Distinguished Alumni

Each year, Chowan recognizes at least three alumni who have truly excelled in his or her chosen profession at the Distinguished Alumni Dinner which is held Homecoming weekend. 

The recognized alumni have made significant contributions to our society through his or her career or life accomplishments that are a testament to the work and mission of the University.  Distinguished Alumni recipients are recognized for supporting their alma mater through participation in events on and off-campus, board memberships, and financially.   

Nominations for Distinguished Alumni are made through the Alumni Relations Office.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2023

In a prestigious ceremony that marked a milestone in its 175-year history, Chowan University proudly presented the Distinguished Alumni Award to Pastor Anthony M. Rawlings, Sr., a 2011 graduate of the institution. The award was presented by M. Christopher White, Former President and Chancellor of Chowan University, who served from 2003 to 2020.

Pastor Anthony M. Rawlings, Sr., is the Lead Pastor of Celebration Church in Franklin, Virginia, and a multifaceted individual whose contributions have left an indelible mark in both his community and beyond. His journey continued in November 2011 when he graduated from Chowan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion.

Pastor Rawlings has dedicated his life to serving others and has been involved in various boards and organizations, including Early Childhood Western Tidewater, United Way, The Planning Commission for the City of Franklin, Franklin/Southampton Wellness Coalition, and the Franklin Southampton Charity Board. In his role on the latter, he played a pivotal role in helping the board make critical decisions on grant allocations to benefit qualified applicants throughout the Western Tidewater region of Virginia.

With a wealth of experience and expertise, Pastor Rawlings has earned certifications as a Transformational Coach, course and content creator, and a Certified Church Consultant. His coaching niches encompass Executive Coaching, Organizational Coaching, Life Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Clarity Coaching, and Time Management Coaching. For over 15 years, he has empowered individuals to unlock their potential and fortify their mental resilience on their transformational journeys.

Pastor Rawlings is not only a leader in his professional life but also in his personal life. He is married to Elder Eureka Rawlings, and together, they are parents to six wonderful children: Anthony Jr., Amber, Andrew, Ashley, Alicia, and Aaron. Inspired by the generational legacy of his beloved grandparents, Harvey and Alie Boone, and his parents, Raymond and Sarah Pope, Pastor Rawlings is committed to showing others that they can be generational trendsetters.

Reflecting on his life’s journey, Pastor Rawlings lives by the motto, “You don’t go as far as your dream, you go as far as your team,” a principle instilled in him by his pastor, Dr. Dharius Daniels.

Chowan University, celebrating 175 years of excellence, takes immense pride in recognizing Pastor Anthony M. Rawlings, Sr., as a distinguished alumnus who exemplifies the institution’s values of active learning, career success, personal growth, and service to society. Founded in 1848, Chowan University has transformed from a small Baptist Female Institute into a vibrant and illustrious university.

Freddie Davis

Distinguished Alumni Award 2023

Chowan University proudly celebrated the remarkable achievements of one of its esteemed alumni, Mr. Freddie Havana Davis, a 1981 graduate of the institution. The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Mr. Davis in recognition of his outstanding contributions to his community, his remarkable career, and his unwavering commitment to excellence.

The prestigious award ceremony took place at Chowan University, with Mr. Edward Wooten, a former faculty member who served from 1967 to 1993, presiding over the event. Mr. Wooten, a respected figure within the university, presented and recognized Mr. Davis for his exceptional accomplishments.

Freddie Havana Davis, a proud graduate of Chowan University’s Class of 1981, continued his educational journey at Appalachian State University, graduating in 1984. Hailing from Morganton, NC, Mr. Davis had a stellar academic and athletic career at Freedom High School, where he distinguished himself as both a standout student and athlete.

Throughout his life, Mr. Davis maintained a deep bond with his beloved wife, best friend, and business partner, Teresa, for 38 years. They resided in Lenoir, NC, and Nokomis, FL, and were blessed with a loving family, including their daughters Tiffany Bowman and Terra Bryant, along with their respective families.

During his time at Chowan University, Mr. Davis held several leadership positions, demonstrating his commitment to excellence. He served as the President of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Fraternity, President of The Monogram Club, and was appointed SGA Auditor. His exceptional leadership qualities led to his recognition in “Who’s Who Among America’s Colleges and Universities.”

