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Photo by Joshua Barrett, Student photographer

Thomas University presented awards to three of its outstanding supporters during the annual Forbes Society Dinner held Thursday, Feb. 1, at Glen Arven Country Club in Thomasville. Pictured are (from left) Denean Whittaker and Darren McGuire representing Wilo-Foundation, which received the President’s Award; Weschler Edelen, Holly Gainey, Ralph Edelen, Larry Edelen and Kate Edelen, family members of the late Eugenia Love Parlett, who received the Vicey Harris Award; Dr. Andy Sheppard, TU President; Carolyn and John Rainey with Goalline Ministries accepting the Ambassador’s Award on behalf of Mike and Kelly Grimsley.


TU honors outstanding supporters at annual dinner

Thomas University held its annual Forbes Society Dinner honoring its donors, supporters and scholarship recipients on Thursday, Feb. 1, at Glen Arven Country Club in Thomasville. Three awards were presented in recognition of the recipients’ service to TU.

The Ambassador’s Award was presented to Mike and Kelly Grimsley. This award is given to individuals in appreciation of exceptional volunteer commitment to Thomas University.  These individuals’ selfless contribution of their time and energy has been vital to the activities of the University. Accepting on their behalf were Carolyn and John Rainey with Goalline Ministries.

The Grimselys continually show support for TU’s student athletes and Goalline Ministries. Each Saturday night they hold a Bible study and meal at their home for Goalline Ministries participants. They participate in Goalline’s Adopt-a-Student program and regularly host students in their home. The Grimsleys provide a meal for the Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams during the annual Soccer camp. They also provide a meal for the TU Baseball Team during Baseball camp. The Grimsleys also created the 10-1 Foundation Scholarship for TU students.

Receiving the President’s Award was the Wilo-Foundation. This award is given to a corporation or foundation that consistently supports the Thomas University mission and that has consistently fostered the continued growth of all aspects of the University.

Based in Germany, the Wilo-Foundation has been a major funder for TU’s Camp STEMtastic, an annual science and technology camp for students in the Thomasville area recommended by their teachers based on the students’ interest in and aptitude for subjects in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. In the summer of 2017, representatives from the Wilo-Foundation traveled from Germany and Chicago to join one of the groups of campers. The Camp STEMtastic donation by the Wilo-Foundation was its first to an organization in the U.S.

The Vicey Harris Award was presented to the family of the late Eugenia Love Parlett. This award recognizes an individual for unique service to Thomas University during a critical time in the school’s history.  This award is named in honor of Vicey Harris, whose initial gift of $10,000 began the Birdwood College fund, setting the foundation for Thomas University.

Parlett served on the TU Board of Trustees from 1976 to 2000 and was named a trustee emerita in 2004. She was essential in obtaining recognition from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the Forbes Administration Building at TU. In 1999 TU presented Parlett with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

In 1994 TU named a building in honor of Parlett, whose name at the time was Eugenia Smitha. In 2016 and 2017, a new building was constructed in that location that is now home to the Thomasville Genealogical Library. The building continues to be called the Smitha Building. 

Education that Engages... Empowers... TRANSFORMS

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