Alumni and faculty to be honored at 76th Annual Alumni Awards

The Arkansas Alumni Association will host its 76th annual Alumni Awards at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 14 in downtown Fayetteville.

During this annual awards ceremony, the association recognizes individuals who continue to give national and regional significance to the U of A and the Arkansas Alumni Association through their exemplary research, public service and community and their leadership appreciated.

This year’s celebration will honor the achievements of 12 alumni, faculty and friends and will include recipients in seven award categories. This class of laureates was selected in 2020; however, the celebration in their honor has been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19.


The Citation of Distinguished Alumni recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievement and extraordinary distinction in a chosen field. The winners are:

  • Pam McGinnis BSIE’90, vice president of global marketing for Phillips 66.
  • Barry Switzer BSBA’61, retired college and professional football coach.
  • Mike Utley BA’69, musician, producer and composer.


The Andrew J. Lucas Alumni Service Award recognizes significant contributions of time and energy on behalf of the university and the Alumni Association. The recipients are the Rev. Leslie F. Belden B. Arch. ’79, Ph.D. ’05, said the Arkansas Rectory Clerk, and Ted Belden B. Arch. ’81, owner and chairman of the board of directors of LOMANCO.


The Community Service Award recognizes the selfless and extended service of alumni to their community and to humanity. The winner is Tjuana C. Byrd BA’91, lawyer and judge of the circuit court of the 8th division of the juvenile division.


The Young Alumni Award recognizes outstanding achievement in career, public service and / or volunteer activities that bring honor to the U of A. The winner is Olivera Jankovska BSA’09, Director of the City of Houston Mayor’s Education Office.


The Alumni Honorary Award is presented to non-alumni who have served, promoted, developed and loved the U of A in the tradition of an Arkansas graduate. This year, the association pays tribute to Rear Admiral Mike Johnson, Associate Vice-Chancellor Emeritus of Facilities / Professor Emeritus in Civil Engineering at U of A.


The Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award recognizes outstanding faculty members for teaching, research and service.

  • For fulfillment in service, Ro Di Brezzo, former university professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation of the College of Education and Health Professions.
  • To succeed in research, Greg Thoma BSche.’80, MSChe.’86, professor in the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering at the College of Engineering.
  • The rising price of teaching, Benjamin runkle, associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the College of Engineering.


The Charles and Nadine Baum Faculty Teaching Award recognizes outstanding teaching and is awarded to a faculty member whose status is professor, university professor or professor emeritus. The winner is Jeannie Whayne, University Professor in the Department of History at Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

About the Arkansas Alumni Association: The Arkansas Alumni Association Inc. is a non-profit organization that seeks to connect alumni, friends, and students at the University of Arkansas. The association’s mission is to connect and serve the University of Arkansas family.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers internationally competitive education in over 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes to more than $ 2.2 billion for the Arkansas economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the top 3% of colleges and universities in the United States with the highest level of research activity. American News and World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. Find out how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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