University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations


January 18, 2005
Contact: Carol Kittrell at (251) 460-7084

USA National Alumni Association to Honor Distinguished Alumni and Service
Recipients at Feb. 18 Gala

The University of South Alabama National Alumni Association will honor five distinguished alumni and two local families for exceptional achievement and service to the University at a gala dinner on Feb. 18. The event, part of the Homecoming 2005 weekend, will recognize the achievements and contributions of Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Tina Allen, Mayor Mike Dow, Mark Hoffman, Jon Lieber, and Laurie Beth Owen, as well as Distinguished Service Recipients, Abe, Mayer and Arlene Mitchell and Jim and Anne Nix.

"It is exciting for us to inaugurate this program with such a distinguished and worthy group of nationally recognized alumni," said Mike Windom, '83, president of the USA National Alumni Association. "The selection committee faced a significant challenge due to the number of high quality nominations received."

Pat Hicks, '71, who serves as chairman of the event and vice president of the association, said, "Our association board of directors has worked on the planning of this program for several years, and we are so pleased to bring our work and ideas to fruition."

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
Tina Allen, '78, a world-renowned sculptor, is famous for her works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Sojourner Truth, and Alex Haley. She is working on statues of George Washington Carver and Nat "King" Cole. A self-described eternal optimist, she has dedicated her life's work to raising the social and political consciousness of African-Americans. She is also a director of the International Center for African-American Asian Relations, as well as a member of the support committee for the African National Congress. She received her bachelor's in fine arts in the College of Arts and Sciences from USA in 1978.
Tina Allen

Mike Dow, '71, Mobile's mayor for 16 years, began his career in business as co-founder, director and a major stockholder of QMS Inc. First elected mayor in 1989, Dow has led the city through a successful downtown revitalization and tourism effort known as "The String of Pearls." His administration has also reorganized, streamlined and strengthened Mobile city departments and operations. A three-tour Vietnam veteran, he served as a helicopter door gunner from 1966-1968, then attended USA on the G. I. Bill. Dow received his bachelor's in economics in 1971 and his master's in business administration, with an accounting focus in the Mitchell College of Business, in 1977.
Mike Dow

Mark Hoffman, '74, serves as president and CEO of North American operations for Corporate Express, a business-to-business supplier of essential office and computer products and services with annual revenue of $4.4 billion. Hoffman was an outstanding student in the Mitchell College of Business, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in finance in 1974. He then became the first USA business student to earn a master's in business administration from Harvard. His career includes management positions with TRW and Lockheed Corp. He also served as president of APS Holdings. In 2002, he returned to USA to serve as the Executive-in-Residence at the Mitchell College of Business.
Mark Hoffman

Jon Lieber, a major league baseball pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, rebounded from elbow surgery last year, and helped lead the New York Yankees to a memorable League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox. An Iowa native, this former Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year has played for the Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. This year, he will play for the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2001, he won 20 games and was selected for the National League All-Star Team. Lieber was inducted into the USA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. He studied criminal justice in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Jon Lieber

Laurie Beth Owen, '80, Ph.D., has established a renowned 15-year career in tumor immunology research at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the University of California Riverside, and the City of Hope Cancer Center in Pasadena, Calif. Owen now serves as director of research and development at BioLegend Inc. in San Diego. The company develops medical diagnostic and therapeutic projects. She has patents on three methods of cancer therapeutics, with a fourth pending. She received her bachelor's of science in medical technology in the College of Allied Health from USA in 1980 then earned her Ph.D. in microbiology/immunology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 1986. Later, she received post-doctoral training at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Laurie Beth Owen

Distinguished Service Award Recipients

Abe Mitchell Mayer and Arlene Mitchell
Abe, Mayer and Arlene Mitchell: Even though none of the Mitchells are USA alumni, they have contributed more to the University of South Alabama than any other donor. Their philanthropic support of the University spans more than two decades and exceeds $15 million. In addition to their philanthropic support, Mayer, Arlene and Abe Mitchell have served the University tirelessly, giving of their time, expertise and energy. Mayer Mitchell has provided more than a quarter century of service to the Board of Trustees, serving as chair of the Board from 1995-1998 and offering insights that have helped shape the growth and progress of the University. He has used his considerable influence in the state and national governmental and private sectors to help the University develop new and meaningful educational and health care programs including federal and state support for a new $100 million USA Cancer Research Institute. Arlene, a former Mobilian of the Year Award Winner, has offered her spirit of volunteerism and support to the community and the University. Abe has provided wise counsel on development and improvement of our academic programs, with special focus on business and medicine. In addition to his many other gifts to the University, Abe has provided full scholarships for 36 students since 1999. The Mitchell Scholarship Program, which is USA's largest privately funded scholarship program, has awarded more than $1 million. He is committed to nurturing the next generation of business leaders in Mobile and the surrounding area. He received an honorary doctorate of letters from the University in 2002.

The Honorable James P. Nix and his wife, Anne, have been tireless advocates of USA, devoting much of their time and resources to ensure the institution's success as a leader in higher education and cancer research. For more than 15 years, James Nix has been a member of the University of South Alabama's Board of Trustees. Having served two terms as the Board's Chairman Pro Tempore, he now serves on the Executive, Budget and Finance and Long-Range Planning Committee. Anne Nix has been equally committed to the University, taking
 Honorable James P. Nix and his wife, Anne
a special interest in the success of cancer research at USA. Her involvement with Point Clear Charities Inc. has led to approximately $2.5 million in support of USA' s cancer research efforts, as well as other projects, such as $200,000 in contributions to programs for pediatric cancer patients. The Nixes continue to support the Cancer Research Institute through numerous volunteer activities, including the recent Polo at the Point charity event, at which the USA Cancer Research Institute was the primary beneficiary.

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