Alumni awards dinner kicks off TJC Homecoming activities

Jan 06, 2014 by

Four alumni who have contributed to the College and to the Tyler community were honored Friday, Oct. 25, at the annual TJC Alumni Association Awards Dinner, as part of annual homecoming activities.
Honored this year were: Mary Payne Lowe ’62, Distinguished Alumna Award (the highest award given to an alumnus); Dr. Paul Powell, Black and Gold Award; Joey Stanger ’74, Apache Spirit Award; and M’Liss Hindman, Special Recognition Award.

Emcee for the evening was James “Doc” Deason ’93, president of the TJC Alumni Association, who added a warm, often humorous touch to the evening. You might see him doing the evening weather; but until you’ve seen Doc as an emcee, you haven’t seen the real Doc!

The 260-plus guests were treated to videos and pictures of the awardees, who then shared memories of times past and how their association with TJC changed their lives. Lowe even donned a headdress from the ’60s and showed the crowd that she hadn’t lost the ability to high kick! Each honoree was presented with a beautiful Waterford vase inscribed with the seal of the alumni association and a certificate honoring their achievement.

Mary Payne Lowe ’62

Distinguished Alumna

The Distinguished Alumna award recognizes an individual for distinguished professional achievement and contributions to society, which have brought honor to the College.
Mary Payne Lowe danced with the Apache Belles lines of 1960- 61 and ’61-’62, performing for halftimes of the Dallas Cowboys games and in Pasadena, Calif., during the Apaches’ appearance in the 1960 Junior Rose Bowl.

She and her husband, Dick, have been significant supporters of TJC and the Apache Belles, establishing an endowed scholarship for a Belle. She has also been instrumental in fundraising activities to support the College’s campaign for a new rehearsal facility for the Apache Belles and Apache Band.

Mrs. Lowe is a member of the foundation board for Baylor All Saints Hospital, Dallas, and often works in the Presbyterian Night Shelter, which provides 600-700 meals a night for homeless people. She is also involved in a $5.4 million fundraising campaign in support of an endowment for the Joan Katz Breast Center that serves cancer patients.

Joey Stanger ’74

Apache Spirit

The Apache Spirit Award recognizes a person or group who has shown spirit and motivation through the contribution of time and energy to a program or activity that measurably benefited Tyler Junior College.

Joey Stanger founded Stanger Surveying Company in 1987 and the company now employs 175 people in Canton, Fairfield and Tyler. The company specializes in offering surveying services to the energy sector but has a wide range of clients.

Stanger has served on the TJC Surveying and Mapping Advisory Board since 1987 and leads the program’s annual Surveying Camp Fish Fry each year. He was elected to the Board of Texas Society of Professional Surveyors and served for six years. He has chaired the University Advisory Committee for five years, which helps high school teachers show how math and science principles can have a practical application in the work place.

A 1974 graduate of the TJC surveying and mapping program, Stanger was named the 2008 Surveyor of the Year by the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors.

Dr. Paul Powell

Black and Gold Award

The Black and Gold award recognizes outstanding devotion to Tyler Junior College by an individual who is not a former student but volunteers time and effort to promote the mission and goals of the College.

Dr. Paul W. Powell is a retired Baptist preacher who has served in numerous leadership positions, including six years as the dean of the George W. Truett Theological Seminary on the campus of Baylor University; nine years as president and chief executive officer of the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention; and 17 years as pastor of Tyler’s Green Acres Baptist Church.

He served on the boards of trustees for Mary Hardin Baylor University and East Texas Baptist University for nine years each, and on the board of Baylor University for 16 years. He presently serves on the board of directors for Mother Frances Hospital, Southside Bank and the Robert M. Rogers Foundation.

He and his wife, Cathy, have long been supporters of higher education and have established scholarships at Baylor University, East Texas Baptist University, TJC and four other schools. Powell has been influential in the TJC Foundation’s efforts to encourage private donations in support of TJC’s Robert M. Rogers Nursing and Health Sciences Center.

The Powells both graduated from Baylor in 1956. They have three children, Kent, Mike, and Lori, and three grandchildren, Jordan, Katie, and Matthew.

M’Liss Hindman

Special Recognition

The Special Recognition Award recognizes an individual for outstanding professional achievements, contributions to society and/or service to Tyler Junior College.

M’Liss S. Hindman has been teaching speech at TJC since 1976 and has served the College for 30 years as the leader of the TJC Speech and Debate team. She has served as tournament director for Phi Rho Pi national speech and debate tournament for 12 years and as assistant director for 10 years.

Under her leadership, TJC’s Speech and Debate team routinely scores among the highest junior college teams in the nation and regularly the team wins national competitions against major, four-year universities.

She has received numerous forensics awards, including the Distinguished Service Award from the American Forensic Association in 2010, the Distinguished Service Award from the District 6 American Forensic Association in 2010 and was named the TJC Student Senate Rick Diamond Excellence in Education Award winner in 1999 and 2010. She was named National Community College Educator of the Year by the Speech Communication Association in 1995, the Community College Educator of the Year by the Texas Speech Communication Association in 1994, Educator of the Year by the Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association in 1991 and received a Distinguished Service Award from Phi Rho Pi in 1988.

Just prior to the dinner, a special dedication ceremony was held in the Ornelas Residential Complex, where the Apache Band floor was officially renamed the Edwin “Pinky” Fowler Floor, in honor of the revered former Apache Band leader.

In conjunction with that presentation, guests were offered a sneak peek at the John Franklin “Doc” Witt Apache Band Lounge.

Saturday began with several groups holding reunions on campus. These reunions varied from the very casual coffee and social time held by the Apache Chiefs to an emotion-filled program put on by alumni association board member Wanda Ealey and the Brothers and Sisters alumni, which included a time to remember alumni who have passed.

A few former Apache Band members met in the new John Franklin “Doc” Witt Apache Band Lounge, while dozens more braved the chilly morning at the Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium field to practice with the current members of the band.

As usual, the most energetic of the reunions were the Apache Belles, including a special group from the 1960s, who had gathered to celebrate their memories and renew friendships.

The annual tailgate was hosted at Rose Stadium, featuring barbecue from Rudy’s and plenty of fellowship and fun among the alumni.

Black and gold were the colors of the day as close to 300 alumni ate, laughed and shared stories about their college days and what life has brought since.

Many of those sat together in the newly designated alumni section of the stands for the game, rooting their Apaches to a solid 42-24 victory over long-time rival Kilgore College.

Post-game parties were hosted for former athletic trainers and Apache Belles, with a special “Rockin’ Out the ’60s” party for the 1960s Belles reunion group.

Don Fraser is TJC director of alumni affairs.


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