The LEAP Ambassadors have a close connection with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Most of the Ambassadors are in the CHSS (with others in COBA, CRIJ, and COS), the Ambassadors have attended six of the eight Wall of Honor ceremonies…
…and the LEAP Center’s longest-serving President, Megan O’Flaherty (Bryant) served on the Board for two years. So it was a special pleasure for us to attend the 2018 version of the Wall of Honor, which was organized by Dean Abbey Zink (and her Community Relations Coordinator, Deanna Briones).
This year, the college honored four excellent alumni and faculty: Robert Mann (alumnus), George Miles (alumnus), Dr. Mary Alice Conroy (faculty), and Dr. Ralph Pease (faculty).
Dick Eglsaer introduced a packed house to the evening’s planned events…
…offering humorous anecdotes and a deep appreciation of what it means to be on the Wall of Honor. Dean Zink also spoke, touching on her appreciation for the CHSS Alumni Advisory Board, her staff, and of course, the four newest members of the Wall of Honor.
All four were excellent nominees. Dr. Mary Alice Conroy has written amicus briefs for the US Supreme Court, and she brought prestige, organizational skill, and a deep affection for students to SHSU.
Her speech was touching, with her voice audibly cracking, as she acknowledged the important role that her students have played in her desire to continue teaching.
Robert Mann worked for numerous elected officials (including Garry Mauro and Ted Kennedy) and even worked in the White House. He is one of the highest-ranking public figures that SHSU has ever produced.
His fiery speech began with a moment of silence for those who were killed and hurt in the recent Florida shooting, a sad and senseless tragedy. And he alternated between the serious and the humorous in his speech, which also moved between current events and career reminisces.
With many political scientists among us, the Ambassadors found the speech inspirational and poignant.
The Ambassadors had a more immediate connection to inductee George Miles.
Miles has worked closely with the Ambassadors over the years, particularly Megan Bryant, Laken Jenkins, and Brandon Reese, all of whom served on University and community boards with Mr. Miles. His wife, Beth, was also an employee of SHSU, and she did much volunteer work with the Wynne Home Arts Center, where the Ambassadors also spend much time volunteering. So it was a great treat to see Mr. Miles recognized on the Wall of Honor.
In his moving speech, he thanked his family, thanked the community and SHSU…
…First National Bank–where he worked for decades–and the community of Huntsville. Mr. Miles was the first Chair of the CHSS Alumni Advisory Board, and his recognition was especially appropriate.
Of all the nominees, Dr. Ralph Pease has had the longest and greatest influence on the LEAP Ambassadors. For the 12 years that the Ambassadors have been in existence, Pease has befriended, taught, mentored, and volunteered alongside the LEAPsters. More than ten LEAP Ambassadors have interned at the Wynne Home Arts Center, where his wife works as the Cultural Services Coordinator, and Pease is a frequent guest at LEAP Center special events.
He taught for 45 years at SHSU, and he won the Piper Award for Excellence in Teaching (a statewide honor), while also engaging in numerous other civic enterprises.
He’s funny, warm, and generous…
…and we were thrilled to see him be honored for his many contributions to SHSU, the community, and to students.
While the LEAP Ambassadors had a personal connection to the events, that was true of almost everyone there. The nominees had all affected so many people for the better, it’s no surprise that the event was well attended.
Many formal events carry an obligation of attendance, but this event was truly enjoyable, with people mingling, catching up, and recalling favorite memories of the nominees.
Indeed, it was so well attended that Dr. Pease had to actually hide from the paparazzi…
But most of the time, people sought each other out:
…and enjoyed the company of colleagues, friends, and new acquaintances.
It was a fun event, and many, many thanks go to Dean Abbey Zink and her staff–Deanna Briones, Brenda McNeely, Jennifer Knapp, and Brittany Johnson for organizing the event.
The LEAP Ambassadors would also like to thank Dr. Tamara Waggener and the POLS Department, Chris Tritico, Mac and Leanne Woodward, and Ralph and Linda Pease for sponsoring student tickets. It was a fun event, but it was especially fun because we had the opportunity to spend time with people we respect and like.