Son of the University’s founder and graduate of the Class of 1937, Thomas D. Reynolds spent sixty years as one of the University’s strongest promoters and most active volunteers. This award recognizes one alumnus/a (degreed or non-degreed) each year for exemplary service to the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Tiffany Drummond Armstrong (Class of 1999)
Tiffany Drummond Armstrong ’99 – Thomas D. Reynolds Award for Service to UNC Asheville – in recognition of her service on the UNC Asheville Foundation Board and previous membership on the AlumniBoard, serving two years as chair. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, she has spent most of her career in health care fundraising, including time at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, and most recently at the College Diabetes Network as the chief development officer. Armstrong’s late husband, Michael, was also a UNC Asheville graduate and after his death in 2019 she started The Michael Armstrong Memorial Scholarship in his memory. She and her son, Fisher, have both visited with the first scholarship recipient and look forward to meeting others who are awarded in the future.
Tate Lyda (Class of 1991)
Tate Lyda ’91 is the Owner and President of Alliance Driveway Solutions, Inc. Under Tate’s leadership, Alliance Driveaway Solutions has become a recognized and proven leader in the vehicle driveaway services and logistics industry. As an alumnus, Tate has been instrumental in raising funds for the Joe Frick Memorial Endowed Scholarship, which honors our 1993 UNC Asheville alumnus Joe Frick who passed away in 2010. Tate has also dedicated much of his time and energy to create, promote, and organize the annual Joe Frick Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit the scholarship and the university.
Karen K. Brown ’81 has been a professional artist for over 30 years, and her artwork is displayed in numerous galleries, private and corporate collections nationwide. Karen has a studio/gallery in the Rivers Arts District. She is very active in the university community, first with the UNC Asheville Alumni Association and then on the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees.
Molly deMattos ’02 is co-owner of the Matt and Molly Team of Keller Williams Realty, which has been voted No. 1 five years in a row in Best of WNC for the Real Estate Agent category. Her team supports UNC Asheville Athletics by sponsoring the hospitality events at basketball games, and she serves on the A-TEAM, the advisory team of former student-athletes. At UNC Asheville she competed on the track and field team for four years while pursuing a B.A. in literature and creative writing. She also serves the greater Asheville community, volunteering as a youth adviser at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church and serving on the board of Asheville Youth Mission. De Mattos is the recipient of the 2017 Thomas D. Reynolds Award for Service to the University.
John Noor ’07 receives the Thomas D. Reynolds Alumni Award for Service to the University, named for the son of the university’s founder, a graduate of the class of 1937, and one of the university’s most active volunteers and supporters over sixty years. Noor, a litigation attorney focusing on environmental law, complex business litigation, governmental affairs, and public policy, serves on UNC Asheville’s National Alumni council and serves students as an adjunct instructor, teaching a course in environmental law.
The Thomas D. Reynolds Alumni Award for Service to the University was given to Andrea Jackson ’92. Jackson, a staunch supporter and contributor to UNC Asheville, has been active coordinating on-campus alumni participation in the Homecoming parade. Together with her husband Jimmy, she provides the music at Bulldog basketball games at Kimmel Arena.
Shon Norris ’00 received the Thomas D. Reynolds Alumni Award for Service to the University. A former Bulldog pitcher, Norris was recruited by the Boston Red Sox during his junior year, but continued taking classes during the off-season. Norris became a principal partner at Gould Killian CPA Group and has served on UNC Asheville’s Management and Accountancy Department’s advisory board. He continues to serve on UNC Asheville’s Foundation Board.
Barbara Baker ’71 received the Thomas D. Reynolds Alumni Award for her exemplary service to UNC Asheville. A gifted leader, Barbara served on the UNC Asheville National Alumni Council for six years, and served as chair from 2010 until 2012. At home, she has been an active alumna through serving as a volunteer student recruiter, hosting new student send-offs, and serving as a regional contact and coordinator for numerous alumni events in the Triangle area. She currently serves as Board Chair for the American Red Cross, Central North Carolina Chapter and is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties.
Jasmin Gentling ’99, graduate of the University’s Masters of the Liberal Arts program, received the Thomas D. Reynolds Award for Service to the University. Jasmin has been a vocal advocate of UNC Asheville while giving the gifts of her time, money, and support. She and her husband, Peter, have supported student scholarships and have hosted students, student organizations, alumni, and the National Alumni Council numerous times at their home. She has served on both the UNC Asheville Foundation Board and National Alumni Council.
Alexis ’97 and Ed Johnson ’96 received the Thomas D. Reynolds Award for Service to the University. They were honored for their generous and unique contribution to UNC Asheville as the keepers of the university’s mascot, Rocky I. Since Rocky was introduced to Bulldog fans during Homecoming 2009, Alexis and Ed have contributed thousands of hours to the university as “parents” of the mascot, making Rocky a beloved icon of UNC Asheville. Ed is a mathematics lecturer at UNC Asheville.
Steve Zeis received the Thomas D. Reynolds Award for Service to the University. A native of Istanbul of Greek heritage, Zeis studied at UNC Asheville’s predecessor institution, Asheville-Biltmore College. He went on to a successful international career representing European textile and plastics machinery manufacturers. In 2005, Zeis and his wife, Frosene, donated $3 million to UNC Asheville, the largest private gift in the university’s history.
Rickie B. Lowe ’82 received the Thomas D. Reynolds Award for Service to the University. Lowe is an extremely active UNC Asheville volunteer. From cooking dinner for phone-a-thon callers 20 years ago to coordinating the Athletics Auction last fall, Rickie donates countless hours to her alma mater. An addition, she currently serves on the board of the Bulldog Club and was a board member of the former Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Jim Buckner ’71 received the Thomas D. Reynolds Award for Service to the University. Buckner has served on the University’s Board of Trustees, Foundation Board and National Alumni Council, which he help found. Truly passionate about their alma mater, Buckner and his wife Mary (Class of 1968), have been generous supporters of the University through their gifts and time. The couple established an endowed scholarship and regularly host alumni gatherings near their home in Atlanta.
Dr. M. David Cogburn ’77 was presented the Thomas D. Reynolds Award for Service to the University. A 1977 graduate with distinction in biology, Dr. Cogburn founded Carolina Mountain Dermatology in south Asheville. A longtime University supporter, Dr. Cogburn has served as director, associate chair and currently as chair of the UNC Asheville Foundation Inc. He was instrumental in establishing the S. Dexter Squibb Lectureship in Chemistry and, along with his wife, as the Gay and David Cogburn Scholarship in the Art Department.
Steve Honeycutt ’85 received the Thomas D. Reynolds Alumni Award for Service to the University. Honeycutt, UNC Asheville’s budget officer, is a longtime alumni volunteer. For 13 years, Honeycutt has organized the annual Student Move-In, coordinating some 100 UNC Asheville faculty and staff volunteers who assist students and their parents with the move into residence halls.