• UWA presents 2012 McIlwain Bell Awards to outstanding employees

    Posted: December 01, 2011

    Author: Betsy Compton

    The University of West Alabama recognized three longtime employees with the annual Loraine McIlwain Bell Trustee Awards at Monday’s board of trustees meeting. Bessie Williams, Rance Stevenson and Dr. Alan Brown were selected by their peers for the prestigious campus awards.

    Bessie Williams received the Support Staff Excellence Award. Williams joined the UWA Physical Plant staff in 1989. Her current position includes work at the Julia Tutwiler Library and at the Choctaw Tavern, which houses UWA’s Office of Sponsored Programs.

    Williams received an unprecedented nine letters of nomination for the award, all emphasizing her diligence and commitment to serving the campus. Williams’ colleagues describe her as “a mood lifter” and “symbol of exuberance.” She is a member of Smith Chapel Baptist Church of York and is married to Willie Williams. They have two daughters, Sheila Jackson and Aretha McNeil, both graduates of UWA.

    The Professional Staff Excellence Award was presented to Rance Stevenson, application systems analyst in the Department of Information Technology and 1999 UWA graduate. Stevenson is a key member of the IT staff, managing UWA’s Tiger Card system, all printing and copying services, and a campus-wide network consisting of 45 servers. He also oversees the Help Desk support system and email server as well as Tegrity and Remote Proctor support for more than 3,000 online students and faculty.

    Stevenson’s ten years of success at UWA, colleagues say, is due in part to his “always collegial and helpful attitude.” He and wife Marnise have two sons, nine-year-old Peyton and seven-month-old Mitchell. They reside in Demopolis

    The 2012 McIlwain Bell Trustee Professor is Dr. Alan Brown, professor of English in the Department of Languages and Literature. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree from Millikin University in Illinois, a master’s from the University of Illinois, and a doctorate from Illinois State University.

    Brown joined UWA faculty in 1986 and has since become the senior member of the Department. He serves as director of the Writing Center and teaches courses in American literature, composition, and more. He is also regarded as an expert on area folklore and has published countless books ghostlore. Brown is a two-time recipient of the peer-elected award. He and wife Marilyn have two daughters, Andrea and Vanessa. They reside in Mississippi.

    The Loraine McIlwain Bell Trustee Awards, established in 1996 by Mr. and Mrs. L.G. Cunningham, the late Mrs. Bell’s daughter and son-in-law, honor the UWA alumna who served as a teacher and nurse in West Alabama. Candidates for the awards are nominated by the University community, and the winner in each category is selected by a committee of peers. The award includes a plaque and a check for $1,000.

    Photo: UWA Loraine McIlwain Bell Trustee Award winners Bessie Williams, Dr. Alan Brown and Rance Stevenson are congratulated by Provost David M. Taylor.
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