MURRAY, Ky. — Four outstanding Murray State University alumni have been selected as the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award and will be honored during the Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner on April 21 at 6 p.m. in the Murray Room of the CFSB Center.
Murray State presents the Distinguished Alumni Award annually to alumni who have made meaningful contributions to their profession on a local, state and national level. Established in 1962, the award is the highest honor granted by the Murray State University Alumni Association, and its recipients include Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, renowned authors, research scientists, physicians and educators. This year, the award will be given to W. Earl Brown, Dr. Jesse D. Jones, Dr. Vishwas Talwalkar and Amy Bryan Watson.
After graduating from Murray State with degrees in theatre and electronic media in 1986, Brown earned his MFA in acting from the theatre school at DePaul University in 1989. Since then, Brown has been seen on television as a guest star in hits such as “Seinfeld” and HBO’s “Deadwood,” and he played major roles in motion pictures such as “Something about Mary,” “Scream,” “Wild” and “Black Mass.” He continues to give back to his alma mater by leading several workshops and hosting Q&A sessions for Murray State theatre students.
Jones, a 1964 alumnus, is a retired senior advisor at Albemarle Corporation. A non-traditional student, Jones earned his mathematics and chemistry degrees while he was married with two young children and working evenings at a plant in Calvert City, Ky. Shortly after graduating, Jones joined what would become the Ethyl and Albemarle Corporation. For over thirty years, Jones performed chemistry, engineering and sales assignments for the corporation. His contributions to research and development in polymers, plastics and materials were the basis for the awarding of 19 patents. Jones remains a loyal supporter of the University by generously supporting student scholarships, endowing professorships and contributing to faculty honors, state-of-the-art research and modern facilities.
Talwalkar is a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Shriner’s Hospital in Lexington, Ky., while also serving as a mentor for medical students at the University of Kentucky. Talwalkar graduated in 1989 with a degree in biology and was very involved during his undergraduate career, as he was one of the first members of Murray State’s Honors Program and played Racer football. After earning his medical degree from Washington University, he completed his residency at Vanderbilt University and a fellowship in pediatric orthopaedics and spine surgery at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Talwalkar volunteers both home and abroad, traveling with Medical Mission Ecuador.
Watson, a broadcast anchor and journalist with WTVF Channel 5 Nashville, graduated in 1989 with a degree in journalism. After she graduated, Watson began an incredible career in television news. Among her many awards and recognitions, Watson’s reporting and morning news show have earned twelve Emmy nominations and won three Emmy awards. The Associated Press has also honored Watson for best reporter, best feature story, best news writing and best planned stories. She remains an avid supporter of Murray State by speaking to classes and at the Meet the Pros event through the journalism and mass communications department.
Each of the award recipients will have an opportunity to speak about their professional experiences and their memories of Murray State during the Distinguished Alumni Award dinner. The banquet is open to the public, and tickets are available for $30 at murraystate.edu/