In 2001, Mr. Davis received the honor of being inducted into the Garrison Sports Hall Of Fame, a testament to his exceptional baseball career under the guidance of Hall Of Fame Coach Jerry Hawkins. Mr. Davis was not only named team Captain but also earned a spot on the Region X Western Conference first-team All-Conference. His baseball achievements included winning the batting title, earning MVP honors, receiving the Coach’s award, and breaking the school’s home run record.

Following his successful stint at Chowan, Mr. Davis continued to excel at Appalachian State, where he was invited to try out for the United States Olympic Team.

Mr. and Mrs. Davis, together with their family, embarked on an entrepreneurial journey, founding, building, and successfully selling nine companies in industries ranging from Furniture and Domestic Transportation to International Shipping. Mr. Davis currently serves as the Chairman of Pelagic Consulting LLC and Gulfstream Shippers Association LLC, while also holding partnerships in Pelagic Holdings LLC, Bluewater Logistics Group LLC, Bluewater Asia LLC, and Mesa Davis Enterprise LLC.

Over the years, Mr. Davis has been actively involved in various Boards of Directors, contributed to economic development, and demonstrated his dedication to the Furniture and Transportation Industries. He served as Booster Club President for several years and was a devoted 6th-grade Sunday School teacher.

Mr. Davis attributes his success to his unwavering faith in God, his deep-rooted family values, and his love for his country. His interests include spending quality time with his family, traveling, attending sporting events, and cheering on the Appalachian State football team. He also enjoys driving through the majestic Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, hunting for shark’s teeth with Teresa on the Gulf of Mexico, and relentlessly pursuing joy.

As a proud alumnus, Mr. Davis is an active member of the Chowan University Brave Hawks Club. His life motto is “Cherish Yesterday, Live Today, and Dream Tomorrow!” while his favorite saying is “Ain’t It Great!” His favorite verse is, “In All Things Give Thanks.”

Chowan University, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary, takes immense pride in the accomplishments of its alumni like Freddie Havana Davis, who exemplifies the university’s commitment to preparing students for lives of active learning, career success, personal growth, and service to society. Founded in 1848, Chowan University has evolved into a vibrant and distinguished institution dedicated to nurturing excellence.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2023

Chowan University proudly recognized Theresa Paige Myers, a 1988 graduate, for her outstanding achievements and contributions to the fields of textile conservation and costume design. The prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Ms. Myers at a special ceremony held on October 7, celebrating her remarkable career and her deep connection to Chowan University.

Born and raised in Ahoskie, North Carolina, Theresa Paige Myers is the daughter of Elaine Myers and the late Lawrence W. Myers. Ms. Myers embarked on her educational journey at Chowan, graduating in 1988 with a degree in Liberal Arts. She continued her academic pursuits, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Clothing and Textiles from East Carolina University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Ecology with a specialization in Textile Conservation from the University of Alberta, Canada.

Ms. Myers has dedicated over 28 years to the field of textile conservation and has made significant contributions to preserving historical artifacts. Her extensive career includes contract work for prestigious institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of American History. She also completed internships at renowned organizations, including the American Textile History Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, and Biltmore Estate.

A committed member of the Costume Society of America since 1991, Ms. Myers is also affiliated with the American Institute for Conservation and the Southeast Regional Conservation Association. From 2016 to 2018, she served as a board member of the North Carolina Preservation Consortium, further demonstrating her dedication to preserving cultural heritage.

In addition to her work in conservation, Ms. Myers boasts a rich career in costume design, spanning over 30 years. She has collaborated with companies such as Raleigh Creative Costumes and Troika, Inc. and has contributed her expertise to various local film productions as a wardrobe assistant, FX makeup artist, properties master, and production manager. Notably, her involvement in films like “Dar He: The Lynching of Emmett Till” and “Box Brown: A Box Marked Freedom” has garnered critical acclaim.

Beyond her professional achievements, Ms. Myers generously volunteers as a living historian at several historic sites in North Carolina, including the Joel Lane House in Raleigh, the House in the Horseshoe in Sanford, and Historic Hope Plantation in Windsor.

Reflecting on her time at Chowan University, Ms. Myers shared, “The impact that Chowan had on me was the great base of education that I received right out of high school. On this foundation, I have built my career and used skills from what I learned during my time at Chowan throughout my professional and personal life.”

She also noted the significant role that public speaking played in her career, recalling a course taught by Dr. Joyce Elliott (Brown) that helped hone her communication skills. “In all, I look back fondly on my time at Chowan and the friends I made and the knowledge I gained. I have carried and will continue to carry those memories with me always.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award holds special significance for Ms. Myers due to her family’s enduring legacy at Chowan University. She stated, “My family is still very involved in activities at the University. One great example of this involvement is the posthumous gift from my father toward the purchase of a grand piano for the auditorium. He loved music and the university and has shared that through a bequest that will last for generations.”

