by Gary Leftwich

For Doyle and Rebecca Akins, the University of West Georgia is more than an alma mater that launched careers.

Doyle and Rebecca Akins
Doyle and Rebecca Akins

Somewhere among the books, classes, service on committees and other college activities, the two found each other, and UWG provided the backdrop for a courtship that led to a marriage that has stood the test of time.

“It all boils down to this university being the starting place for some great events that have affected this area, our state and our nation,” Doyle Akins (‘62) said with a wide smile and a gleam in his eye as the pair accepted the Thelma Harman Turner Alumni Loyalty Award during the Evening with the Stars Alumni Awards Celebration on March 3. “It’s where I met Rebecca. That has become our story, and we’ve worked on it since then.”

Part of UWG’s 41st Annual Alumni Weekend, the evening recognized those who have excelled in their chosen professions or through service to their alma mater.

Angela Etutu Egwu
Angela Etutu Egwu

Angela Etutu Egwu (‘16) received the Outstanding Young Alumna Award for her support of the UWG women’s track program. A track standout who earned an overall 3.5 grade point average and a degree in nursing from UWG’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing, Egwu now works at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Recently, she set up a scholarship for track athletes majoring in health care-related degrees. She also provided financial backing for team meals on road trips for the coming season. Egwu said she received tremendous support from professors and coaches at UWG as she worked through a demanding schedule.

“Coach Tony Hawkins was an amazing mentor,” Egwu said. “He always helped me prioritize what was most important, reminding me that I was a student-athlete first and not an athlete. He would check on me regularly and was so understanding of my schedule.”

Angela Brooks Dailey
Angela Brooks Dailey

Angela Brooks Dailey (‘11), who received the H. Franklin Pritchett, Jr., Service to Humanity Award, moved the audience to tears when she shared her story of returning to college as a single mother among students half her age. Her determination to build a better life and serve as an example to her children drove her when times got tough.

With a degree in marketing, Dailey now publishes West Georgia Woman magazine, highlighting the stories and contributions of women throughout the region. She shared the story of Bremen High School softball player Shelby Daniel, who has diabetes and faces potentially fatal seizures. Last year, Daniel and her family were raising funds for a medical dog that could sense changes in Daniel’s blood sugar before they lead to complications. The drive had collected half of the $15,000 needed to buy the dog when the story appeared in November 2017.

“I didn’t expect the story to help raise but about $200,” Dailey said. “I told her mother to rent a P.O. box and that I would reimburse her if money didn’t come in. “

“On Dec. 10, which is my birthday, I got a call saying that $8,000 had been raised and Shelby could get the dog,” Dailey added, stopping to wipe away tears. “That was the best birthday present I could have gotten.”

Other stars honored during the event included:

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  • Doyle and Rebecca Akins
  • Eddie Duffey
  • Dr. Cynthia D. Epps
  • Stephanie Polhemus
  • Angela Brooks Dailey
  • Amanda Nicole Williams
  • Dr. Mitchell H. Clifton
  • Angela Etutu Egwu
  • Patsy and Tom Upchurch

This year’s Alumni Weekend started Friday, March 2, with a wine tasting, followed by UWG’s hosting of the Harlem Globetrotters at the Coliseum. Saturday, alumni enjoyed a special Wolves scrimmage football game and a family tailgate event.

Whether you’re a freshman walking into your first class, a graduate building the foundation of a new career or a long-time alum returning to campus to rekindle fond memories, the University of West Georgia spirit is always present. Celebrations such as alumni weekend embody that spirit known by alumni as Forever West.

Posted on March 6, 2018