October 31, 2018
For more information, contact: Su Ofe, (334) 833-4515; firstname.lastname@example.org
Huntingdon Honors Alums During Homecoming
Montgomery, Ala.—Huntingdon College honored 10 alumni and one friend of the College during the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony, held during Homecoming 2018, Saturday, October 27. The National Alumni Association recognized Jim Abbott ’86 and William B. Wilson ’90 with the Alumni Achievement Award; Margaret Ward Kneisel ’71 and Charles Lee ’62 with the Alumni Loyalty Award; and Dr. Larry McLemore ’04 with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. At the same ceremony, the Huntingdon Athletic Hall of Fame inducted Keith Anthony ’13, Alyssa Eason ’12, Robert Eskew ’69 (posthumously), Mike Jones, Aleah Payne ’12, and Abby Carter Stanton ’12 as new members.
Alumni Achievement Awards
Jim Abbott, Class of 1986, Newalla, Oklahoma; Director of Athletics, Oklahoma City University
Abbott has served as athletic director at Oklahoma City University for 16 years, earning 2008–2009 and 2017–2017 NAIA National Athletic Director of the Year awards. He was also recognized in 2010, 2015, and 2018 as the Under Armour Central Region Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). He has been named the Sooner Athletic Conference Athletic Director of the Year five times and inducted into the OCU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017–2018. Abbott has worked in higher education administration for more than 30 years. He was unable to attend the awards ceremony.
William B. Wilson, Class of 1990, Montgomery, Alabama; President, Jim Wilson & Associates
Wilson began his real estate career in the offices of Donahue Schreiber, a California-based real estate company specializing in real estate redevelopment and leasing. In 1992 he returned to Montgomery to head the development department for Jim Wilson & Associates. Wilson and his firm, national leaders in real estate development and leasing, have been involved in the development of both retail shopping centers and residential communities, including the 1.4 million square foot enclosed Mall of Louisiana, the premiere shopping center in the state that opened in 1997; the 330-acre EastChase development, central Alabama’s first open-air lifestyle center, which opened in 2002; the Avenue Carriage Crossing, an 810,000 square foot open-air lifestyle center in Collierville, Tennessee, an upscale suburb of Memphis; and the Shoppes at River Crossing, a 750,000 square foot regional lifestyle center in Macon, Georgia, which opened in March 2008. Power center developments include the EastChase Market Center in Montgomery, the Carriage Crossing MarketPlace in Collierville, Tennessee, and EastChase Central in Montgomery. Wilson has served on the Huntingdon College board of trustees since 2006.
Alumni Loyalty Awards
Margaret Ward Kneisel, Class of 1971, Montgomery, Alabama
After coming to Huntingdon from her hometown of Greenville, Alabama, to pursue her love of music, Kneisel’s focus changed to mathematics. She entered the professional world of accounting and earned her CPA licensure before changing paths again to work in a family-owned real estate business. Kneisel has served on the National Alumni Board and she and her husband, Craig, are members of the Huntingdon Society and the John Massey Heritage Society. The Kneisels have donated valuable technology to the Huntingdon chemistry laboratory and established the Kneisel Undergraduate Research Award in Chemistry and The Richard Craig and Margaret Ward Kneisel Endowed Scholarship.
Charles Lee, Class of 1962, Montgomery, Alabama
Greenville native Charles Lee began teaching and coaching at Montgomery’s Bellingrath Junior High School after graduating from Huntingdon. There, his teams won the city championship in every sport offered by the Montgomery Department of Parks and Recreation. He later moved to Jefferson Davis High School. One of the state’s most decorated high school football coaches, in 30 years of coaching, his teams lost only 81 games, enjoying seven undefeated and six one-loss football seasons. He was named Montgomery Metro Coach of the Year numerous times and State Coach of the Year four times. The Alabama Football Coaches Association honored Lee with their Lifetime Achievement Award, and he has been inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in starting high school and junior high school wrestling in Montgomery, and was so involved in beginning Huntingdon’s football program the College’s football field is named in his honor. He is present on the sidelines for almost every Hawks football home game and has served on the National Alumni Board.
