Arts and Sciences Chapter Will Honor Three Outstanding Alumni October 2 University News
For release: August 27, 2008

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

The University of Memphis’ College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Chapter’s annual awards banquet will honor a professor of English, a school administrator, and an artist this year.  To be recognized as Outstanding Alumni are Dr. Hortense Spillers, Maura Black Sullivan, and Jamie Lee McMahan.

The event will be Thursday, Oct. 2, at The Racquet Club of Memphis.  A reception will begin at 5:45 p.m., with the dinner at 6:30.

Dr. Hortense Spillers
Dr. Hortense Spillers
Photo courtesy of:
Vanderbuilt University / Steve Green
Spillers is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She previously was a chaired professor at Cornell University. Spillers has written about psychoanalysis and race, how linguistics have failed black women, and crucial essays on authors including Zora Neale Hurston, Margaret Walker, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, and William Faulkner. She serves on several editorial boards and the executive council of the Modern Language Association.

Spillers has received numerous honors, including grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. Her essays have been published in distinguished journals in the U.S. and abroad.  Her collection Black, White and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture was published in 2003.

Maura Black Sullivan
Maura Black Sullivan
Sullivan is assistant superintendent of planning and student services for Shelby County Schools.  Among her responsibilities is long-range capital project planning for the 47,000-student system.  She is in charge of strategic planning and directs the student services department, which oversees student-related issues such as discipline and attendance.

Sullivan was a special assistant to former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. and served as Ford’s campaign press secretary. She served two terms on the Shelby County Election Commission and is a graduate of Leadership Memphis.

Jamie Lee McMahan
Jamie Lee McMahan
McMahan decided to become a portrait artist after a two-year trip around the world. While working as a marketing representative for IBM in the U.S. and Australia, McMahan painted when he found time. Although he admired many artistic styles and periods, McMahan was most often drawn to great portraits. He has painted senators, governors, mayors and pets. One of his most famous subjects was Rootsauthor Alex Haley.  His portraits of six former U of M presidents hang in the atrium of the University’s Administration Building.

He studied mathematics and fine art at the U of M.  He also played center for the basketball Tigers and was on the team when it competed in the National Invitation Tournament in New York.

Reservations must be made no later than Sept. 26.  Tickets are $55 per person, $440 for a table of eight. 

For reservations or more information, call Alumni Coordinator Fariss Adams Ivey at 901-678-4373. 

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