MC Alumni Awards 2020
Below are the winners of the 2020 Alumni Citation Award, Kin Takahashi Young Alumni Award and the Distinguished Service Award. If you would like to nominate someone for an Alumni Award, find out more about the process.
This award may be made to any alumnus/a of Maryville College who has demonstrated outstanding leadership or initiative service in his/her community, church or chosen profession. Alumni Citations are presented at Homecoming.
2020 Award Recipients
Jeff Coghill '70 and Dr. Carey Cox Coghill '72
"Maryville College shaped our lives for the better; gave us wonderful friends; and inspired us to be the best we can be. We are humbled to receive this honor and look forward to supporting Maryville for years to come."
Jeff and Carey Cox Coghill are dedicated MC Alumni, passionate and enthusiastic about the College’s health. They have each served two terms on the Maryville Alumni Board. Additionally, they have both been KT Week Volunteers for many years.
Jeff Graduated from MC in 1970 with a degree in history. His class will be recognized as the Golden Scots this year. He has served on the Alumni Board 2015 and is serving at this time.
After graduating from MC, Jeff attended Princeton Seminary for a year and a half before moving to Atlanta, where he and Carey were married. Jeff began the first part of his career at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he worked through the mid-eighties.
In 1988 Jeff joined the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta as the planning and evaluation officer for the region’s Civil Aviation Security Division. In 1991 Jeff became the Civil Aviation Security Liaison Officer in London. Jeff was attached to the American Embassy in London, where he was responsible for working with the British, the Irish, and the Icelandic governments on matters related to counter-terrorism and international aviation security. Jeff began his tenure there while the explosion of PAN AM 103 over Lockerbie was still fresh, and the IRA was still very active in bombings throughout England.
After returning to the U.S. in 1997, Jeff worked with the Latin American countries on aviation security matters. After 9/11, Jeff and Carey returned to Europe, where Jeff worked as the Regional Director for aviation security in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. They finally returned to America in 2004 and have stayed home since.
Jeff is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in history at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where they live.
Carey graduated from MC in 1972 with a degree in psychology. She then studied at the University of Tennessee for a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. During the 1970s and 80s, Carey worked for the Georgia Department of Rehabilitation Services. In the late 1980s, she began working toward her Ph.D. in business. She continued to work on her dissertation on cross-cultural organizations while living in London and received her doctorate in 1996. In 1992 she joined with another American expatriate to form a consulting company together. For the next ten years, Carey traveled in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the States providing cross-cultural training and consulting for international businesses.
Carey has served on the MC Alumni Board from 2008 to 2014. On the 40th anniversary of her MC class reunion, she co-chaired the class’s fundraising effort. In Atlanta, Carey and Jeff have hosted a number of gatherings of MC alumni for incoming first-year students. Carey has also represented the college at College Fairs near Atlanta area. During their time in London, they hosted several MC groups.
Kin Takahashi Award for Young Alumni
This award shall be given to any alumnus/a who has, within 20 years of his/her graduation of Maryville College, lived a life characteristic of College legend, Kin Takahashi, Class of 1895, who in his 36 years of living, worked tirelessly for the betterment of his alma mater, his church and his society. This award is presented Homecoming weekend.
2020 Award Recipient
Dr. Valerie Jansen '01
Dr. Valerie Malyvanh Jansen is a first-generation immigrant and is living the American Dream. She currently serves as the Senior Medical Director at Mersana Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company in Cambridge, MA, specializing in the discovery and development of antibody-drug conjugate therapies to treat patients with cancer. Dr. Jansen describes herself as a physician-scientist who is passionate about translating findings from the bench-to-bedside and back with the purpose of making life better for patients with cancer worldwide.
After graduation from Maryville College with a BA in Chemistry in 2001, she enrolled in the dual MD/PhD program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN, and ultimately attained her PhD degree in Molecular Sciences from UTHSC in 2009 and her MD degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 2010. Dr. Jansen then returned home to Nashville, TN, where she served in various roles at Vanderbilt University Medical Center including fulfilling her childhood dream of being a doctor at Vanderbilt.
When Dr. Jansen was working at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center her research focused on identifying novel combination therapies for breast cancer and the mechanisms that lead to drug resistance. In the clinic, she cared for the very patients whose cancer she investigated in the laboratory, exemplifying the bench-to-bedside-to-bench model.
She received numerous awards and honors for her research endeavors including a Susan G. Komen
Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2017), a Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award (2015-2016), an American Society of Clinical Oncology Merit Award (2014), an American Association for Cancer Research Women in Cancer Research Scholar Award (2015), a San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Clinical Scholars Award (2015), and a Vanderbilt Clinical Oncology Research Career Development Program (2016). In 2017, Dr. Jansen was also presented with a Nashville Public Education Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award.
