Arthur F. Beyer Distinguished Alumnus
photo of Diann Taylor

Diann James Taylor graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1974 and a Masters of Education in 1990. She served the Wichita Falls ISD in many capacities for over forty years of service before her retirement in 2015. Taylor says one of her greatest achievements was guiding many students to graduation from high school or attain a GED so that they could be productive members of society.  The Kirby Middle School Library was named “The Diann Taylor Library of Excellence” in her honor upon her retirement.

Under Taylor’s leadership, Kirby Junior High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School, a Texas Blue Ribbon School, and the No. 1 Magnet School of America, by the United States Department of Education.

Taylor is active in her community through numerous organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and has given more than 25 years of service to the Boys and Girls Clubs. She currently serves as President of the MSU Texas Alumni Association. 

Dillard College of Business Administration
photo of Warren Ayres 

Warren Ayres is the executive vice president for Eagle Oil & Gas Company. Ayres graduated from MSU Texas in 1971 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting.

His favorite memory of MSU Texas is the many great friends he made and continues to call friends today.

Ayres served as a member of the MSU Texas Board of Regents from 2016-2021 and serves with the MSU Foundation. In 2018, the Warren Ayres Family Computer Lab in the Dillard College was dedicated in recognition of his family’s longtime and continued generosity to MSU Texas.

 Service to the Northwest Texas Council of Boy Scouts of America, the North Texas Oil & Gas Association, the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Wichita Falls are among his many activities and awards in the Wichita Falls community.  In 2016, Ayres was named Wichitan of the Year. 

Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities & Social Sciences
photo of Richard Young 

Richard Young’s path to founding and managing an international trade and security consultancy firm began at Midwestern State University. His SECURUS Strategic Trade Solutions is a global foreign trade problem solver and information source that merges the insights of business, law, policy and academia with an office in Wichita Falls.

He has fond memories of studying abroad in Kuwait, which Professor of History Dr. Ken Hendrickson helped arrange for him. At MSU Texas, Young was active on campus and served as a student senator for four years and held leadership positions in several student organizations.   

Young earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from MSU Texas in 1998 and earned his Master’s degree in political science at the University of Georgia in 2002. 

Lamar D. Fain College of Fine Arts 
photo of Mel Hadderton

Melanie Donart Hadderton retired in 2020 after 34 years of band directing. She began her career at Wichita Falls High School and finished her decorated career at Holliday ISD. Hadderton earned her bachelor’s degree from MSU Texas in 1984.

While at WFHS, her bands consistently made top ratings at UIL events and festivals. The marching band qualified for the UIL Area Marching Contest four times and the band earned sweepstake awards seven of her nine years.

During her 15 years in Holliday the band earned 15 years of sweepstake awards, advanced to the UIL State Marching Contest eight times, ranked in the top five concert bands in the state twice and had multiple concert pieces advance to the state level in the Outstanding Performance Series competition.

In 2014 she was inducted into the international honorary fraternity Phi Beta Mu. In addition, MSU recognized Hadderton as the Outstanding Cooperating Teacher in 2020.  

Gordon T. & Ellen West College of Education
photo of Delores Jackson

Delores Whitehead Jackson is an adjunct professor at MSU Texas and she recently retired from the university after 20 years of service.  She graduated from MSU Texas in 2004 with a degree in counseling.

Jackson is a veteran of the United States Air Force (1975 - 1995), where she conducted human relations training for the 10,000-plus military and civilian population assigned to the installations.

Earlier this year, Jackson was included in the publication Women of Wichita County Texas: Stories about Remarkable Women. In 2008, Jackson received a United States Congress State of Texas Award for Christian Women’s Job Corps Ministry.

She said one of her favorite MSU Texas memories is the onset of the fall semester because of the energy of new beginnings. 

McCoy College of Science, Mathematics & Engineering
photo of Kandyce Bohannon

Kandyce Kenney Bohannon is a data obsessed technical leader passionate about delivering quality solutions that make a difference in the world.

Bohannon graduated from MSU Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Science in 2008 as well as her Master of Science in Computer Science in 2010.

As a Senior Solutions Architect for Amazon Web Services, Bohannon works as an expert in machine learning and artificial intelligence delivering flexibility, scalability and reliability to her customers. She says the best part of her job is working hard while making history.  Formerly, she worked as a principal DevOps engineer for Medtronic Patient Management and for the 3M Company as a software engineer and software architect.

Bohannon was featured in “Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls” blog. She has 15 published patent applications, plus seven granted patents and is involved in Technical Leadership/STEM outreach.

Robert D. & Carol Gunn School of Health Sciences & Human Services
photo of Dawn Ferrell

Major General Dawn Ferrell graduated from MSU Texas with a degree in social work in 1988 and earned a master’s degree in counseling in 1996. 

Ferrell enjoyed a 37-year career in Texas Air National Guard. She served as principal adviser to the Adjutant General of Texas for all Air National Guard issues. 

Ferrell was the first woman in the 73-year history of the Texas Air National Guard to attain the rank of general. Governor Greg Abbott appointed Ferrell as the Texas Military Department’s Deputy Adjutant General for Air in 2015. 

Prior to working full time with the Texas Air National Guard, Ferrell was the Director of Institutional Research and Planning and the accreditation liaison for Vernon College in Wichita Falls. 

Ferrell was inducted into the 2021 Texas Woman’s Hall of Fame for her extraordinary contributions to Texas, both in military service and higher education.  

Alumni Spirit Award 
photo of Ariana Kay

Ariana Persaud Kay’s favorite time of year at MSU Texas was always homecoming – from the fish fry and cardboard boat races to conversations with returning alumni. But Kay, the 2022 Spirit Award Winner, was involved in making MSU Texas a better place daily in her four years on campus.

Kay, from St. George’s, Grenada, was involved in MSU Biology Club, American Chemical Society Student Chapter, Beta Beta Beta Honor Society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon, and Caribbean Students Organization.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from MSU Texas in 2011 and her master’s degree in learning and technology at Western Governors University in 2020. She is an instructional coach and science teacher in Refugio, Texas.

Kay was named the State of Texas High School Science Teacher of the year in 2018, and Top Tech Teacher at Crosby High School from 2017-19. She is an executive board member for the Science Teachers Association of Texas.

She recalls taking organic chemistry from Department of Chemistry Chair Chris Hansen and it being the “only class in college I did’t need a textbook for.” Hansen’s passion for teaching and the subject motivated Kay to tap into that passion for her career. She says she owes it all to MSU Texas! 

GOLD AWARD - Graduate of the Last Decade
photo of Jennifer Arbuckle

The Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award was established in 2021. It was created to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of a recent MSU Texas graduate. The GOLD recipient demonstrates what it means to make a difference in their community, their profession, and at MSU Texas.

Jennifer Sissel Arbuckle obtained her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2016 as well as a Master of Business Administration in 2018. In addition to graduating magna cum laude, she also pursued her passion for basketball on the MSU Texas women’s team with the role of captain her last two years. She said that the growth and learning from being a collegiate athlete was unparalleled.

Arbuckle is employed by WPT Power as a mechanical engineer, and is responsible for engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, machines and other mechanically functioning equipment. Bryan Schaffner, WPT Power Director of Global Engineering, said, “Jennifer adds tremendous technical leadership to our already talented engineering team.” Prior to joining the WPT team, Arbuckle worked for Sealed Air Cryovac.