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  • Alumni

McMurry University Names Lon Outland, JoLisa Hoover As 2012 Spirit of McMurry Award Winners


ABILENE, Texas– Lon Outland ’93, an attorney from Grand Prairie, Texas, and JoLisa Hoover ’92, a fourth-grade school teacher from Cedar Park, Texas, have been named the winners of the 2012 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. They will be honored at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 at the McMurry Honors: Alumni Awards and Coronation ceremonies in Radford Auditorium, as part of McMurry’s Homecoming festivities

Outland graduated summa cum laude in 1993 from McMurry with his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science. While at McMurry, Outland teamed with fellow McMurry graduate John Parker and McMurry professor Dr. Gary Wilson, to form Intuitive Systems, Inc. and create VirtualUnknownTM Microbiology software, which is used by countless microbiology instructors in nursing schools all over the world. The collaboration between Outland, Parker and Wilson began in the mid-1990s, when the two students collaborated with Dr. Wilson on the project. The program details all the steps necessary for a lab process, including turning on Bunson Burners in the virtual lab and checking to make sure everything is sterilized. The final product turned in by the student is an actual lab report.

Outland presently is employed as an attorney at the prestigious Dallas-area law firm Jones Day, LLP. He has served in a number of judicial internships and will spend the coming year in another federal court clerkship for the appeals court in Washington DC, where all patent and trademark and intellectual property cases find their final hearing.

Prior to attending law school at the University of Texas at Austin, Outland worked as a software engineer for 12 years with Rockwell Collins, Nortel and Crescent Systems, where he designed, developed and maintained software for use primarily in embedded radio-frequency digital communications systems. While working full-time he also completed his master’s in business at UT-Dallas and was heavily involved in programming for an educational software product for ISYS. Outland returned to McMurry with a graduate degree from the University of Texas at Dallas to teach for a year at his alma mater. He drove from Dallas twice a week to teach the class. He has served on the McMurry Science & Math Advisory Board, helping with membership, Wall of Honor, Nobel Laureate talks, and provision of resources to support McMurry faculty and students.

“JoLisa Hoover ’92 exemplifies the strong foundation McMurry can provide for her students. She serves as a fantastic example of an alumna who has “made a life, not a living.”

After graduating from McMurry, Hoover earned a master’s degree from Texas A&M University. She currently teaches fourth grade class at River Ridge Elementary in Leander I.S.D.

Hoover was the 2005 Houston Regional Winner of the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, Leadership Elementary category and was selected by US Secretary of Education to serve in the Teaching Ambassador Fellowship (over 1000 applications received, 25 selected). The program is designed to allow outstanding teachers an opportunity to contribute to the greater debate about education in America while still performing vital roles in their classrooms and schools. Hoover remains active in the alumni network of the program.

She has served as a consultant for Bryan, Amarillo, San Marcos and Leander ISDs as well as the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Education Agency, US Department of Education and SXSWedu.

Her community involvement includes serving for four summers working with children as a Kid’s Club Wrangler at Wind River Ranch, a Christian family guest ranch in Estes Park, CO. She also has served as a Sea Camp counselor at Texas A&M in Galveston and has twenty plus years of service with children’s and other musical ministries at various United Methodist churches. Hoover sings in the Messengers of Grace praise team at Bethany United Methodist church in Austin, Texas.

Hoover is a founding member of the Servant Leadership Advisory Board for the Servant Leadership Center and has served in multiple leadership roles including Vice Chair, Secretary and Chair. She also is an active member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.