Thomas University held its annual Forbes Society Dinner honoring its donors and supporters on Thursday, Nov. 21, at Glen Arven Country Club. Several awards were also presented for commitment to the university.
Ed Liedy, an alumnus of Thomas University, received the Vicey Harris Award, which is given in recognition of unique service to Thomas University during a critical time in the school’s history. The award is named in honor of Mrs. Vicey Harris, whose initial gift of $10,000 began the Birdwood College fund, setting the foundation for Thomas University. Over the years Thomas University had struggled to maintain a strong alumni connection, and in 2003 the current alumni association was started. Liedy led the way as the first President of the council. At that time, he was one of only a handful of alumni who were supportive with financial gifts. Liedy was waving the banner of TU all across the Tallahassee and the Tampa area. He was the first Alumni Council member to serve as a full-voting member of the TU Board of Trustees. Through his leadership, volunteer commitment and consistent support, the alumni council has become a significant contributor to TU by their volunteer service and financial commitment.
The Ambassador’s Award is given to an individual in appreciation of exceptional volunteer commitment to Thomas University. This year’s recipient is Dr. Karl Barton, who serves as the Division chair of Humanities at Thomas University. Barton was recognized for selfless contribution of time and energy, which has been vital to the activities of the university. In addition to his numerous faculty duties, he oversees and produces the Arts for the Community at Thomas University, also known as ACTU. This program includes numerous productions throughout the year for various programs including the Fridays and noon and Sundays at Four performances. Dr. Barton is a constant force of expertise on many Thomasville organizations. His connections to a pool of highly skilled artists have allowed programs for our community that are second to none.
The President’s Award is given to a corporation that demonstrated consistent support of the university for many years. This year’s recipient is at&t, which was recognized for its focus on philanthropy and investment in higher education. When other philanthropic organizations cautiously reduced their giving because of the economy, at&t increased their support of education in Thomasville. Accepting the award was Courtney Brinson, Regional Director of External Affairs with at&t.
Diane Parker received the W. Cameron Forbes Award, which is given to an individual who displays a life-long commitment to education and to Thomas University. Parker has made a significant impact on the life of the institution and members of the Thomas University Community. Parker, a business owner and philanthropist in the community, has been a pillar of encouragement for Thomas University. Her commitment to the recent capital campaign helped make the beautification of the TU campus a reality.
Dr. Gary Bonvillian, president of Thomas University, ended the night by thanking all the supporters and donors and congratulating the many student scholars in attendance for their diligent academic work.