Students studying outside the library

Two alumni, community leader to be honored during Homecoming 2014

Class reunions, street party, Terrier Ball highlight weekend Oct. 24-25

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Being honored by the Wofford National Alumni Association at Homecoming 2014 are, from left, Thomas Woods, Van Hipp and Joella Utley.
2014-10-08

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College will honor two alumni and a community leader during Homecoming 2014 activities set for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24 and 25. Other Homecoming activities include class reunions, the downtown street party and the Terrier Ball.

The Wofford National Alumni Association will honor Thomas Edward Woods II, class of 2000 and senior web developer for Upward Sports, with the Young Alumnus of the Year Award; Dr. Joella F. Utley, a retired Spartanburg physician, with the Distinguished Citizen Award; and Van D. Hipp Jr., class of 1982 and chairman of Washington, D.C.-based American Defense International Inc., with the Distinguished Service Award. (Biographies of the recipients can be found below.)

The Alumni Service Awards and a Town Hall Conversation with President Nayef H. Samhat will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Reception Room of the Papadopoulos Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Homecoming 2014 weekend starts on Friday, Oct. 24, with the Terrier Ball Auction and Gala, themed “Tailgate Southern Style,” in the Heritage Ballroom of the Spartanburg Marriott, including class reunions for classes ending in 9 and 4. The gala will be from 7 to 11 p.m. and includes a silent auction, food, drink and dancing. Funds will go toward the Terrier Club for scholarships for student-athletes. Tickets are $65 per person until Wednesday (Oct. 8), then $75 per person; go to homecoming.wofford.edu for ticket information.

On Saturday, Oct. 25, following the Alumni Service Awards and Town Hall Conversation with President Samhat, the Terriers will take on VMI at 1:30 p.m. in Gibbs Stadium. All seats are reserved and are $27 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12); call the ticket office at 864-597-4090. Starting at 11 a.m., Boston Terrier Rescue of South Carolina will have several adoptable Boston terriers looking for new homes on the plaza of the stadium.

The 12th annual Downtown Street Party will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday on Morgan Square in downtown Spartanburg. Wofford’s largest college-wide party will feature The Occasional Milkshake (Mark Bryan and Gary Greene of Hootie and the Blowfish and Hank Futch of the Blue Dogs). Tickets are $10; visit homecoming.wofford.edu for ticket information.

Also on Saturday, the volleyball team will take on Western Carolina at 7 p.m. in Benjamin Johnson Arena, and men’s soccer will play the University of North Carolina Greensboro at 7 p.m. at Snyder Field. Both games are free.

ALUMNI SERVICE AWARD BIOGRAPHIES:

Young Alumnus of the Year Award: Thomas Woods II, Class of 2000
Woods, who graduated from Wofford with a degree in computer science, is the senior web developer for Upward Sports. For a number of years, he was employed as senior web developer with QS1 Data Systems. He does volunteer work helping young African-American men develop healthier, more productive lifestyles, and he spearheaded a fundraising effort among former and current Richardson Scholars to develop the Richardson Summer Scholars Fund. He lives in Spartanburg with his wife, Nancy, and their three children.

Distinguished Service Award: Van D. Hipp Jr., Class of 1982
Hipp is chairman of American Defense International Inc. (ADI), a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm specializing in government affairs, business development and public relations. He also is well known to international television audiences as an expert commentator on defense matters. Hipp has been very generous to his alma mater over the years, especially in the establishment of the Hipp Lecture Series on International Affairs and National Security. He was instrumental in bringing the Republican Presidential Candidates Debate to the Wofford campus in November 2011. He served a three-year term on the Alumni Executive Council and is a sideline color commentator for Terrier football games.

Distinguished Citizen Award: Dr. Joella F. Utley
Utley is a native of Clifton, Okla., and a graduate of Oklahoma City University and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Before her retirement, she was engaged in the private practice of medicine in Spartanburg. Well-read, widely traveled and forever curious, Utley and her late husband, Joe, were true Renaissance people with a multitude of interests ranging from maintaining their roots with the land to a love of music. A gifted pianist, Utley earned a master’s degree in music at Converse College. She is a trustee of the National Music Museum, which houses the world’s premier collection of historical instruments.