HUNTINGTON — Marshall University and the Marshall University Alumni Association (MUAA) are set to host their 81st annual Alumni Awards Banquet Saturday, March 31, at 7 p.m. in the Don Morris Room on Marshall’s Huntington campus.
The banquet recognizes outstanding alumni, university supporters and students during an evening of celebration and reverence of the great things being accomplished by the Marshall University alumni community. The event features awards in a number of categories, music, dinner and special presentations.
Highlighting the list of more than a dozen honorees at the 2018 awards banquet are Marilyn Johnson and John Robert “Bob” Lang, who have been named the alumnus and alumna recipients of the Marshall University Distinguished Alumni Award, MUAA’s highest honor. Other award recipients include Homer Preece and Terry Deppner Hardin, recipients of the Distinguished Service to Marshall Award, Frank Jones and Donna Harbour, recipients of the Outstanding Community Achievement Award, Jordan Richardson, recipient of the Young Alumni Award, and a number of additional honorees including MUAA Club of the Year, scholarship awards and honors from many of Marshall University’s colleges.
“We are proud to welcome friends and family of Marshall University back to the Huntington campus as we enjoy a wonderful evening together and celebrate the achievements of this year’s slate of award recipients,” said Matt Hayes, executive director of alumni relations at Marshall University. “It is always a joy and an honor to bring these distinguished individuals back to campus for the Alumni Awards Banquet. It is our annual opportunity to remind the Marshall community of all of the great things our alumni have accomplished in their chosen professions and in their communities, while also serving as an inspiration to our current students of all of the wonderful things they can achieve in life once they leave campus.”
Johnson, a ’74 graduate of Marshall University and recipient of the Marshall University Distinguished Alumna Award, is CEO of the International Women’s Forum and former Vice President of Market Development for IBM. Through her work, Johnson travels around the globe advancing leadership across cultures, careers and continents while bringing together a global membership of over 6,000 women leaders in 33 countries. She has received numerous awards including the “Corporate Supporter of Women Entrepreneurs Award” in Beijing, “The Profiles of Prominence Award” from the National Women of Achievement, Inc. and was also named one of “The Top 25 Influential Black Women” by The Network Journal Magazine and was inducted into the YWCA of New York City’s prestigious “Academy of Women Leaders.”
Joining Johnson in receiving the MUAA’s highest honor is Lang, a ’67 graduate of Marshall University and recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Lang, a retired engineer for NASA, began his aerospace career right after graduation where he became the NASA lead engineer for the Lunar Module Environmental Control System following the completion of the lunar program. He later went on to spearhead many projects surrounding the Space Shuttle program including becoming Director of Safety and Reliability at Kennedy Space Center and Director of Shuttle Vehicle Engineering and the Chief NASA Engineer. Lang received two Exceptional Service Medals, an Outstanding Leadership Medal and the Presidential rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service from NASA before his retirement in 2011.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Marilyn and Robert, along with all of our 2018 major award recipients,” Hayes said. “The impact they have had and the things they have accomplished on a national scale are humbling and awe-inspiring. We are honored to welcome these outstanding Sons and Daughters of Marshall back to Huntington where we plan to give them the recognition they deserve.”
Other major award recipients include Homer Preece, Terry Deppner Hardin, Frank Jones, Donna Harbour and Jordan Richardson.
Homer Preece is the director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Center in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, a regional center of Marshall University, and an adjunct faculty member of three departments. He helped spearhead the growth and development of the Mid-Ohio Valley Center as a multi-facility center, offering numerous degree programs in the Mid-Ohio Valley. He is joined in receiving the Distinguished Service to Marshall University Award by Terry Deppner Hardin, an energetic servant of the community who has helped orchestrate support for numerous causes, including the Marshall Artists Series, Hospice of Huntington, Huntington Museum of Art and countless others. A clerk and chief steward of the U.S. District Court in southern West Virginia, Hardin has more than 25 years of volunteerism, much of which has directly afffected Marshall University and its fine arts programs.
The Rev. Frank Jones, a pastor of the Second Mount Zion Baptist Church for over 40 years, is the Outstanding Community Achievement co-recipient. Jones has involved himself in numerous organizations in his community, including the Tug Valley Baptist Association and the NAACP, of which he was president on two different occasions. An educator in the Mingo County Board of Education, he has created an impact on the lives of area youth, along with leading outreach projects in his community. He is joined in receiving this award by Donna Harbour, a retired nurse who had a nearly 50-year career. Loved by her peers, Harbour has received Peer Recognition awards from Centra Health and the Hill City Chapter of the Virginia Nurses Association. She also was a recipient of the Craddock Terry Excellence in Nursing Award and has dedicated her life to helping others in and around her community.
Jordan Richardson, recipient of the Young Alumni Award, is an attorney and senior policy analyst at the Charles Koch Institute, where he conducts research on how criminal justice reform can improve well-being for Americans. A frequent speaker and writer on the topic of overcriminalization who has been featured in The Washington Post, TIME, and Newsweek, among others, he was named to the Forbes 30- Under-30 in Law and Policy in 2018.
Other awards being handed out at the event are the Cam Henderson Scholarship Award, Nancy Pelphrey/Herd Village Scholarship Award, Nate Ruffin Award, MUAA Club of the Year and various Awards of Distinction presented by each of Marshall University’s colleges.
Tickets to Marshall University’s annual Alumni Awards Banquet are available online at www.HerdAlum.com or by calling 304-696-3134. For more information, visit the MUAA website at www.HerdAlum.com or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Marshall University’s Office of University Communications.