Nominations Now Open

Since 1959, the Pfeiffer Alumni Association has recognized the extraordinary contributions of alumni by presenting two annual awards to deserving individuals. In 2015, the Office of the President created the Presidential Merit Award to recognize young alumni. These awards are presented during the Annual Alumni Gathering at Homecoming.

We encourage all alumni to nominate those deserving of recognition. The submission deadline for the Homecoming 2024 awards is April 30, 2024. Click below, on each award, to download nomination forms.

**Please note: Individuals may only be nominated for one award per year. The Board reserves the right to determine which award category is most appropriate/applicable for nomination in the case of an alumnus being nominated for both Outstanding and Distinguished Awards. Print and mail nomination forms to Pfeiffer University Advancement Office, P.O. Box 960, Misenheimer, N.C. 28109 or email to




Wayne Davis '70 Named 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

To be awarded by the Alumni Association Board of Directors to honor excellence in one’s profession or community service.


  Dr. Wayne Davis '70  

Dr. Wayne T. Davis ’70, the recipient of the 2023 Pfeiffer University Distinguished Alumni Award, has enjoyed a notable and celebrated career in higher education. He has demonstrated again and again that a graduate of Pfeiffer can absorb the best from its small-is-beautiful culture and apply it successfully on a much larger stage. For Davis, Pfeiffer helped provide the foundation for teaching and leadership positions at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT), where he spent his career.

Davis found extraordinary success at UT as a professor, researcher, and administrator from 1975 until 2019, the year he retired. And he did so while keeping influences of Pfeiffer in the forefront of everything he did: “Even in a large university environment, I was somehow able to retain and pass on the benefits of the small college/university atmosphere I knew at Pfeiffer,” Davis said.

“I was never reluctant to express that my style of teaching and leadership was nurtured at Pfeiffer,” he added, extolling the benefits of having served as the Treasurer and President of the Men’s Student Government Association.

After majoring in physics at Pfeiffer and earning a master’s degree in that subject from Clemson University, in 1971, Davis saw that industries were floundering because of the Environmental Protection Act.

“They didn’t know how to meet the act’s requirements,” he said. “I was ready to help, and I knew I needed an engineering education to make that happen. I felt up to the task since physics is the language of engineering.”

Davis earned two advanced degrees from UT: a Master of Science in environmental engineering (1973) and a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering (1975). He then joined the faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UT’s Tickle College of Engineering and, before becoming its Dean in 2009, taught numerous graduate students and conducted lots of hands-on research.

When Davis retired from UT, he did so with three emeriti titles next to his name: Chancellor Emeritus, UT Knoxville; Dean Emeritus, Tickle College of Engineering; and Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The chancellorship was an interim appointment, which lasted from 2018 to 2019. As chancellor, Davis “was responsible for guiding a campus with an annual budget of $1.3 billion and an endowment of about $800 million; an enrollment of approximately 29,000 students and a workforce of nearly 12,000 faculty, staff, and students; and a base of more than 250,000 alumni,” Dr. Jimmy G. Cheek, UT’s Chancellor Emeritus, wrote in a letter recommending Davis for the Distinguished Alumni Award.

That Davis was tapped for the chancellorship at UT certainly owes much to his success as the Dean of the Tickle College of Engineering, a post he held beginning in 2008. During his deanship, enrollment of both undergraduate and graduate students increased by 64 percent and 45 percent, respectively. The number of undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees increased by 36 percent.

In research and teaching, the metrics were just as impressive. Research contracts and grants increased by 118 percent, and 42 faculty positions were added. The opening of new buildings more than doubled the size of Tickle College, and $399 million was raised for endowments and cash.

Davis was honored numerous times for his service to UT. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award; the Nathan W. Dougherty Award, which Tickle College presents to an engineer who has brought honor and distinction to the program; and the Macebearer Award, UT’s highest honor for faculty. He became the inaugural holder of the Wayne T. Davis Endowed Dean’s Chair in Engineering, which is funded with a $3 million endowment.

In his letter of recommendation, Cheek wrote that Davis “is an extremely hard worker, exhibits impeccable integrity and honesty, and is extremely productive.”

Cheek also praised the concern Davis showed for the success and well-being of his students at UT and for valuing faculty-student interactions.

“I believe this resulted from him being a student at Pfeiffer University,” Cheek wrote. “While a student there, he experienced smaller classes and significant interactions with faculty and staff resulting in a career-long commitment to fostering positive faculty-student interaction in the classroom, laboratory, and in various college activities.”

Davis echoed this view, relating a story that would come to have great importance for him, his future, and the way he would operate at UT. 

