Arthur F. Beyer Distinguished Alumnus - Mr. David Hott ('89)
David Hott graduated from Midwestern State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Hott has been with IBM since 2005 and is currently a software client architect responsible for the validation of more than 1,100 IBM products sold to clients. He has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise architecture, IT program management, solution design, relationship management, and other aspects of IT infrastructure. Hott also has worked with Configuration Management Inc., Nortel Networks, Samsung Telecommunications America, and Motorola Corporation.
Hott has had work published in InformationWeek magazine and other publications and is a presenter at numerous technical, professional, and university events. He was the keynote speaker at MSU’s 2011 North Texas Area Student Conference sponsored by the Department of Computer Science.
Hott said he was influenced to work toward a computer science career by friends and professors, especially his step-father, retired computer science Professor Emeritus Dr. Stewart Carpenter. Hott saw Carpenter working with “cool machines” like Atari’s Pong, one the first video games; the TRS 80, one of the earliest personal computers produced; another early personal computer, the Commodore 64; and especially the IBM 370. He also watched as Carpenter built MSU’s computer science department from scratch. “As a boy I watched him complete his PhD, begin the Computer Science department at Central Texas College, and then do the same at MSU,” Hott said. “He did not use many words, but I just watched him. It built curiosity in me and I really was attracted to the technology. It looked a lot like Star Trek!”
Math professors such as Dr. William Hinds, Dr. John Meux, and Dr. Louie Huffman; chemistry professor Dr. Jesse Rogers; and computer science professors Richard Simpson, Dr. Timothy Donovan, and the late James Chalfant challenged Hott with difficult classes, but made the learning interesting.
Others whom Hott lists as influences on his work ethic and character include former Scoutmaster Jim Hughes, former Rider High School choir director Donald Cowan; former Rider High School band director Poney Thompson, and former Faith Village Church of Christ youth minister James Trent.“All these men had a profound influence on me as a boy and young man,” Hott said.
Hott sings with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, coached soccer, and has been a Cubmaster and Boy Scout leader. He has climbed the Mount Everest trail in Nepal and traveled to South Africa, Costa Rica, India, and many other countries.
Dillard College of Business Administration - Mr. Luke LeVasseur ('89)
Luke Levasseur earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Midwestern State University in 1989 and graduated magna cum laude from Tulane Law School with a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1992. He is an attorney with Mayer-Brown in Washington, D.C., where he specializes in government contract matters.
Levasseur also worked for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice where he served as a lead counsel for or had a significant role during the trial and appeal of several large cases that were part of the Winstar-related litigation.
The Winstar cases involved billions of dollars in claims against the government and are based on legislative and regulatory changes in the financial services industry. Litigating those cases required a detailed understanding of a wide array of banking regulatory and accounting issues, as well as complex economic issues related to the damages claims presented at trial. Levasseur also represented the government in numerous appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
He was awarded the John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement and a Special Commendation Award for exceptional contributions to the defense of the Winstar cases.
Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences - Ms. Carolyn Poirot ('70)
Carolyn Poirot graduated cum laude from Midwestern State University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and was the Outstanding Graduate from the English Department that year. She earned a Master of Arts in English in 1973, also from MSU.
Poirot wrote for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from 1979-2008 where she was a medical and education writer. She is currently a freelance medical writer for the Fort Worth Business Press. Throughout her career, she has received more than 50 state and national awards including the Michael E. DeBakey National Journalism Award in 2003, numerous Associated Press Managing Editors Texas Media Awards, and awards from the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. She currently serves on the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Board and other civic boards in the Fort Worth area.
When Poirot was a freshman student at MSU, former Humanities professor Dr. Joseph Satin asked Poirot to minor in the newly formed journalism program so it would have enough participants to continue. “I’ve been a newspaper journalist ever since,” Poirot said. “It’s as simple as that.” One of her earliest medical articles was written as a freshman journalist on The Wichitan staff. Dr. Arthur Beyer suggested she write a first-person account of donating blood during a Red Cross blood drive. She did, and made a friend of Beyer, who often called to suggest other stories.
Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services - Mr. Jay Hicks ('05)
Jay Hicks earned his Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences (MSRS) from Midwestern State University in 2005, and his Doctorate of Philosophy in Health Sciences from Texas Woman’s University in 2007. He is working toward his Doctorate of Education in Leadership from Creighton University with a projected graduation of May 2015.
