Tarleton President Hurley presents Legacy Awards at annual gala

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Dr. James L. Hurley presented 2020 Legacy Awards at "An Evening in Purple" gala honoring his installation as the 16th president of Tarleton. From left are Lt. Gen. (retired) Paul E. Funk, members of the J.C. Terrell and Vance Terrell families, Rachel Arellano (representing the Hon. Judge Glen Whitley, Dr. Lamar and Mrs. Marilynn Johanson, Truman T. Bell and Doug Montgomery.

STEPHENVILLE — Dr. James L. Hurley presented the 2020 Legacy Awards on Feb. 29 at a gala culminating a three-day celebration honoring his installation as the 16th president of Tarleton State University.

Ticket-sale proceeds from this year’s gala — An Evening in Purple — benefit high-performing students with great need, extending funding beyond maximum state and federal aid to cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

Beginning this fall, Federal Pell Grant students in the top 25 percent of their high school class, or GPA equivalent, will be eligible for the new scholarship program, the Tarleton Promise. Private donations, along with support from the Tarleton State University Foundation, Inc., and the Chancellor’s Century Council, will help fund the program.

In addition to proceeds from gala tickets, members of the President’s Inauguration Leadership Committee and many university friends also made donations to the Tarleton Promise. Additional support comes from the Tarleton State University Foundation Inc. and the Alumni Association.

“For the Tarleton family to fund scholarships for these students is a most appropriate way to welcome our new president and demonstrate our determination to be an institution of opportunity,” said Dr. Kyle McGregor, vice president of the Division of Institutional Advancement and chair of the inauguration planning committee.

To learn more about the Tarleton Promise, visit donate.tarleton.edu/Promise.

Hurley presented six Legacy Awards, one for each of the university’s core values — leadership, integrity, excellence, civility, tradition and service.

Legacy Award for Leadership — Dr. Lamar and Marilynn Johanson

A leader in Texas higher education, Dr. Lamar Johanson retired in 2001 after 40 years of service to Tarleton, including 18 years as dean of the College of Science and Technology.

The first executive director of Tarleton State University System Center-Central Texas in Killeen (now Texas A&M University-Central Texas), he also served as president of the Texas Academy of Sciences and the Texas Association of Deans of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents confirmed him as dean emeritus, College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of biological sciences.

At Tarleton, Johanson spearheaded efforts to establish associate and baccalaureate degree programs in nursing and the clinical laboratory science degree program in Fort Worth. He advocated for construction and assisted in the design of Tarleton’s science building, which now bears his name.

Johanson’s wife, Marilynn, also had an outstanding career in education. As a teacher in Hico and Stephenville high schools, an education specialist with the Texas Education Agency, and a high school and elementary principal at Strawn and Goldthwaite, she served for 34 years. She received Tarleton’s Distinguished Alumna honor in 2015.

The Johansons have continued their association with Tarleton, attending and volunteering at athletic and academic events. Both received the All-Purple Award, recognizing those who go above and beyond in supporting Tarleton athletics.

In 2012 the Johansons conveyed their ranch of approximately 1,700 acres, with all mineral rights, in Mills and San Saba counties to The Texas A&M University System for the benefit of Tarleton, while retaining the right to live on the property.

Legacy Award for Integrity — Retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk

A champion for Tarleton’s Corps of Cadets, retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk is an advocate for education.

He holds a doctorate of education and a master’s in psychological counseling from Montana State University, where he earned distinguished military graduate honors. The dedication he showed there drove him toward a military career with high-profile command positions on his résumé, including more than a dozen decorations and awards.

He was the commanding general, III Corps at Fort Hood; he served as commanding general of the U.S. Army Armor Center at Fort Knox, Ky.; and he commanded the 3rd Armored Division, U.S. Army, Europe, from December 1990 to April 1991, as the division distinguished itself during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.

Funk was awarded an honorary doctorate of engineering from Montana State University in 1998. He was the keynote speaker at a presentation of “Leadership and Lessons Learned from a Decade of Conflict” at Baylor University’s W.R. Poage Legislative Library in 2013.

He is currently president and chief executive officer of the Mounted Warfare Foundation, and also a member of the foundation’s board of directors. Previously, he was the vice president of Middle Eastern Operations for General Dynamics in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and later vice president for services for General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich.

Funk worked as director for the Education and Technology Applications Division at the Institute for Advanced Technology at UT Austin, where he was a member of the Army Science Board.

Legacy Award for Excellence — Truman T. Bell

Truman T. Bell, a native of Coleman and resident of The Woodlands, used his Tarleton education as a springboard to a successful career and to a lifetime of giving back to the university.

