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KC presents Blue Ribbon Medals of Excellence for alumni, student success

Kilgore College presented Blue Ribbon Medals of Excellence for Alumni Success and Blue Ribbon Medals of Excellence for Student Success at last week’s graduation ceremonies.

These awards are presented by the college each year at spring graduation ceremonies to celebrate and honor the partnerships formed between the institution and successful alumni, community members and/or businesses dedicated to the furtherance of KC’s mission.

At the 2 p.m. ceremony, the recipient of the Blue Ribbon Medal of Excellence for Alumni Success was Dr. George Woodrow; and Linda Craig was honored with the Blue Ribbon Medal of Excellence for Student Success.

For the 6 p.m. ceremony, recipients of the Blue Ribbon Medal of Excellence for Alumni Success were Brent Goudarzi and Marty Young; and the Kilgore Economic Development Corporation (accepted by Lisa Denton, KEDC director) was honored with the Blue Ribbon Medal of Excellence for Student Success.

View photos by Rachel Stallard/KC

About Dr. George Woodrow – Blue Ribbon Medal of Excellence for Alumni Success:

George Woodrow was recruited in 1968 to Kilgore College by head football coach Charlie Simmons and became the first African American quarterback to play for KC. He started every game that year and was selected first team all-conference quarterback by the coaches, another first for the Texas Junior College Football Conference. Woodrow said that academics weren’t high on his list of priorities back then, but one teacher at KC, Mrs. (June) Shelton, changed all of that with her encouragement and started Woodrow on a lifelong journey of learning and teaching. After the exemplary foundation he received at KC, Woodrow was inspired to earn a doctorate degree with dual concentration in education leadership and adult education. Throughout his professional career, Dr. Woodrow has served as a high school principal, assistant superintendent, assistant professor, and an educational consultant. He has also published three books – one of which was used as the official textbook for a course that he taught at the University of North Texas.

About Linda Craig – Blue Ribbon Medal of Excellence for Student Success:

Originally from St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada, Linda Craig moved to Henderson, Texas, with her husband David and four young children for David to open his ophthalmology practice 45 years ago. As an elementary school teacher, education was always paramount to Linda Craig. Thus explains her unparalleled support of Kilgore College over the years. Linda said that she supports KC because it’s an institution that gives all who want to be educated this opportunity at any stage of their life. She also said that the college’s proximity, affordability, and the vast array of courses in a welcoming atmosphere is a jewel in East Texas. Linda said she is proud to support Kilgore College, which gives back every day a more knowledgeable student to our world.

About Brent Goudarzi and Marty Young – Blue Ribbon Medal of Excellence for Alumni Success:

Since 1997, Goudarzi & Young has grown from a small, local law firm to a prominent, well-established, and proven personal injury law firm. Under the leadership of KC alumni, Brent Goudarzi and Marty Young, the law firm has represented more than 20,000 individuals and tried an impressive list of personal injury law cases. Their focus is on helping those who are injured in a variety of accidents, including car accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, product injuries, and work-related claims. Goudarzi & Young also recognize the importance of giving back to their communities and hope to help those who are in economic need. In 2022, Brent Goudarzi was named Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyer of the Year by The National Trial Lawyers. Goudarzi won the award based on his record-breaking settlements in 2022. In June of that year, he achieved the largest trucking settlement in American history, securing $150 million for his clients. In December 2022, Goudarzi settled another truck wreck fatality case for $125 million, the largest single-plaintiff settlement in American history. Additionally, in December of 2021, Goudarzi & Young recovered the largest trucking verdict in American history, $730 million.

About the KEDC – Blue Ribbon Medal of Excellence for Student Success:

KEDC is directed by a five-person board and managed by a staff of four with credentials in economic development and economic development finance. KEDC has won international awards for excellence in economic development and has been selected as the outstanding Texas economic development community of its size in 2001, 2007, 2015, 2019, and 2020. KEDC is an organization focused on growing and diversifying the Kilgore economy.  In the last five years, KEDC staff closed projects that represent more than $190 million in new and retained capital investment – and 2,600 jobs under contract. Kilgore College is also thankful to KEDC for its partnership in providing land and other resources to create the college’s brand new CDL Driving Academy on FM 349. Upon completion, this much-larger space will allow for future expansions of KC’s CDL program with the goal of becoming a fully equipped transportation institute with a large driving track, classrooms and restrooms. None of this would have been possible without KEDC’s generous partnership to help expand the CDL program for our students. Lisa Denton is the Executive Director for the KEDC. Having served in this position since August 2021, she oversees all aspects of economic development for the city, including primary employer retention and expansion, recruitment, marketing, property development and sales, budgeting, project finance and incentives and property management. Denton is a member of the Kilgore College Advanced Manufacturing & Industrial Technology Council, served as the chair of the Kilgore College Workforce Development Advisory Committee from 2008-2014, and is a member of the Kilgore College Process Technology Advisory Committee.

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