Outstanding Young Alumnus
Lawrence U. McLemore, Class of 2004, Montgomery, Alabama; Head of School, The St. James School
McLemore was a leader in every way as a Huntingdon student. Student Government Association and Sigma Phi Epsilon president during his Huntingdon years, he completed internships in the Alabama State Senate, the United States Senate, and the White House, and coached football at the St. James School, his alma mater. McLemore graduated from Huntingdon summa cum laude, winning the Willard D. Top Award and the Margaret Read Scholarship Medal. He earned his Master of Education degree at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in history at Auburn University, returning to teach and coach at St. James, and quickly climbing the ladder in administration. He is a new member of the Huntingdon College board of trustees.
Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees
Keith Anthony, Class of 2013, Montgomery, Alabama; Football
Former Hawks football powerhouse Anthony, of Montgomery, was recruited to Huntingdon by Coach Derrick Ansley (now with the L.A. Raiders). As a true freshman he appeared in 10 games and became a key contributor on the defense and in special teams. By the beginning of his sophomore season, D3proday.com named him a pre-season All-American. He subsequently was named 2nd Team All-American as a junior; Strength and Conditioning All-American, awarded by the National Strength and Conditioning Association; and 1st Team All-American during his senior season, awarded by D3FOOTBALL.com. Anthony was named defensive captain in his junior and senior seasons. During his senior year, he was invited by D3 Senior Classic to play in two All-American bowl games, earning the Defensive MVP award in one of those games. He remains Huntingdon’s career interception leader with 19. After graduation, he joined the Army National Guard and was promoted to sergeant in his second year, moving to an infantry support unit in Anniston, Alabama. He found a new passion in training and developing soldiers.Following his own entrepreneurial journey, Anthony founded a logistics company while working in a full-time management position in Auburn, Alabama. He is earning his MBA at Auburn-Montgomery while teaching aspiring entrepreneurs how to redirect their competitive spirits into creating successful businesses.
Alyssa Eason, Class of 2012, Montgomery, Alabama; Volleyball
Ace volleyball player Eason, a native of Auburn, Alabama, started in all 456 sets during four seasons for the Lady Hawks as a setter/right side hitter. In 2008, Eason earned a spot on the Great South Athletic Conference’s All-Freshman Team. In 2009, she received All-Academic honors, also earning recognition as Breakthrough Player of the Year. In 2010 and 2011 she was named to the GSAC All-Conference Team as well as receiving GSAC’s Sportsmanship Award in 2011. As a senior, she was named ALFA Insurance Player of the Week the final week of the regular season. She ended her Huntingdon career with 321 kills, 2,485 assists, 1,032 digs, 136 blocks, and 136 aces. Off the court, she was a founding member of Huntingdon’s chapter of Phi Mu women’s fraternity. Eason returned to school after two years of teaching and coaching and earned her registered nurse licensure. She works for Montgomery Neurological Associates.
Jim Eskew, Class of 1969, Montgomery, Alabama; Baseball
Inducted posthumously, Eskew’s award was accepted by his daughters, Suzanne, Lisa, and Allison. He came to Huntingdon from his hometown of McDonough, Georgia, as an all-around athlete at Henry County High School, where he served in the guard position for the basketball team, as a pitcher for the baseball team, and played football, earning All-State honors for football and baseball. As a freshman at Huntingdon, he concentrated on baseball, playing in every game as either a pitcher or right-fielder, and leading the team in RBIs. He earned a full scholarship for his remaining three years. Equally talented at pitching and hitting, he led the team to many victories, becoming a legend among other players and coaches. After graduation, he spent 11 years teaching and coaching at Cloverdale Junior High School while officiating college games and earning his master’s degree. In 1980, he left Cloverdale to teach history and coach football and wrestling for Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery. During the 1981 football playoff season, he suffered a massive stroke and passed away September 20, 1981, at age 34. His legacy lives on through the young men he coached who have gone on to great success, including Huntingdon’s director of athletics and head football coach, Mike Turk.
