Middle Tennessee State University is again recognizing outstanding alumni who represent excellence and distinction through their professional careers, loyal support and service to the broader community.
From 1960 to the present, the MTSU Alumni Association has recognized accomplished alumni with the association’s highest honor: the Distinguished Alumni Award. This year’s winner is Jeff Creek, a highly acclaimed petroleum chemistry expert.
This year’s Young Alumnus Award, given to a younger graduate making a positive impact in the world, goes to Bobbie Jo Meredith. She has become a key figure with Schneider Electric and recruiting girls and young women to the STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, fields.
For the third consecutive year, the True Blue Citations of Distinction are being awarded. Categories and this year’s winners include:
- Achievement in Education for current or retired MTSU faculty — Dan Pfeifer, who has spent 25 years sharing his craft with MTSU recording industry students.
- Achievement in Education outside MTSU — Helen Campbell, an innovative Rutherford County Schools educator.
- Service to the University — Cynthia Chappell, who is a driving force for the MTSU alumni chapter in Houston, Texas.
- Service to the Community — Elizabeth “Libby” Green, a lifelong Murfreesboro volunteer and member of the MTSU Signal Society who has been giving financially for 25 years or more.
All recipients will receive their awards during Homecoming Week at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception, which will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, in the Sam H. Ingram Building, 2269 Middle Tennessee Blvd.
The public is invited. It is a complimentary event, but organizers request RSVPs to plan for food and space. To register, visit http://www.mtalumni.com and click on “Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception” under events.
A searchable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. Off-campus visitors should obtain a special one-day permit from MTSU’s Office of Parking and Transportation at www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php.
In addition to the awards ceremony, all will be recognized during the MTSU Homecoming Parade and during the Blue Raiders homecoming game against rival Western Kentucky.
Here are more details about the 2016-17 honorees.
Jeff Creek (Class of 1967), Chemistry and Mathematics
Considered a petroleum chemistry global expert, Creek retired in January 2016 after 38 years with Chevron Energy Technology Company. The Katy, Texas, resident joined Chevron in 1977 and has been the leader in the company’s phase behavior and thermodynamics of hydrocarbon systems for more than 20 years. In 2013, he was named “Chevron Fellow,” the company’s highest honor. Creek continues collaborations with Rice University as an adjunct professor there in the Department of Chemical and Biomechanical Engineering and affiliate professor with the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Colorado School of Mines.
In late September, Creek is scheduled to receive the Projects, Facilities and Construction Award at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in the United Arab Emirates’ Dubai World Trade Center. In August and in February/March, he co-chaired sessions at major conferences in his field of expertise. An internationally sought speaker, he has a lengthy list of publications to his credit.
Bobbie Jo Meredith (Class of 2005), Computer Engineering Technology
While an MTSU student, Meredith was heavily involved in the Experimental Vehicles Program and participated two years in the NASA lunar rover competition. The Murfreesboro resident started her professional career as a test engineer for Schneider Electric and now manages a global product portfolio between the United States, India, Canada and France. Her list of volunteer involvements with women and girls in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — is lengthy.
She is an MTSU WISTEM (Women in STEM) and Engineering Technology board member, and volunteered at Expanding Your Horizons in Math and Science, Girl Day, DigiGirlz and other events, and brought Schneider Electric as a sponsor in several of these. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Middle Tennessee named Meredith one of Nashville’s Top 30 Under 30 in 2014.
True Blue Citations of Distinction
Achievement in Education (MTSU faculty)
Dan Pfeifer (Class of 1983), Music
Pfeifer, who is from Readyville, Tennessee, recently completed his 25th year as an MTSU faculty member in the Department of Recording Industry. He witnessed the creation of the department and has taught 11 different undergraduate courses and eight graduate courses, with a new master’s of fine arts course scheduled for spring 2017. He received the MTSU Outstanding Teacher Award in 1997 and served as Faculty Senate president in 2003. Before coming to MTSU, he worked in the industry serving as audio engineer and producer for some of those top names in music, including B.B. King, ZZ Top, Al Green and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Pfeifer brings an incredible level of real-world experience to MTSU and freely shares that knowledge and connections with MTSU students. He is an audio engineering expert who is sought after to train employees at companies that have included National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., NHK Broadcasting in Japan and Turner Studios in Atlanta.
Achievement in Education (non-MTSU)
Helen Campbell (Classes of ’01, ’08, ’14)
History, Secondary Education, K-12 Administration and Supervision, Curriculum and Instruction
By age 35, Campbell had already served four years as an assistant principal and two years as a principal. At Walter Hill Elementary, she created an innovative way to learn at school with her “House” program, which she has presented many times at conferences since its inception. The “House” plan has a Harry Potter-type theme with a twist and is receiving media coverage for its creativity.
Campbell’s House program promotes healthy competition and rewards positive behavior. Don Odom, director of Rutherford County Schools, said the results show it’s working. School morale is on the rise, teachers are more actively engaging with students and test scores are increasing.
Service to the University
Cynthia Chappell (Classes of 1971 and ’76), English and Biology
Chappell founded the MTSU Houston Alumni Chapter. She has taken it upon herself to write bylaws, establish a leadership team, develop goals and initiatives and lead the university alumni efforts in Houston, the nation’s fourth most-populated city.
Through Chappell’s leadership, the group is helping with recruiting new students to MTSU, helping students relocate to Houston after graduation, linking alumni and new graduates for mentoring and has created a social group for those interested in meeting other MTSU alumni.
Service to the Community
Elizabeth “Libby” Green (Class of 1978), History
Green, who has made a career of volunteering, retired from human resources at Pinnacle Bank and was the past interim director of Main Street Murfreesboro. Her volunteer career includes serving many years on the Oaklands Association board of trustees and also planning several events for their benefit.
Green, who lives in Murfreesboro, has built three homes for Habitat for Humanity and served on many Rutherford County Heart Ball committees. At MTSU, she is currently a member of the Friends of Liberal Arts Board and a former adjunct history professor for several years. She frequently is a history department guest speaker. The Signal Society member has served on MTSU search committees.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)