category: Alumni

University honors alumni and friends during Alumni Awards Ceremony

Carson-Newman recognized alumni and friends during its Alumni Awards Ceremony. Recipients of C-N’s Triumph Award were recognized by the dean of that school. Pictured left to right are: Sheryl Gray, R.R. Turner Spirit of Carson-Newman Award; C-N President Charles A. Fowler; Dr. Christine Dalton, dean of the School of Natural, Applied, and Health Sciences & Professor of Chemistry; Dr. Heather Whaley, dean of the School of Business and Family and Consumer Sciences; Dr. Sheridan Barker on behalf of Brent White, Triumph Award; Judy Gooch, Triumph Award; Mark Burnette, Triumph Award; Dr. Truett Patterson on behalf of Dr. Thomas Zagambo, Distinguished Achievement Award; Dr. Kim Hawkins, dean of the School of Education and Counseling; Alice Pryor, Legacy Award; Byron Booker; Triumph Award; Clark Denton; Vision Award; Marty Blakely, president of Alumni Board; Rev. William Hild, Triump Award; Mimi Tin, Triumph Award; Dr. David Crutchley, dean of the School of Religion. Not pictured are Jennie Allen, Beacon Award; Wayne and Beth Harvey; Servant Leadership Award.

Carson-Newman University honored 13 individuals during its Alumni Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 26. The event was held during C-N’s Homecoming week.

Those recognized demonstrate the traits of those in Scripture who, often with no fanfare, serve, lead, support and love in a manner indicative of the calling of Christian educators to help C-N students reach their full potential as educated citizens and worldwide servant-leaders.

Alumni Awards and honors:

  • The Carson-Newman Beacon Award is presented to the alum or supporter of C-N under the age of 45 who, like a beacon providing light, has achieved and affected success in their respective fields or professions while also making significant contributions in areas of service.

    Recipient: Jennie F. Allen ’98, Dallas, Texas

Jennie Allen is a 1998 graduate of Carson-Newman with a degree in communications. After her time at Carson-Newman she earned an MA in Biblical Studies from the Dallas Theological Seminary. She began much of her ministry as a blogger and is now the acclaimed author of “Stuck: The Places We Get Stuck and the God Who Sets Us Free,” “Chase: Chasing After the Heart of God,” “Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul,” and “Restless: Because You Were Made for More.”

She founded the IF:Gathering, a discipleship ministry that aims to put tools and resources in the hands of women in the church and help them fulfill their calling. This national ministry that started in 2014, has empowered thousands of women to find community with one another, minister together, and to aim to receive the fullness that God has for them as believers. The phrase God has placed on her heart for her life is “Disciple a Generation.”

  • The Carson-Newman Distinguished Achievement Award is given to an alum or supporter who has shown long-term commitment to a project or projects that may not be easily seen up front, but has developed through work, effort and innovation, a result that changed for the better, and made a significant impact on their industry, profession or chosen field.

    Recipient: Dr. Thomas P. Zgambo ’77, Silver Spring Maryland

This awardee graduated from Carson-Newman in 1977 with a BA in chemistry. He went on to the University of North Texas where he earned his MS in industrial chemistry and PhD in analytical chemistry. He married the former Anita Romero and began a family before his educational career was finished and so continued his studies while working fulltime at Gillette Company. His role as a senior scientist allowed him to work on innovative projects like bringing new liquid paper products to market, improving typewriter ribbons, and inventing a permanent water-based ink now used in the gel pen. After finishing his PhD, he began working as a process engineer and later as an Ombudsman for Polaroid and soon returned to the classroom to earn his MBA in technology management from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

He served as senior lecturer and ombudsman for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and went on to become ombudsman for Coca-Cola Enterprises and The World Bank. Zgambo currently continues his work in conflict resolution as ombudsman for the International Monetary Fund. When asked how he remains positive in the face of conflict, he explained that his outlook was due to the lessons he learned growing up in Malawi as one of 11 children and the hope he finds in our Lord Jesus Christ. He is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and has served as a pastor for two churches in Texas and Massachusetts.

  • The Carson-Newman Legacy Award is given to a family who, through a decision to attend Carson-Newman University, supports its mission or both, resulted in multiple generations of family members following that path. Honorees must have a minimum of at least three generations of family receive degrees from C-N and support the University’s mission and influence others to attend C-N.

    Recipient: Alice S. Pryor ’56 and five generations of family, Jefferson City, Tennessee

Alice Pryor graduated cum laude from Carson-Newman in 1956 with her BS in music. As a student, she participated in band and the Calliopian Literary Society. Her brother, Ian Sutherland, graduated in 1958 with a BA in biology and chemistry, and went on to serve with distinction in the United States Army 82nd Airborne as a Green Beret and after retirement became an attorney.

