UT Tyler Office of News and Information

UT Tyler Alumni Association Announces 2010 Distinguished Alumni

October 5, 2010

Media Contact:
Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

The University of Texas at Tyler Alumni Association has recognized seven graduates as the 2010 Distinguished Alumni, Derrith Bondurant, director of alumni and foundation relations, announced.

Dr. Wesley Dennis, Dr. Fredrick W. Kersh, Rick Rayford and Scott Rhame are recipients of the Professional Achievement and Attainment Award. Melinda Hermanns is recipient of the Young Alumni Award. Two awards added this year are the Service Award and Recognition Award. Terrence R. Ates and Michael J. Collins are the recipients, respectively.

The seven outstanding alumni will be featured at a luncheon 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22 at the UT Tyler Ornelas Activity Center. Honorees are chosen based on outstanding contributions to their chose profession, the university or services organizations since graduation from UT Tyler.

The Distinguished Alumni Award Luncheon is one of the many activities planned for UT Tyler’s 2010 Homecoming.

Luncheon tickets are $30, and sponsor tables of eight are $300. Reservations are required. For tickets, contact the UT Tyler Office of Alumni Relations, 903.565.5779 or alumni@uttyler.edu, or visit www.uttyler.edu/alumni.

Dennis earned a bachelor of science degree from UT Tyler in 1989.

A native of Athens, he serves as the Arlington Sleep Disorder Center medical director and has been a neurologist in private practice since 1998. Dennis is a past chair of the Neuroscience Department and past director of Neurological Rehabilitation Unit – Medical Center of Arlington.

A preeminent physician in the field of family practice, Kersh earned a bachelor of science degree from UT Tyler in 1982. He serves as medical director for the Direct RehabMed Business Health in Tyler and was a past medical director of the Emergency Centers for East Texas Medical Center.

Rayford earned a bachelor of business administration degree from UT Tyler in 1976.

He serves as president and CEO of Brookshire Grocery Company since 2007. A 39-year partner of Brookshire’s, Rayford currently serves on the UT Tyler Development Board, UT Tyler College of Business and Technology Corporate Advisory Board and Regional East Texas Food Bank Board.

Rhame earned a master of arts from UT Tyler in 1975.

Retired in May, he served as a high school band teacher, most recently at Carlisle High School. During his 41-year career, he received numbers honors as well as regional and state awards, including 13 consecutive UIL Sweepstakes Awards for his bands and a three-time Texas Music Association Honor Band winner.

Hermanns earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees from UT Tyler in 1995 and 1998, respectively.

An assistant professor of nursing at UT Tyler, she has been recognized for her psychiatric mental health and Parkinson’s Disease research and scholarly excellence in clinical simulation. She holds leadership in the East Texas chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.

Ates earned bachelor of arts and master of education degrees from UT Tyler in 2006 and 2008, respectively.

He is the Tyler Prostate Cancer Awareness Program manager and People Educating Communities about Tobacco chair. Ates also is a planning member of the Tobacco Law Enforcement Conference and Prostate Health Initiative for Gregg and Smith Counties as well as a member of several regional health coalitions and committees.

A licensed private investigator, Collins earned a bachelor of business administration degree from UT Tyler in 1994. He is the owner of Collins Investigations. A UT Tyler Alumni Life member since 2001, Collins also has served on the UT Tyler Development Board and as Alumni Association president since 2007.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,400 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

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 Last Published 1/7/11