When a “dream opportunity” presented itself, Dr. Jansen then joined Eli Lilly and Company in 2017 as Senior Medical Advisor where she led and supported early and late phase clinical development in oncology. She worked with a team of basic and clinical scientists on the FDA approved breast cancer medicine abemaciclib (Verzenio®). Having watched loved ones and patients who are friends suffer from cancer, Dr. Jansen finds this her motivating life path to help others through PASSION. PURPOSE. FOCUS.
Dr. Jansen is married and has one daughter. She currently lives in Zionsville, IN with her family.
See past KT Young Alumni Award winners -->
- 2019 - Mathew Murrill 2008
- 2018 - Frank Twum-Barimah 2004
- 2017 - Shaun Hayes 2006
- 2016 - Marissa McInnis, 2004
- 2015 - Joshua Phillips, 2008
- 2014 - William Gavin Lodge McCammon, 1999
- 2013 - Smith Jean-Philippe, 2000
- 2012 - Christie Latimer Knapper, 2004
- 2011 - Preston Fields, 2003
- 2010 - John Trotter, 1995
- 2009 - Yvette P. Franklin, 1998
- 2008 - Kristi Falco, 2001
- 2007 - Kristine Renee Tallent, 1996
- 2006 - Erin Palmer, 1999
- 2005 - Adriel McCord, 2000
- 2004 - Julie Walker Danielson, 1994
- 2003 - Christen McCammon Khym, 1996
- 2002 - William F. Lukens, 1991
- 2001 - John Francis Heidelberg, 1987; Karla Beard Heidelberg, 1988
- 2000 - Jonathan A. Allision, 1990
- 1999 - Kandis Schram, 1995
Distinguished Service Award
An award known as the “Distinguished Service Award” may be made to any alumnus/a of Maryville College who has rendered unusual service in any capacity on behalf of the College. This award is presented at Convocation at the beginning of the fall semester.
2020 Award Recipients
This award typically goes to an individual, but this group has both separately and collectively demonstrated years of service, dedication and leadership, specifically to the College.Through their examples of volunteerism, event organizing, board leadership and fundraising, they have helped to establish traditions, to carry on traditions and to pave the way forward for future students and alumni of MC. These remarkable men and women span a range of skills and strengths and they are receiving this prestigious honor for their many years of service to the College.
Alvin C. Baker ’72
Blount County, TN
Known as “Al” since his junior year at Maryville, he spent his last two years working in the College Bookstore and getting to know faculty and staff. In the late ’70s Al became involved with the organizing group that formed the Blount County Chapter of the Maryville College Alumni Association. Over the course of the next 40+ years he has developed a close working relationship with the Alumni Office providing hands-on assistance and offering support where possible. Al has served as a member of the Blount County Board and as an officer on numerous occasions. In recent years he has been closely involved with fundraising for the Blount County Scholarship and the chapter’s largest fundraising event, the Harvest Craft Festival, held each year at Homecoming. Festival vendors and alumni alike have grown accustom to seeing Al on campus at every Homecoming and virtually all Alumni functions on campus. He has worked tirelessly in pursuit of the Blount County Alumni goal of providing Blount County students with the opportunity of a Maryville College education.
Gail Bradley Hafner ’60
Blount County, TN
Gail Bradley Hafner ’60 majored in Applied Music (organ). While at Maryville she was a member of the Vesper Choir, Theta Epsilon and was selected for Alpha Delta Kappa honorary society, the Daisy Chain, and other organizations on campus. Following graduation, she continued working in church music as organist and/or choir director in numerous churches. While serving churches, she taught music and special education in Blount County Schools for 21 years. She was a member of the Knoxville Choral Society and the Knoxville Community Chorus and is now a member of the Maryville College Community Chorus. She is a member of the Knoxville Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and served on the Board for 10 years. She is a volunteer for the College Archives, the Clayton Center for the Arts and St. Paul Lutheran Church, where she is a member. There are other ways that Gail has shown her volunteer spirit exclusively to Maryville College. She has been a member of the planning committee for two choir reunions, Homecoming Choirs, and the Bicentennial Choir. Plus, she received the Choir’s Alumni Award. Also, she has participated in Kin Takahashi (KT) Week since 2005 and has been on the Blount County Alumni Chapter’s Board since the ’80s.
