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DCCCD Honors Distinguished Alumni


April 17, 2003

(DALLAS) — A former Dallas Cowboy, a novelist, a successful businesswoman, a licensed commercial pilot, a family doctor, a high school teacher, a former flight attendant, a "virtual" student and an active civic leader recently were named the recipients of the 2003 Dallas County Community College District Distinguished Alumni Awards.

The nine recipients, who overcame various challenges to succeed in their respective endeavors, will be recognized at an invitation-only reception on May 5 in the home of DCCCD Foundation Board Member Marilyn Augur and her husband, Jim, in Dallas. The reception also will honor DCCCD's major supporters for the past year.

Introduced in 2002 by the DCCCD Foundation, the award recognizes former students who have made significant contributions in the community and in their professions and who credit DCCCD for having a significant impact on their lives. Each of the district's nine teaching institutions selects its recipient each year for this prestigious award.

"These distinguished alumni serve as our community role models because they have made extraordinary achievements for themselves and those they serve," said Robert L. Thornton III, Foundation board chair. "When these outstanding individuals attribute their accomplishments to the education they received at one of our colleges, it says a lot about the quality of our institution, whether it be one class or an entire program."

The 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients and the DCCCD colleges/locations they represent include:

  • Julia Soto Cabrera, El Centro College — Civic leader who has helped to improve the City of Dallas through her involvement in a number of causes, most recently through the City of Dallas Charter Review and Housing Finance Corporation Board committees. Ms. Cabrera graduated from El Centro in 1983 with an Associate in Arts and Sciences degree.
  • Dr. Guy L. Culpepper, M.D., Eastfield College — A distinguished medical doctor and family physician who was voted by his peers as "Top Doctor" in 1992, 2000 and 2002 in D Magazine. Dr. Culpepper has been caring for families in his private practice, Bent Tree Family Physicians, since 1987. He graduated from Eastfield with honors and an Associate of Science degree in May 1978 before completing his Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.
  • Mylène Dressler, Richland College — A novelist whose most recent work, The Deadwood Beetle (2001), earned national acclaim. A native of the Netherlands and Dallas Ballet retiree, Ms. Dressler is also a Fulbright professor and visiting writer at the University of Texas at Austin, which awarded her the prestigious Paisano Fellowship in Literature. Ms. Dressler attended Richland in the mid-1980s before transferring to the University of San Francisco, where she graduated summa cum laude in 1988.
  • Valerie Freeman, Brookhaven College — Owner and CEO of Imprimis Group, Inc., a specialized outsourcing and service company, and a recognized businesswoman in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. She also taught at Brookhaven and El Centro and currently serves as vice chair of the DCCCD Foundation board.
  • Amy Lightfoot, R. Jan LeCroy Center for Educational Telecommunications — A native of Garland, Texas, who took online courses via the LeCroy Center's Dallas TeleCollege when she moved to Seattle, Washington. Ms. Lightfoot will receive her associate's degree this year after taking almost all of her classes online.
  • Andy Mungenast, Cedar Valley College — A licensed commercial pilot and instructor/coordinator of Cedar Valley's computer information systems program. After working in the computer industry for 20 years, Mr. Mungenast returned to school to pursue a quality technical education in DCCCD, earning his associate's degree in computer information systems at Cedar Valley in 1995.
  • Preston Pearson, Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development — A former Dallas Cowboys star who, through the Priest Institute, helped launch a counseling program for NFL players on drug rehabilitation and financial management. Currently the president/partner of Pro-Style Associates, a sports marketing and management firm in Dallas, Mr. Pearson has maintained strong ties with the Priest Institute's Small Business Development Center, where he attended numerous seminars and counseling sessions to assist in the development of his business.
  • Martin Rice, North Lake College — A high school teacher for the Lewisville Independent School District who heads the welding department at LISD's Dale Jackson Career Center. He has produced a number of award-winning welding students from LISD's high schools. He also contributes to the nation's leading welding magazines. After sustaining a disability that no longer allowed him to continue in his job, Mr. Rice enrolled at North Lake, where he earned his associate's degree in 1991.
  • Raul Treviño, Mountain View College — A former international flight attendant who now serves as specialist in professional development and staff training for Dallas Public Schools. He received his Associate in Arts degree at Mountain View in 1991 and graduated with honors at Southern Methodist University in 1993.

For more information, please contact Betheny Reid, DCCCD Foundation executive director, at 214-860-2474.