Many MTSU alumni bring the University recognition and prestige through their innovative work and loyal support. Each year since 1960, MTSU’s Alumni Association has recognized accomplished alumni with its highest honor — the Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni Achievement awards.
This year’s honorees include a map librarian, a country politician and a Brazilian-born businessman.
Alice Hudson, Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement
Hudson didn’t need a map to get from her hometown of Oak Ridge to Murfreesboro or from Murfreesboro to New York City; all she needed was her love of geography and a college education. On her second summer trip to visit her sister in the Big Apple in 1970, Hudson was hired as a map cataloguer and reference librarian at the New York Public Library.
By October 1981, Hudson was chief of the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division of the New York Public Library system. Its holdings include “more than 433,000 sheet maps and 20,000 books and atlases published between the 15th and 21st centuries,” according to NYPL. The New York Times, which once called Hudson “a poet of place,” described collection visitors as a hodgepodge of builders, developers and architects, novelists and urban archaeologists— even “conspiracy theorists decoding the World Trade Center bombing.”
Hudson’s 1969 bachelor’s degree in geography from MTSU has served her well in helping navigate the technological changes in both cartography and library science over the years. The brave new world of Google Earth and MapQuest is not alien to Hudson, who retired in July 2009.
George Fraley, Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service
First as a Franklin County commissioner, then county executive and finally as state representative for the 39th District, comprising Franklin, Moore and part of Lincoln counties, Fraley always made taking care of the home front his primary goal.
The lifetime farmer, former educator, Korean War veteran and Arnold Engineering Development Center engineer, during his term as Franklin County executive, steered Nissan Corp. to build an engine plant in Decherd. Other political achievements included securing funding for a new library and a nursing center at Motlow College. In endorsing him for reelection, former Gov. Phil Bredesen once said the now-retired Fraley’s “commitment to putting people first” had brought “new jobs and opportunities” to his district.
“No one was more diligent in working for his constituents on individual issues as well as matters of general concern for the good of all Tennessee,” fellow MTSU and state House alumnus John Hood added. Fraley, who served as president of the Franklin County MTSU Alumni Association, credits much of his success to his MTSU education. He noted that much has changed about MTSU since 1955, when “we had to hitchhike from Franklin County and Winchester” to campus.
Jeferson “Jeff” Jorge, Young Alumni Achievement Award
Most people would question the wisdom of launching a new business in an economy that particularly devastated the Detroit area. But MTSU alumnus Jorge (’99) is not most people. Passionate about helping other businesses grow, Jorge took a leap of faith in 2009, becoming principal and executive partner in the Royal Oak, Mich.–based consultancy group Global Development Partners Inc.
Jorge’s previous accomplishments include leading large-scale, global implementations as one of TRW Automotive’s youngest employees; earning a sales-achievement award for his role in securing one of Delphi’s largest contracts; and leading a Delphi team that won seven international advertising award.
A native of Brazil, Jorge credits Dr. Sid Sridhara, professor in MTSU’s Department of Engineering Technology, for preparing him for real-world business experiences. “Everyone with whom he comes in contact with receives the same level of dignified respect and is held in high regard,” Jorge says. “I have tried to embody this quality of ‘human respect and deference to all’ since meeting him, and the effects in my life have been transformational.”
For full MTSU Magazine coverage of the Distinguished Alumni, visit www.mtsumagazine.com.
— Gina K. Logue, Drew Ruble and Randy Weiler