The Hillsborough, N.C. native became interested in attending Pfeiffer because of its “educational quality and intimate feel,” but financial need was a major factor in his college search.

The offer of the Trustee Scholarship persuaded Davis to enroll at Pfeiffer. Although quite generous, the scholarship funded but a third of his tuition each year. He would have to underwrite the balance with money earned from work-study employment in Pfeiffer’s physics labs and by laboring each vacation day except Christmas in electrical construction.

When he arrived on campus at the start of his junior year, he felt he had scraped together enough money to cover his tuition. He was wrong: Unbeknownst to him, the bill had increased by $200 over the summer.

“I was totally devastated,” he said.

Fortunately, the late Dr. Harold Stephenson, who taught Davis’ physics classes at Pfeiffer, had a solution. He took Davis to a nearby bank, where he co-signed a loan for $200, trusting that Davis would be able to pay back the total because of the jobs he would work while at Pfeiffer.

“I remain incredibly grateful to Dr. Stephenson for helping me through a difficult time at Pfeiffer,” Davis said. “This act of generosity and kindness shaped me forever, ensuring that I would complete my studies at Pfeiffer and pursue a career in higher education.”

"Sylvia and I have a lot of fond memories of Pfeiffer," Davis added, referring to his wife, also a Pfeiffer alumna, who graduated in 1969. "I have a tremendous amount of respect and thankfulness for what Pfeiffer did for both of us."



David Smith '70 Receives 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award

To be awarded by the Alumni Association Board of Directors to honor one’s significant contributions to Pfeiffer University.


  David Smith '70  

By the 1990s, David Smith ’70, the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award, had established himself as a loyal supporter of his alma mater.

He was making regular financial donations to Pfeiffer, hosting gatherings of Pfeiffer alumni at his home in Charlotte, N.C., and staying connected through campus service days. He often rooted for the Falcons at various athletic contests, including those involving the men’s tennis team, on which he played so well in the 1960s that he became a member of the Pfeiffer University Sports Hall of Fame, in 2019.

So in 1995, when the late Dr. Zane Eargle, Pfeiffer’s President (1988-1998), called Smith to invite him to lunch, the former tennis star wasn’t all that surprised. What did surprise Smith is that Eargle used their visit to offer him the position of Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment at Pfeiffer.

Smith, though flattered, was taken aback. If he accepted Eargle’s proposal, he would be taking his career in a radically different direction: For 25 years, he had worked his way up the corporate ladder at the Rexham Corporation, which did coating and laminating of film and foils in spaces such as electronics and aerospace. After working many years in chemical engineering at the firm, he eventually assumed a senior role in marketing and sales.

In time, Smith concluded that remaining at Rexham for another 15 years or so would not be for him. So, he accepted Eargle’s offer.

“I was ready for a change,” Smith said. “I felt I had done what I needed to do in business. I had loved Pfeiffer as a student and been involved as an alumnus. The VP role seemed like a great way to pay it forward even more than I had up to that point.”  

At Pfeiffer’s campus in Misenheimer, N.C. Smith took on his new job with vigor and enthusiasm. He renewed his loyalty and affection for a place he had known since his pre-college days when he befriended and played tennis on Pfeiffer’s campus with Dr. J. Lem Stokes II, the late president of Pfeiffer (1953-1968). Stokes, a pilot, flew in and out of the Albemarle Airport, which Hazel “Chunk” Smith, David’s father, owned and operated.

David Smith would hold the VP position for 11 years. As he was walking out the door to a presumed retirement, an opening suddenly emerged for a coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Pfeiffer. Smith was tapped to fill it, and he stayed on at Pfeiffer for another four years to coach.

Smith’s experiences with both of his jobs at Pfeiffer keeps him wondering why he didn’t abandon business for higher education sooner. Although he is retired from work, he is hardly retired from ways to advance his alma mater. The most promising of these emerged a few years ago when he and Rick Knapp ’69, a fellow Pfeiffer Hall of Famer who was Smith’s doubles partner at Pfeiffer, began conceiving of an endowment devoted solely to supporting athletics at Pfeiffer.

In time, a way of creating said endowment emerged when Smith and Knapp co-founded the Pfeiffer Athletic Advisory Council, which is now close to the hoped-for membership of 20 boosters, each of whom has either given $25k or pledged annual amounts of $5k over a five-year period.

Once the endowment reaches $500k, it will generate approximately $25k or more each year as its principal continues to grow. The goal of the council members is to enhance and support the experience of Pfeiffer’s student athletes. Smith said that endowment money would help underwrite such hard-to-project costs as new uniforms, repairs to facilities, and trips to the distant sites of championships.

