Texas A&M University-Texarkana has recently announced the 2018 Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Faculty, as well as the winners of the university’s Pioneer Award and Spirit of A&M-Texarkana Award. The 2018 Distinguished Alumni are Mark Bledsoe, Melva Flowers, Tanya Dunlap, Travis Ransom, and Carol Caver Miller. The 2018 Distinguished Faculty award winner is Dr. Michael Perri, A&M-Texarkana Associate Professor of History. The Pioneer Award recipient is Janet Barnes, and Joe Nichols has been named the Spirit of A&M-Texarkana winner.
Carol Caver Miller graduated from A&M-Texarkana with a bachelor’s degree in 1990 and a master’s degree in 1996. In her 20th year as an educator, she has worked as a classroom teacher, an instructional supervisor, an assistant principal, Executive Assistant for Superintendent and Board, and is now the school principal for College Hill Elementary School. Carol was named the Pine Street Middle School Teacher of the Year in 1997-1998, the TISD Secondary Teacher of the Year in 1997-1998, and won the TRAHC ArtsSmart Award in 2006. She is very active in the music ministry at First Baptist Church-Texarkana.
Mark Bledsoe graduated from A&M-Texarkana with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1988 and a Master of Science degree in 1989. Mark is the President/CEO of the United Way of Greater Texarkana and spends countless hours working to promote the university and the entire Texarkana community. Mark serves as a member of the A&M-Texarkana Athletic Council Board and was President of the Alumni Association in 2013. Mark is the president-elect of the Kiwanis Club of Texarkana, and serves as a member of several boards of directors, including The Texarkana Community Foundation, Texarkana Are Community Organization Active in Disasters, and Keep Texarkana Beautiful. He is the past president of Hands on Texarkana, the THS Athletic Booster Club, the Jaycees and the Texarkana Board of Realtors.
Melva Flowers is a 2017 graduate of Texas A&M University-Texarkana, where she earned her Master of Science degree. Ms. Flowers has played an active role in supporting the Texarkana community for well over a decade. She is the Board Chairman of the Texarkana, Texas Housing Authority and a member of the advisory board for the Alzheimer Alliance. Her other civic memberships include the International Rotary Club, Texarkana Resources for the Disabled, the TISD Diversity Committee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Las Amigas Social and Civic Club. She is a life member of the NAACP, a charter member of the Twin City Black History Association and for the past 15 years has volunteered as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. Ms. Flowers is employed by Texarkana College as an adjunct faculty member and student retention adviser.
Tanya Dunlap is a 2002 graduate of Texas A&M-Texarkana and was a member of the 2011 Leadership Texarkana class. Her many civic contributions have been made through her participation in a number of organizations, including The Texarkana, TX Lions Club, Aktion Club of Texarkana, Women for the Arts, Women for A&M-Texarkana, Texarkana Resources for the Disabled, the Kiwanis Club of Texarkana and The United Way. Tanya is in her 17th year of employment with Nix Patterson and Roach.
Travis Ransom, Mayor of Atlanta, TX, graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Texas A&M-Texarkana in 2012. Travis serves on the ArkTex Council of Governments Board of Directors and is a past president of TRAHC. He is a member of the Atlanta Economic Development Corporation, the Atlanta Lions Club and serves the Atlanta area on a number of other councils and boards. Travis has also served on the Executive Board of the Caddo Area Council Boy Scouts of America having been both an Eagle Scout himself and the father of an Eagle Scout. Travis is employed by Offenhauser Insurance in Atlanta and continues to serve in his 21st year as a Command Sergeant Major in the US Army Reserve.
The 2018 Distinguished Faculty Award was awarded to Dr. Michael Perri, Texas A&M University-Texarkana Professor of History. Dr. Perri earned both his Bachelor of Arts with Honors in History and German and his Master of Arts degree in Latin and Iberian Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He earned his Ph.D. in History from Emory University in 2004 and began teaching at Texas A&M University-Texarkana in 2004 as well. He has twice received the Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award (2010 and 2011) and received the Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educator’s Award in 2017. One of his many accomplishments at A&M-Texarkana was the development of the Program for Learning and Community Engagement (PLACE). PLACE is an annual thematic program of lectures and other academic events designed to create a broad community of learners that would benefit the university and the community as well.
Dr. Perri has published dozens of scholarly works and is highly respected among his peers.
The 2018 Texas A&M University-Texarkana Pioneer Award is being presented to Janet Barnes, a 1986 graduate of East Texas State University (now TAMUT) who had a 48 year career with the Texarkana Gazette and has spent the majority of her life serving others through thousands of hours as a civic volunteer. In 1991 she was elected to the ETSU-T Alumni Board of Directors. Janet has been active with the March of Dimes, the Arthritis Foundation, the Young Women’s Christian Association, served as the YWCA President and graduated with the 1993 Leadership Texarkana class. She has also volunteered with The United Way of Greater Texarkana, the Bowie-Cass Adult Cooperative Advisory Council, TISD’s Education Advisory Council and the Texarkana Museum System. Her lifetime of service and volunteerism has led to her winning numerous awards, most recently the 2017 Texarkana Gazette’s Readers’ Choice Award for Volunteer of the Year.
The 2017 Spirit of A&M-Texarkana Award is being presented to Joe Nichols of State Bank for his past and continuing support of Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Joe earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Stephen F. Austin University in 1985 and an MBA from the University of North Texas in 1987. Joe has worked for over 30 years in the banking industry, the last 26 of which have been in Texarkana. He is currently serving on the Texas A&M University-Texarkana Foundation Board and the board of the Christus St. Michael Foundation, as well as serving on the Texas Bankers Association Government Relations Council, and the Leadership Texarkana Advisory Council. He has previosly served as a board member of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, Tex Americas, United Way, Temple Memorial Rehabilitation Center, and Texarkana Country Club. Joe and his wife Carla have two children. Their son Daniel is 19 and a freshman at Texarkana College and their daughter Ella (15) attends Pleasant Grove High School.
The award winners will be featured guests at A&M-Texarkana’s annual Eagle Roundup, a night of live music, great food, and a live auction that coincides with Homecoming Week. The 2018 Eagle Roundup will feature southern BBQ with all the fixins’, beer and wine, and the music of the Split Decision Band. Tickets to the Roundup are $35 each and may be ordered online at http://www.tamut.edu/Alumni/Office-of-Alumni-Relations/Eagle-RoundUp/index.html.