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  • Alumni

McMurry University Names Inaugural Spirit of McMurry Award Winners


ABILENE, Texas – Shannon Sedgwick Davis ’96 of San Antonio, Texas, and Kay Younggren ’02, of Artesia, New Mexico, have been named the inaugural winners of the Spirit of McMurry Award given by the McMurry Alumni Association Board of Directors. The award is presented each year to alumni who have graduated within the last 20 years and who have shown excellence in their profession and in service to their community.

After her academic career at McMurry, in which she graduated with Honors, Shannon Sedgwick Davis earned a law degree from Baylor Law School. She has devoted her professional career to working to cure the social justice ills of our society and world.

Shannon currently serves as a partner at Bridgeway Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Bridgeway Capital Management, Inc. The Houston-based investment firm commits one-half of its annual profits towards philanthropic endeavors that focus on eliminating genocide as well as the promotion of peace, reconciliation, and human rights around the world. The Bridgeway Foundation is a founding partner in the newly established foundation called the Eastern Congo Initiative. This foundation established by Ben Affleck, is the first U.S. based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo. Shannon will serve on the Board of that Foundation.

Shannon has been a passionate advocate for social justice and international human rights her entire professional career. She previously served as vice-president of Geneva Global, an organization that invests in Third World communities, and as Director of Public Affairs at International Justice Mission, a human-rights organization in Washington, D.C. that focuses on ending slavery, forced prostitution, and illegal land seizures in the developing world. During her tenure at International Justice Mission, Shannon organized the 2002 Olympics’ Sex Trafficking Briefing. Shannon’s work was featured in the Emmy award winning Dateline segment, “Children for sale.” Shannon has spent a significant amount of time traveling abroad working to fight human trafficking and mass atrocities. Shannon is on the advisory board for The Elders, a collective group of world leaders assembled to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership

and integrity to tackling some of the world’s toughest problems. The Elders include, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan among others. Shannon meets frequently with the Elders focusing efforts on ending the nearly five-year genocide occurring in Darfur. Shannon also serves on the board of Humanity United, a foundation committed to building a world where modern-day slavery and mass atrocities are no longer possible. Shannon also serves on the Board for Tom’s Shoes, an American footwear company that is based in Santa Monica, California, that designs and sells lightweight shoes.

Kay Younggren was accepted to the Baylor Dental College immediately after graduating from McMurry due to her high academic preparation and achievement. She completed her studies at Baylor, and returned to her hometown of Artesia, beginning her career in dentistry. In less than five years Kay has purchased the practice, and is now in charge of a thriving dental office with a staff of 12—quite a feat for someone out of college less than 10 years! Kay participates in many professional dental organizations and continues to expand her skills by recently being certified for implant surgery.

Kay is a very active member of her community of Artesia NM. She is in the Lions Club and participates in many of their charitable functions, as well as being named the “2010 Lion of the Year” for the Artesia chapter. She is also a volunteer at the Boy Scout Philmont Ranch in NM. Kay is a dedicated member of the Artesia First United Methodist Church and is involved in committee work as well as Sunday School activities. This past year, Kay participated in the New Mexico Mission of Mercy in Albuquerque, a free dental clinic, which served over 2000 people in one three day weekend. She and five of her staff gave up their time to do so, and they are planning this as an annual event as a way to give back to the underserved of New Mexico.

McMurry is very fortunate to have an alumna such as Kay Younggren. From the time she graduated from McMurry, she has never forgotten her roots. Kay is a dedicated member of the McMurry Alumni Board of Directors, and has served as a Committee Chair for the last 3 years. She also serves on the McMurry Science Advisory Board. Kay is a consistent generous donor to McMurry University. In addition, she is very instrumental in contacting and developing relationships with Artesia high school students by encouraging them to consider McMurry as their college home. And, once they say “YES” to McMurry, her involvement does not stop there. Each time Kay is in Abilene, whether it is for a Board meeting, or homecoming, or another event, she always contacts all of the Artesia students and treats them to a meal and fellowship. This gives them a chance to know their hometown cares about them, and that a very successful McMurry alumna cares about them. Kay makes it a point to continue and nurture these one on one relationships. The Artesia student base is, and has been, very strong, and part of this is due to efforts of Kay Younggren.