Annual awards were presented at Rhodes’ Alumni Convocation on Oct. 29 during Homecoming/Reunion Weekend. W.J. Michael Cody from the Class of 1958 received the Distinguished Alumni Award; Aubrey Howard from the Class of 1972, the Black Student Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award; and Larrie Del Daniel Martin from the Class of 1966, the Distinguished Service Award.
Distinguished Alumni Award
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who has brought honor to Rhodes College through extraordinary achievement in his or her profession and community.
After graduating from East High School in 1954, W.J. Michael Cody (Mike to many) enrolled at Rhodes College, where he ran track, served as student body president, and was inducted into the student Hall of Fame. A political science major, he pursued a law degree at the University of Virginia School of Law and became an attorney for the Memphis firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson. In 1968, he was one of the attorneys who represented Dr. Martin Luther King in his effort to have a second march in support of striking sanitation workers.
Cody went on to serve on the Memphis City Council and was the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee in the 1970s, and he became the Attorney General of Tennessee in 1984. Also a well-known runner, Cody was inducted into the Rhodes Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998 in recognition of his record-setting track career at Rhodes. There is now an annual 4-mile race named in his honor to support the cross country and track program at Rhodes.
Black Student Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award
Established in 1998, the Black Student Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes African-American alumni whose record of outstanding personal achievement and service to others has inspired Rhodes students and brought honor to their alma mater.
A native Memphian, Aubrey Howard graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1963. He majored in communications arts at Rhodes and was a member of the 1970 Lynx Football team that was inducted into the Rhodes Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Howard served on the Alumni Association Executive Board from 2001 to 2004 and was the mastermind behind the idea and implementation for the Bill Troutt Boulevard honorary street naming on University Ave. to commemorate President Troutt’s leadership of the college since 1999. Howard currently serves as the president of the Delta Boule chapter of Sigma Pi Phi, the nation’s oldest African American fraternity. Howard also is the inaugural president of the Rhodes Black Alumni Chapter.
Distinguished Service Award
The Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals with outstanding service to the greater community.
Larrie Del Daniel Martin retired March 31, 2015 as president and CEO of Atlanta Habitat for Humanity President, after 18 years leading the organization. She helped to usher in an extensive education program for Atlanta Habitat homeowners, helping them maintain their homes, manage personal finances, and provide civic leadership in their communities. She guided three successful capital campaigns totaling more than $22.5 million, which served to establish a substantial land bank for future homes and endow house builds by diverse faith-based congregations. Other milestones under her leadership include a green-building program and the opening of Atlanta Habitat's ReStore.
Martin also has been recognized for her service to public school youth. At Rhodes, she was a Spanish major.