The Hendrix Alumni Association Board of Governors will present awards to six individuals during Alumni Weekend 2007. The annual Alumni Awards Convocation begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 14, in Reves Recital Hall in the Trieschmann Fine Arts Building. To register for Alumni Weekend 2007, click here.
2007 Distinguished Alumna Award
Dr. Ann Robbins Poindexter ’54
Poindexter received a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences from Hendrix before earning a medical degree from the University of Tennessee in Memphis. After graduation and completion of an internship, she trained as a pediatrician and worked several years for Emory University. In 1969 she began working for the state of Arkansas assisting adults and children with developmental disabilities. She later did similar work in North Dakota. In the past 15 years, she has also worked with people with behavioral or psychiatric problems.
She spends a great deal of her time now writing and developing training materials primarily for non-medical workers who work with individuals with developmental disabilities or behavioral problems.
2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award
Dr. Michael Cox ’72
After graduating from Hendrix with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business, Cox earned a doctorate in economics from Tulane University.
He has taught economics at Southern Methodist University since 1985. His 29 years of university teaching also include time on the faculty at Virginia Tech, the University of Rochester and the University of Western Ontario.
Cox is senior vice president and chief economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He advises the bank president on monetary policy and economic issues. He authors the bank's annual report essays on rising American living standards and the inter-workings of the free market system and is a frequent guest on national radio, television and Internet programs.
His book, Myths of Rich and Poor, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. As past president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, Cox actively promoted market solutions to economic problems. He collaborates with other proponents of free enterprise through his positions as CATO Institute adjunct scholar and National Center for Policy Analysis senior fellow.
2007 Humanitarian Award
Stacy Sells ’82
Sells is a graduate of Little Rock Hall High School and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hendrix College. As a native Arkansan, the parent of two school-age children and a business leader, Sells has spent the past 12 years helping lead the charge for education reform in Arkansas.
As Co-Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Education, Sells helped lead 25 volunteer commission members in a 14-month study of the needs of Arkansas public school children and their school districts. During that time she successfully implemented the “Speak Up, Arkansas” community forums that resulted in more than 6,000 Arkansans attending 81 public town hall meetings to express their opinions regarding public education reform.
From 2002-2004, Sells served as Chairman of the Board of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. During her tenure, she was the business community’s voice for public school reform. In 2004, Sells was given the Child Advocate of the Year Award by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and was named Educator of the Year by Delta Kappa Gamma. She was appointed as one of five representatives from Arkansas to the nation’s Education Commission of the States in 2005.
Sells is the mother of two daughters and has served as PTA President, on the board of Volunteers in Public Schools and founded the Little Rock Alliance for Public Schools, an advocacy arm of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves as the volunteer director for Just for the Kids-Arkansas, a project of the National Center for Educational Accountability. In her professional life, Sells serves as Senior Vice President-Strategic Planning at Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, a Little Rock full-service communications firm.
2007 James E. Major Service Award
Coach Cliff Garrison
A Forrest City native, Cliff Garrison was a high school coach at Wynne and Stuttgart, and a one-year assistant to Don Dyer at Henderson State before he came to Hendrix in 1972.
Under his direction, the Hendrix Warriors dominated Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference basketball through the 1980s. His Hendrix teams won three AIC championships and he took teams to the NCAA Division III playoffs when the college switched athletic affiliation from the NAIA. He retired as Hendrix Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the conclusion of the 2002-03 season after 31 years at the helm of the Warriors. Garrison retired with a 463-377 record, making him one of the winningest men's coaches in state history.
Garrison was the NAIA District Coach of the Year in 1975 and 1980 and AIC Coach of the Year in 1980, 1981, and 1991. He was inducted into the Hendrix College Sports Hall of Honor in 1999 and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He has worked at Hendrix for 34 years and is currently the Senior Advancement Associate for Athletics and professor of kinesiology. His service to the College has included raising funds for construction of the new Wellness and Athletics Center, years of dedicated service on College committees, and a willingness to take on whatever tasks necessary to benefit Hendrix. He has also served as a role model and mentor to younger faculty members and coaches. Garrison is married to Hendrix Alumna Maribeth Woodfin Garrison '64.
2007 Outstanding Young Alumni Awards
Robert Thompson III ’93
After graduating from Hendrix with a bachelor’s degree in history, Thompson attended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he studied history and economics on a Rotary Foundation Scholarship and the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he graduated with high honors in 1997 and served as editor-in-chief of the Arkansas Law Review.
After law school, Thompson served as a law clerk to Judge Richard S. Arnold of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He is principal in the law firm of Branch, Thompson, Philhours & Warmath, P.A., in his home town of Paragould. His primary areas of practice are general civil and commercial litigation and employment law.
Thompson serves in the Arkansas State Senate for District 11, which includes three counties in northeast Arkansas. As a state senator, Thompson serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Committee on City, County and Local Affairs, and the Joint Energy Committee, and the Arkansas Legislative Council. During the recent 2007 legislative session, he sponsored successful legislation to increase economic incentives for the use of alternative fuels and to reduce the influence of lobbyists on pending legislation.
Thompson lives in Paragould with his wife Tori and their two sons and is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Paragould.
Jonathan Whitlock ’99
After graduating from Hendrix with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Whitlock completed a doctorate in neuroscience at Brown University. His research involved describing the changes that occur at the connections between neurons in the brain in response to new learning, demonstrating that neural connections are strengthened as a consequence of memory formation. Results of his research were published in Science magazine in August 2006.
In December 2006, Whitlock moved to Trondheim, Norway, for a post-doctoral position at a neuroscience lab. The research group in Norway made a major discovery last year that the brain creates a grid-like spatial map of an environment as an animal explores an open space. His work in the lab will involve the cellular mechanisms of spatial navigation and spatial memory in awake, freely behaving animals.