2023 Five-Star Distinguished Alumni Awards Washington and Lee University is proud to announce this year's Five-Star Distinguished Alumni Awards winners
Washington and Lee University is proud to announce this year’s Five-Star Distinguished Alumni Award winners. We will celebrate the recipients during Five-Star Festival, March 2-4, 2023.
Mr. Leroy C. “Buddy” Atkins: Class of 1968
Buddy began his Washington and Lee journey in 1964 as an undergraduate student. During his four years at W&L, Buddy was an active campus leader including service as a dorm counselor, a four-year letterman on the football team and member of the lacrosse team his sophomore through senior years. Buddy was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, an organization he continued to serve as a faculty and alumni advisor.
Following his graduation with majors in German and history, Buddy taught and coached for one year at Virginia Episcopal School (VES) in Lynchburg before starting Navy Officer Candidate School in June 1969. He returned to VES and taught for five years while also serving as Athletic Director. Buddy left the Navy completely in 1993, when he retired as a Commander after serving 21 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
In 1977, Buddy responded to the call of his alma mater to become assistant alumni director and in 1983 was promoted to associate director of alumni programs and associate alumni secretary. In 1986, Buddy moved to student affairs as associate dean of students for Greek affairs and student activities. He served in this role until July 2003 at which time he became director of the University Commons after playing a leading role in the planning and design of the new Elrod Student Commons.Buddy moved to the development office in May 2004, first as associate director of development and then as director of donor relations beginning in July 2005, retiring in 2014. He was inducted as an Honorary ODK member in 2010, is a Doremus Society Member, served as a member of the Friends of the Library Board and on several reunion class committees. Both of his children also attended W&L; Drewry A. Sackett ’93 and L. Cole Atkins, III ’97.
For his principled life of service and impact, which personify our liberal arts education, and his devotion to his alma mater, the Washington and Lee Alumni Association proudly and humbly bestows it highest honor, a Distinguished Alumnus Award, on Mr. Leroy C. Atkins, Class of 1968.
Mr. Michael J. Spector: Class of 1968
A chemistry major, Mike is a second-generation Washington and Lee graduate. His father, Martin W. Spector, graduated from W&L in 1925. Mike’s student activities included football, WLUR-FM radio and College Republicans.
Early in his career, he began work as a chemical engineer for American Viscose Corp. in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. From 1970-1978, he served in the U.S. Army for two years followed by six years of active duty in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Mike is the Chairman and CEO of Margo Garden Products, Inc., which he founded in 1982. Initially, Margo Garden Products began by growing and distributing indoor and outdoor plants in Miami and Puerto Rico, but has since expanded nationwide to become one of the premier distributors of lawn and garden products. He is also the Chairman and CEO of Margo Caribe, Inc., a subsidiary of Margo Garden Products, which is the leading supplier of ornamental and landscaping plants in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
Mr. Spector was named Honorary Consul of Belgium for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1999. He also served as dean, vice dean, and director of the Consular Corporation of Puerto Rico throughout his career. In 2005, Mike was knighted by the King of Belgium, and in 2012, he was appointed the Honorary Consul of Belgium for Florida at Jacksonville. In 2016, Mike was awarded the Order of Leopold II, one of Belgian’s national honorary orders of knighthood, for his outstanding services as Consul of Belgium, Puerto Rico, and Jacksonville. In 2019, Mike was honored with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Marquis Who’s Who in recognition of his leadership in the industry.
Mike has served the university on a previous reunion committee, is active in the 1749 Circle, President’s Society and is a supporter of the Williams School.
For his principled life of service and impact, which personify our liberal arts education, and his devotion to his alma mater, the Washington and Lee Alumni Association proudly and humbly bestows it highest honor, a Distinguished Alumnus Award, on Mr. Michael J. Spector, Class of 1968.
Mr. Landon “Lanny” V. Butler, Jr: Class of 1963
Mr. Butler’s family spans three generations at Washington and Lee. Lanny graduated from W&L in 1963. His father, Landon V. Butler, graduated from W&L in 1937, and his brother, Syd, graduated in 1964. His daughter, Sarah Butler Stettinius, is a W&L graduate of the Class of 1994.
Lanny played on the undefeated W&L football teams of 1961 and 1962. He was an editor of the Ring-tum Phi, served on the student Executive Committee, and was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. After graduation from W&L, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and attended Harvard Business School.
From 1977-1981, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Carter administration. He was responsible for coordinating a wide range of Administration initiatives, including the Panama Canal Treaties, the SALT II Treaty ratification efforts, and was the White House liaison with the AFL-CIO.
For thirty years after service in the Carter administration, Lanny was Chairman and founder of Landon Butler & Company, LP (LBC), a commercial real estate advisory firm that co-founded the Multi-Employer Property Trust, a large institutional real estate equity fund. He was an early proponent of successful real estate strategies that combine competitive returns, sustainable investing, and fair labor practices.
He has been a long-time board member of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., and served as its chair from 1999-2008. He retired in 2010 and now resides with his wife Carol on a farm near Upperville, VA. He serves on the board of the Piedmont Journalism Foundation, which owns two local community newspapers, and on the board of the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg.
Lanny and Carol are particularly proud to support the Delaney Center for the Study of Race in the South at W&L. Lanny has served as a reunion class committee member and vice-chairman of the area campaign committee for W&L.
For his principled life of service and impact, which personify our liberal arts education, and his devotion to his alma mater, the Washington and Lee Alumni Association proudly and humbly bestows it highest honor, a Distinguished Alumnus Award, on Mr. Landon V. Butler, Jr, Class of 1963.
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