Exceptional Alumni Honored by Averett University at Homecoming

Posted on October 21st, 2016 by Cassie Jones

Averett Alumni Award WinnersOn Saturday, Oct. 15, during Homecoming festivities, Averett honored several alumni for their contributions to the University and the community at large.

Three alumni were presented with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, including Stephanie Church ’99, Pat Hall Franklin ’71, ’73, and E.W. Tibbs Jr. ’00. The award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated outstanding service or accomplishment in their personal or professional lives.

Church graduated from Averett with degrees in equestrian studies and journalism. She is editor-in-chief of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care and TheHorse.com, a Lexington, Kentucky-based magazine and website with international horse owner and veterinary readership. In her 17 years and six positions at The Horse, Church has covered a variety of important horse industry issues. She documented the U.S. emergence of West Nile virus; brought to light stories of horse owners impacted by Hurricane Katrina; and described efforts of researchers helping working donkeys and horses in Africa. She and her team work to create engaging, reliable, and useful stories, visuals, live events, and other material. Church also edits Off-Track Thoroughbred magazine, which she and her team launched for Retired Racehorse Project. She has been involved in a number of organizations and served in leadership positions, including American Horse Publications (AHP), UK Healthcare’s Saddle Up Safely, the Lexington Explorium’s exhibit, “Hold Your Horses,” 2016 TREC World Championships, Lexington Mounted Police, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, Centenary United Methodist Church’s missions team, and the Bible Study Fellowship’s Lexington Evening Women’s Class. She has won several AHP annual media awards, and in 2014, was inducted into the United States Pony Clubs’ Academy of Achievement. Church enjoys riding, writing, traveling, cooking, cycling and spending time with friends.

Franklin held the position of supervisor of visual and performing arts for Newport News Public Schools for the last 15 years. Previously, she spent 27 years as a classroom art teacher in grade levels ranging from Pre-K to 12. Franklin is currently president of the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and has held numerous positions within the association. She served on NAEA “Professional Standards for Visual Arts Educators” Writing Committee and NAEA “Standards for Art Teacher Preparation” Revision Committee. She has received national, regional and state professional recognition as both an art educator and an arts education supervisor. Franklin currently holds education licensure in the State of Virginia for Administration and Supervision of Education preK-12, Visual Arts Education preK-12 and Gifted Education. In addition to the Bachelor of Arts from Averett College, she holds a Master of Science in supervision and administration of education from Longwood College, and Master of Interdisciplinary Studies with concentration in studio art and art history from Virginia Commonwealth University. Franklin is also involved in the Newport News Arts Commission, Newport News Public Art Foundation, the Virginia Coalition for Fine Arts Education, the Virginia Writing and Revision Committees for Visual Arts Standards of Learning, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Teacher Advisory Committee, and Virginia Symphony Education Outreach Committee.

Tibbs has been president and CEO of Centra Health since 2013, where he leads an organization of 7,000 employees. He joined the health system in September of 2006, when he was hired as vice president of operations, and has since been promoted to senior vice president of operations, and finally held a dual role as senior vice president of acute care and CEO and president of Centra Southside Community Hospital in Farmville. Tibbs worked for Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Carillion and Bedford Memorial Hospital prior to joining Centra. He is a registered nurse with a master’s in business administration, earning his associate and baccalaureate degrees in nursing from the Jefferson College of Health Sciences before coming to Averett. He’s revered as a role model for all who work with and know him. He has encouraged others along the way to pursue their graduate education, and to do so at Averett. Tibbs was

the December 2015 commencement speaker at the University’s winter graduation ceremony. In addition, Tibbs is a family man, with a wife and two daughters, and has served on a number of not-for-profit boards including Virginia Hospital and Healthcare’s Board of Directors, as well as a guest lecturer at the University of Virginia; a panelist for the Duke University Fuqua School of Business; and as a panelist on the national level with Juniper Consulting around healthcare reform.

Barbara Shields Collie ’50 received the Mary Jo Davis Lifetime Service Award, which is presented to an alumnus who has contributed to Averett and the community at large in the way that Mary Jo Davis did. Collie is an Averett ambassador who regularly attends plays, performances, ceremonies and sporting events, and is a former member of the Board of Associates. In 2012, she established the Shields Sisters’ scholarship in honor of her sisters, all of whom attended Averett, and as a testament to her mother’s commitment to the pursuit of learning and education. She’s been very active in the community, serving in numerous board and membership positions, and is a well-known sports enthusiast, who can be spotted cheering on local youth and the Averett Cougars.

The university presented the Recent Alumnus Award to Darrius Bethel ’13, ’15. Born and raised in Halifax, Va., Bethel received his bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Sociology and master’s in business administration, both from Averett. He is currently the director of specialized programs at Life Push, LLC, a company dedicated to changing the world. Bethel specializes in motivating high school and college students on how to turn negatives into positives and how to change your perspective to properly match your purpose in life. He also works to motivate people to set specific goals and how to prioritize their lives so that these dreams become a reality. Always interested in helping people reach their full potential, regardless of where they may currently be in life, he believes that where you start is not important, but where you finish is what matters the most.

Dan Cook ’07 received the Frank Campbell Service Award. This award recognizes alumni who have graduated in the last 10 years for their service to Averett. Cook is a proud veteran of the United States Army, holding degrees from New River Community College, Bluefield State College, Bluefield College and Averett University, where he earned his MBA, and holds numerous industry recognized certifications. He has worked Virginia Tech for 23 years in the IT field, where is has been very active in Staff Senate and held numerous positions and served in a multitude of roles, including vice president and president. He has also served on the Advisory Committee on Security and Infrastructure in the aftermath of the campus shootings, the Presidential Award of Excellence Selection Committee, the Employee Benefits Committee, Chair of the Commission on Staff Polices and Affairs, member of the University Council and the Elections and Nominations Committee, and the staff representative to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.  He was the founding member of the Virginia Tech Veterans Caucus. Cook has served on the Averett Alumni Association Executive Board and continues to serve on the Advisory Panel of Computer Science and Information Technology at New River Community College.  He is very active with the Boy Scouts of America and has received numerous awards from the organization. He is married and has a son.

The Fugate-Davis Women’s Leadership Award was awarded to Nancy S. Perry ’72. This award recognizes strong women leaders in the tradition of Averett’s beginnings as a women’s college, and recipients are chosen from the Women’s Leadership Circle. Perry received her undergraduate degree in history at Averett, going on to teach history for 13 years. She graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1987 with a degree in museum education, shifting her career path to museum renovation projects, special events planning and programming. She worked for the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation, the Yorktown Victory Center and the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History before taking the position of director of museums for the City of Portsmouth in 2002, where she oversees five museums and the care of the city’s monuments. She was elected to the Board of the Virginia Association of Museums, served on the board of the Southeastern Museums Conference, and presently serves as the president of the Virginia Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum and on the State Chapter Advisory Board for the museum. She is in her second term on the Averett University Alumni Board and now serving as President. She’s received numerous awards for her contributions including the Alli Award from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads, and was the first female recipient of the Lifetime Service Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. She is the proud mother and grandmother of two children and six grandchildren.

In addition, four new members were inducted into the Averett Athletics Hall of Fame: Kelly Gregory ’02, Jeff Hughley ’07, Jermaine Moore ’06, and Shannon Yopp ’98, ’02.