The family legacy did not start with Alice and Ian. In 1893, her grandmother, Helen Josephine Sizer-Moser, graduated from Carson-Newman and at one time held the title of the oldest living C-N graduate. James Iddins, stepfather to Alice who raised her after her biological father passed away when she was a year old, attended Carson-Newman through 1932. His sister, Susie Mae Iddins was Class of 1926 and became head of the C-N’s Physical Education Department. She was also named Distinguished Alumna in 1972 and inducted into the Carson-Newman Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985. Mildred Lucille Iddins was in the class of 1936 and served as the campus librarian. The University’s Mildred L. Iddins Special Collections can be found on the second floor of the Stephens-Burnett Library.

Alice’s children were the fourth generation to attend. Her daughter, Mary Alice Pryor was a Class of 1980 graduate of the Physical Education Department and played basketball and volleyball. Alice’s son, Francis Dennis Pryor graduated in 1983 with a BS in accounting, played football, and was involved in student government.

The fifth and most recent generation of the Pryor family to attend Carson-Newman was the son of Dennis and Valerie, Ross Pryor. He graduated in 2018 with a BS in business administration and played football. He is now a teacher and football coach in Palm Beach, Florida. He also met his wife, Miss Jessie Cholman (another Carson-Newman graduate), during his time at C-N.

  • The Carson-Newman Vision Award is presented to an individual, group, or team that has seen a need to help advance Carson-Newman and its mission, assisted in developing a plan and took on a leadership role in seeing it to fruition. The honoree(s) are to have affected success in their chosen field and contributed significantly to areas of service.

    Recipient: F. Clark Denton ’92, Knoxville, Tennessee

Clark Denton graduated in 1992 with a BS in accounting and received his MBA from Mercer University. While at Carson-Newman he was president of the student government association.

For the last 25 years, he has practiced in the financial services industry in the Knoxville area and is the founder of Denton Financial Group. Denton has so aptly used his success to cast a vision for Carson-Newman. In leadership, he has served on the Carson-Newman Alumni Board of Directors as well as on the Board of Trustees, serving as chair of the Innovative Initiative Committee, an endeavor aimed at identifying and creating additional streams of revenue for the University.

His vision for honoring his parents, who met while students at Carson-Newman, resulted in the design and installation of the Lynn and Lyndsey Denton Gallery in C-N’s library, which houses the University’s copy of the St. John’s Bible, the first illuminated manuscript of the scriptures created since medieval times and arguably one of the crown jewels of the University.

Denton’s vision has extended to supporting multiple construction and remodeling projects at the University.

  • The Carson-Newman Servant Leadership Award is presented to a C-N alum or supporter who exemplifies the attributes of servant leadership, consistently volunteering or agreeing to accept roles to advance the mission and vision of the University while also affecting success in their chosen field.

    Recipient: Dr. D. Wayne and Beth Harvey, Knoxville, Tennessee

The Harveys have been avid supporters of the Carson-Newman women’s soccer team for more than 15 years, attending not only every game, but every practice as well, where Wayne serves as a volunteer assistant coach. This dynamic duo decided to retire from pharmaceutical sales early to be more available to serve Carson-Newman soccer and support the coaches, players, and staff in any way possible- even supplying the concession stand with the goods for sale, working the stand every game, and donating all proceeds to the team.

They recently provided winter coats for the team, regularly host pre-season and Christmas parties for C-N student-athletes, and are always at the ready to come to their aid. Their support helped provide the very structure in which the soccer team plays – “The Wayne and Beth Harvey Stadium.”

  • The Carson-Newman Triumph Award recipient is chosen by the deans and a selection panel from various schools and is given to the outstanding graduate in each category who has taken what they learned as a student and an individual and triumphed success in their respective fields of study making an impact through their work on those they serve.


Arts – Mimi Tin ’93, Fayetteville, Georgia

Mimi Tin graduated from Carson-Newman in 1993 with a BA before earning her MA in environmental graphic design from the Miami Ad School at the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where she now teaches Olympic and Retail Branding. She owns and operates Mimi Tin Design, working in all areas of graphic design from creating brand identity to implementation. Her client roster includes work for Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Samsung, Sony, Chick-fil-A, SPANX, Johnson and Johnson, and the Olympic Games across three continents.

In addition to her graphics, Tin’s work in interior design has been featured in Seventeen Magazine, Architectural Digest, and on various news outlets including the New York Times, who coined her a “Young Designer an A Roll,” and the Today Show who proclaimed her as “a designer who is clearly not afraid to push the envelope.”

In 2010 she launched Sushi Style, a collection of furniture and accessories designed to bring humor and joy into everyday life, and in 2016 launched the BeLOVED Life, a collection for children designed to make them feel unconditionally loved.

