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Four Hendrix Alumni to be Honored with Odyssey Medals

CONWAY, Ark. (August 22, 2014) – Four alumni will receive Odyssey Medals during the Founders’ Day Convocation at 11:10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, in Staples Auditorium on the Hendrix campus.

The Odyssey Medal is awarded by the Hendrix College Board of Trustees to alumni whose personal and professional achievements exemplify the values of engaged liberal arts and sciences education.

Odyssey Medals will be presented to:

  • Brad Ford ’89 – Artistic Creativity 
  • Amanda Moore McBride ’93 – Service to the World
  • Elsie McKee ’73 – Research
  • F.G. “Buddy” Villines  ’69 – Professional and Leadership Development 

Ford, McKee and Villines are the 2014-2015 Odyssey Medal recipients. McBride, who was awarded the medal in 2013-2014, was unable to attend last year's ceremony.

Odyssey Medalist Bios:

Brad Ford ’89, Artistic Creativity

Brad Ford is a high-end interior designer based in New York City. Originally from Russellville, Ark., he moved to Manhattan 22 years ago and established his own firm, Brad Ford ID, in1998 with an emphasis on residential spaces.  Ford holds a degree in Interior Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology as well as his degree in Business and Economics from Hendrix College. He honed his skills under such leading New York designers as Thad Hayes and the late Jed Johnson. 

Amanda Moore McBride ’93, Service to the World

Amanda Moore McBride, Ph.D., associate professor of social work, is an international leader, teacher and scholar in civic and community engagement. Her work includes building international and national service initiatives, applying youth service as a component of youth development, and understanding and communicating the service mission of the academy. 

As director of the Richard A. Gephardt Institute for Public Service, a position she has held since its 2006 inception, McBride promotes lifelong civic engagement of undergraduate and graduate students, and engages the university community through a variety of initiatives.

McBride services as associate dean at the Brown School, is the research director for the Center for Social Development, and serves as a faculty fellow for WUSTL’s Institute for School Partnership. McBride’s research involves the study of higher education’s role in international service efforts.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hendrix College in 1993, she worked briefly for the United Way of Greater St. Louis, then pursued graduate studies at Washington University, earning master’s and doctoral degrees in 1995 and 2003, respectively. She has been honored for her teaching and mentoring and recently received an Outstanding Young Alumna Award from Hendrix College.

Elsie McKee ’73, Research

Elsie Anne McKee is professor of church history at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J., and an expert in the history and theology of the Reformation. She also has a strong interest in cross-cultural issues developed by experience in central Africa. In addition to her bachelor’s degree from Hendrix, McKee earned a diploma in Theology from the University of Cambridge in England in 1974 and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1982, graduating summa cum laude. She has also studied at Columbia University and at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

McKee is the author of nine books, currently at work on her 10th, and editor or translator of three others. Her focus has been on Calvin’s doctrine of the church and on the life and impact of 16th century reformer Katharina Schütz Zell.  “Research leads to teaching,” she said, “the realm for inviting others to the game of historical ‘come dig with me; finding out is such fun.’ The more players the merrier; learning is for sharing.”

She shares what she learns through research in scholarly articles, presentations and as a guest professor or lecturer in institutions around the world, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Rome.

F.G. “Buddy” Villines ’69, Professional and Leadership Development

Buddy Villines has served county judge in Pulaski County, Ark., since 1991, a position he was elected to after serving six years on the Little Rock Board of Directors, including two years as Mayor of Little Rock. His public service has been marked by leadership in issues involving economic growth, education and the environment.

As County Judge, the chief executive officer of county government, he has overseen the construction of nearly $150 million in projects including the Two Rivers Park Bridge; the Big Dam Bridge, the world’s longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge specifically designed for that purpose; and the Junction Bridge, a historic railroad bridges converted for pedestrian use.  

Villines earned degrees from Hendrix and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law. He is a Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star. He has received awards recognizing his work as a humanitarian, his support of green building techniques, and his role as an advocate and leader in creating public spaces where people want to live, work and play. He has served as president of County Executives of America, the National Association of Regional Councils, and the National Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

Nominations for the 2015 Odyssey Medals are due Dec. 31, 2014 and may be emailed to

For more information and a nomination form, visit

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.  Hendrix is featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit