Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award


The 2022 recipient of the Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award, E. David Hart, Jr. '77 accepting his award during the 2022 Alumni Recognition Awards Program.

Thomas Y. Whitley

As president of Columbus College from its founding in 1958 until his retirement in 1979, 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, mater's degrees in education and business were available. He died on September 11, 2001.

Criteria for Whitley Award nomination

The Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award, 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 Association Board of Directors, it is considered the most prestigious award given annually to an alumnus. Honorable Mentions for this award will receive the Excellence in Alumni Achievement Award. No award will be given if the Selection Committee decides that no nominee is of sufficient high caliber. The nominee must meet the following requirements:

  • The nominee must hold a degree (associate, baccalaureate, master's, or specialist) from Columbus College or Columbus State University.
  • The nominee must have distinguished themselves in their 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 their fellow alumni.

Nomination & Presentation process

  • Nominations may be submitted by anyone interested in CSU.
  • If a suitable recipient is found, the award will be presented during Homecoming.
  • A permanent plaque listing all award recipients will be on display on campus and a plaque presented to the recipient.
  • Complete the nomination form here

For a list of previous award honorees, please click here.

Columbus State University

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Office of Alumni Engagement | Richards Hall, 136 | 4225 University Avenue Columbus, GA 31907 | 706-507-8946 | alumni@columbusstate.edu