October 9, 2019
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Huntingdon Honors Alumni for Achievement and Loyalty
Montgomery, Ala.—The Huntingdon College National Alumni Board honored six alumni for achievement and loyalty during the College’s October 4–5, 2019, Homecoming festivities. Achievement Award winners were the Reverend Dr. Jeff Spiller, Class of 1976, of Theodore, Alabama, retired United Methodist clergy, and Dr. Quesha Starks, Class of 1996, principal of Montgomery’s Booker T. Washington Magnet High School. Loyalty Award winners were Ms. Terri Smith Francis, Class of 1980, of Dothan, Alabama; the Reverend Dr. Ed Glaize, Class of 1985, of Fairhope, Alabama; and Mr. C. Gray Price, Class of 1969, of Prattville, Alabama. The College’s annual Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognized Mr. Taylor Zarzour, Class of 2000, of Charlotte, North Carolina, a sports broadcaster for the SEC Network and managing director for Sirius XM PGA Radio.
Alumni Achievement Award honoree Jeff Spiller ’76 earned his Master of Divinity degree at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and was appointed to start a new church, Christ United Methodist Church, in Mobile, Alabama, in 1979. In the next 30 years, the church averaged 300 new members per year, welcoming 10,000 new members. Spiller received the Harry Denman Evangelism Award at the Alabama/West Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1985. During his career, Spiller served as a trustee for Huntingdon College and for Birmingham-Southern College and as a church consultant for more than 50 large-membership churches. He also led many pastors’ conferences. He is married to the former Norma Borland, Miss Huntingdon 1976 and Huntingdon Class of 1977.
Alumni Achievement Award winner Dr. Quesha Starks ’96 completed a master’s degree in education at Auburn University-Montgomery; Education Specialist degree at Samford University; and Doctor of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law degree at Alabama State University. She has completed continuing education studies at Harvard University, the University of Alabama, and Troy University’s study abroad program in Pietresanta, Italy. She is a National Board Certified Teacher. Prior to her work in the Montgomery Public School System, Starks was a teacher in the Bullock County Public School System. She has served as an administrator at Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School, Loveless Academic Magnet Program (LAMP), and Walter T. McKee Junior High School. She joined the Booker T. Washington (BTW) Magnet High School team in 1998 as an English/language arts teacher. During her leadership as principal of BTW, the school has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, and BusinessWeek as one of the best high schools in Alabama and America, receiving U.S. News Gold Medal distinction as one of the top 500 schools in the nation. Starks’ honors include Disney American Teacher Award nominee; Sam Walton Foundation Teacher of the Year; Congressional Youth Leadership Advisor; Montgomery County’s Outstanding Principal (and Assistant Principal) of the Year; Alabama Outstanding Secondary Principal of the Year; Emancipation Proclamation Educator of the Year; and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy/Leadership Award (Alpha Upsilon Lambda). In 2005, she was asked to serve in the Governor’s Task Force for Teacher Quality in Alabama. Starks was one of 227 U.S. principals selected by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to be part of “Closing the Excellence Gap: Nurturing Talent of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students.” She is the founder of the J. Merriweather Project for Educational Excellence, which provides professional development for teachers and leaders in high-poverty school districts and educational planning services for low-income families with students enrolled in Grades K–12.
Alumni Loyalty Award winner Terri Smith Francis ’80 has been a contributor to the Huntingdon National Alumni Board for many years, serving as board president and as a member of the Huntingdon board of trustees from 2013 to 2015. Professionally, Francis has been a proponent for the aging community for more than 35 years. She has worked as activities director and in social services in several nursing homes and retirement centers in Alabama, including Methodist Homes for the Aging. For 15 years she served as the director of older adult ministries for First United Methodist Church-Dothan. Today, she serves as the director of community resources for SARCOA —Southern Alabama Regional Council on Aging— in Dothan, Alabama. She has served on the Bishop’s Task Force for Older Adults in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Her family includes three Huntingdon alumni: son Will Francis (HC ’12); daughter Sarah Francis Carroll (HC ’10); and Sarah’s husband, Shaun Carroll (HC’ 00).
Alumni Loyalty Award winner Dr. Ed Glaize ’85, a member of the Huntingdon board of trustees, began his professional career working in public affairs for the United States Air Force, then felt and answered a call to ministry by earning his Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Columbia School of Theology. While in seminary, he served as the student local pastor for Beulah United Methodist Church. As senior pastor, he has served Fairhope United Methodist Church, First United Methodist Church of Brewton, and First United Methodist Church of Tallassee. He was also a member of the staff for First United Methodist Church of Montgomery. Today, he serves as superintendent of the Dothan District of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is married to the former Alecia Curtis, Huntingdon Class of 1985.
C. Gray Price ’69, a native of Marianna, Florida, devoted four years to service in the United States Air Force after graduating from Autauga County High School and before entering Huntingdon College. After his college graduation, he earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Troy University. He remained an avid supporter of Huntingdon College, serving on the National Alumni Board. Price was a teacher and principal in the Autauga County School System before he was elected to three consecutive terms as mayor for the city of Prattville, beginning in 1980. Following public service, he began a new career as an ombudsman and patients’ rights advocate for the Central Alabama Aging Consortium. Price taught Sunday School and served on numerous boards and committees for Prattville First United Methodist Church. Community organizations that benefited from his involvement included the Prattville Historic Preservation Commission, Autauga County Heritage Association, Prattville Arts Counsel, and Alabama Silver Hair Legislature. He was inducted into the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. Price passed away August 18, 2019. His Alumni Loyalty Award was given posthumously.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award winner Taylor Zarzour ’00 serves as a play-by-play commentator for college football and college baseball, working alongside college football analyst Matt Stinchcomb and sideline reporter Alyssa Lang for SEC Network’s Saturday afternoon college football action. In addition, Zarzour is the radio voice for golf’s major championships as the managing director of Sirius XM PGA Radio. A native of Mobile, Ala., Zarzour began his broadcasting career as a sports reporter for WEAR-TV in Pensacola, Fla. He went on to host the Morning Show for Sports Radio 560 in Nashville, Tennessee, before returning to Mobile, where he served as the program director and afternoon host for Sports Radio 105.5 WNSP. Zarzour moved to North Carolina in 2004 to serve as program director and morning host for Triangle Sports Talk 1490/1090 in Raleigh/Durham. He later became the sports director for Curtis Media Group in Raleigh, while also hosting his own daily sports talk show. In January 2011, Zarzour moved to Charlotte to join 610 WFNZ as the host of The Drive each weekday afternoon. He lives in Charlotte with his wife and two daughters.
Huntingdon College embraces students’ development and growth in faith, wisdom, and service, providing a solid foundation that enables graduates to respond to the needs of today’s complex world.