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Five to receive alumni awards from Union

Recipients of alumni awards for 2007 are, from left, Reggie Thomas, Charles Millican, Gary Carter, Heather Olford and Russell Hilton.
Recipients of alumni awards for 2007 are, from left, Reggie Thomas, Charles Millican, Gary Carter, Heather Olford and Russell Hilton.

JACKSON, Tenn.Oct. 30, 2007 – Five individuals will receive alumni awards Nov. 2 at the Alumni Awards Dinner as part of Union University’s 2007 Homecoming week.

The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. in the Coburn Dining Room in the Barefoot Student Union Building. Tickets are $14 and may be reserved by calling (800) 338-6644. The award winners were selected by the Union University National Alumni Association for their community leadership, professional success and loyalty to Union University. Those receiving awards are:

-- Reggie Thomas (class of 1985), Distinguished Alumnus Award. Thomas is director of the southern California campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Walnut, Calif.; senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Rancho Cordova, Calif.; executive director of Central Baptist Association in Albuquerque, N.M.; and senior pastor of New Generation Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas.

Thomas has a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a candidate for a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. He and his wife Jeannie have two children, Amanda Kelsey and Emilee Jean.

-- Charles Millican (class of 1941), Distinguished Service Award. Millican was the founding president of the University of Central Florida and in 1993 was named president emeritus of the institution. The university opened in the fall of 1968 with an enrollment of 1,496 students. The fall 2007 enrollment is 48,897 – making UCF the sixth largest university in the nation.

Millican also led efforts to establish the university-related Central Florida Research Park, which opened in 1982. The park is one of the top 10 research parks in the United States, with 116 firms and more than 10,000 employees. He and his wife Frances have been married for 62 years.

-- Gary Carter (class of 1975), Distinguished Faculty/Staff Award. Carter has been Union’s senior vice president for business and financial services since 1991, overseeing budget preparation and administration, facilities management, bookstore operations, food service operations and risk management.

Over the past 10 years, Carter has managed $60 million in new construction projects on the Union campus.

Carter is active at Englewood Baptist Church, where he has been a Sunday school teacher for 24 years. He is also a board member of the Jerry Drace Evangelistic Association and a board member of First South Bank.

He and his wife Regina have four daughters – Charity Elizabeth, India Irene, Grace Marie and Addie Ruth.

-- Heather Olford, Honorary Alumna Award. Born to Christian parents in Northern Ireland, Olford became a Christian at a young age and spent her early years assisting in worship services for evangelistic crusades throughout the British Isles.

She married her husband Stephen in 1948, and after several years in the pastorate in Great Britain and the United States, together they founded Olford Ministries International and the Stephen Olford Center for Biblical Preaching in Memphis, Tenn.

Olford and her husband were married for 56 years. They have two sons, Jonathan and David, both of whom are active in full-time Christian ministry.

-- Russell Hilton (class of 2002), Outstanding Young Achiever Award. Hilton began practicing corporate law in September 2007 in Atlanta, Ga., with Alston & Bird LLP. He completed his Juris Doctorate from Emory School of Law and his Master of Theological Studies from Candler School of Theology in May 2007.

During his studies at Emory, Hilton served as the student coordinator for the Law and Religion program and as research assistant for several law professors. He also served as managing editor of the Emory Law Journal.

He and his wife Julie Black Hilton (Union class of 2003) attend Intown Community Church in Atlanta, where they are actively involved in community service through the Buckhead Christian Ministry.


Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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