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2016 Eagle Roundup to Honor A&M-Texarkana Distinguished Alumni, Faculty Member and Spirit Award Recipients

Published: September 28, 2016

The Texas A&M University-Texarkana Alumni Association has announced honorees for the 2016 Eagle Roundup: A Community Celebration of Distinguished Alumni and Faculty set for Thursday, Sept. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at Eagle Hall of the University Center on the A&M-Texarkana campus, 7101 University Ave., Texarkana, Texas.

Mark Bledsoe (MSIS ‘89) of the United Way of Greater Texarkana and Jill Whittington (MSBA ‘11) of Alcoa Mill Products Texarkana are serving as co-chairs for the event. Both say this year’s celebration, which is set during A&M-Texarkana’s Homecoming Week, promises to be both exciting and entertaining.

Distinguished alumni honorees include George Carpenter of Texarkana, Texas; Diane Green of Texarkana, Arkansas; and Chad Raney of Texarkana, Texas. Distinguished faculty recipient is Dr. James Harbin, professor of management. Kelly and Lisa Mitchell of Texarkana, Texas, will be honored with the Spirit of A&M-Texarkana Award, and Pat Coker of Texarkana, Texas, will be honored with the Spirit of A&M-Texarkana Pioneer Award.

George Carpenter, a lifelong resident of Texarkana, Texas, graduated from Texas High School, Texarkana College and Texas A&M University-Texarkana with a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in 1980. He has extensive experience in customer service – from his early days working at Texarkana College to his career in banking that spans the last 15 years. He currently serves as senior vice president of commercial lending and business development at Farmers Bank & Trust. He is a deacon at Central Christian Church, past president of the Texarkana Noon Lions Club, and has served on Texarkana, Texas, Historic Landmark Preservation Commission.

Diane Green taught elementary education in the Texarkana Arkansas School District for 32 years and has served for two terms on the Arkansas Early Childhood Commission. She is a member of the Women for A&M-Texarkana Board of Directors, Opportunities, Inc. Foundation Board of Directors, Miller County Retired Teachers Association, Arkansas Women for Education, Arkansas Retired Teachers Association, Junior League of Texarkana Sustainers, the May Dale Garden Club and Salvation Army and has been active with Friends of the Library, the Wadley Guild, Circle of Friends and Delta Kappa Gamma. She graduated from A&M-Texarkana with a Master of Science in Education in 1991.

Chad Raney graduated from A&M-Texarkana with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1994 and is an entrepreneur, Realtor, author, speaker and consultant. He won the 1997 Texas Entrepreneur Award, which was presented to him by then Governor George W. Bush for his medical supplies company, CareChoice. He founded Lone Star Music in 1999 and sold it in 2009. He currently lives in his hometown of Texarkana, Texas, where he works as a Realtor and team leader for Keller Williams Realty. He is active in the community, supporting efforts to revitalize downtown Texarkana. He helped form Songwriters on the Edge of Texas, a benefit concert series to raise money for CASA of Northeast Texas.

Kelly and Lisa Mitchell reside in Texarkana, Texas, where Kelly graduated from Texas A&M University-Texarkana with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1992 and a Master of Business Administration in 1994. He is currently the president of TEXAR Federal Credit Union where he has been employed since 1986. He has served on the boards of directors of the American Red Cross, the Greater Texarkana People’s Clinic and the Caddo Area Council of Boy Scouts. He was appointed to the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Board and selected to serve on the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Committee for the City of Texarkana, Texas. He has served as president of Harvest Texarkana and president of the Texas A&M University-Texarkana Alumni Association. He is a 2010 recipient of the Texas A&M University-Texarkana Distinguished Alumni Award and is a member of the Texas A&M University-Texarkana Foundation Board of Directors, where he serves on the Scholarship Committee. He currently serves on the Riverbend Water Resources Board of Directors, the Greater Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and is an active member of the Wilbur Smith Rotary Club. Kelly and Lisa are active volunteers with the food pantry at Williams Memorial United Methodist Church, where she serves as volunteer director. Lisa serves on the Women for A&M-Texarkana board and has served as a CASA volunteer.

Known affectionately as “Mom Pat,” Pat Coker and her late husband, Jack, who served on the East Texas State University Board of Regents, were instrumental in the development of what was then ETSU-Commerce at Texarkana in the early 1970s. For many years, Pat served on the A&M-Texarkana Alumni Association Board of Directors and was part of a group of supporters that would help promote A&M-Texarkana in the community. From recruiting students to decorating the campus for the holidays and creating flower arrangements for commencement, Pat always made sure the university put its best foot forward in the community. The Cokers were honored with a scholarship in their name at A&M-Texarkana in 2002.

Dr. James Harbin has served on the faculty of A&M-Texarkana for 33 years. He has an exemplary record of teaching a wide range of management courses and more than 30 peer reviewed journal publications and professional conference presentations. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business Administration from Arkansas State University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas. Prior to joining the A&M-Texarkana faculty, he taught at Missouri Southern State University and the University of Arkansas.

Presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Awards began in 1982. The Distinguished Faculty Award was introduced in 1999.

“A&M-Texarkana has a rich tradition of honoring distinguished alumni and faculty for their accomplishments in their careers and in the community,” Bledsoe said. “We are delighted to announce these prominent recipients and invite the entire community to join us in celebrating their achievements.”

The Eagle Roundup will include an old-fashioned barbecue with all of the trimmings, Whittington said.

“We’ll have amazing food, fantastic music and an enjoyable program to recognize our distinguished alumni, faculty member and spirit honorees,” she added. “It’s going to be a wonderful celebration.”

Texarkana party band Split Decision, featuring A&M-Texarkana alumnus and faculty member Selena Jefferies, will headline the event. Tickets are $35 and are on sale now.

“Corporations, individuals and organizations sponsoring the 2016 Eagle Roundup provide much-needed funds for student scholarships at A&M-Texarkana,” Bledsoe said. “An investment in scholarships at A&M-Texarkana is an investment in the future of our community, our state and our region.”

Information on tickets, as well as individual and corporate sponsorships, is available on the Alumni Relations page of the university website at www.tamut.edu .

For more information about the event, contact Mark Missildine in Alumni Relations at Mark.Missildine@tamut.edu or call (903) 223-3153.

George Carpenter

Distinguished Alumni - George Carpenter

Diane Green

Distinguished Alumni - Diane Green

Chad Raney

Distinguished Alumni - Chad Raney

Dr. James Harbin

Distinguished Faculty Recipient - Dr. James Harbin

Kelly and Lisa Mitchell

Spirit of A&M-Texarkana Award Recipients - Kelly and Lisa Mitchell

Pat Coker

Spirit of A&M-Texarkana Pioneer Award Recipient - Pat Coker


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