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2015 Alumni Awards honor achievement, loyalty


October 6, 2015

For more information, contact:
Su Ofe
(334) 833-4515; ofe@huntingdon.edu

For immediate release:

Huntingdon’s 2015 Alumni Awards honor achievement, loyalty

2015 Alumni Award Winners

L-R, 2015 Alumni Award Winners: Gillian Lisenby Walters ’08, Outstanding Young Alumna; Neil McDavid ’69, Achievement; Betty Seymour Perdue ’51, Achievement; Carl Barranco ’64, Achievement; Gale Stallworth Stone ’57, Achievement; Mike Ward ’76, Loyalty; and Laura Hinds Duncan ’94, Loyalty

Montgomery, Ala.—The Huntingdon College National Alumni Board honored seven Huntingdon alumni for their professional achievement or loyalty to the College during the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony, Friday, October 2, in Ligon Chapel, Flowers Hall. The 2015 honorees are:


Alumni Achievement Award, Carl Barranco, Class of 1964, Montgomery, Alabama

Carl Barranco '64

Carl Barranco ’64

With more than 50 years of experience in public accounting, Carl Barranco is recognized nationally as a leader in the accounting profession. A certified public accountant, Barranco is a member of the firm, Warren Averett, the second largest accounting firm among Gulf Coast states.  He advises clients on a full range of tax, consulting and accounting matters and specializes in mergers and acquisitions and the banking, healthcare, construction and manufacturing industries. Prior to joining Warren Averett, Barranco served as the managing partner for Wilson, Price, Barranco, Blankenship & Billingsley, P.C., in Montgomery. In addition to his accounting background, Barranco has been an owner in several closely-held business interests, including apparel manufacturing, fast food restaurants, and radio broadcasting. Fully engaged in the Montgomery community, he is the past chairman of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and the past chairman of the Chamber’s Committee of 100.  He has served on the Board of Trustees of Huntingdon College for a number of years and was a founding board member of the Leading Edge Alliance, an international association of accounting firms.

Alumni Achievement Award, Neil McDavid, Class of 1969, Montgomery, Alabama

Neil McDavid

2015 Achievement Award recipient Neil McDavid ’69

A native of the Eight Mile and Whistler communities of Mobile, Ala, Neil McDavid came to Montgomery as a freshman at Huntingdon, where he met his wife, Minta. They were married the following year.  While a married student, he was active in the Huntingdon College Methodist Student Movement, did field work with a Montgomery juvenile probation officer for a year, and was the lunch cook in the Huntingdon bookstore while simultaneously serving on the Huntingdon gymnastics team and as pastor of Equality United Methodist Church in Coosa County. After completing his Master of Divinity degree at Duke University, he served Snowdoun, Theodore, Saraland, Capitol Heights, Cokesbury, Dauphin Way, and Gulf Shores United Methodist churches, retiring July 1, 2015, after 48 years of ministry in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.  During his career, McDavid was appointed to serve as director of connectional ministries for the Annual Conference, which gave him oversight of the missions and ministries in the Alabama-West Florida footprint. He continues to serve part-time as the director of new church development for the Alabama-West Florida Conference. His service beyond the local church has included the Rotary Club, district and conference-level agencies of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, boards and committees including the Board of Church and Society, Board Pension and Health Benefits, Board of Global Ministries, and the Huntingdon College Board of Trustees. He has also served as the conference coordinator of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission and as a member of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Coordination and Accountability. He has made numerous mission trips to Mexico, Ecuador, and Cameroon.

Alumni Achievement Award, Betty Seymour Perdue, Class of 1951, Montgomery, Alabama

Betty Perdue

Betty Seymour Perdue ’51, front row, fourth from left, was surrounded by former members of her choirs at the 2015 Alumni Awards celebration.