Born in Burma under dictatorial rule, her family fled to the United States with $20 and a suitcase. Tin attributes much of her creativity to these humble beginnings and they no doubt play a role in her love of children. She serves on the Board of Directors for Children Helping Children, an Atlanta based non-profit and volunteers at the City of Refuge.

Humanities & Social Sciences – Jonathan L. Childs ’95, Pound Ridge, New York

Jonathan Childs graduated from Carson-Newman in 1995 with a BA in communications. As a student, when he wasn’t busy competing on the football and golf teams or maintaining his place on the Dean’s List, he began his first company – growing his business from selling apparel to the Carson-Newman Bookstore to supplying larger organizations like the Atlanta Falcons. 

After selling the company, he began his work in both the pharmaceutical and real estate investment industries. Following stints at Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, he went on to co-found Victory Pharma, a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company, the Lane Childs Company, and ParkStone Capital, a private equity firm that invested in distressed commercial real estate across the U.S.

He is currently the founder and managing partner of Golden Child Holdings. Golden Child is an active investor in the restaurant industry and has ownership stakes in brands such as Krystal Restaurants, Logan’s Roadhouse, and J. Alexander’s.  

In addition to his career, Childs found time to serve on Carson-Newman’s Alumni Board of Directors from 2013-2015 and is a current member of the Rippowam Cisqua School’s Board of Trustees in Bedford, New York. He also serves as chair of the GC Pizza Hut Board of Directors and is an Advisory Board member for both Krystal Restaurants and SPB Hospitality Group.

Business – Mark B. Burnette ’96, Mount Juliet, Tennessee

Mark Burnette graduated from Carson-Newman in 1996 with a BS in accounting and a budding interest in computer information systems.

During his time on campus and as a placekicker for the Eagles football team, he was four-times lauded as a South Atlantic Conference Academic All-American. He received his Master of Accountancy in accounting information systems from the University of Tennessee in 1997.

His professional career began at Ernst and Young as a senior IT auditor and then went on to develop the information security program for Deloitte and Touche’s middle Tennessee division. He served as global information security officer for Willis Group, overseeing information security for offices in more than 100 countries.

Burnette served as the executive director for IT Operations and Security for Gaylord Entertainment and then founded CyBurnette ITCS, providing information technology and security consulting services for companies in many different industries. 

While serving as President of MainNerve, Inc., he helped develop their patented Adaptive Darknet security appliance and is now the Shareholder-in-Charge for LBMC Information Security in Nashville, overseeing their risk services nationwide. 

Burnette co-founded and serves on the board of Southern CISO Security Council and is a co-founder and past president of the middle Tennessee chapter of Information Systems Security Association.

He has been a long-time supporter of Carson-Newman, serving on the University’s Alumni Board of Directors from 2003-2006, and has been on the Executive Advisory Board for the Business Department since 2012. He also volunteers his time to interview incoming Honors Program applicants during Honors Weekend at C-N each year.

Family and Consumer Sciences – Judy J. Gooch, ’74, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Judy Gooch is a 1974 C-N alumna. She graduated with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences and went on to receive her master’s from the University of Georgia. She served Carson-Newman as an adjunct faculty member from 1981-1993 during which time she developed the Interior Design curriculum and participated in the University’s accreditation by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She received the University’s Lane Bryant Award for Community Service in 1993 and Carson-Newman’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2008-2009.

In addition to her careers in education and interior design, Gooch represented the 3rd Congressional District in East Tennessee as a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents from 2005-2011. During her term, she chaired the Tennessee Technology Centers Committee. She is the owner of Judy Gooch Interior Design, a freelance design business. She is a professional member of Interior Design Society and a registered interior designer with the state Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners. She continues to serve Carson-Newman as a member of the Family and Consumer Sciences Advisory Board and was chair of the board from 2005-2006.

Education and Counseling – Byron Booker ’04, Morristown, Tennessee

Dr. Byron Booker received his BA in Political Science from the University of Tennessee in 1993. In 2004 he earned his Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (ESOL), from Carson-Newman. He returned to the University of Tennessee to complete his PhD in Education Administration in 2020.

He has taught English as a second language in China at the YuLin Teacher’s College, in Russia at St. Petersburg Baptist Theological Academy, and Graduate Studies in Education at C-N. His administrative assignments include Freshman Academy Principal at Central High School, the School of Discovery Principal at Austin East Magnet High School, Freshman Academy Principal at South Doyle High School, and Assistant Principal at Cherokee High School in Hawkins County.

Booker has been a community outreach volunteer for Rotary International, coordinated mission trips to China and Russia, developed curriculum for the International Mission Board, and has served Wallace Memorial Baptist Church in multiple roles. He has been an FCA sponsor and a family sponsor for Bridge Refugee Services. He continues to volunteer time teaching English to non-native speakers and served most recently in Operation Inasmuch in Morristown, Tennessee.

Natural, Applied and Health Sciences – Brent A. White ’81, Bridgewater, New Jersey

Dr. Brent White received his BA in chemistry from Carson-Newman in 1981 and was the year’s Outstanding Graduate in Chemistry. In 1986 he earned his PhD in analytical chemistry from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and soon after began work as a scientist. After rising to the rank of a Pfizer Associate Research Fellow where he supervised a team of scientists, participated in establishing Analytical Research and Development’s strategic direction, he moved to become the principal scientist and eventual director of Analytical Development for Merck Animal Health.

During his career, White patented a pharmaceutical preparation for sustained release of a drug, presented to groups ranging from curriculum and applied science seminars to the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, and was published in professional journals like the “Journal of Pharmaceutical Biomedical Analysis,” “Inorganic Chemistry,” and “Journal of the American Chemical Society.”

He is a three-time recipient of the “Shining Performance Award” and four-time recipient of the industry’s “Special Recognition Award.” He was a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and the American Chemical Society.

Religion – Rev. William H. Hild, ’78, Sarasota, Florida

Rev. William “Bill” Hild is a 1978 graduate of Carson-Newman University with a BA in religion. Prior to his retirement in 2020, Hild spent 45 years in ministry at just three churches, 24 at First Baptist Church of Sarasota, Florida. Under his leadership, the church organized over 20 trips to Israel, Jordan, and Egypt to shepherd members into a deeper understanding of the Bible through a first-hand connection to its places and peoples.

Hild himself has taken 30 trips to the Holy Land, conducted four archeological digs and ministered in 68 countries

He was a leader in recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina as his church donated in excess of $140,000 to help storm victims and served the affected communities by delivering food and personal hygiene kits to those in the gulf coast regions.

He co-founded the Sarasota Ministerial Association in 2001 and was the leader and emcee at the Fifteenth Anniversary of 911 at Sarasota National Cemetery. Hild also hosted five of the annual Thanksgiving Wednesday luncheons for those experiencing homelessness. He was the recipient of the Sarasota Ministerial Foundation’s 2019 “Good and Faithful Servant Award” and served as a member of the Carson-Newman Board of Trustees, past president of C-N’s Alumni Board and former adjunct professor.

He also generously contributed artifacts from his personal collection to the Lynn and Lyndsey Denton Gallery to be enjoyed by the Carson-Newman and surrounding communities.

  • The R.R. Turner Spirit of Carson-Newman Award is given to a current C-N employee who exemplifies the highest ideals of service and leadership on campus. Recipients are considered to be the pinnacle of excellence and performance in their roles at Carson-Newman. The R. R. Turner Spirit of Carson-Newman Award is named in memory of Carson-Newman alumnus (1951) and beloved professor emeritus of English (1955-1992), R. R. Turner. 

    Recipient: Sheryl Gray, University Registrar

Sheryl Gray has served at Carson-Newman University for 34 years. She received her BS in English education and MS in higher education administration from Florida State University. She has worked in higher education for many years, holding positions in Residence Life, Student Affairs, Admissions, Enrollment Management and Records and Registration. 

She joined the Carson-Newman family in 1987 as assistant director of Admissions, and became the director of Undergraduate Admissions in 1989, a position she held for 15 years. Gray became the University’s registrar in 2004 and has held that position while serving in various leadership roles including secretary of the Presidential Search Committee in 2019 and as the University’s Military Services representative.

She has served as vice president for Communication and Recognition for the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars. Students and colleagues describe her as a kind and steady presence on the 3rd floor of the Fite Building. She is a champion for students and their success. She strives to ensure the Registrars Office is a warm and welcoming place students feel supported.

Previous Post

University to unveil creekside Randall and Kay O'Brien Amphitheater with ribbon cutting ceremony

Next Post

Carson-Newman welcomes ACA President, '81 alumna to address graduates at Winter Commencement

Related Posts

  • Alumni

    C-N celebrates outstanding alumni during Annual Awards Ceremony

    During homecoming week, Carson-Newman University celebrated alumni who represent their alma mater with distinction during its annual Alumni Awards Ceremony on Oct. 24. Alumni recognized demonstrate the traits of those […]

  • Alumni

    Beloved former C-N professor named to TICUA Hall of Fame

    Joe Bill Sloan, a 1967 Carson-Newman alumnus, is a 2023 inductee to the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) Hall of Fame. The organization announced that he is one […]

  • Alumni

    Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame honors coaching legend, C-N alumna

    University of North Carolina coaching legend and 1974 Carson-Newman alumna, Sylvia Hatchell was recognized again by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Hatchell, a 2013 Hall of Fame Inductee, is […]