About Us

Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award

Thomas Y. Whitley

As president of Columbus College from its founding in 1958 until his 1979 retirement, Thomas Y. Whitley led Columbus College from temporary buildings to its permanent main campus. Initially, he worked for the state Board of Regents, tasked with harnessing strong community support for a new college. He successfully advocated a move from two-year, junior college status to senior college status in 1965 and handed out our first bachelor's degrees in 1970. By the time he retired, master's degrees in education and business were available by his retirement. He died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Whitley Award Presented Annually

The Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award, named after CSU's first president, is presented each year to the graduate who has most lived up to the high standards set by the award's namesake. Approved in 1980 by CSU's alumni board, it is considered the most prestigious award given annually to an alumnus. No award will be given if the Selection Committee decides that no nominee is of sufficient high caliber.

Criteria for Whitley Award nomination

  • The nominee must hold a degree (associate, baccalaureate, master's or specialist) from Columbus College or Columbus State University.
  • The nominee must have distinguished himself or herself in his or her professional and personal life and through community involvement and service, and thereby have brought recognition to CSU.
  • The nominee must have exemplified high moral character and integrity and be held in high esteem by his/her fellow alumni.

Nomination, Presentation Process

  • Nominations may be submitted by the January 31st deadline by anyone interested in CSU.
  • Nomination forms are available online by clicking here. 
  • If a suitable recipient is found, the award will be presented at the President's Recognition Dinner, which will be held Thursday, April 20, 2017 in the Cunningham Center.
  • A permanent plaque listing all award recipients will be on display on campus. A plaque will be presented to the recipient.

Previous Honorees

1980: Charles R. Eason, '72
1981 : Helen T. Milian, '61
1982 : James A. Gill, '71
1983 : Nancy C. Buntin, '68
1984 : Wm. Wetherington, '74
1985 : James F. Loudermilk, 70
1986 : Wallace A. Kite, '74
1987 : James D. Yancey, '64
1988 : Carole L. Rutland, '72
1989 : Sharon O. Sudderth, '79
1990 : Peggy H. Batastini, 73
1991 : Kenneth E. Evans, '70
1992 : C. Jackie Farris, '76
1993 : Mary Jane Wadkins, '70
1994 : L. Lamar Powers, '70
1995 : James H. Motos, '66
1996 : Rick C. Gordon, '76
1997 : Michael W. Patrick, '73
1998 : Don Andrae, '70
1999 : Evelyn W. Turner, '77
2000 : Richard A. Smith, '75
2001 : Dell W. McMullen, '73
2002 : Wm. D. Reaves Jr., '66
2003 : Emory J. Alexander, '74
2004 : Sherree W. Mitchell, '75
2005 : Linda U. Hadley, '80
2006-2007:  Troy Woods, '74
2008:  Frank D. Brown
2009:  Wade Burford, '78
2010:  Vance C. Smith Jr., '74
2011:  Janet W. Davis, '81
2012: Jean M. Hartin, '72
2013: Thomas D. Macdonald, '86
2014: Pam Siddall, '91
2015: Prem Virmani '82
2016: Arthur L. Smith III '76