Alumni Chapter Bestows Annual Awards

The African American Chapter of the Arkansas Tech University Alumni Association presented awards to four individuals and one group during the 2018 George T. Hudgens Evening of Excellence at Lake Point Conference Center in Russellville on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Derrick Nelson, pastor at Change of Heart Ministries in Russellville, and Tray Scott, assistant football coach at the University of Georgia, received the Outstanding Black Alumnus award.

Nelson graduated from Arkansas Tech with a speech communication degree in 1982. Scott completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 2008 and his Master of Science degree in college student personnel in 2010, both at ATU.

Dr. V. Carole Smith was presented with the Outstanding Black Faculty award.

Smith holds four degrees from the University of Arizona, but Russellville is her hometown. She took summer courses at Arkansas Tech during the months following her graduation from high school, and she studied piano under Tech music faculty members David F. Parten and Edward J. Connelly beginning at the age of 13.

After a 31-year career as a teacher and administrator in the public schools and four years on the faculty at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Smith returned home to Russellville as a member of the Arkansas Tech faculty in 2004. She holds the faculty rank professor of curriculum and instruction in the ATU College of Education.

Natari Irvin won the Outstanding Black Young Alumna designation.

A graduate of Mills High School in Little Rock, Irvin is a member of the ATU Presidential Leadership Cabinet. She has served as a resident assistant and she was a finalist in the 2018 Tech’s Got Talent competition.

United Voices of Praise, a registered student organization at ATU, was honored with the Influencers of Excellence award.

The namesake for the evening was inducted into the ATU Hall of Distinction in 2017.

Hudgens, who became the first African American graduate in Arkansas Tech history in 1963, went on to a distinguished 29-year military career that included serving as a commander in Vietnam and leading counterterrorism efforts as inspections branch chief in the U.S. Army Office of the Inspector General at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

He retired at the rank of Colonel following a career that included serving as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee for former president George W. Bush and as Deputy Director of the Inaugural Committee for former president William Jefferson Clinton.

Learn more about the ATU Alumni Association African American Chapter.

2018 Homecoming: Col. George T. Hudgens Evening of Excellence | 10/20/18

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