Mike Jones, Decatur, Alabama; Baseball
Decatur, Alabama, resident Mike Jones, father of Huntingdon Hall of Famer Tyler “Top” Jones ’08, enjoyed a stellar baseball player in his own right. The elder Jones earned a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1966, but was drafted into the Army and never got a chance to pursue his dream of professional baseball. Upon his return in 1968, he was intrigued by fast pitch softball—a sport he has played for 25 years. He competed in 15 National Fast Pitch Championships, making it to the final four in 1986 with the Tuscaloosa Travelers. In 1995, he became a member of the national Men’s Senior Baseball League and has won 13 national championship rings. Today, his loyalty to the Huntingdon baseball team has remained strong and unwavering in the 10 years following his son’s graduation. Regardless of where the Hawks are playing in the spring, Jones is usually there, situated along the first- or third-base sideline. He’s a quiet spectator, but vocal behind the scenes in providing financial support and leadership for the baseball program. Through his generosity, enhancements to the baseball complex have included covered batting cages and renovated stadium seating.
Aleah Payne, Class of 2012, Opelika, Alabama; Softball
Payne, of Beauregard, Alabama, served as softball team captain and played a major role in helping the Lady Hawks reach the NCAA-Division III regional tournament for the first time. She was a two-time All-Conference selection, a second-team All-Region selection as a junior, and the Great South Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a senior. She was also selected as the 2012 Huntingdon Female Athlete of the Year and received the Megan Cook Award. Payne held a record for stolen bases at Huntingdon with a career record in just two seasons of 71 for 79 stolen bases. She was a category leader in doubles, triples, and home runs, while holding better than a .450 batting average. After graduating, Payne worked in the Huntingdon business office, moving to the Department of Sport Science and Physical Education and then to assistant coach for the Lady Hawks Softball Team for three seasons. She has moved back to Opelika to work with her father and his business (Mark L. Payne Enterprises, LLC.), where she creates 3-D computer-aided designs of cabinetry for homes, apartments, offices, and businesses.
Abigail Carter Stanton, Class of 2012, Pulaski, Tennessee; Volleyball
Stanton, a native of North Carolina, began her college career at UNC-Wilmington, but transferred to Huntingdon in search of the community found at a smaller college. At Huntingdon, Stanton was a two-time Great South Athletic Conference Academic selection for volleyball and a two-time All-Conference selection. As a junior, she helped lead her volleyball team to the GSAC regular season championship. She also participated as an athlete in the first year of the track and field program. After graduating with a major in psychology and a minor in political science, Stanton earned her Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School in 2016. There, she served as the Student Council co-president, overhauling student common spaces and initiating new student support systems. After graduating from Duke, Abby spent three years as the director of family ministries at Soapstone United Methodist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Currently, she lives with her husband and one-year old daughter in Pulaski, Tennessee, where she serves Martin Methodist College as an admission counselor and coordinates the college’s vocational discernment program.
Huntingdon College has been named a top 6 regional Best Value and top 11 regional college in the South by U.S. News and World Report; among a list of Colleges that Change Lives, by Washington Monthly; among the Best Colleges in Alabama and the Best Small Colleges in America by College Consensus; and among the Best Colleges: Region by Region (South) by the Princeton Review. Through the Huntingdon Plan, full-time day students are provided a laptop computer, books and information resources, active learning experiences, and senior-year travel-study opportunities—all within regular tuition and fees. Huntingdon’s Evening Studies program offers degree completion programs at 10 locations across the state. Huntingdon College continues a legacy of faith, wisdom, and service through a liberal arts academic tradition grounded in the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United Methodist Church.
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