Warren Knapp ’66, Rick’s brother, recommended Smith for the Outstanding Alumni Award. He is a Pfeiffer Hall of Famer who coached the men’s tennis team at Pfeiffer when Smith played on it. He isn’t surprised that Smith is spearheading endowment efforts for Pfeiffer athletics: “David has been a positive force at Pfeiffer since his days as a student.”

Smith, who majored in history and minored in English at Pfeiffer, stressed that while he has supported the University “across the board,” he’s now particularly bullish on advancing Pfeiffer athletics.

"Most of our athletes are good students," he said. "So, when you're promoting athletics at Pfeiffer, what you're doing overall is promoting good scholarship thruogh student athletes. As the recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award, a great honor, I think Pfeiffer's athletic programs are up and coming, and I'm glad to be a part of that."


Charles Ingram '11, '14 MBA Receives
2023 Presidential Merit Award

To be given by the President of Pfeiffer University to alumni who are 35 or younger,

who have excelled early in their careers, and who show potential for continued success. 


  Charles Ingram '11, '14 MBA  

Charles Ingram ’11, ’14 MBA, the recipient of this year’s Presidential Merit Award, made the most of what Pfeiffer offered during his time as a student. Since then, he has leveraged his education to build a promising career in finance. The Presidential Merit Award, which is given by Pfeiffer’s President to alumni who are 35 or younger, have excelled early in their careers, and show potential for continued success, celebrates Ingram’s career accomplishments.

In 2014, three years after he completed his undergraduate studies, Charles Ingram added an MBA to a trove of Pfeiffer credentials that have helped make him a rising star in the finance circles of Charlotte, N.C. This past April, he became a Middle Market Underwriter & Portfolio Manager at First Citizens Bank, where he began working as a Commercial Portfolio Manager in 2017.

For Ingram, the biggest challenge was getting a foot in the door of the first bank that employed him. Doing so enabled him to discern which aspect of banking did not suit him and which one did. He learned that he is not cut out for retail banking, which he did for about the first 15 months of his banking career and that he is well suited for commercial banking, which he has done with the kind of success that has resulted in several promotions.

Today, Ingram is playing a key role in evaluating loan applications from companies that generate as much as $750 million in revenues each year. He hopes to one day become a Chief Credit Officer, either for a bank or the division of one.

Ingram said he’s gravitated to the credit side of banking because he’s always enjoyed working with numbers. He also likes the challenge of learning about a company, its vision and whether a loan it’s requesting squares with what he calls a bank’s “credit-risk appetite.”

Away from banking, Ingram is in serious pay-it-forward mode: He is the youngest member of the Pfeiffer Athletic Advisory Council and has taken a great interest in enhancing the student-athlete experience at Pfeiffer.

“Pfeiffer was an important part of my life as I was growing up, and the school gave me a lot, especially through my mom and dad,” said Ingram. Nancy MacDade Ingram ’80, was a Pfeiffer field hockey coach for 11 years, and Jack Ingram ’74 served as a former Deputy Athletic Director at Pfeiffer, coached softball and women’s basketball, and taught Sport Management at the University for several decades.

Ingram earned three bachelor’s degrees at Pfeiffer: Economics, Business Administration (now called Business Management and Leadership), and Sport Management. Outside of the classroom, he was open to new experiences and broadened his horizons by, for example, using one of his required “cultural credits” to take in a sitar performance by a protégé of the late virtuoso Ravi Shankar. Ingram was intrigued by the presentation. He says he would likely never have attended it if Pfeiffer hadn’t nudged him to do so. On the field, he pitched relief for the Falcons’ baseball team.

He says his years as a student-athlete were an important part of his college experience. He enjoyed the camaraderie of his teammates when he played baseball as a Falcon, and he remembers the pride he felt during his junior year, when his team came very close to winning the conference tournament.

Still, Ingram and members of other sports teams at Pfeiffer “have sometimes missed out on some things that we would have liked to have had,” he said. “We are now asking what we can do make things better for the next generation of student-athletes.” 

“Charles was the embodiment of the term ‘student-athlete,’ and he is now the perfect example of a young, engaged Pfeiffer alumnus who is more than another voice in the stands, more than a sentimental former player who comes back to re-live the good ol’ days," said Dr. Scott Bullard, President of Pfeiffer University. “Discussing the complexity of campus and strategic planning with him makes me wish that I had been here to watch him outsmart batters when he competed here. He is a reminder that a Pfeiffer degree mixed with a great deal of discipline and precision is an exceptional recipe for a successful career. Charles is, in fact, an impressive example to our students of a Pfeiffer alumnus who is an indispensable part of the decision-making team at one of the finest banks in the southeast. It is my great privilege to honor Charles as the 2023 recipient of the Presidential Merit Award.”


