The Columns

W&L Celebrates Distinguished Alumni and Sets Reunion Records

— by on May 4th, 2016

Washington and Lee University bestowed its Distinguished Alumni Awards on four graduates during its annual Alumni Weekend, April 28-May 1. The presentations came on April 30, during the annual meeting of the Alumni Association.

At the same event, W&L celebrated the 25th reunion of the Class of 1991 and the 50th reunion of the Class of 1966, who presented their milestone class gifts to the university.

Distinguished Alumni Awards:

James D. Humphries III ’66, ’69L

J.D. Humphries graduated with a B.S. in commerce and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta. He attended Washington and Lee University School of Law and was the editor of the Law Review.

J.D. practices with Smith, Gambrell & Russell and was previously a partner at Stites and Harbison. He has been noted as a Best Lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell in commercial litigation, construction law and labor law. He has also been recognized by Georgia SuperLawyers. J.D. received Atlanta Legal Aid’s Life Time Commitment to Legal Services Award for 2014.

Active in the community, J.D. incorporated Communities in Schools Inc., a national nonprofit devoted to getting high school dropouts a college education and job opportunities. Additionally, he incorporated Resolve of Georgia Inc., a nonprofit working with infertility issues. He served as president and on the board of the Georgia Lacrosse Foundation Inc., a chapter of the national governing body of the sport of lacrosse, U.S. Lacrosse, and was elected to the Georgia Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2015.

J.D. has been a volunteer for his 25th, 30th, 35th and 50th class reunions and has been a consistent supporter of the Annual Fund.

John Ebner ’91

John Ebner graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in business administration and accounting. He has an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.

John joined Westrock Asset Management, a startup alternative asset manager, in 2015 as a senior advisor. He has over 20 years of corporate finance and strategic advisory experience. Previously, John was the CFO of Interline Brands and was part of the team that led its go-private transaction in 2012. Before joining Interline Brands, he worked at Alltel Corp. for 13 years in a variety of strategic and operating roles primarily focused on mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance activities. John was part of the executive team that took Alltel private in 2007 and that ultimately sold the company in 2009. He began his career in investment banking with Stephens Inc. and J.P. Morgan.

John is a member of the Williams School Board of Advisors and has been a volunteer for his 20th and 25th class reunions.

Carol Dannelly O’Kelley ’91

Carol Dannelly O’Kelley graduated with a B.A. in English and was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

Carol joined Salesfusion as CEO in 2015. She has more than 20 years of technology marketing and operations experience, ranging from startups to multi-million-dollar global businesses. Her expertise includes developing differentiated brand strategies, completing strategic acquisitions and successfully integrating those into existing operations, and creating marketing programs that drive growth.

Previously, Carol was chief marketing officer of RedPrairie, now JDA. She led global strategy and marketing during a time of rapid growth for the company. Before RedPrairie, Carol was vice president and chief of staff of Oracle’s global business unit for retail, which acquired and successfully integrated numerous leading retail technology companies.

Carol is a member of the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and was a volunteer for her 20th reunion. This year, she is serving as co-chair for the 25th reunion committee. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Brooks, and their daughters, Cate and Davis.

Raymond James Welder ’91

Ray Welder graduated with a B.A. in history and geology and was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma.

Ray is the president and CEO of Welder Exploration & Production Inc., an oil and natural gas production company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. He is currently the chairman of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) and a director of Well Aware Oilfield Monitoring.

Ray was featured in the August 2012 issue of Texas Monthly Magazine for his TIPRO Top Producer Award as the Best CEO of a Midsize Company. In 2010, Ray was one of 25 young Americans and Swiss chosen to participate in the American Swiss Foundation’s Young Leaders Conference in Basel, Switzerland.

Ray is a volunteer for his 25th class reunion and a past president of the San Antonio Alumni Chapter.

Reunion Gifts and Awards

The Class of 1966 gave $3 million in honor of its 50th reunion, with 61 percent of the class participating in the gift and 88 members returning for their milestone reunion. Their gift will fund the university’s soon-to-be-published institutional history by Blaine Brownell ’65 and establish the Class of 1966 Endowment to Collect and Preserve the University’s History, which will support Special Collections and Archives.

The Class of 1991 celebrated its 25th reunion with a gift of $1.8 million and broke several records, including Reunion Calyx submissions, 25th reunion attendance and 25th reunion class gift participation. Sixty-three percent of the class participated in the gift, which supports the Annual Fund, the indoor athletics and recreation center, the Entrepreneurship Program, the IQ Center and other areas.

Other classes enjoyed reunions and made their own significant gifts to their alma mater, with combined contributions of over $1.3 million for this year’s Annual Fund and a total of $4.7 million dollars in current gifts and future pledges to the Annual Fund.

The John Newton Thomas Trophy goes to the class with the largest percentage increase in annual fund commitments over the previous year. With a 66 percent increase in its one-year Annual Fund total: Class of 2001. This class also broke the 15th reunion single-year record, overall record with almost $190,000 committed to the Annual Fund.

The Trident Trophy is presented to the class with the highest percentage of members participating in the Annual Fund. With 62 percent of the class: Class of 1991.

The Colonnade Cup is awarded to the class with the largest reunion gift to the Annual Fund, including current gifts and future pledges. With a reunion gift of $754,000: Class of 1971.

Reunion Attendance

More than 700 alumni assembled on campus to celebrate the weekend. Most classes were at or near-record attendance, with the 25th and 35th classes setting records for the largest number of returning classmates in their reunion years.

The Reunion Bowl goes to the class with the highest percentage of members registered for the weekend. With 42 percent of the class in attendance: Class of 1966.

The Reunion Trophy is awarded to the class with the greatest number of members registered for the weekend. With 169 registrants: Class of 1991.

The Reunion Traveller award for farthest distance traveled to attend the reunion: Todd Crowell ’66, who came from Tokyo, Japan.

Class Reunion Chairs