Release Date: September 24, 2007
ASU Alumni Association to Honor 12 at Awards Dinner
The Angelo State University Alumni Association will recognize 12 distinguished alumni, honorary alumni and outstanding faculty during the annual Wells Fargo Homecoming Dinner Friday, Oct. 12, in the Houston Harte University Center.
The dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 in the University Center’s C.J. Davidson Conference Center and is open to the public. Tickets are $25 each and available from the Alumni Association.
Mark Homer, Class of 1989, and Helen Soto Knaggs, Class of 1967, will be honored as 2007 Distinguished Alumni. Local entrepreneurs and civic leaders Al and Licha Herrington will be named Honorary Alumni. Dr. Suzy Harrington, Class of 1986, and Col. David Sammons, Class of 1981, will be recognized as the Distinguished Carr Alumnus and Distinguished ROTC Alumnus, respectively. Mary McFall, Class of 1955, will be honored as the Golden Ex of the Year.
Also recognized will be Dr. H. Ray Dawson as Outstanding Retired Faculty Member. The 2007 Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award winners by college are Dr. Terry Dalrymple, Liberal and Fine Arts; Dr. David Loyd, Jr., Sciences; Dr. Karen Torres, Business; and Dr. K. Fritz Leifeste, Education.
Mark Homer – Distinguished Alumnus
Homer is an East Texas businessman and the Texas State Representative for District 3, which includes Lamar, Delta, Hopkins, Franklin, Titus and Red River counties. First elected in 1999, he currently serves as vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee and as a member of the Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism. He also owns and operates 18 Sonic Drive In restaurants in Texas and Florida.
A strong supporter of Texas business and public education, Homer’s honors include the 2003 Texas Economic Development Council Legislator of the Year award, the 2004 Marvin Gibbs Award for being an outstanding leader in the economic growth of Northeast Texas, and the 2007 Frank J. Tejeda Award from the Texas State Teachers Association for his significant contributions on behalf of Texas public school children and educational employees.
Also a 2005 Paris Junior College Distinguished Alumnus, Homer holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M and an M.B.A. from ASU. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children, Hanna, Harrison and Hayden.
Helen Soto Knaggs – Distinguished Alumnus
Knaggs was one of the first baccalaureate graduates of Angelo State College in 1967 and is now the director of governmental affairs for Verizon in Austin. A 38-year Verizon employee, she is responsible for lobbying efforts with U.S. congressmen and senators, state legislators and business leaders.
Knaggs’ career honors include membership in the Texas Women’s Political Caucus, recognition as the first Hispanic woman lobbyist in Texas, and appointment by President Reagan to the Small Business Administration Advisory Council. She is a member of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas and Texas Senate Hispanic Research Council, was named Who’s Who of Texas Women, and won the Texas Hispanic Leader of 2000 award from the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Knaggs is married to John R. Knaggs and has four step-children, Bart, Ryan, David and Lisa. Her brother, Sammy Soto, and her mother, Christine Soto, still live in San Angelo.
Al and Licha Herrington – Honorary Alumni
The Herringtons have been long-time supporters of ASU. In addition to contributions to the President’s Circle and Friends of Art and Music Education (FAME), they donated the property for the ASU Herrington House, where the Division of Continuing Studies, Institutional Planning and Effectiveness, and Institutional Research and Assessment are now located.
The owners of San Angelo’s Holiday Cleaners, they have also been involved in the United Way, Boy and Girl Scouts, Bradford PTA, Cultural Affairs Council, Sonrisas, Rio Concho Communities, First United Methodist Church and ASU. Between them, Al and Licha have seven children.
Dr. Suzy Harrington – Distinguished Carr Alumnus
Harrington earned her nursing degrees at ASU with the aid of Carr academic and ROTC scholarships. She graduated cum laude and as the ROTC Distinguished Graduate in 1986.
