Rhodes Alumni Recognized With Awards at Homecoming

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Publication Date: 10/30/2006

Annual alumni awards were presented during Rhodes College’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend October 20-21. Honorees include the following:

Mickey Babcock ’98 of Wilson, Wyoming
Recipient of the Footprints Award honoring the power of community and passion for service

Babcock has served as catalyst, founder and board member of a number of civic and social service agencies including The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, RISE Foundation, the Opportunity Banc and G.A.P! (Girls Actively Participating). As her parting gift upon graduation in 1998, she presented a group of Rhodes service students with a pair of red high top Converse shoes to symbolize her charge to them to “Walk Loudly” in everything that they do. Today, she continues to encourage Rhodes students to gain experiences beyond the gates of the college and to be engaged in the community through service.

Charles Holt ’89 of Los Angeles, California
Recipient of the Black Student Association Distinguished Alumni Award
recognizing contributions to Rhodes and to the community

After going to New York with only $400, Holt used his talent and determination to achieve a career as a professional performer. His credits include performing on Broadway in “The Lion King” and on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” He is touring the United States in the one-man stage adaptation of Richard Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy, and has presented the performance at Rhodes. He also gives speeches and hosts workshops for aspiring actors and actresses.

Pam Montesi ’80 of Memphis, Tennessee
Recipient of the Volunteer of the Year
recognizing the individual who has made an extraordinary effort to advance the Rhodes Vision

Montesi has honored her alma mater with her time and enthusiasm including serving on the Rhodes Alumni Association executive committee, Bellingrath/Hyde selection committee, Margaret Hyde Council board of directors, and the Parent Council. As a member of the reunion weekend committee in 2005, she was instrumental in bringing aboard over 300 alumni volunteers, leading to one of the largest Homecoming/Reunion Weekends in the history of the college.

Sam Thompson ’03 of Vickburg, Mississippi
Recipient of the Young Alumnus of the Year
recognizing a young alumnus or alumna who has brought honor to Rhodes through extraordinary achievement in his or her profession and community

Thompson’s work on the Gulf Coast to help residents rebuild after Hurricane Katrina epitomizes the Rhodes Vision in its commitment to lifelong service. In an unprecedented feat that gained national publicity, the ultramarathoner ran 51 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, reminding Americans that assistance is still needed on the Gulf Coast. Today, he continues his work in the Bay St. Louis, Miss. area, providing leadership in the rebuilding efforts and comfort to those devastated by the tragedy.

Dr. William C. Threlkeld of Memphis, Tennessee
Recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year recognizing the individual who has brought honor to Rhodes through extraordinary achievement in his or her profession and community

Threlkeld attended Rhodes (then Southwestern at Memphis) in the 1950s for two years before being accepted into the University of Tennessee Medical School. After receiving his medical degree, Threlkeld served in the Air Force as a medical officer and then returned to Memphis where he established Pediatrics East, Inc. Threlkeld’s research has been significant to the treatment of attention deficit disorder and dyslexia. For years, he has received Rhodes students as interns in his office.

Whitney Luckett Watkins ’96 of Jackson, Tennessee
Recipient of the Strength and Courage Award
honoring the power of relationships and presented to an individual living life with hope and grace through adversity

During Rhodes College’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, the Class of 1996 celebrated their 10th year reunion. Watkins’ fellow classmates nominated her for strength of mind, body, and character while battling cancer. Although Watkins has undergone surgery and several rounds of treatments, she has managed to resume life as mother, wife, and friend to all.

Rhodes Athletic Hall of Fame

Seven outstanding alumni — Will Rhea Winfrey ′39, Bill Carrell ′58, Robert Echols ′62, Mallory Chamberlin ′63, Susan Clark ′74, Carl Hill ′76, and Mike Gonda ′94 — were inducted into the Rhodes Athletic Hall of Fame. Two teams also were honored —the 1961 Lynx baseball team, which won the NCAA Collegiate Baseball National Championship, and the record-setting 1947 mile relay team.  The Rhodes Athletic Hall of Fame honors those individuals who have either made outstanding contributions to the athletic program of the College, or who have distinguished themselves and brought honor to the College through their athletic accomplishments after their years at Rhodes.

Will Rhea Winfrey ′39 played fullback on the 1938 Lynx team that defeated Vanderbilt and received wide acclaim in Southern college football. He also was the school record holder in the shot put and discus.

Bill Carrell ′58 was a school record holder and outstanding hurdler/sprinter for the Lynx from 1955 to 1958.

Robert Echols ′62 was a four-year starter in baseball and football for the Lynx. He was Most Valuable Player on 1960 and 1962 baseball squads and a member of the 1961 team that captured NCAA Collegiate National Championship.

Mallory Chamberlin ′63 was a school record holder in cross-country and track. She also was a great middle distance runner and an NCAA national qualifier in coss-country.

Susan Clark ′74 played basketball, volleyball, and tennis for the Lynx in the early 1970s.

Carl Hill ′76 was a school record holder and an All-American in track as well an All Conference defensive back in football. In addition, he was a multiple qualifier in NCAA Indoor and Outdoor National Championships.

Mike Gonda ′94, Rhodes’ second all-time leading scorer in men′s basketball, was the  SCAC Most Valuable Player 1991-92.  He also was an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholar.