U of M News
Alumni Association Will Bestow Highest Honors At Gala Feb. 29 University News
For release: Februrary 1, 2008

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey

On a date that comes around only once every four years, the University of Memphis Alumni Association will bestow its highest honors at the Distinguished Alumni Awards gala Feb. 29. A reception at the future Law School Plaza will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the gala at 7:30 at The Peabody. There will be dinner, dancing, a live auction and more as the University celebrates the achievements of six individuals under the theme "Once in a Blue Moon."

G. Douglas "Doug" Edwards, Cathy Ross and William Sanderson will be honored as Distinguished Alumni; Larry Papasan will be recognized as a Distinguished Friend of the University; Johanna Edwards will be named Outstanding Young Alumna; and Bruce Harber will receive the J. Millard Smith Illustrious Service to the Association Award.

"We're very excited about the recipients," said Martin Zummach, president of the Alumni Association. "They're all deserving individuals. We're also very excited about the location of the new Law School."

2008 Distinguished Alumni Awards Live Auction Items

  • Trip to watch the Tigers in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament: includes travel, two nights at the team hotel and two premium tickets to the already sold out game!
  • Usher in a brand new era as the first to host a reception at the new downtown Law School; invite up to 150 guests with catering included!
  • The ultimate ZZ Top experience: includes travel, dinner with the band and front row seats to the first show of the 2008 summer tour!
  • Three incredible keepsakes from a special live performance you'll never forget!

Doug EdwardsDoug Edwards was appointed CEO of Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. in August 2003. He has served as president of the firm since 2001. From 1996 to 2003 Edwards also was president of the Fixed Income Capital Markets Group. He was named president in 2001 and appointed CEO in 2003. Edwards is a board member of the Bond Market Association and is actively involved with the Securities Industry Association. He has been with Morgan Keegan & Co. for more than 25 years. Edwards previously worked for Procter & Gamble and Merrill Lynch.

Cathy RossRoss is senior vice president and chief financial officer for FedEx Express. She manages more than 2,300 finance professionals throughout the U.S. and globally, and oversees the worldwide financial affairs, including worldwide strategic and financial planning, analysis, reporting and forecasting. Ross is a four-time recipient of the FedEx Five Star Award, the company's highest award for individual achievement. She joined FedEx in 1984 as a senior financial analyst and served in various management positions in Finance and Customer Service before being promoted to vice president of Express Financial Planning. Before joining FedEx, Ross worked for Kimberly-Clark Corp. and for Buckeye Cellulose Corp. In 2007 she joined other women of achievement as a member of the Tennessee Women's Forum. The native of Henderson, Tenn., is an adviser to the Fogelman College of Business & Economics and the U of M's Research Foundation Board.

William SandersonSanderson has built a rich career playing character roles in mainstream and independent films, theatre and TV. He is known to many for portraying E.B. Farnum, a shady hotelier and self-appointed mayor of a frontier town in the HBO neo-Western series Deadwood, and the backwoodsman Larry for eight seasons in Newhart. He has worked with such respected film directors as Ridley Scott in Blade Runner, and shared screen time with such stars as Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon. His film credits include Raggedy Man, The Client, Coal Miner's Daughter and Gods and Generals. Although Sanderson earned a law degree, he knew by the time he graduated he wanted to act. He performed in Memphis community theatre before working in regional theatre in New York and later moving to Los Angeles to break into movies and TV. Sanderson currently is working on the Southern vampire drama True Blood for HBO.

Larry PapasanPapasan joined Smith & Nephew in 1991 as president of the Orthopaedic Division and retired in 2002. During this 11 1/2-year period, the division grew in sales from $300 million to $650 million while increasing profitability more than 15 percent each year. Papasan was responsible for research and development, manufacturing, marketing, sales and administrative functions during his tenure as president. Prior to joining Smith & Nephew he was president of Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division from 1984 to 1991. He was employed with MLG&W for 28 years. Papasan is a former president of the board of trustees of the University of Memphis Foundation and currently is chair of the U of M's Board of Visitors. He graduated from Mississippi State University in 1963 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. Papasan also is a board member of the Plough Foundation, Le Bonheur Hospital Foundation and the Memphis Biotech Foundation.

Johanna EdwardsJohanna Edwards signed a six-figure book deal in 2003 at the age of 25. She is the best-selling author of the novels The Next Big Thing, Your Big Break and How to be Cool, which belong to the hugely popular genre known as "chick lit." She is an award-winning journalist whose work has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Us Weekly and The Boston Globe. Edwards also writes teen books under the name Jo Edwards. She previously produced the nationally syndicated radio show Book Talk. While a student at the U of M, Edwards wrote for The Daily Helmsman, where she won a national Hearst award for a story about colorful excuses students use for missing project deadlines. After graduation, Edwards lived in London for a time.

Bruce HarberHarber is director of Police Services at the U of M. He began working for the University in 2000 as associate director of Public Safety and was appointed director in 2002. Before joining the U of M, Harber served with the Memphis Police Department in various assignments for more than 25 years. He attended graduate school at the U of M and the University of Virginia. A graduate of the FBI National Academy, Harber has been a state-certified police officer since 1976. He works directly with the Alumni Association on projects such as the Homecoming parade and the Young Alumni Committee's 5k run. Harber is a former president of the Memphis Metropolitan Association of Chiefs of Police and a member of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (TACP). He currently serves on TCAP's University Committee, which includes all public and private campus police agencies in the state.

Guests will park at The Peabody and be shuttled to the reception by limousine. For reservations or more information, call the Alumni Association at 901-678-2333.

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