Chowan University, celebrating its 175th anniversary, takes pride in honoring Theresa Paige Myers as a distinguished alumna who exemplifies the university’s mission of preparing students for lives of active learning, career success, personal growth, and service to society. Her remarkable journey from Chowan graduate to accomplished textile conservator and costume designer serves as an inspiration to the entire Chowan community.


Kate Mackie Allen ’29
Donna P. Askew ’89
H. Allen Autry ’61
Harold W. Babb ’70
Kemper Baker, Jr. ’66
Thomas J. Ballance, ’69
Lucille Williams Beasley, 1915
Glenn Smith Benthall ’25
William J. Bowman ’69
Barry A. Bradberry ’73
Maggie Boone Bridgers ’32
Randy V. Britton ’60
Dorothy Heath Brown ’33
Grace Pearce Brown, 1916
J. Hatcher Cale, Jr. ’66
Allen J. Casey ’62
Suzanne S. Clifton ’64
Elizabeth G. Craig ’68
W. Marvin Daugherty, ’71
Stanley Eugene Dixon, Jr. ’76
Deborah Blowe Edwards ’77, ’95
M. Frank Edwards ’58
Inez W. Elrod ’35
Edith Vick Farris ’53
Thomas Edwin Forbes, ’74
J.P. Freeman ’35
Miley Williams Glover ’74
Jo A. Grice ’57
Lynwood M. Grice ’57
Hazel Griffin ’26
John R. Griffin ’55
Jerry Harper ’63
Wesley S. Hauser ’69
Michael V. Hendley ’66
Ronald L. Hicks ’66
Julie Hoggard, 1901
W. Dennis Hogue ’65

Cecil Sherwood Hollomon, Jr. ’68
Billy R. Howell ’61
Bradford Lance Jenkins, ’03
John M. Jenkins
Olivia Benthall Jenkins*
Mike Johnson ’58
John R. Jordan ’40
Darlene Jacqueline Keene ’81
Hugh Banks Lewis ’75
Kenneth Lyons ’85
Sandra Gatling Mahler ’62
Charles Preston McElheney, III ’96
Cheryl Hobday McElheney ’65
James C. McGill ’62
Raymond D. Meiggs ’52
Julian R. Mills, Sr. ’59
Michael S. Moore ’92
Elaine Early Myers ’60
Robert A. Newsome, Jr. ’64
Captain Milton A. Outten, ’71
Alton W. Parker ’39
Elton C. Parker ’39
Grace Parker, 1910
Linwood Parker ’66
Sarah Virginia Parker ’57
Brinson Paul ’52
Charles Paul ’55
Lola Mae Freeman Penny 1900
Judith W. Perry ’70
Charles Pond III ’62
Jay White Porter ’33
Drew D. Paster, ’08
Harvey W. Reinhardt ’61
Raymond L. Richards ’72
Tim Roberson ’65
Lawrence W. Smith ’65
Mary C. Smith ’37

Herman L. Spencer, III, ’00
Mitchell Spencer, ’64
Lowell F. Sodeman ’38
William B. Sowell ’55
Emma Gay Stephenson ’31
Louise Strickland ’36
Charles M. Taylor, ’67
Agnes White Thomas ’31
Ruth Thomas, 1917
Jonathan H. Taylor, MD ’90
L. Mack Thompson, ’64
Richard L. Thompson ’61
Mary Wiggins Turner, 1912
Ruby Daniels Udvarnoki ’29
Ethleen Vick Underwood ’28
Ben B. Ussery, Jr., ’68
Ernie Vadersen ’64
S. Keith Vaughan ’83
William T. Vest ’62
Deborah B. Vinson ’77, ’99
Linda Cowan Warfford ’69
Harry W. Webster ’63
M. Scott White ’80
Una Lorraine White, 1913
Vesta Benthall White*
Charlie T. Whitley ’58
Monnie McDaniel Wiley ’28
Eugene Williams ’54
Brenda Simmons Wilson, ’68
Hugh (Butch) Wilson, ’67
Carlyle R. Wimbish ’58
Richard Winstead ’64
T. David Witten ’64
Jerry P. Wrenn ’59
Todd Wright, ’84
Lois Vann Wynn, 1905
*Class year not available