FHU to Present Alumni Awards
Freed-Hardeman University will present its annual alumni awards Friday night, Nov. 11, at the Homecoming banquet in the auxiliary gym of Brewer Sports Center. Six individuals will be recognized as outstanding alumni based on their professional accomplishments.
Alumna of the Year will go to Karla Combs, Covington, Tenn. She is the chief operating officer and an owner of Lipscomb & Pitts, the largest insurance agency in the Mid-South. Combs began work in the mailroom of the Memphis company in 1993 when she graduated from Freed-Hardeman. She rose quickly in the ranks, becoming its human resources vice president and eventually chief operating officer. She is married to John Combs and they have two children, Nolen and Reagan. She teaches children’s Bible classes at the Covington Church of Christ and volunteers with Youth Villages. She is a 1992 alumna of FHU.
Dr. Mark Crawford, associate professor of music and coordinator of commercial music at Tennessee State University, will receive the Dodd Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to his course work at TSU, Crawford directs seven commercial music ensembles which he takes to various venues to perform. Their work with such agencies as Youth Encouragement Services and Nashville Room at the Inn helps them to bridge gaps between communities. Crawford has been selected as a member of Nashville’s Leadership Music cohort. A 1985 graduate of FHU, Crawford has worked with more than 20 of FHU’s Makin’ Music productions.
Four service awards will be presented. John Thomas, campus minister at Columbia Academy, will receive the Service to Youth Award. Brian Stephens, campus minister at University of Tennessee Martin, will be recognized for Service to Community. Amber Milner, Director of the “Together Program” at Arms of Hope, will be honored for Service to Profession and Dr. Mark Blackwelder, director of the FHU Graduate Studies in Bible Program, will receive the Service to the Church Award.
Thomas, a 1997 graduate of FHU, teaches Bible at Columbia Academy. In addition, his work as campus minister includes planning spiritual emphasis weeks for students, organizing relief efforts when natural disaster strikes, coordinating a canned food drive, and supervising mission trips for CA students. He is married to the former Natalie Porter and they have four sons: John Allen, Daniel, Nathan and Matthew.
Stephens has worked with the Martin Church of Christ for more than ten years. He has led mission trips to various places, including Costa Rica. In addition to his work as campus minister, he teaches two Bible classes weekly and preaches at least once each month. He is married to the former Joy Holloway. He is a 1993 graduate of Freed-Hardeman.
Milner, a 1979 FHU alumna, has worked in the social service field for thirty years. A licensed master social worker, she began working at Boles Children’s Home following her graduation from FHU. Her current duties at Arms of Hope focus on disadvantaged youth and single parents. She and her husband David Milner have two children, Matt and Meghan.
In addition to directing the graduate program in Bible, Blackwelder is an associate professor of biblical studies. He is also a minister of the Estes Church of Christ. He spent five years in Bratislava, Slovakia, as a missionary. He and his wife Dana have two children, Beatta and Alex. Blackwelder is a 1991 graduate of Freed-Hardeman.
In addition to the alumni awards, the Homecoming banquet will feature the Homecoming court. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased by contacting Ann Marie Williams at 731-989-6021 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information on other Homecoming activities, see www.fhu.edu/homecoming.