McMurry Honors Seven Alumni at Inaugural Night of Distinction Event

  Gary Ellison
  Friday, April 27, 2018 9:01 AM
  Archives 2017 - 2018

Abilene, TX

McMurry University celebrated alumni achievement at the inaugural Night of Distinction on Thursday, April 19, at the Garrison United Methodist Campus Center. Seven outstanding McMurry alumni were honored.


Distinguished Alumnus

Arthur “Art” Pertile III ’83 of Katy, Texas, was recognized as McMurry’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2018.

Pertile obtained his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin. He has represented governmental entities and public officials exclusively for over 31 years. He began his legal career as an assistant city attorney with the Waco City Attorney’s Office and served as an assistant district attorney with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston, Texas. He also has worked as an assistant city attorney with the City of Houston. He was appointed city attorney for the City of Waco in February of 1996. In November of 2007, he joined Olson & Olson L.L.P. in Houston. Pertile is an equity partner with Olson & Olson and continues to represent cities, counties, special districts and public officials across the State of Texas. He currently serves as city attorney for the cities of Stafford, Katy, Hempstead, Simonton, Brookshire, West Columbia, Wallis, Needville and Todd Mission, Texas, and as corporate counsel for several special districts, including the Galveston Industrial Development Corporation. 

Pertile served on the McMurry Alumni Board and was inducted into the McMurry Hall of Honor in 2003. He is a past president of the Texas City Attorneys Association and serves on the Board of the Texas Municipal League. Pertile is president of the International Municipal Lawyers Association and serves as a board member of the Waco Tigers charitable organization. He has served as a commissioner on the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, on the Board of Law Examiners District 8 Committee on Admissions of the State Bar and is a former member of the board of directors of the Government Lawyers Section of the Texas State Bar, McLennan County Bar Association, Waco Foundation, Waco Parents for Public Schools, Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the YMCA of Central Texas.  

Pertile is a recipient of the Frank Fallon “Sportsman of the Year Award” presented by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and the “Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s Contributors Award” for his work with the youth of Waco. He has coached youth basketball for over forty years and is a National Youth Sport Coaches Association certified youth basketball coach.

Pertile is married to Renita D. King and they have a son, Arthur L. Pertile IV, and a daughter, Krissica L. Harper. He is a member of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Waco, Texas, and attends Current Christian Church of Katy, Texas.



Outstanding Alumni Award in Business

Jimmy Stallings ’50 earned his B.B.A. from McMurry University. He opened Stallings Financial Services and Income Tax Preparation Services in 1958 in Stanton, Texas. He served on the McMurry Board of Trustees from 1980-84. His volunteer and philanthropic efforts have impacted the University and the lives of hundreds in West Texas.


Outstanding Alumni Award in Education

Joey Light ’82 earned his B.S. in Physical Education and Chemistry from McMurry University. He graduated from

Wylie High School in 1978 and returned in 1992 as the Junior High principal. In 2000, Light was named the Assistant Superintendent and was elevated to Superintendent of Wylie ISD in 2008. In 2012, Joey was named Region 14 Superintendent of the Year. He is an active member of Holy Family Catholic Church and serves in the prison ministry. He serves on numerous educational and civic committees.


Outstanding Alumni Award in Fine Arts

Brady Nichols Sloane ’04 earned her B.F.A. in Studio Art with an emphasis in painting from McMurry University. She earned her Master’s in Museum Studies from the University of Oklahoma and was hired at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth. Currently, she teaches art at Maddison Middle School in Abilene ISD and as an adjunct instructor at McMurry. She has received two Abilene Education Foundation STAR grants


Outstanding Alumni Award in Math & Sciences

Jennifer Codding-Bui ’06 earned her B.S. in Biochemistry, with honors, from McMurry University. She earned her

Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the Universityof Delaware. She currently serves as a Field Applications Scientist with Pall Forte Bio. She credits McMurry University with playing a big part in building her interdisciplinary foundation and encouraging her broad scientific interests.


Outstanding Alumni Award in Religious & Spiritual Life

The Reverend Karen A. Greenwaldt ’73 earned her B.B.A. in Bustiness Education from McMurry University. She earned her Master’s in Theology from Perkins School of Theology. Karen is a retired elder in the Central Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. For 32 years, she was on the church’s General Board of Discipleship and served for 13 years as its CEO / General Secretary. In 2014, Greenwalt was named the Distinguished Alumna for Perkins School of Theology. In retirement, she works as a bead and fabric artist.


Young Alumni Achievement Award

Dr. Ryan T. Higley ’03 earned his B.S. in Biology from McMurry University. He went on to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery, graduating Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Texas Health Science Center in 2007. Dr. Higley then completed his Residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. His professional interests consist of facial surgical procedures including hard and soft tissue grafting, corrective jaw surgery, cleft lip and palate surgery and maxillofacial trauma reconstruction. Dr. Higley is an associate Professor of Surgery at Texas Tech Health Science Center in Lubbock and serves on the University Medical Center Cleft Lip, Palate and Craniofacial Team. He has also served as Chairman for The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Dental Sections at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock. Dr. Higley is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery as well as the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology. He is on the Board of Directors for Cupcakes for Clefts, as well as the Texas Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Dr. Higley is currently serving as the president of the South Plains District Dental Society and is an active member of the Lubbock Executive Association. Dr. Higley has many hobbies outside of clinical practice including large game and upland bird hunting, welding, weight lifting, travel, fly-fishing, snow skiing and is a licensed pilot.

2018 Night of Distinction Photo Gallery

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Gary Ellison