11/20/06 — Mount Olive College announces 2006 alumni awards list

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Mount Olive College announces 2006 alumni awards list

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 20, 2006 1:45 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- "Doing Even More Than Before" was an appropriate theme for this year's alumni weekend gathering at Mount Olive College.

Rick Rhodes, Class of 1975 and outgoing president of the alumni association, said it was the biggest year the alumni have had in terms of money raised and participation in sending gifts to their alma mater.

In dollars and cents, that translated to $231,747 donated to Mount Olive by its former students, said Carolyn Fader Hill, Class of 1964.

"During the past year, we had 648 alums to give, or 5.1 percent of the alums on file," she said. "We have set a goal that at the end of five years, we want the alumni association to give $1 million."

Incoming association president Randy Wilkerson, Class of 2000, encouraged the alumni to share the success of Mount Olive College, noting it was about more than the amount of money given.

"It's in the level of participation," he said. "It's not about getting people to give more; it's about getting more people to give."

Dr. J. William Byrd, MOC president, called the gathering of the alumni a special event and recognized the contributions former students have made.

"I tell all the students here that all of you have been here and have gone on and set a wonderful record," he said. "They are the beneficiaries of all the things that you have done."

Dr. W. Burkette Raper, president emeritus, said Mount Olive has been blessed not only with students who gave financially, but by what they have done with their lives.

He recalled the year 1957, when now-retired science professor Lorelle Martin joined the faculty and invited student Lee Glover to become her assistant. Glover went on to earn bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees and later sponsored the Lorelle Martin Science Lecture at the college.

"He has now endowed it so that students will be able to benefit from a very learned person coming on this campus," Raper said.

Several other awards were also announced during the annual business meeting.

Jackson and Son Heating and Air Conditioning of Goldsboro was recognized as alumni business associate of the year. David Jackson graduated from MOC in 1981.

Psychologist Linda Stevenson Budd was presented the 2006 traditional alumni hall of fame award in recognition of her contributions to her profession and involvement in numerous and professional activities.

Earning her associate degree from MOC in 1969, she also holds bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. Dr. Budd is an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Family Social Services at the University of Minnesota and has twice been nominated for the university's "Distinguished Teaching Award."

In addition to receiving the award, she was one of the college's guest speakers during alumni weekend.

"This is such a great honor," she said. "I consider my time at Mount Olive a great blessing to me. This is a very special place. It allows students to learn in a small, loving environment and it encourages learning."

Gary Evans of Ayden received the non-traditional alumni hall of fame award. He graduated summa cum laude from Mount Olive in 1998, attending classes at locations in Raleigh, New Bern and on Seymour Johnson AFB.

Vice president of Green Market Operations for Alliance One International, he also serves as chairman of the Tobacco Association of United States Accounting and Procedures Committee.

The distinguished service award went to Robert L. Tillman, a Mount Olive native who attended the college in the early 1960s. He worked his way up from office manager trainee for a small regional hardware chain in North Carolina to the role of president, CEO and chairman of the board of Lowes, Inc.

Tillman was the architect of the superstore format for Lowes and during his tenure as CEO the company expanded from 375 stores to 1,075 locations. He was voted one of the top CEOs in America and under his leadership, the company has been listed three times as one of the top 100 in the country to work.

In 2003, the college presented Tillman with an honorary doctorate degree, and this year, named its business school after him.

Saturday's honor was announced by Wesley Beddard, Tillman's brother-in-law, who talked about Tillman being a hard-working man who was devoted to his family.

"I have had a great career, but part of that career was influenced by my time here," Tillman said. "The best thing I can say about Mount Olive College is it's where I found my wife Sandy."