For release: January 26, 2009
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843
The University of Memphis Alumni Association will “Take the M Train” as it awards
its highest honors on Friday, February 20, to a popular restaurateur, a pair of magazine
editors, the president of a Fortune 500 company, and a noted community developer.
Walter Leavy, Lynn Norment, Bill Rhodes, and the late Thomas Boggs will be honored
with the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award; Henry Turley will be recognized as Distinguished
Friend of the University.
The gala will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Central Station, located on South Main at G.E.
Patterson in downtown Memphis. Reservations may be made with Chelsea Dubey by phone
at 901-678-1562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Boggs (BA ’72) was CEO, president, and managing partner of the popular Huey’s chain
of restaurants. Born in Wynne, Ark., Boggs played drums with regional bands and was
recruited to play with the popular ’60s band the Box Tops. Later he returned to the
U of M to finish his degree in history. After working for T.G.I. Friday’s, he joined
Huey’s, moving from bartending into management. Boggs used his considerable corporate
experience to transform Huey’s from a bar into a successful restaurant operation.
He was active in the community, serving as vice president of the 2001 Memphis in May
International Festival and co-chair of the Blues Ball. Boggs served on many boards
promoting tourism and the hospitality industry, including eight years as president
of the Memphis Restaurant Association. He received the association’s highest award,
the Newt Hardin Award, as well as its Civic and Community Leadership Award. Boggs
also received the Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service in
recognition of outstanding community and public service.
The U of M’s College of Arts & Sciences Alumni Chapter honored Boggs with its Outstanding
Alumnus Award in 2002. He also established the Huey’s Corporation Scholarship at the
U of M in 2004 and donated food and staffing to the Alumni Association’s Homecoming
Leavy, who received a BA degree in journalism from the University in 1975, is co-managing
editor of Ebony magazine, the nation’s largest magazine aimed at an African-American
audience. He has been at Ebony since 1980, steadily moving up through the organization
to his current position. When longtime executive editor Lerone Bennett Jr. retired
in 2005, Leavy and fellow U of M alumna and Ebony staff member Lynn Norment were promoted
to run the day-to-day operations of the magazine, which is affiliated with Jet magazine.
He also writes a column for the publication, “For Brothers Only,” which he has describes
as “an avenue of expression for things that are uniquely male. It highlights the hopes
and dreams of black men.”
Norment (BA ’73) grew up in Bolivar, Tenn., one of six daughters, five of whom attended
the U of M. It was clear from the beginning of her career that she was destined to
be a journalistic success. On her first day as a reporter for The Commercial Appeal she was dispatched to cover a shooting in south Memphis just before the end of her
shift, and she combed the area, knocking on doors to get information. To Norment’s
surprise, her contribution to the story resulted in her first byline. She worked for
the newspaper from 1973 to 1977.
During a trip to Chicago, Norment stopped by the Ebony offices to ask about freelance writing opportunities. She was given an assignment
to interview a college basketball player, then another story about legendary gospel
and soul singer Al Green. As soon as the editors read Norment’s work, they offered
her a job.
At Ebony, she has interviewed the famous and the not-so-famous, including some of the biggest
names in the entertainment world, such as Tina Turner, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston,
Janet Jackson, and Beyonce.
Rhodes is chairman, president, and CEO of AutoZone Inc., the country’s largest auto
parts retailer. He was named CEO in 2005 after serving in a variety of executive roles.
Most recently Rhodes was executive vice president overseeing store and commercial
operations. Prior to that, he served AutoZone as senior vice president of supply chain
and information technology, divisional vice president of stores, and senior vice president
Rhodes began his career at the accounting firm Ernst & Young, serving in various capacities
from 1988 to 1994, when he joined AutoZone. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting
from the University of Tennessee at Martin and his MBA from the U of M in 1988.
Turley is president of Henry Turley Co., a real estate development firm focusing on
community development and urban redevelopment. Among his projects are the Shrine Building
and the Cotton Exchange Building. The company pioneered New Urbanism with the development
of South Bluffs and Harbor Town and is helping to transform the Uptown neighborhood
in downtown Memphis, which includes 1,000 new homes and apartments, public parks,
and other amenities.
In 2006, he established the Henry Turley Fellowship to promote high-quality redevelopment
in the areas surrounding the U of M and to assist the University with its goal of
public policy research based on engaged scholarship and its strengthening community
initiative. Turley also is a member of the U of M Board of Visitors.
For more information about the event, visit the Web site www.memphis.edu/alumni