Gadsden State honors instructors, alumni at annual picnic

The Gadsden State Community College Alumni Association recently honored several individuals at the annual fall picnic held at the East Broad Campus Auditorium. Joan Williamson, president of the association, presided over the awards ceremony.

Two instructors were recognized as outstanding instructors. This award is given annually to honor instructors who go the extra mile for their students, making a difference in their lives and also the community.

Neil Mullin, speech instructor, was chosen for the Outstanding Academic Faculty Award.

Mullin began his tenure at Gadsden State in 1979 as the manager of the College’s public radio station, and the director of the Radio-Television Instructional Program. In 2004, he became a speech instructor for the academic division and continues to serve in this role.

Tommy Hartline was the recipient of the Outstanding Technical Faculty Award.

Hartline began teaching electronics at Gadsden State 16 years ago as an electronics instructor. He continues to teach and serves as the division chair for engineering technology programs.

The Outstanding Alumnus Award was presented to tennis coach Buster Stewart. While attending Gadsden State he served as SGA president and made the Tennis All- Conference Team three years. He has served as the men’s tennis coach for 10 years.

David McCormack, president and chief executive officer of Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center in Anniston, received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award.

The association began awarding this distinction in 1994 to individuals who have given time, energy, and exceptional support to Gadsden State.

McCormack’s photo will join 31 previous recipients on the wall of honor in the Meadows Library on the Wallace Drive Campus.

McCormack began his career in the health care field 35 years ago and has served in hospitals in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama.

He has made volunteerism a part of his life for many years. He previously served as President of the Etowah-Gadsden Chamber of Commerce and is currently involved with the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. In addition he is involved with the YMCA of Calhoun County, Sarrell Dental Clinic, Knox Board, Museum Advisory Board and several other community organizations. McCormack is president of the Northeast Alabama Hospital Council.

In a previous ceremony the Outstanding Alumna Award was presented to Dr. Toshiko Abe, deputy foreign minister for the Japanese government and a member of the House of Representatives.

Abe chose Gadsden State as her first educational experience in the United States from 1998-1999.

She continued her education at Jacksonville State University for one semester and then attended the University of Alabama in Birmingham achieving her master of science in nursing.

Abe relocated to Chicago and earned her doctorate in administrative studies from the University of Illinois. Her passion within the political arena is to reform the social welfare system.

Country singer Kate Falcon entertained the attendees with some popular favorites and a few of her original songs. Falcon has opened the show for several popular artists including Travis Tritt, Kenny Rogers, and Aaron Tippin.

The picnic and awards ceremony officially begins the annual membership campaign. Graduates and friends of Gadsden State are encouraged to renew their annual membership for $20 or purchase a lifetime membership for $300. More information is available at

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