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The University of Alabama

UA College of Human Environmental Sciences to Present Jack Davis Alumni Awards

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama College of Human Environmental Sciences will present the Jack Davis Professional Achievement Awards during upcoming homecoming activities on campus.

This year’s honorees include Lauren Leonard Phelps, Eric J. Law, Kyle B. Whittington, Jen M. Neese, Joann Smith Wissinger, Antonia S. Mead, B. Jan McCulloch, Rylee E. Marsh, Kathleen D. Hilgendorf and Pamela J. Morgan.

The awards are presented annually to outstanding CHES alumni for their professional accomplishments. Dr. Jack Davis, a well-known dentist in Tuscaloosa and the first male graduate of the College, was a pioneer in emphasizing nutrition and dentistry.

Lauren Leonard Phelps – Phelps, who is from Tuscaloosa and currently lives in Nashville, Tenn., is the creative mind behind internationally renowned fashion brand Leona. Since its debut in 2008, the contemporary luxury line has gained a faithful following that includes major celebrities and is sold at more than 100 discerning retailers internationally. Phelps was recognized as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year from UA in 2008 and the following year she was named to the Top 30 Under 30 list by Apex Atlanta for accomplishment in business. Her bachelor’s degree is in apparel design from UA.

Eric J. Law – Law, of Troy, is a family and sports medicine physician at Southern Health Associates. He has been published and is a highly sought-after speaker on current sports medicine trends. In addition to receiving both his master’s and doctorate degrees from UA, Law also completed his Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at the Capstone and served as a graduate assistant athletic trainer for the UA men’s and women’s tennis teams.

Kyle B. Whittington – Whittington, of Vestavia Hills, is an investment adviser for Meld Financial Inc., where he manages portfolio investment assets and is the client relationship manager for more than 100 retail and institutional clients. Whittington received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UA, where he also served as the executive vice president of the Finance Association and was a member of the Financial Planning Association and the SGA. His master’s degree is in financial planning from UA.

Jen M. Neese – Neese, of Mobile, is the founder and CEO of The Delicious Dietician Inc., a private practice of registered dieticians who created and nationally launched a product line of spices and vinegars that has been featured in major media outlets. Neese has also launched some 14 pharmaceutical products for varying medical markets with award-winning sales success. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UA, where she also served as a CHES Ambassador and president of the Student Dietetic Association. Her bachelor’s degree is in food and nutrition from UA.

Joann Smith Wissinger – Wissinger, of Leeds, is the county extension coordinator for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. She has been the recipient of numerous service awards and distinctions, developed an acclaimed nutrition and exercise program, served on various boards and committees and conducted numerous training workshops and presentations that reached some 25,000 youth in Jefferson County. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UA, and earned the Distinguished Service Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi, Alpha Pi chapter in 2009.  Both of her degrees from UA are in human environmental sciences.

Antonia S. Mead – Mead, of Charlotte, N.C., is an associate professor of health education at Johnson C. Smith University. She has been frequently published and has conducted presentations across the country on health education and chronic disease. Her work has received numerous grants and funding awards and she volunteers with UNCF and other organizations. Mead earned her doctorate from UA, where she served as a graduate research assistant and was named among the “Ten Most Influential African-American Students at UA” in 2003. Her doctoral degree from UA is in health education and promotion.

B. Jan McCulloch – McCulloch, of Blaine, Minn., is head of the department of family social science at the University of Minnesota. She has given numerous presentations nationally and internationally and has been widely published as an author and editor on family social science and gerontology studies. Her work has been supported by funded research grants and she has received numerous professional awards and honors. McCulloch earned a master’s degree from UA in human development and family studies.

Rylee E. Marsh – Marsh, of Tuscaloosa, is the assistant director of Crimson Tide Hospitality, Colonnade Group, serving as the liaison between the UA athletics department and its key donors and managing some 85 suites in the east wing of Bryant Denny Stadium’s skyboxes. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UA, where she was named a Crenshaw Fellow for the HES Honor Society and served as a social event coordinator for both the College of Business and Zeta Tau Alpha. At UA, she earned her bachelor’s degree in restaurant and hospitality management and her master’s degree in sport management.

Kathleen D. Hilgendorf – Hilgendorf, of Fenton, Mo., is the premium services manager for Busch Stadium, Delaware North Companies LLC, Sportservice. She coordinates and manages the catering for some 100 luxury and party suites and the Champions Club, as well as for various other special events. She earned her master’s degree from UA, where she served as an intern in the Bryant Denny skybox office, was a member of the Sports Management Association and received the 2007 Outstanding Major Award. At UA, she earned her master’s degree in sport management.

Pamela J. Morgan – Morgan is a reference and instruction librarian with Vanderbilt University Libraries, serving as a subject specialist and research consultant in the areas of psychology, sociology, women and gender studies, and medicine, health and society. She sits on several national library committees, has been frequently published and is often invited to give presentations nationally and internationally. Morgan earned her master’s degree in interactive technology from UA and she served as reference librarian and information consultant for UA Libraries for five years.


The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Kristi Payne or Linda Hill, UA Media Relations, 205/348-8325,
  • SOURCE: Geena Jones, UA College of Human Environmental Sciences, 205/348-6250,