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MSU announces 2020 Alumni Award recipients

The Morehead State University Alumni Association has announced the recipients for the 2020 Alumni Awards. Inductees have been named for the MSU Alumni and Athletic Halls of Fame and honorees have been chosen for Notable Alumni, Rising Eagle and Eagle Spirit Awards. These individuals will be honored as part of the 2020 Homecoming celebration in the fall.   

"We are honored to recognize this elite class of MSU alumni,” said Mindy Highley, assistant vice president of the Office of Alumni Relations and Development and executive vice president of the MSU Alumni Association. “We are proud of their successes and we look forward to sharing their stories as part of our Homecoming celebration."  

2020 Alumni Awards   

Alumni Hall of Fame  

The Alumni Hall of Fame provides recognition to those individuals who have achieved excellence in their profession, community service or education at the local, state or national level. Traditionally, the honor would not be given for a single achievement, but rather for a collective impact in their profession or community. Alumni must have graduated from Morehead State University 10 years before nomination and must be responsible, respected citizens of good character in their communities and professions.  

  • Dr. Jeffrey Bumpous (84) of Louisville is the chairman of the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Department of Head and Neck Surgery and the Bumgardner Endowed Professor of Otolaryngology. In 2013, he was named the Physician of the Year by University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center and he is the lead co-author of more than 60 journal articles and scientific book chapters. With over 40 years of experience, Bumpous specializes in head and neck oncology, thyroid and parathyroid surgery, and robotic cranial base surgery. 
  • Mac Caudill (93) of Hawthorne, California, is a two-time Emmy Award-winning Hollywood television editor. His work has been featured on hit reality TV series like “America’s Next Top Model,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “Born This Way.” He also has collaborated with Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson for work on his films “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” and “King Kong.” Caudill is also a competitive athlete and National Champion qualifier, having raced dozens of marathons and triathlons.  
  • Willi Walker (56) of Richmond, Kentucky, is a retired professor at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) where she served as the chair of the Geography Department and coordinator of the Aviation Program. Walker is the founder of the EKU Aviation Program, the only degree granting aviation program in the state of Kentucky. This fall, she will also be inducted into the Aviation Museum of Kentucky Hall of Fame.  

Athletic Hall of Fame  

The Athletic Hall of Fame provides recognition to those individuals who have achieved excellence in athletics at Morehead State University and to those persons who have made a significant contribution on behalf of the MSU intercollegiate athletic program. Former athletes must have been officially disassociated with MSU as an undergraduate student for a period of at least 10 years or as a member of the staff for at least five years. Must be responsible, respected citizens of good character in their communities and professions. 

  • Matt Ballard coached MSU football from 1994 to 2012. After the team transitioned out of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) to the Pioneer Football League, he rebuilt the Eagle football team into a winning program and went on to lead the Eagles to a total of 102 wins, the most of any head coach in MSU football history. 
  • Casie Garland (05) was on the MSU volleyball team from 2001 to 2004. She was named OVC Freshman of the Year in 2001 and still holds MSU’s career assist record at 5,265. Her assist total also ranks as the fourth highest ever in OVC history. She helped the Eagles to 74 career wins, including 20-win seasons in her first three campaigns. 
  • Drew Lee (12) is one of the most prolific student-athletes in MSU baseball history. He holds career records for RBI, extra-base hits and total bases while previously holding records for hits and doubles. He batted over .400 his last two seasons in 2009 and 2010 and was named to as one of the best collegiate baseball players in the country by multiple baseball associations and publications. 
  • Dr. Alexandra Nail (Gjevre) (11) led a resurgence of the Eagle softball program from 2007 to 2010 and is the third-ever softball student-athlete to be inducted into MSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame. She was a three-time First-Team All-OVC pitcher, voted Pitcher of the Year in 2008 and holds the program’s career records for wins, strikeouts and shutouts, among others. 

Notable Alumni  

Notable Alumni recognition is given to individuals who have demonstrated success in their career fields and/or are making a difference in their communities or profession.   

  • Jack Herlihy (69, 72) of Lexington is the president of Herlihy Group Inc., an insurance advisory group. He is a life-long educator who has served as a teacher, superintendent, principal and consultant.  

Rising Eagle  

The Rising Eagle Award is given to a recent graduate of the last 10 years who has demonstrated early career and/or community service achievement.   

  • Jordan Atkinson (09, 10) of Kansas City, Missouri, is a tenure-track assistant professor for the Department of Communication at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri.  

Eagle Spirit  

The Eagle Spirit Award is given to alumni that are exceptionally proud and active Eagles. Recipients regularly demonstrate Eagle Pride through recruiting potential students, positively representing MSU, attending MSU events and encouraging active support of MSU among their peer groups.   

  • Rocky (90) and Barbara (90) Niemeyer of Morehead are both retired educators. They are both long-standing fans of MSU Athletics, having attended nearly every home basketball game for almost two decades.  

For more information on MSU Homecoming 2020, visit or call the Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033.