Arkansas Tech University bestowed its highest honor upon three alumni during spring 2022 commencement.
Steve Fryer of Cathedral City, Calif., Andrea Lea of Russellville and Dr. Andrew Mason of Tokyo, Japan, were inducted into the ATU Hall of Distinction during a ceremony at John E. Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.
Fryer was inducted under the Distinguished Alumnus category, Lea was inducted under the Distinguished Alumni Service category and Mason was inducted under the Outstanding Young Alumnus category.
Fryer and Lea received their medals and obelisks symbolic of induction into the ATU Hall of Distinction during spring commencement. Mason, who was unable to attend the ceremony due to international COVID-19 travel restrictions, will receive his medal and obelisk upon his next visit to ATU.
Fryer graduated from Arkansas Tech in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English education.
He was a letterman for the Wonder Boys tennis team and the recipient of the 1978 Alfred J. Crabaugh Award as ATU’s most outstanding senior male student.
After serving as an English instructor and tennis coach at Russellville High School from 1979-83, Fryer gained admission to the Harvard University School of Law. He completed his Juris Doctor in 1986 and went to work in Los Angeles, California, as the manager of legal affairs for the Transit Casualty receivership, the largest insurance company bankruptcy in history.
Upon the completion of that project in 1994, Fryer pivoted into a career with the Walt Disney Company. He started in publicity for ABC television and ultimately became director of guest services for Disney Consumer Products and Disney Stores from 2007-16. He is a recipient of the Spirit of Disney Award, the highest honor the Walt Disney Company bestows upon its employees.
Fryer founded CX Opportunity in 2016 and continues to lead the customer experience operations business as its president and chief executive officer.
He has accepted numerous invitations to return to ATU and speak before a wide variety of audiences. Fryer is president of the ATU Alumni Association Board of Directors for 2022.
Lea graduated from Arkansas Tech in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in emergency administration and management.
In 2014, Lea was elected the 40th auditor of the State of Arkansas. She was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2018.
As auditor, Lea works as the state’s general accountant, administrator of the Arkansas Unclaimed Property Act and payroll officer for more than 600 elected officials and their employees. She partners with businesses and uses technology to improve the way unclaimed property is reported to the state and returned to the rightful owners through the Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt.
Lea has nearly two decades of leadership experience. She served on the Pope County Quorum Court, the Russellville City Council and three terms in the Arkansas General Assembly before being elected auditor of state, one of seven constitutional offices in the State of Arkansas.
As someone who was 47 at the time of her graduation from ATU, Lea is an advocate for non-traditional students to return to school and complete a degree. She is a regular guest speaker in ATU Department of History and Political Science classes and she frequently hosts ATU students, faculty, staff and alumni when they visit the State Capitol.
Dr. Andrew Mason
Mason graduated from Arkansas Tech in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a minor in chemistry.
He was accepted into the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where he was a three-time Jordin Scholar and was selected as the most outstanding pharmacy student. Mason completed his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2014 and went to work for UAMS as a clinical pharmacist.
While continuing his employment, Mason completed a master’s degree in business from Arkansas Tech. The lessons in business strategy he learned through his graduate work at ATU allowed him to finish in the top 100 of GLOBUS, an international business decision-making contest that draws more than 30,000 participants from around the world on an annual basis.
Mason worked as a pharmacy manager for Walmart in Bentonville from 2016-18. Since 2018, he has served as a pharmaceutical consultant at International Education Services in Tokyo, Japan, while also holding positions on the Tokyo Medical and Dental University faculty and as an adjunct instructor in the ATU College of Business.
A two-time 4.0 grade point average graduate of ATU, Mason was the 2017 recipient of the Jim Ed McGee Award as the most outstanding graduate from the ATU Graduate College.
Hall of Distinction Background
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.atualumni.com, call (479) 968-0242 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.