CU Alumni Association to present awards during Homecoming

The Cameron University Alumni Association will recognize the winners of its 2010 Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Young Alumni and Faculty Hall of Fame Awards during CU's Homecoming 2010 celebration. The honors will be presented during the Aggie Family & Friends Awards Brunch on Saturday, February 20 in the Shepler Ballroom. The ceremony kicks off at 10:30 a.m. The event is open to the public at no charge; however, pre-registration is required.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to Cameron alumni who graduated 11 or more years ago. The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is presented to Cameron alumni who graduated within the last ten years. The awards are presented to alumni who have made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments and careers have brought credit to Cameron by distinguishing themselves in their careers, in service to their communities or through continued support of Cameron University.

Dr. Brent Smith, Class of 1976, and Billy Davis, Class of 1971, will each receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. Kay Morris, Class of 2004, and Victor Wong, Ph.D., Class of 2003, are the recipients of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

The Faculty Hall of Fame Award emphasizes teaching effectiveness, positive impact on students' lives and involvement at Cameron outside of the classroom and in the community. The 2010 recipients are Dr. Mike Dunn, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, and Dr. John Morris, Professor of English.

photo of brent smithAbout Dr. Brent Smith

A native of Chickasha, Dr. Brent Smith received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Cameron, then earned his doctor of medicine degree in 1980 from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. Board-certified in family practice and geriatrics, he has a private practice in Lawton.

Smith's dedication to his profession has received statewide recognition. He was appointed to the Oklahoma State Board of Health in 1993, serving as president twice during his nine-year term. In 2003, he was named Family Physician of the Year by the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians.

Dr. Smith founded the Southwest Oklahoma Medical Education Foundation to develop and support a family practice residency program and other medical programs in southwest Oklahoma. He also played an instrumental role in initiating the Health Lifestyles program in the Lawton Public School system to help educate schoolchildren about health and fitness.

An ardent fitness advocate, Dr. Smith has a prescription for health that works for everyone: stay active and fit. It is a prescription that he follows every day, and he is hoping to set an example for younger generations.

"Call it leadership by example; if we want to get young people to get out and exercise, we as adults need to lead the way," Dr. Smith once told The Lawton Constitution.

photo of billy davisAbout Billy Davis

After receiving a baccalaureate degree in elementary education from Cameron, Billy Davis earned a master's degree from the University of Oklahoma. He has been a mainstay at Lawton Public Schools since he started teaching at Hoover Elementary. Now Executive Director of Elementary Education for Lawton Public Schools, Davis is a familiar face in all 26 of the district's elementary schools, where he is likely to be found attending a school assembly, providing guidance and support to teachers and administrators, or in the classroom as a guest reader.

 A staunch advocate of promoting literacy, Davis' oral presentations promote a love of reading as he encourages students to find the magic in books. For his efforts, he received the Celebrate Literacy Award from the International Reading Association in 2006.

Davis is also a community leader, serving on the Executive Board of the Lawton United Way and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Leadership Lawton.

Patti Cargill, LPS Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, says, "I have learned from my association with Billy Davis that the difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination. His philosophy is that every student deserves the opportunity to learn in a supportive and compassionate environment. He is a consummate leader."

photo of kay morrisAbout Kay Morris

Dedication and commitment are just two of the attributes that apply to Kay Morris, a cum laude graduate who earned a B.S. in chemistry at Cameron and who began her research career under the tutelage of Dr. Clinton Bryan and Dr. Danny McGuire. Currently pursuing a doctoral degree in organic chemistry at Texas A&M University, Morris' field of research focuses on the preparation of natural products which have been shown to possess anti-cancer/tumor and antidiabetic activity.

Throughout her academic and research career, she has been lauded with prestigious honors, including the Bristol-Myers Squibb Minority Chemist Graduate Fellowship; American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry Graduate Fellowship; and Texas A&M's Molecule of the Semester Synthesis Award and Graduate Diversity Fellowship Senior Award.  She has also made numerous local and national presentations and has coauthored several publications in major chemistry journals.

Although her academic home is now in Texas, Morris is an ardent Cameron  supporter. An active promoter of Cameron's chemistry program, she regularly recommends Cameron to aspiring chemistry students whenever the opportunity arises.

photo of victor wongAbout Victor Wong, Ph.D.

A desire to help others is the driving force behind Victor Wong, who earned a baccalaureate degree in psychology cum laude from CU in 2003. As an Aggie, he had a significant impact on the quality of student life on campus due to his commitment to the Student Government Association, where he served as Vice President, then President, and also earned awards for Best Legislation and Most Outstanding Senator.

Dr. Wong was active in the McNair Scholar's program, which allowed him to participate in undergraduate research. He also served as a peer mentor for the Office of Student Support Services and served on a variety of campus committees. His list of honors includes recognition in the CU Top 20, inclusion in Who's Who Among College Students, and receiving the National TRIO Hall of Fame Most Outstanding Student Scholar award.

Following commencement, he earned a master's degree and then a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University, where he was a McNair Scholar Doctoral Fellow. He spent the 2008-09 academic year as a predoctoral intern at the Memphis VA Medical Center, where he specialized in treating post-traumatic stress disorder and chemical dependence. Currently, Dr. Wong holds a postdoctoral fellowship at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, where he specializes in the treatment of combat stress and PTSD.

photo of mike dunnAbout Dr. Mike Dunn

In his seven years at Cameron, Dr. Mike Dunn has developed a reputation for being more than a good educator. In the eyes of his students, he is a mentor whose influence will stay with them throughout their personal and professional lives. "I pride myself in trying to reach all of our students, particularly those who are challenged by either the content or the subject matter," he says.

His success in achieving that goal is best exemplified by those who have learned from him. In May 2007, he received an email from student Jonathan Wheeler, now a biology teacher in Bartlesville.

"You are genuinely invested in your subject and in your student's comprehension of the subject matter. You have always been accessible and informative," Wheeler wrote. "You've reinforced my conviction that high school teachers need not simply ‘pass the test' but be capable to establish the relevancy and coherence. Thank you, Dr. Dunn."

Biology education major William Schlecht says, "Dr. Dunn has an unmatched level of dedication not only to teaching, but to mentoring his students. He inspires students to reach beyond their limitations and achieve their full potential. My time under Dr. Dunn's mentorship will be an asset for me for the rest of my life."

photo of john morrisAbout Dr. John Morris

Educators are not often considered to be public servants, yet Dr. John Morris is a public servant of the highest caliber. His service to Cameron begins in the classroom, where his goal is to help students to succeed at college and beyond. Known for the high expectations he places on his students, Dr. Morris says, "I do whatever I can to assist students to meet my high standards."

Morris' service to the university goes far beyond his work in the classroom. In addition to his tireless efforts as faculty advisor for the Magic Lantern Film Society and the Ebony Society, Morris has provided faculty leadership as former Faculty Senate Chair, and he led the development of Plan 2013. He has also established a poetry prize for students and is currently funding an endowed lectureship in creative writing.

Dr. Morris' service to the Lawton/Fort Sill community is noteworthy as well. He is a popular presenter at the Leslie Powell Gallery, has served as president of the Southwest Oklahoma Opera Guild, and has chaired the Lawton Arts & Humanities Council. He currently organizes a monthly poetry reading that is open to the public.

Nancy P. Anderson, executive director of the Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery, says, "Dr. Morris makes listening to and reading poetry so easy to love. He has a passion for poetry and literature that is infectious."



February 12, 2010

PR# 10-021