1959  William H. Latimer ’49

           Wilson W. Woodhouse ’59

1960  Herbert S. Clarke ’47

           Kathleen Loop Eagle ’24

1961  Helen Boone Eller ’48

           Max K. Lowdermilk ’50

1962  Barbara Leonard Parker ’58

           Lloyd G. Lowder ’42

1963  Garmon B. Smith ’40

           Joyce Lathan Woodhouse ’59

1964  Richard S. Clark ’48

           William K. Quick ’52

1965  Ada Mae Bookman ’49

           Ernest A. Fitzgerald ’43

1966  Martha Peeler Stone ’47

           Edwin Woodhouse ’58

1967  Herbert Blackmon ’36

           Max L. Meeks ’44

           Earl W. Vaughn ’47

1968  Harold W. Beaver ’42

           Samuel H. Johnson ’46

1969  J.W. Braxton, Jr. ’63

           Melvin R. Martin ’63

1970  Robert L. Garmon, Sr. ’58

           Joseph A. Ross ’48

1971  J. Keith Crisco ’64

           William K. McNeill ’59

1972  L. Gordon Clark ’44

           D. Larry Crumbley ’63

           Maeburn B. Huneycutt ’42

           Hoyle M. Simpson ’64

1973  Frances McCulloch Gleichmann ’40

           Elizabeth Moore ’49

           John Trott, Jr. ’46

1974  Fred Falls, Jr. ’61

           Franklin D. Martin ’66

           Samuel H. Johnson ’46

1975  Anne Black Daniel ’67

1976  Joe R. Kluttz, Jr. ’60

1977  Thad Woodard ’68

1978  Russ Helderman ’27

1979  Edward B. Tyson ’64

1980  R. Andrew Murphie ’66

1981  C. William Barker ’60

1982  Frank E. Watson III ’71

1983  Juanita Lee Long ’46

1984  Lee W. Kinard, Jr. ’50

1985  Don Maddox ’64

1986  Claude E. McKinney ’49

1987  Richard B. McKenzie ’64

1988  Jane Williams ’66

1989  Warren D. Knapp, Jr. ’66

1990  Robert C. Gulledge ’68

1991  William K. Quick ’52

1992  Mary Nell Saunders ’70

1993  Gerry D. Martin ’63

1994  Robert G. Reasso ’73

1995  Wilbur S. Avant, Jr. ’63

1997  Carl M. "Buck" Hill ’58

           Thad Woodard ’68

1998  Henry Farmer ’60

1999  Monteic Sizer ’93

2000  James B. Long ’63

           Lawrence J. Wheeler ’65

2001  Joseph D. Armstrong ’82

2002  Herman A. Stone ’64

2003  Richard C. Knapp ’69

2006  Betty Mar ’69

           Tom Grady ’63

2007  Annabeal Lefler ’66

           Cecil Donahue ’77

           Jan Brittain ’77

2008  James G. "Jim" Griffith, Jr. ’58

           Dana Rader ’80

2009  Rick Thames ’75

           Jack Ingram ’77

2010  April Havlin ’76

           Sharon Bard ’79

2011  Kevin DeSanctis ’74

           Harold Mackie ’63

           Mary Earnhardt Eagle ’64

2012  Dr. Steve C. Dial ’59

           Michael W. Lowder ’76

           Thomas C. Lewis ’68

2013  Dr. Russ Sharples ’75

           Craig Estep ’83

           Dr. Sam Chewning ’08

2014  Al Rose ’63

           John Boggs ’75

2015  Patrick Duane Dunston ’97

           David Miller ’04

2016  George Singleton ’68

           David Melton ’76

2017  Dawn Harwood Allen ’81

           Alejandra Buchanan Miller ’03

           Marissa Shuffler Porter ’04

2018  Margaret Earley Whitt ’68

           Larry Monaghan ’68

           Ashley Zeek McMichael ’12

2019  Gary Weart ’71

           Frank Lea ’68

           Brittany Cox Hudson ’13

2020  Matthew Gianferante ’05

           Barry Roberson ’80

           David Barham ’11

2021  Reggie Hudson ’74

           Bob Gulledge ’68

           Chris Matthews ’12 MSL, ’16 MFT

2022  Bob Brietz '65

           Heidi Honecker Grant '87

           Jimmy Molina ’16, '16 MBA, '19 MSL