• Honors Day to recognize outstanding students, alumni

    Posted: March 05, 2012

    Author: Betsy Compton

    The University of West Alabama will recognize outstanding students for their academic achievements and leadership roles at the institution’s annual Honors Day on Wednesday, March 21.

    Faculty and staff will recognize students for their honor society memberships, and several scholarships and special awards will be presented at the Honors Day Convocation at 2:30 p.m. in Bibb Graves Auditorium.

    Prior to the awards ceremony, students will be treated to a luncheon with speaker Judge Ermea Russell, a two-time graduate of UWA. Russell currently serves the Mississippi Court of Appeals and has worked in the federal government, all three branches of state government, and served in the U.S. military. Hailing from Flora, Miss., Russell is the first African-American female to sit on a Mississippi appellate court.

    Russell is a member of the Mississippi Bar, the American Bar Association, the Charles Clark American Inns of Court, the Mississippi Women Lawyers Association, Magnolia Bar Association, and the Southern Association of Mediators. She is a former member of the Board of Bar Commissioners and the Governor’s Judicial Reform Commission.

    In addition to recognizing student honorees, the University will also induct three alumni into the Society of the Golden Key, the highest honor bestowed upon a UWA graduate.

    Sammy Culpepper of Toomsuba, Miss., a 1962 and 1968 biology graduate, began his career at Meridian Community College (MCC) where he taught for 30 years. Upon retirement he began teaching as an adjunct instructor of human anatomy and physiology at UWA and continues in that capacity today. He is a long-time member of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences and the Mississippi Association of Biologists, having served as president of both organizations. He was recognized by the University of Texas as one of the top ten community college instructors in the nation and was honored by the Mississippi Legislature with the HEADWAE Award as an outstanding community college instructor.

    As a scholar, Culpepper received grant funding from the National Science Foundation to equip a computer-based Anatomy and Physiology laboratory with voice-activated computers. He also received a grant from the MCC Foundation to tour and to study the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador. He has presented at national meetings of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society and the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development and was a consulting author for the textbook Human Anatomy and Physiology.

    Faye Bonner Dial of Lineville holds a 1959 bachelor’s degree in education from UWA and a master’s degree from Jacksonville State University, also in education. After teaching for two years in Choctaw County, Dial spent 35 years in the Clay County School System, teaching and serving as guidance counselor at Lineville High School, where she was named Outstanding Teacher for Clay County. Following a year with the Sylacauga City System, she began working in postsecondary education at Central Alabama Community College, followed by a move to Southern Union Community College, where she has worked the last fourteen years recruiting and advising students.

    Dial is a member of the National and Alabama Education Associations, a past president of Delta Kappa Gamma Society for Women Educators, and a member of the Clay County Retired Teachers Association. She is also a member of the Board of the Farmer’s Federation and Chairperson of the Clay County Farmer’s Federation Women’s Committee, as well as State Board member for the Farmer Federation Leadership Committee, for which she serves as Secretary.

    William A. Lunsford of Berry holds a 1968 bachelor’s degree from UWA in business administration. Following graduation, he held the position of Director of Auxiliary services at UWA and served in that capacity for seven years before moving on to a successful career in real estate sales and construction. From 1974 through 1979, Lunsford worked as a realtor for Richardson Home Builders, and in 1979, he founded Capstone Real Estate, Inc., and served as President and Broker. In 1985, this company grew into Bill Lunsford Construction & Development, Inc., for which Lunsford serves as President and Broker.

    Lunsford currently owns and manages three apartment complexes and three retail complexes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He also has under construction River Walk Place, a premier Warrior River retail and condominium project. Lunsford has contributed to downtown Tuscaloosa, revitalizing several historic downtown properties that now house many fine retail establishments and offices. Lunsford is an active member of the Tuscaloosa Board of Realtors, the Alabama Board of Realtors, and the National Board of Realtors and has served on the Board of Directors for the local organization.

    For more information about Honors Day, please call 205-652-3531.
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