Hicks is the associate director of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology in Chicago, where he oversees many aspects of the accreditation process for radiologic education programs. He has held office and served on committees in numerous radiological organizations where he is a member, including the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, the Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences, and others. In 2007, he was named Technologist of the Year by the Louisiana Society of Radiologic Technologists and received the Monster Medical Imaging Educators Scholarship.
Hicks said that the credentials of MSU’s MSRS program are recognizable across the country, and that has enabled him to make instant connections with others in the field. He appreciates that MSU faculty members Dr. Donna Wright, Dr. Jeff Killion, and Dr. James Johnston have been resources as he continues to develop professionally, and they are friends also. “The connections that I’ve made and my professional advancements are directly correlated to the MSRS program at Midwestern – and that forever makes me proud to be a Mustang.”
Fain College of Fine Arts - Ms. Shaunette Hildabrand ('85)
Shaunette Hildabrand graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Midwestern State University in 1985. After graduate work at MSU, she studied with vocal teacher Cornelius Reid in New York City and at Bonn University in Bonn, Germany, where she received a diploma in German studies.
Hildabrand has worked as a voice and music teacher in New York City, Germany, and the Netherlands, where she now lives. Throughout her career, she has played the lead in many operas and musicals. She is a popular jazz performer in Europe, and has been interviewed on radio programs and appeared on television. She has released numerous CDs, the latest of which is Life is a Song from 2012. She conducts workshops and master classes in music styles ranging from classical to jazz and pop, and was one of 24 noted jazz musicians interviewed for the book, Growing Up with Jazz, by Royal Stokes.
Hildabrand is grateful to many at MSU – from building custodians who allowed her extra time to practice at night to professors who recognized how serious she was about music studies. “I improved not only because I wanted to improve, but because someone gave me the chance,” she said. “Time and opportunity were offered to those who wanted to achieve.”
College of Science and Mathematics - Mr. Alexandre Passos ('01)
Alexandre Passos earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of North Dakota in 1998 and his Master of Science in Computer Science from Midwestern State University in 2001. He has worked at GoDaddy.com since 2007 and now leads its domain registration services development team in creating and maintaining the systems that power the largest domain name registrar in the world.
During his career, Passos has worked as a system administrator and adjunct instructor at MSU and as an information technology designer at Vernon College. He also has worked as a software engineer at ThinkInteractive Inc. and Unisys and in software development at Protel Services Inc.
While at MSU, Passos worked as a graduate teaching assistant with Professor Richard Simpson in a game programming class. By the end of the class, students had produced playable computer games. During a tour of a game developer studio, the students received valuable feedback about their projects from professional engineers. Passos said that some of those students have gone on to be successful game development engineers.
“Looking back as a student at MSU, the visit to Microsoft’s Ensemble Studios game development studio is just one of the many examples of leadership and resourcefulness by MSU instructors to expose students to real world experiences in their respective fields,” Passos said. “At MSU I learned more than just my trade, I learned what it takes to create opportunity and success.”
West College of Education - Mr. Raymond "Roddy" Atkins ('80 & '87)
Raymond (Roddy) Atkins earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree in 1980, and his Master of Education Degree in Counseling in 1987, both from Midwestern State University.
Since 1998, Atkins has been the executive director of Helen Farabee Centers, a community mental health and intellectual disability center that services 19 counties in North Texas. In 2009 he was recognized by the Texas State House of Representatives for his career in improving the lives of North Texans with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.
Atkins is a member of the Texas Council of Community Centers Executive Director’s Consortium, where he serves on various statewide committees related to policy, service delivery, funding, and quality improvement for individuals receiving services through the public mental health and intellectual disability system. He serves on several civic boards including the North Texas Area United Way, Wichita Falls Area Homeless Coalition, and the Wichita County Health Coalition.
As a graduate student at MSU, Atkins formed relationships with former MSU professors Dr. George Diekoff, Dr. Clarence Darter, Dr. Emerson Capps, and Dr. John Hensley that shaped his career in counseling as they worked to develop a program geared toward mental health. He later worked with Dr. Susan Sportsman to develop the Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner distance program. Atkins has continued his relationship with MSU by providing clinical rotations for nursing social work, psychology, and counseling interns at the Helen Farabee Centers, and by hiring MSU graduates.