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Five Outstanding Alumni Tapped for Awards at Homecoming Nov. 6

By Sherry Kughn
News Bureau

21 September 2004 The Jacksonville State University Alumni Association will present its annual Outstanding Alumni Awards during halftime ceremonies of the 4 p.m. Homecoming game with Samford on Saturday 6 November at Paul Snow Stadium.

The honorees this year are Dr. Bobby H. Welch, Alumnus of the Year; Mr. Ben Cunningham, Young Alumnus of the Year; Dr. George R. Cline, Outstanding Faculty/Staff; Ms. Jennifer Knight Carmichael, Alumna of the Year; and Col. Rex Forney, Military Alumnus of the Year.

Dr. Bobby H. Welch The 2004 Alumnus of the Year was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention in June, 2004. His goal of one million baptisms in a year for the nation's largest denomination has made national headlines. Dr. Welch is a Fort Payne native who graduated in 1965 in business administration. He holds a master of theology degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Palm Beach Atlantic College. He is a former Green Beret and served as a recon platoon leader in Vietnam. He said it was during a battle there, when he was wounded and left for dead, that he experienced a religious conversion that led to his career change. He is co-author of the FAITH Sunday School Evangelism program and author of several books on faith. He is the minister of First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach in Daytona, Florida . He and his wife, Maudellen, have two adult children.

Mr. Ben Cunningham The 2004 Young Alumnus of the Year is a reporter at the Anniston Star. He served in the United States Air Force for four years before finishing a bachelor's degree in communication from JSU in 2003. While at JSU, he served as editor of the Chanticleer. He was a member of the Southerners and Phi Mu Alpha, for which he continues to serve as alumni secretary. In 2003 he received four awards from the Department of Communication: the Print Journalism Student of the Year, the Character Award, the Professional Skills Award for Newspaper Editorship, and the John Turner Award, which is the department's student of the year award for outstanding leadership. After graduation, Mr. Cunningham was invited by Alabama Press Association's president, Felicia Mason, to speak at the annual job fair. He covers education and the city of Jacksonville as a reporter, and he and his wife, Sherri, live in Jacksonville .

Mrs. Jennifer Knight Carmichael The 2004 Alumna of the Year is the assistant inspector general for inspections in the Defense Intelligence Agency's Office of Inspector General. She is responsible for assessments of DIA operations and units worldwide. Mrs. Carmichael holds three degrees from JSU: two bachelor's degrees in forensic science and law enforcement, both of which she earned in 1982 from JSU; and a master's degree in criminal justice, which she earned in 1987. She also holds a master's degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University in Washington, D.C., and is a 2004 graduate of the Program for Senior Managers in Government at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has worked as a counterintelligence analyst, a policy staff officer, and an investigator. She received several awards for service within the DIA, including the Award for Meritorious Civilian Service and the 2003 Agency Team Award. She is from Blairsville, Georgia, and now lives in Crofton, Maryland. While at JSU, Mrs. Carmichael was a member of the Southerners, the Baptist Campus Ministry, and she launched a national criminal justice society in the College of Criminal Justice.  She and her husband, Scott, have three sons, Andrew (17), Jesse (10), and Jason (8).

Dr. George R. Cline The 2004 Outstanding Faculty/Staff member at JSU is a professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Cline has taught at JSU since 1992. He holds a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pennsylvania, with double majors in biology and environmental health, which he earned in 1974. He holds a doctorate from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He is a member of the Chancel Choir at First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville and assists with the children's choir and music committee. He volunteers as a soccer and t-ball coach with Jacksonville's Parks and Recreation Department, volunteers to present programs for the Girl Scouts of Cottaquilla Council, and Kitty Stone Elementary School. He helped establish the Alabama Herpetological Society and the annual College of Arts and Sciences Research Symposium. He is from Derry, Pennsylvania, and is married and has two small children.

Col. Rex Forney, Jr. The 2004 Military Alumnus of the Year is chief of the advisory group at the United States Air Force Air University in Montgomery. He is a Gadsden native and graduated with a bachelor's degree from JSU, a master's degree from Webster College in Missouri, and a master's degree from the United States Air Force Air University in Montgomery. He entered the army in 1976 as a second lieutenant assigned to the Military Police Corps after graduating as a distinguished military graduate and receiving his commission through the JSU ROTC program. While at JSU, he was also a member of the Scabbard and Blade and the 10th Alabama Volunteer Ranger Company. He has served as a platoon leader and has commanded two battalions. He has been executive officer to the U.S. Army parachute team, the Golden Knights. He has served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Iraq; Intrinsic Action in Kuwait; Bright Star in Egypt; and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. He holds numerous medals and awards for his service, including the Master Parachutist Badge, the Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge and German Parachutist Badge. He and his wife Kay live in Prattville and have four children.

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