Hern, Morgan, Ring to Join Hall of Distinction

Arkansas Tech University will bestow its highest honor upon three alumni of the institution in 2018.

Kevin Hern of Tulsa, Okla., Julie Morgan of Russellville and Jarod Ring of Rogers will be inducted into the ATU Hall of Distinction during spring commencement ceremonies at John E. Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, May 12.

Hern (photographed, top left) will enter under the Distinguished Alumnus category, while Morgan (photographed, top right) will be inducted under the Distinguished Alumni Service category and Ring (photographed, bottom middle) will join in the Outstanding Young Alumnus category.

“These three individuals have distinguished themselves in their respective fields and brought honor to their alma mater,” said Mike Hutchison, vice president for advancement at ATU. “For more than a half-century, selection to the Hall of Distinction has symbolized the pinnacle of achievement as a member of the Arkansas Tech University community. We look forward to the opportunity to recognize Kevin, Julie and Jarod during spring commencement weekend.”

Hern, a 1986 graduate of Arkansas Tech, is a private investor and managing partner at Firstrike Management Group. He has been involved in the McDonald’s franchise system for 30 years. Hern has the franchise for 10 McDonald’s restaurants in the Tulsa, Okla., area that employ more than 400 individuals.

Currently, he serves as chief financial officer for the more than 3,000 U.S. McDonald’s franchisees. He is also a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District.

Morgan graduated from Arkansas Tech in 1972 and was a member of the university staff from 1998-2015. During her nearly two decades on the Arkansas Tech staff, Morgan served in the roles of assistant to the president (1998-2004 and 2008-present) and director of alumni relations (2004-08).

She oversaw planning for the Arkansas Tech centennial celebration and the inauguration of Dr. Robin E. Bowen as the 12th president of the institution. Under her leadership as alumni director, Arkansas Tech revamped the criteria, categories, selection process and induction process for its Hall of Distinction. In addition, Arkansas Tech developed its license plate program through the State of Arkansas during Morgan’s tenure as alumni director.

Ring earned his degree from Arkansas Tech in 2007 and began his career with American Red Cross before serving two years in Rwanda as a member of the U.S. Peace Corps alongside his wife, Sarah.

After working with a food-packing organization for people in need around the world, Ring and friend Bret Raymond began exploring ways to bring the model to Arkansas. The Pack Shack was born. Headquartered in Rogers, The Pack Shack works to provide nutritious, easy to prepare meals to the food insecure in the Natural State. Two The Pack Shack events at Arkansas Tech have provided more than 77,000 meals to neighbors in need in the Arkansas River Valley.

Established in 1964, the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction recognizes the accomplishments of Arkansas Tech alumni and friends in five categories: Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna, Distinguished Alumni Service, Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna, Distinction in Intercollegiate Athletics and Distinguished Service (non-alumnus).

Nominations for the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction may be made by any graduate of Arkansas Tech, any current or former member of the faculty or administration of Tech, any currently enrolled full-time student at Tech or any member of the Hall of Distinction. Nominations may not be made by a family member of the nominee. The nomination deadline is Oct. 1 of each year.

No incumbent member of the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees, faculty, staff or administration is eligible for nomination for any category of the Hall of Distinction.

For more information about nominating an individual for the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction, visit www.techties.atu.edu, call (479) 968-0242 or send e-mail to alumni@atu.edu.

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