Currently manager of the U.S. Air Force’s Health Education and Fitness Program, Harrington has also spent time on active duty in the Air Force, at healthcare facilities in six states, and now in Germany. She has served as a director of education, manager of clinical services, and outcomes management project director. Her nursing experience includes critical care, community health, recruiting, radiology and school health.
Harrington also holds a master’s degree from California College for Health Sciences and a doctorate of nursing practice from Rush University. She is married to Lt. Col. Sean Harrington, Class of 1987, and they have three children, Michelle, Tommy and Laura.
Col. David Sammons – Distinguished ROTC Alumnus
Sammons financed his ASU education with a Carr ROTC scholarship, was a member of ASU’s Arnold Air Society and a 1981 Distinguished ROTC Graduate in education and biology. He is currently the chairman of the Department of Aerospace Studies/ROTC at North Carolina State University and previously served in command positions with the 55th Electronic Combat Group and the 15th Special Operations Squadron.
Sammons’ military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star. His more than 4,600 hours of flight time include combat hours over the Middle East and South America.
Sammons holds master’s degrees from Troy State and the Naval War College. He is married to Rene Sammons and they have three sons, Josh, Nathan and Kyle.
Mary McFall – Golden Ex of the Year
McFall was one of the first three black students to enroll at San Angelo College in 1953, a year before Brown vs. Board of Education made desegregation mandatory. She received her diploma in 1955 as the outstanding SAC student and the first of her race to graduate from San Angelo College.
Currently a successful Dallas attorney, McFall was also one of the first black students admitted to the University of Texas and one of the first black women accepted to the UT School of Law. She graduated from UT in 1957 and from UT School of Law in 1978. Today her law practice handles family law, wills/estates, probates and personal injury claims.
Her family includes son Brick McFall and daughter Jamila Agbon, both of Dallas, and five grandchildren.
Dr. H. Ray Dawson – Outstanding Retired Faculty
Dawson was a member of the ASU physics faculty from 1966 until he retired in 2003. His time at ASU included 22 years as the head of the Physics Department, which he helped build into one of the outstanding undergraduate programs in the U.S.
In addition to his regular duties, Dawson developed new science courses, initiated new departmental degree programs and helped create dual degree programs in engineering with several other universities. He also did nationally-recognized research in experimental atomic physics.
In 2003, the Texas State University System Board of Regents named Dawson Distinguished Professor of Physics Emeritus. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Arkansas and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas. He and his wife, Carolyn, have two daughters, Cheryl and Donna.
Dr. Terry Dalrymple – College of Liberal and Fine Arts
Dalrymple has been a member of the ASU English faculty since 1979. Holder of the John S. Cargile University Professorship, he helped start and remains the faculty advisor for the ASU literary magazine “Oasis,” now in its 18th year of publication.
Dalrymple earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southwest Texas State University and his doctorate from Oklahoma State University. He has published two books and numerous short stories, articles and reviews.
Dr. David Loyd, Jr. – College of Sciences
Loyd has been a constant presence in the ASU Physics Department since 1969 and also served as dean of the College of Sciences from 1996-2006. He has been an integral part of his department’s rise to its current national prominence.
Loyd holds his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Dr. Karen Torres – College of Business
Torres has been teaching ethics and strategy to students in ASU’s Department of Management and Marketing since 2001. She previously won an Excellence in Teaching Award at Robert Morris College in Chicago.
Torres holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois-Chicago, an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern. She has a 9-year old daughter, Claudia.
Dr. K. Fritz Leifeste – College of Education
Leifeste is an eight-year member of the ASU faculty after spending 30 years as a public school teacher and administrator. He has been instrumental in helping his students in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction build a state-wide reputation for themselves as quality teachers.
Leifeste earned his bachelor’s degree at ASU, master’s degree at Lamar University and his Ed.D. at Texas Tech. He and his wife, Margaret, have two daughters, Karla and Laura, and three grandchildren.
For more information and/or tickets to the dinner, call 942-2122.