Georgia in 2000, will serve as master of ceremonies for the gala. Tickets are $20 and the dress is business casual. Buy tickets online at www.westga.edu/alumni or by calling Dale Duffey at 678-839-6582.

This year’s winners include:

Achievement Award
Dr. Neal Lester ’81 – College of Arts and Humanities

Lester is the current dean of Humanities at Arizona State University. He has been awarded numerous accolades throughout his career – including UWG’s David Bottoms Distinguished Alumni Award – and has served as chairman of the Arizona Humanities Council Board of Directors.

Dr. John Barge ’94 ’97 – College of Education  
Barge, currently the state school superintendant, earned three advanced degrees from UWG and his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Georgia. He has been in education for 20 years, serving as a high school English teacher, middle school Spanish teacher, assistant principal, principal and numerous other roles. He has earned many notable awards for his achievements.

Dr. Henry Chia ’64 – College of Science and Mathematics
Chia is an accomplished metallurgist and composer. He received a Suncoast Emmy Award in 2008 in the best cultural documentary category for the program “Eternal Cuba,” which he co-produced with PBS. Chia was also inducted into the Georgia Institute of Technology Engineering Hall of Fame in 2009.

Dr. Thomas Patrick Williams ’75 – College of Social Sciences
Williams is the founder of the Institute for Life Coach Training and department chair of the Coaching Psychology program at the International University of Professional Studies. He was also honored in 2008 as the educator of the year for the New England Educational Institute.

George W. Brooks Jr. ’84 – Richards College of Business
Brooks worked his way up through the ranks of UPS and is the currently president of the company’s east region. He also serves on the UWG Foundation, Inc.’s board of trustees and the executive advisory council of the National Urban League’s Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP)

Renee Mashburn Rooks ’95 ’96 – School of Nursing
Rooks is a passionate and committed nurse whose accomplishments include being named 2002’s Georgia Nurse of the Year; co-founder of the first privately-owned primary healthcare clinic in Carrollton; founder of Family Healthcare of West Georgia; and international healthcare director of I Care Enough International Ministries, a local mission organization that conducts medical missions in third world countries.

Honorary Alumnus Award
Leonard Woolsey

Woolsey is president of Paxton Media Group and the current publisher of the Times-Georgian and the West Georgia Papers organization. He is also two-time chair of the Go West for A Day campaign. He is currently formalizing an internship program between the Times-Georgian and UWG to assist students as they gather valuable experience and prepare to enter the workforce.

J. Owen Moore Faculty Award
Dr. Don Wagner

Dr. Wagner is a professor of political science and dean of the Honors College. He also helped initiate UWG’s Advanced Academy. The Dr. Donald R. Wagner Endowed Scholarship he founded helps make the Advanced Academy more affordable.

J. Owen Moore Staff Award
Jerry Mock ’71 ’75

Mock kicked off his 40-year career at UWG in 1969 as a student employee in the Learning Resources Center. Then, in September 1970, he was hired as a part-time television coordinator. He earned his B.A. in history and his M.Ed. in educational media from UWG. He held several administrative positions during his tenure, most recently assistant vice president for Business and Auxiliary Services. He retired in March 2010.

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Dustin W. Hightower ’04

In eight short years, Hightower has attended law school, begun building a successful practice and gotten elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. He also serves as the treasurer for the NAA’s board of directors and is the father of Wolves Capture the Square. In addition, he serves on both the National Alumni Council and the Athletic
Foundation.

President’s Award
Bonnie Stephens Wolf ’71

While attending UWG, Wolf served as a resident advisor, student government representative, cheerleader, founding president of Phi Mu Sorority, student representative on the president’s search committee, homecoming queen and much more. She chaired an effort in the ‘80s to build a football stadium on campus. In 2008, she co-chaired the Greek Gala in Atlanta. She also served as president of the National Alumni Association.

Service to Humanity Award
William H. Bolling ’76

Bolling is founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. He is also a charter member of the board of directors of Feeding America. He is founder of the Atlanta Housing Forum, begun in 1988, and continues to serve as moderator of the Regional Housing Forum. Prior to his association with the food bank, he served as director of community ministries for St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta.

Spotlight Award
Dr. Bob Heaberlin Jr. ’90

Heaberlin is completing his 40th year in education. He was a classroom teacher in elementary, middle and high school for 12 years. He also coached football, basketball and track. An advocate of year-round education, he started the second year-round school in Georgia at Newnan Crossing Elementary School in 1996. He has won numerous awards for his accomplishments, including a resolution from the Georgia House of Representatives in February.

Thelma Harman Turner Loyalty Award
Paul ’44 and Sara D. Cadenhead ’44

Paul and his beloved Sara are the epitome of loyalty to UWG. He served his country in the US Army from 1944-46 and then attended Emory Law School. He is the first in the history of the Atlanta Bar Association to receive all three of its top awards. Paul has served on the UWG Foundation, Inc.’s board of trustees since 1996. Paul and Sara have generously supported scholarships for first-generation students who otherwise would not have attended college.

In-depth profiles of each recipient will be posted to www.westga.edu/alumni soon. For more information on the event, contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 678-839-6582.