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Mary Jo Davis Outstanding Alumni Award Recipients

The Mary Jo Davis Outstanding Alumni Award is awarded to graduates who have contributed to Averett and the community at large in the way Mary Jo Davis ’55 did. Davis retired from Averett in 1999 after 34 years of service to the University. Her career began as alumni director before transitioning into the Dean of Students Office in the 1970s. A decade later, she transitioned back into Institutional Advancement, then the Development Office. During her tenure at the University, Davis was known for laughter, pranks, optimism and developing lifelong bonds with both alumni and friends of the University. Davis once said that about the only thing she didn’t see change in her near 40 years was the four columns on Main Hall.


1972 – Dr. Belle Boone Beard, ’15

1973 – Miss Virginia B. Longest, ’38

1974 – Dr. Betty Smith Cox, ’45

1975 – Mrs. Mary Lou Martin Barr, ’28, ’32

1976 – Mr. Clarence J. Grogan, ’38

1977 – Miss Mary Jo Davis, ’55

1978 – Mr. E.B. “Pat” (Ernest) Furgurson, Jr., ’50

1979 – Mrs. Frances Kipps Spencer, ’51

1980 – Dr. Samuel Harris Love, ’48

1981 – Mr. Charles S. Barbour, ’50

1982 – Mr. George H. Shields, Jr., ’42, ’92

1983
Mrs. Edith Fitzpatrick James, ’13
Mrs. Lillian Smith George, ’33

1984 – Mrs. Bonnie Neff Hoover, ’46

1985 – Dr. C. (Cora) Anne Davis, ’56

1986
Mr. and Mrs. Garland M. Wyatt, ’42, ’89
Harriet Wyatt, ’42

1987 – Mrs. Sallie M. Clark, ’31

1988 – Mrs. Margaret Buck Wayland, ’48, ’95

1989 – Miss Lois Emily Hart, ’31

1990 – Mrs. Elizabeth Mitchell Walker, ’80, ’95

1991 – Miss Carrie Tate Aylor, ’36

1992
Mrs. Frances Floyd Hayes, ’35
Mrs. Adice Murphey Waymack, ’42
Mrs. Virginia Hearn Whiting, ’43

1993
Mr. Holt Hawkins Bradley, Jr., ’48
Mrs. Margaret Buck Wayland, ’48, ’95

1994
Mrs. Margaret Tryee Harding, ’78
Mr. Jerry Austin Meadors, ’78

1995 – Dr. Merle Puckette Herndon, ’74

1997
Dr. Martha Allgood Walker, ’74
Mrs. Elizabeth Griggs Vipperman, ’36

1999 – Mr. Steven E. Willis, ’81

2000 – The Honorable Rossie D. Alston, Jr., ’79

2001
Mrs. Grace Walker Taylor, ’54
Mr. Jarmo O. Saloranta, ’85

2002
Mrs. Glenna Tillotson Lingafelt, ’55
Mrs. Deborah Wyatt Upton, ’74
Reverend John V. Upton, Jr., ’74

2003
Mrs. Marie Riddle Harris, ’68
Dr. Peggy C. Wright, ’85

2004 – Ms. Gonzalee M. Ford, ’58

2005 – Mrs. Elizabeth “Nonie” Owen Swaim, ’55

2006 – Mrs. Paula Cochran Collie, ’58, ’71

2008 – Mr. L. Hampton Wilkins, ’73, ’87

2011 – Dr. Sue Burgess Davis, ’75, ’81

2012
Mr. Charles Wickham, ’85
Ms. Carol Underwood Digesare, ’68, ’71

2013 – Mrs. Pattie Parham Cairns, ’74

2014 – Mrs. Violet Turner Frith, ’52

2016 – Mrs. Barbara Shields Collie ’50

2017 – Mr. Eric C. Miller ‘96

2018 – Mary Clifton Franks ’66

2019 – Susan Slade Hudgins ’69

2020 – Class of 2020

2021 – Roberta Thayer-Smith ’74


The title for this award has changed over the years, however the criteria for selecting recipients has not. It is awarded to graduates who have contributed to Averett and the community at large in the way Mary Jo Davis did.