• UWA inducts four into Golden Key, names two emeritus vice president

    Posted: December 12, 2016

    Author: Public Relations

    The University of West Alabama inducted four members into its most prestigious alumni honor society during fall commencement exercises on Dec. 10. In addition, two retired vice presidents were awarded emeritus status.

    The Society of the Golden Key recognizes alumni and former faculty members who have brought distinction upon the University by the quality of their lives and their achievements.

    Jennifer J. Blevins of Memphis, Tenn., a 1995 English/political science graduate of then Livingston University (now UWA), was inducted into Golden Key. She is director of civilian human resources and director of total force human resources for the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS), positions she’s held since 2013.

    Blevins is responsible for advising and assisting the Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel on all matters relating to total force HR programs, policy development, implementation, assessment, and evaluation for BUPERS headquarters and field activities. Prior to this role, she served as the director of human resources services for the Navy Personnel Command for three years.

    Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree from Livingston, Blevins earned a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Mississippi State University in 1997, at which time she was selected as a presidential management intern, serving with the Strategic Systems Program. For her efforts as a National Security Personnel System program manager, Blevins was recognized by the Secretary of the Navy for her leadership.

    Blevins holds Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification in budget, cost, and financial management (level 3) and program management (level 2). She and husband Ken have two sons, Nathan and Noah.

    R. Bruce Cook of Whitfield, a 1978 business administration graduate of then Livingston University (now UWA), was inducted into Golden Key. He is owner and operator of Cook Properties, the company he established in 1992 to offer real estate brokerage and certified residential real property appraisal.

    Prior to his current venture, he owned and operated Bruce Cook Landman Services, a company specializing in land, leasehold, mineral, and right-of-way appraisal. He has established himself as an esteemed, hard-working entrepreneur.

    Cook has served the greater Livingston community through several volunteer capacities, including membership on the City of Livingston Zoning Board, the administrative board for Sumter Academy, the Pastor and Parish Relations committee of Livingston United Methodist Church, and as a ponytail softball coach for the City of Livingston. He remains an active alumnus in his fraternity, Delta Chi, having served on the Board of Directors of the Livingston University Delta Chi Housing Corporation, on which he was instrumental in the purchasing, financing, and construction management of the first fraternity house built on the UWA campus in 2000.

    In addition to his work in real estate, Cooke manages a timber farm and Cook Kennels, a boarding and training facility for Hunting retrievers. He and wife Cindy, a 1979 graduate of the University, have two daughters, Dr. J.J. Cook Wedgworth (Evan) and Bliss Cook Wright (Miller), and one grandson, Louis Tucker Wedgworth.

    Elizabeth H. Springer of Tuscaloosa, emeritus professor of accounting at UWA, was inducted into Golden Key. Now retired from her full-time faculty roles, Springer continues to teach adjunct courses in accounting.

    As an accounting professor, Springer established and sponsored the UWA chapter of Delta Mu Delta honor society and was a faculty advisor for the Accounting Club. She served on numerous College of Business committees and was a longtime member of Faculty Senate, for which she served as secretary. She chaired several University committees, including SACS Accreditation, ACBSP Accreditation, and the Faculty Salary Committee.

    Springer also taught at UAB, serving as faculty advisor for the National Association of Black Accountants and organizing the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program there. Prior to beginning her teaching career, Springer worked as a staff accountant at Senna Company CPAs. She shared her practitioner experience in the classroom to benefit the students she taught.

    Springer has been active in community service for many years. She serves North River Church as director of the Brownie Hitson Education United Appeal Fund, financial advisor, and has made mission trips to Mexico. She is a volunteer financial advisor with Love, Inc., volunteers with United Way, and continues to serve the community through VITA. She is a member of Rotary International and served on the House Corporation Board of Delta Gamma Sorority at the University of Alabama, her alma mater.

    Springer and husband Brad have two daughters, Allison Springer and Courtney Sanders (Josh).

    Danny Buckalew of Livingston, a two-time graduate of Livingston University (now UWA), was inducted into Golden Key and also named emeritus vice president for student affairs. A native of Dickinson, Ala., Buckalew earned a bachelor’s degree in 1978 and a master’s degree in 1987 from the University. While a student, he was a member of the Baptist Student Union, Blue Key Honor Fraternity, and SGA. H was also a cheerleader, LU Host, resident assistant for Spieth Hall, and was Mr. LU.

    Before being named a vice president, Buckalew served in several student affairs capacities, including admissions counselor, advisor to Blue Key, and director of student affairs. He served as vice president until his retirement in 2015.

    Buckalew provided leadership to help grow and improve the University in a number of ways, including student recruitment and retention, financial services, student activities, homecoming traditions, and the overall collegiate experience for students. He was instrumental in revitalizing the UWA Marching Band program and in securing the University’s largest enrollment class to date, at the time of his retirement, in 2014.

    Buckalew has served as a role model and mentor for countless students and employees at the University, having always been regarded as someone who knows, understands, and values the University’s rich history and traditions. Since his retirement, Buckalew has remained dedicated to the University, assisting with Blue Key Honor Fraternity, the organization that presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to him in 2016. He also assists in the areas of fundraising and alumni affairs. His daughter, Danielle Buckalew, now serves as director of alumni affairs for UWA.

    Clemit Spruiell of Livingston, a two-time graduate of Livingston University (now UWA), was named emeritus vice president for institutional advancement. Spruiell earned a bachelor’s degree in 1971 and a master’s degree in 1973 from Livingston University (now UWA). As a student athlete, he helped lead the Tiger football team to a Gulf South Conference title and a national championship.

    Following graduation, Spruiell joined the University staff as an assistant football coach, later becoming an admissions counselor, then alumni director, and later director of development. In 1982, he was appointed vice president for institutional advancement, the capacity in which he served until his December 2015 retirement.

    Among his crowning achievements in advancement is having played a key role in the 1992 establishment of the UWA Foundation, which serves as a gateway for private funds and donations for programs and improvements across campus. For more than 40 years, he represented the University to Alabama’s legislative body in Montgomery.

    In February, he was honored for his multiple contributions in leadership, vision, and service on the Board of the Higher Education Partnership as recognized by the alumni leadership from Alabama’s 14 public universities.

    Since his retirement, Spruiell has remained dedicated to the University, assisting with alumni and fundraising initiatives. He and his wife, Dr. Vicki P. Spruiell, also a UWA graduate and employee, reside in Livingston. They have two sons, Ashby (Brittney) and Pope (Amanda), and two grandchildren, Rorie and Maggie.

    Buckalew and Spruiell are the first two individuals to be named emeritus vice president. The status is awarded to those who have demonstrated excellence and superior service in their field, providing leadership and guidance to others in the field, and offering dedicated support to the overall mission of the University. 
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