Monday, September 09, 2013

[051] Aug. 17 MTSU summer commencement will honor Distinguished Alumni

MURFREESBORO — Three Middle Tennessee State University alumni will be recognized as respective Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni Achievement recipients during Summer Commencement ceremonies Saturday, Aug. 17.

Maria Salas of Nashville and the late Dr. Larry Needham will be honored by the National Alumni Association as 2012-13 Distinguished Alumni, and Deanna Meador of Gallatin, Tenn., will be saluted as the 2012-13 Young Alumni Achievement honoree during graduation ceremonies that will begin at 10 a.m. in Murphy Center.

The family of Needham, a member of the class of 1968 and who passed away in October 2010, will accept his Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement. His wife, Doris, and their son, Lance, are among family members planning to attend.

Salas, a member of the class of ’85, will be bestowed the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to Community.

Meador, who was a member of the class of ’04, will be presented the Young Alumni Achievement Award.

The three recipients also were recognized during Homecoming 2012 activities last October.

“We are delighted to have our Distinguished Alumni and families back on campus to be honored at graduation,” Alumni Relations director Ginger Freeman said. “It is such an incredible time to allow the most recent graduates the opportunity to see what their predecessors have accomplished and give them an honor to strive for.  Our Distinguished Alumni are such an amazing representation of what it means to be True Blue.”

Needham, who was living in Lilburn, Ga., at the time of his death, was a renowned chemist. He spent 34 years working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Needham was considered one of the pre-eminent human exposure assessment experts in the field. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

Salas, who owns her own bankruptcy law firm, is a former Lady Raider basketball player. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the College of Mass Communication. A practicing attorney for more than 20 years, she devotes much of her time to public service. She has a daughter, Owen, 8. Because of a prior commitment, Salas will not be able to attend.

Meador, a first-generation college student in her family, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. She coordinated two grant-funded multimillion-dollar, grant-funded research projects at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody Research Institute. Meador was promoted to program manager for the research institute on July 1. She and her husband, Jason, have two children, Logan 11, and Hayden, 4. The Lafayette, Tenn., native volunteers with children in foster care in Tennessee.

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