Soaring Eagles: Alumni Awards 2017

Pictured at the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards Dinner are, from left, President Neal Smatresk, Don Millican ('74), Emily Mauzy ('06, '06 M.S.), Elliotte Dunlap ('97), Sarah Mickelson ('05), Mary Lu Waddell, Stephen 'Steve' F. Waddell ('75, '96 Ed.D.), Jim Fincher ('69) and Gayle W. Strange ('67). (Photo by Kasey Kamenicky (‘04)/FW Creations)

 

UNT alumni were honored during Homecoming Week at this year's Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards for their professional and philanthropic accomplishments, as well as service to their communities and the university.

This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the alumni awards program, which showcases the caliber of the university's alumni and celebrates the depth and breadth of their professional accomplishments and service to the community. Among the honors presented is the Distinguished Alumni Award, the most prestigious award given by the UNT Alumni Association.

"This year's winners come from different backgrounds and life experiences, with their love for UNT as the common denominator," President Neal Smatresk says. "We are so proud of who they are as leaders and all they do to help sustain excellence for UNT and for their communities and workplaces."

Distinguished Alumni Award

The most prestigious award given by the UNT Alumni Association, presented to alumni for distinguished professional achievement that has merited the honor and praise of peers and colleagues. These individuals have made significant contributions to society, supported the university and served others.

Don Millican ('74)

Millican is a CPA and CFO for George B. Kaiser in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a retired partner with Ernst & Young.

He spends as much time as he can championing UNT's accounting program. Millican and his wife established the Don and Donna Millican Endowed Chair in Accounting, which attracts nationally recognized scholars to UNT's accounting department, and he is a founding member of the Diamond Eagles Excellence Fund.

Gayle W. Strange ('67)

Strange is general partner of Strange Holdings, a commercial property management company, and owner of Tremont Construction Corp.

Former chair of the UNT System Board of Regents, she is a life member of the UNT Alumni Association, a board member of the UNT Foundation, a founding member of the Diamond Eagles Excellence Fund and a strong supporter of the Mean Green Club.

Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Presented to young alumni under the age of 40 for distinguished professional achievement that has merited the honor and praise of peers and colleagues. These individuals have made significant contributions to society, supported the university and served others.

Emily Mauzy ('06, '06 M.S.)

Mauzy is a CPA and assistant vice president of corporate taxes for General Motors Financial in Fort Worth. She established the Emily Mauzy Accounting Scholarship in 2010, hoping to help students like herself succeed at UNT. She also volunteers as a mentor for Fort Worth ISD students and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care.

Mauzy received the Outstanding Tax Student Award in 2006 and was selected as the keynote speaker for her College of Business graduation ceremony that year.

Outstanding Alumni Service Award

Presented to honor individuals who have provided exceptional volunteer service to UNT or the community.

Elliotte Dunlap ('97)

Dunlap spent 12 years in sales at IBM and is currently a senior enterprise partner solution sales executive at Microsoft. As a student, he was involved in various organizations from student leadership to Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He also led the charge in developing UNT's Multicultural Center to teach diversity through engagement and promote student success. Dunlap was the keynote speaker at the Multicultural Center's 20th anniversary celebration in 2014 and received the Founders Award.

Dunlap is involved in various mentorship organizations for college students and professionals. One of his proudest accomplishments is the development of A Few Good Men, an alumni group that mentors minority men at UNT and promotes graduation and success.

Ulys Knight Spirit Award

Presented to an individual or group that has made noteworthy efforts to sustain spirit among the UNT family.

Jim Fincher ('69)

Fincher is a licensed CPA in Texas and Louisiana. He retired in 2013 as vice president and chair of the board of directors at Burch, Fincher and Co., a Texas Professional Corporation of Certified Public Accountants, after 38 years at that position.

Fincher serves as the treasurer and chair of the budget committee for the UNT Foundation board of directors. He has been active in the UNT Alumni Association, serving on the board for many years, including a term as president. A devoted fan of UNT athletics, he is a club seat football season ticket holder, a member of the Mean Green Club and contributes annually to help fund a student-athlete's scholarship. He encourages others to support UNT athletics.

Generations of Excellence Award

Presented to honor a family that has exhibited an extraordinary dedication to higher education, that has supported the university through its service by many family members who have attended or graduated, and has demonstrated the value and support of family.

The Waddell Family

The Waddell Family is composed of three generations of UNT alumni -- the late Freddy J. Waddell ('72 Ed.D.), his son, Stephen "Steve" F. Waddell ('75, '96 Ed.D.), and Steve's daughter, Sarah Mickelson ('05). Freddy was a principal and superintendent in California, and executive director of Region V Education Service Center.

Steve's career as a principal and superintendent has taken him all over Texas, most recently as superintendent of Lewisville ISD, where he retired in 2015. Steve serves on the College of Education Development Board. Sarah is developing her own career in education.

In addition to their enthusiastic engagement and advocacy, the family has showed its appreciation for UNT by endowing a scholarship for future school superintendents. Read more about this Legacy Family.

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