Elizabeth Walton Blackburn ’58
Blount County, TN
Liz Walton Blackburn ’58 majored in Pre-Med/Medical Technology. After graduation she worked in the Clinical Laboratory at Blount Memorial Hospital for 40 years, and for the last ten years, she was as Assistant Laboratory Manager. As a freshman, Liz was introduced to New Providence Presbyterian Church and it became her Church home. Liz was first invited to be on the Blount County Chapter of the MCAA in 1997. She served two terms as president and several as secretary. She has consistently given to the College the gifts of her time and talent throughout the years thus sealing her status as a loyal, dedicated and involved alumna. She humbly stated that serving on the Board has been an honor and given her the chance to hear the plans for the College, understand how those plans are developed and see the benefits of the changes. It has allowed her many ways to serve the College from scholarship money, to hands-on volunteering, to telling the Maryville College story. Today, however, we thank her for She is pleased the Blount County Alumni Board has established an Endowment Fund for scholarships that will help students for years to come. Maryville College has allowed her to have a successful career, have a good marriage, and form many lifelong friendships.
Judy Pike Woods ‘71
Blount County, TN
Judy Pike Woods ’71 came to Maryville College from the Buffalo, NY area. She was the first Independent major with an emphasis on recreation. Following graduation, she went to work for the Maryville, Alcoa, Blount County Parks and Recreation Commission as the Director of Springbrook Recreation Center. Judy has served 23 years on the Blount County Alumni Chapter Board (BCAB), including one year as president. She also served one term on the Maryville College Alumni Board. During her tenure on the Blount County Alumni Board, they implemented the annual Christmas Open House at Willard House, which includes decorating the entire main floor for Christmas and providing appetizers, desserts and drinks for the MC Community at large. Also, the board members have been able to increase the number of scholarships to Blount County students through the efforts of the annual crafts fair and bake sale at Homecoming. Judy retired from Broadway United Methodist Church in Maryville in 2015 after almost 20 years as their Administrative Assistant. This ended a career of 32 years serving in several local churches. Now, Judy spends her time volunteering at her church and in the community.
Robert Kennedy ’71
Blount County, TN
Rob Kennedy ’71 learned about Maryville College through one of his mother’s friends, Nancy Hunter, who was secretary to MC’s 6th President, Dr. Ralph W. Lloyd. Originally a member of the Class of 1967, Rob graduated with the Class of 1971 after a four-year break to serve in the U.S. Naval Weather Service. He was stationed in Kenitra, Morocco, for a year and in London, England for two years. It was while in London that he got his first Scottie dog (now on #6). The time in London made him an incurable Anglophile and British car collector. For two years after graduation, Rob worked for the MC Admissions department and traveled for the College. In 1979, classmate and friend, Al Baker ’72, asked Rob if he would consider serving on the Blount County Alumni Board. Rob said, “yes” and has been on the board ever since! Since retiring from Safeco Insurance Co. in 2007 as a field adjuster for 27+ years, he has volunteered several days a week in the MC Archives where he has led many initiatives in preserving the College’s rich history. Other interesting campus activities include handing out programs at Scots home football games with other KT volunteers and driving the College dump truck to spread mulch around the Clayton Center. For the past 20 years, another one of Rob’s important College jobs has been driving the College’s First Family in the Homecoming parade in his ’77 MG. His one son, Geoffrey, graduated from MC in 2007 and his wife, Patricia Weaver Kennedy in 2008.
Wall of Fame
The Maryville College Wall of Fame, located within MC’s Cooper Athletic Center, was established by the Honaker Club in 1975. Today, it is an ongoing project sponsored by the Maryville College Athletic Department. Its purpose is to recognize outstanding individuals who have contributed to the tradition of MC Athletics. Over the past 45 years, 214 Maryville College student-athletes and supporters of the athletic department have been honored for their accomplishments. The 2020 class will be inducted on Saturday, October 17, 2020 in a virtual presentation during Homecoming’s on-line festivities. We look forward to honoring this class during the 2021 Homecoming. The 2020 class includes John LaCava ‘81 (Wrestling, Soccer), Jimmy Reese ‘81 (Baseball), Jeff Reichert ‘89 (Football), Hayley Smith Huskey ‘04 (Women's Basketball), and Sidney Ellis ‘05 (Men’s Basketball).
Recognition is in two categories: “Regular membership” is reserved for those student-athletes who competed for Maryville College, displaying excellence in athletic competition. Nominees for regular membership must be graduates of the College. “Special membership” is granted to those people who have been of outstanding value to the Maryville College Athletics Program. Learn more →
Maryville College offers sincere congratulations and gratitude
for the service of these fine alumni.
MAKE A NOMINATION
Do you know someone deserving of an alumni award?
The privilege of making nominations for any alumni award is given to alumni, past and present faculty and staff members and friends of Maryville College. Nominations must be received by December 15 to be considered for awards in the following fall.
- Read the descriptions here and determine which award is most fitting for your nominee.
- Fill out our nomination form.
- It's also helpful to have materials that support your nomination (vitae, newspaper clippings, commendatory letters, etc.). If you have such items, please either scan and email them to the Alumni Office or mail to:
Office of Advancement
502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN, 37804.