Betty Seymour Perdue completed majors in philosophy and religion and vocal performance at Huntingdon. Originally from Dothan, she came to Huntingdon because of connections in the United Methodist Church. As a student, she worked in the dining hall and eventually was promoted to the assistant to the dining hall director.  She held leadership roles in the Huntingdon choir, in Methodist student groups, and in the choirs of local United Methodist congregations. Perdue began her career as the director of music and education at Forest Avenue Methodist Church. After her three years at Forest Avenue, she spent the next 13 years in the classroom as director of choral music at Bellingrath Junior High School and Sidney Lanier High School. In 1968 she was promoted to serve the Montgomery County School System as the music supervisor and continued on to the State Department of Education in 1971 as a statewide music consultant. She retired in 1996 as the supervisor for music and arts for the Alabama State Department of Education, where she was responsible for establishing and maintaining the accreditation standards for colleges who train teachers in music education, as well as developing standards and criteria for music and visual arts programs throughout Alabama for kindergarten through eighth grades. One of Perdue’s most significant accomplishments was persuading the Metropolitan Opera Company to begin a pilot program that trained music teachers how to encourage children to write creatively, thereby producing their own operas. These extensive workshops and two-week training sessions were taught by members of the Metropolitan Opera Company for the benefit of the local teachers and directors of music. Alabama was the pilot location for this program, which has transformed how the Deep South is viewed by the arts community. Perdue was also the visionary behind the establishment of the Vann Vocal Institute, an annual two-day workshop designed to encourage excellence in singing. The Vann Vocal Institute is a partnership between Huntingdon College and the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. Perdue has been recognized extensively for her service as a teacher, musician, music educator, board member, arts visionary, and as a state and community leader.

Alumni Achievement Award, Gale Marie Stallworth Stone, Class of 1987, Ellicott City, Maryland

Gale Stone

Gale Stallworth Stone ’87, center, with President J. Cameron West, left, and National Alumni Board vice president Mark Colson ’07

A native of Evergreen, Alabama, Gale Marie Stallworth Stone served as a Huntingdon Host and a member of the Black Student Union and the Huntingdon Jewels, the interest group for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, which later chartered a chapter at Huntingdon. An accounting major, Stone served her fellow students as an accounting tutor and played intramural softball and basketball. She graduated cum laude. Stone became a certified public accountant in 1990 and completed a master’s degree in information systems and telecommunications in 1998 from Johns Hopkins University. She began her 30-year federal career as a cooperative education student in the Birmingham, Alabama, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.  She has been part of the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General since its inception in 1995 and today serves as the Deputy Inspector General. In this capacity, she provides leadership in the planning, policy and program development for the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, whose mission is to combat waste, fraud and abuse in Social Security programs. Stone currently serves in a 4-year appointment to the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, which advises the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Her professional awards include a 1996 Hammer Award and a 2002 Inspector General Award. She was recognized by the former President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency with the 2004 Glenn Roth Award, the 2006 Award for Excellence, and the 2007 Barry Snyder PCIE/ECIE Joint Award. Each of these awards reflects her exemplary performance in carrying out the mission of combating waste, fraud, and abuse.

Alumni Loyalty Award, Laura Hinds Duncan, Class of 1994, Pike Road, Alabama

Laura Duncan

2015 Alumni Loyalty Award recipient Laura Hinds Duncan ’94

Laura Hinds Duncan entered Huntingdon College as a freshman in the fall of 1989 and has been a student or employee of the College ever since. As a student, she was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi women’s fraternity, Beta Beta Beta biology honor society, and the Huntingdon College Running Club.  The Birmingham native and graduate of Briarwood Christian School completed her Huntingdon degree with a major in biology. From 1994 to 2003 Duncan was a fixture of the Huntingdon Office of Admission, serving as an admission counselor, assistant director, associate director, and ultimately the director of admission. She served as the director of alumni relations from 2003 to 2004, director of college events from 2004 to 2007, and director of the Huntingdon Evening Studies Program from 2007 to 2009. In 2009, she answered the call to return to the Office of Admission to serve in her current role as vice president for enrollment management. Under her leadership, the College has recruited more than 300 students to enroll at Huntingdon in each of the last six years. For Duncan, Huntingdon is family. Her sister, Leslie, is a graduate of Huntingdon and her husband, Craig, is the head coach of the Huntingdon wrestling program. She has been part of the fabric of Huntingdon for so long she is now recruiting the sons and daughters of individuals she first recruited to Huntingdon in her earliest days in the Office of Admission.

