For release: October 21, 2013
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey 901-678-2843
The University of Memphis Alumni Association will bestow its highest honors on its
alumni and friends with the Enshrinement of 1912 during this year’s Homecoming Celebration
Nov. 8-9. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen will receive the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award;
the Outstanding Young Alumna Award will be presented to Summer Owens; and Kathy and
J.W. Gibson will be recognized as Distinguished Friends of the University.
The recipients will be recognized in an on-court ceremony at the Tiger men’s basketball
game Friday, Nov. 8. They will take part in the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, Nov.
9, followed by recognition during the football game halftime show. The Alumni Association
will continue to publicly recognize their social, professional and personal achievements
throughout the year. For additional information, contact the Alumni Association at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-678-2586.
2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (JD ’73)
Congressman Steve Cohen is a fourth-generation Memphian who has dedicated his life
to public service. Currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for Tennessee’s
9th Congressional district, Cohen has held public office in the Tennessee General
Assembly (1982-2006), the Shelby County Commission (1978-1980), and was vice-president
of the Tennessee Constitutional Convention (1977). He is known throughout the state
as the “Father of the Tennessee Lottery” after leading the referendum effort that
instituted the successful Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program, an initiative
to provide Tennesseans with access to affordable, quality post-secondary education.
Cohen is a Life Member of the Alumni Association.
2013 Outstanding Young Alumna Award
Summer Owens (BBA ’01)
Owens is president and founder of S.O. What! LLC and founder and executive director
of the S.O. What! Foundation. She is a motivational speaker and author of the book
Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother, developed
to help people eliminate judgment and excuses of all types and live life to their
greatest potential. Owens was named one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the Memphis Business
Journal and received the Tri-State Defender’s Women of Excellence award and the Women
of Achievement Heroism Award. She was recognized as a Fogelman College of Business
and Economics Outstanding Young Alumna. Her story has been featured on national television,
as well as in The Commercial Appeal and Memphis Parent Magazine. Owens is a Life Member
of the Alumni Association.
2013 Distinguished Friends of the University
Kathy and J.W. Gibson
Kathy Gibson is chair of the board at Buckman Laboratories International Inc. and
succeeded her father, Robert Buckman, as head of the company that her grandfather,
Stanley J. Buckman, created in 1945. James Wesley “J.W.” Gibson is the CEO of the
Gibson Companies and a former county commissioner. Both are native Memphians and recently
established the endowed Kathy and J.W. Gibson Scholarship Fund, which supports high-achieving
students who contribute to a diverse student body at the Cecil C. Humphreys School
of Law. Their philanthropic outreach includes Kathy’s dedication to the arts, women
and girl-related causes and J.W.’s devotion to civic involvement.