At 22, after earning his bachelor’s degree in math and his master’s in educational administration, he took a position at Tarleton as director of Student Financial Aid and Placement. At the time he was the youngest person in the nation to hold an administrative position in higher education.

While at Tarleton, he was active on campus, serving on the Student Senate, as pledge master for his fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and as a member of the math and geology clubs.

He has remained a loyal Tarleton supporter as a member of the President’s Club, the Tarleton Alumni Association and the Tarleton State University Foundation, Inc., board of directors. He established the Truman T. Bell Scholarship and supports the Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Endowment and the STEM Student Ambassador Scholarship. He is a member of the John Tarleton Society and the Scholarship Society.

He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2012 and in 2019 received the All-Purple Award, which recognizes individuals who demonstrate outstanding support of the Tarleton athletics program.

Currently HQ Community Relations Manager at ExxonMobil, he was named the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 2017.

Legacy Award for Civility — Doug Montgomery

Doug Montgomery, owner of Texstar Ford Lincoln and Texstar Kubota in Stephenville, has local roots with a definite purple tinge.

He has almost three decades of experience in the automotive business in Mineral Wells, San Antonio and Stephenville. Prior to his automotive career, he founded Montgomery Oilfield Service in Mineral Wells.

He also is part of the largest advertising partnership in Tarleton history, a seven-year agreement with the North Texas Ford Dealers. Additionally, he is an active supporter of college sports at Tarleton, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Christian University and Baylor University.

He sponsors the annual Driving Forward Innovative Teaching Award and is well known locally for his support of community music events. He has sponsored the Texstar Ford Summer Concert Series since 2000 and sponsors the Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival.

His work in the community includes serving as a regional board member of First Financial Bank, Stephenville, and past board member of the Texan Club.

Legacy Award for Tradition — J.C. Terrell and Vance Terrell Families

The history of the J.C. Terrell and Vance Terrell families is the history of healthcare and community service in Stephenville.

Jim Terrell, grandfather of Vance and his brother, J.C., left home in West Virginia in the early 1870s, heading to California’s gold rush but settling in Iredell. Jim’s son Will continued to work the land and raise livestock, but Will’s two sons wanted to expand their horizons, and both completed medical educations.

In 1926 J.C. Terrell Sr. and wife Ellen, a registered nurse, founded the Stephenville Hospital. Vance arrived in 1932, practicing until 1985. Vance’s wife was a nurse for 45 years. Besides their duties as physicians, J.C. and Vance were involved in leadership roles for community organizations and on boards for numerous businesses. Most importantly to Tarleton and the Cross Timbers area, the Terrells worked with university officials to create a strong nursing education program that continues today.

In 1965 Dr. Jim Terrell Jr. and his wife, Barbara, returned to Stephenville to practice surgery with his father. In 1979 Vance and Violet’s son, ophthalmologist Frank Terrell, and wife Kathy returned to the Stephenville Medical and Surgical Clinic. Jim’s sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Bill Nix, led several financial institutions in the area. Frank’s sister, Penny Elliot, served Stephenville’s children as a decades-long educator.

This next generation of Terrells created their own legacy as community leaders, serving as active members of the First United Methodist Church, the Tarleton State University Foundation, Inc., the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, Texan Club, Stephenville School Board, Stephenville City Council, the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council and the Optimist Club, among many others.

The Terrells have been supporters of Tarleton students, initiating a half dozen scholarships.

Even now, two more generations of Terrells continue the family tradition.

Legacy Award for Service — Judge Glen Whitley

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley is involved in virtually every aspect of life in the Metroplex. He is a leader on higher education, transportation, sustainable communities, efficient government, air quality and support for veterans and military families, as well as youth and children’s issues.

Whitley graduated from Grand Prairie High School, earned an accounting degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve. In 1983 he co-founded the accounting firm Whitley Penn with offices now in Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston. He was elected a Tarrant County commissioner in 1996 and Tarrant County judge in 2006.

He is past president of the National Association of Counties and of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, organizations that help local government develop policy, recognize regional opportunities and make joint decisions. Additionally, he is a past chairman of the Regional Transportation Council, the Texas Conference of Urban Counties, and the Public Employee Benefits Cooperative, which manages public employee and retiree benefits.

He is a member of the national Government Accounting Standards Advisory Council, which advises the Government Accounting Standards Board on pensions and other post-employment benefits, and also serves as a member of the University of North Texas System Board of Regents.

He has played a leading role in improving access and care at the JPS Health Network. American City and County magazine named him 2010 County Leader of the Year.


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