Alumni Loyalty Award, Michael Seth “Mike” Ward, Sr., Class of 1976, Montgomery, Alabama

Chief Ward

Alumni Loyalty Award recipient Chief Mike Ward ’76, center, with President J. Cameron West and National Alumni Board vice president Mark Colson ’07

Mike Ward was born and raised in York, Alabama, where he graduated from Sumter Academy in 1973. At Huntingdon, he worked in the library as well as with youth for Alabama Avenue United Methodist Church in Selma, Alabama. Simultaneously, he served as a house-parent for the Group Homes for Children in Montgomery and as a reserve police officer for the Montgomery Police Department.  In spite of his outside commitments, he participated in Huntingdon intramural sports and was active in the Behavioral Science Club under the direction of his adviser and mentor, Dr. Thomas Staton. Upon graduating from Huntingdon in 1976, Ward worked at Brantwood Children’s Home. In April 1977, he entered the Montgomery Police Academy to fulfill his life-long dream of a career in law enforcement. During his tenure at the Montgomery Police Department, he worked in the Patrol Division, K-9 Unit, Vice and Narcotics Unit, Juvenile Division, Detective Division, and the Administrative Division. He also served as a hostage negotiator as well as the spokesperson for the Montgomery Police Department. Ward received numerous acclamations and awards during his time with the Police Department, including Officer of the Month and Officer of the Year. After retiring from the Police Department in October 1997, Ward accepted the Chief of Security position at Huntingdon College and has been serving his alma mater ever since. He says he enjoys helping students navigate college campus life, getting to know students by joining them in the Huntingdon Travel Program, and helping the faculty and staff meet daily needs. Around campus, everyone calls him “Chief.” In 2004, Ward was the recipient of Huntingdon’s Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. He is active in the Alabama Association of Police Chiefs, and in January 2015 received an award for completing 240 hours of continuing education in law enforcement, administered by Jacksonville State University. Ward is a certified Title IX investigator and serves on the boards of MANE and SART.

Outstanding Young Alumna Award, Gillian Lisenby Walters, Class of 2008, Montgomery, Alabama

Gillian Walters

Outstanding Young Alumna Gillian Lisenby Walters ’09 with President West and Mark Colson ’07

Gillian Lisenby Walters was raised in Dothan and graduated from Huntingdon College with a degree in biochemistry. During her time at Huntingdon she loved the liberal arts education she received, believing it laid a good foundation for her life in ministry, enabling her to connect with church and community members who have varied interests and careers. At Huntingdon she played for three years on the volleyball team, served as a leader in SGA, participated in Huntingdon theater productions, and served as a youth intern at First United Methodist Church. After graduating, Walters earned her Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School, where she was selected to participate in the international field education placement program and spent a summer learning from pastors in Chulaimbo, Kenya. Upon graduation from Duke, she and her husband, Charles, a Huntingdon and Duke classmate, moved to Livingston, Alabama, where she served for two years as the director of the University of West Alabama Wesley Foundation and the pastor of Brewersville United Methodist Church. During her time in Livingston she helped to launch an ecumenical prayer walk involving people of various denominations, ethnicities, and backgrounds who gathered to pray for the Livingston community. After serving two years in Livingston, Walters returned to Montgomery and to First United Methodist Church, where she serves as an associate pastor. In June 2014, after serving for a year at FUMC, Walters was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church. At First Methodist, she oversees the intern program in which she participated while a student at Huntingdon. Although Gillian and Charles live in Montgomery, they operate River Oaks Farm in Millbrook, a place where anyone from the community can come to dig in the dirt and enjoy the fruits of the earth and God’s creation, and where Charles works full-time. Gillian has also enjoyed performing in community theater productions at the Cloverdale Playhouse.

Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Founded in 1854, Huntingdon is a coeducational liberal arts college. Ranked in the top tier of regional colleges by U.S. News and World Report and consistently listed in the Princeton Review’s “The Best Colleges: Region by Region,” Huntingdon has for four years been recognized on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Washington Monthly, which ranks colleges on the basis of their contributions to the public good, places Huntingdon among the top 15% of 344 baccalaureate colleges. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently recognized Huntingdon among “The Fastest Growing Colleges in America.”


Suellen (Su) Ofe
Associate Vice President
for Marketing and Communications
Huntingdon College
1500 E. Fairview Ave., Montgomery, AL 36106
(334) 833-4515; Cell (334) 324-6591