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2016 Outstanding Alumni of the Year
Coastal Carolina University announced the 2016 Outstanding Alumni of the Year honorees during its homecoming football game on Saturday, Oct. 22, in Brooks Stadium. Gary Gilmore is the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, and Meghan Laffin received the Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year Award.
Candidates nominated for the alumni awards are chosen by a panel of faculty judges who consider such characteristics as integrity, loyalty, leadership and civic involvement.
Gilmore, a native of Rocky Mount, Va., earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1980. After graduating from Coastal, he played baseball for a short time in the Philadelphia Phillies organization and then became a scout for the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians. In 1990, he was promoted to head baseball coach at the University of South Carolina-Aiken, where he had served the previous four years as an assistant coach. During his six seasons as mentor, he recorded 253 wins and earned a trip to the 1993 NCAA Division II College World Series.
Gilmore was named CCU’s head baseball coach prior to the 1996 season. During his 21 seasons as skipper, he’s tallied an overall record of 847-438 and has led the program to 14 NCAA Division I Regionals, three Super Regionals and the 2016 College World Series. His 1,100 career victory came in the final game of the 2016 College World Series, where the Chanticleers won the national championship.
Laffin, a native of Long Island, N.Y., earned a bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in journalism in 2014. Captain of the volleyball team, she was named the 2013-14 Presidential Student-Athlete of the Year, and she received the 2014 Ronald D. Lackey Service Award. She was a member of the University Honors Program and the Wall Fellows program, and she was active in WCCU Radio, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Golden Key International Honor Society.
After interning at CBS News to help fulfill her degree requirements, Laffin was later hired on a full-time basis. She began by learning the fundamentals, shadowing producers and assisting them with major projects. From there, she produced live shots with reporters in the field and the “Eye Opener” segment on Saturday morning. Later she switched to the control room where she now works as an associate producer for “CBS This Morning.”
2015 Alumnus of the Year
Brian Forbus graduated cum laude from CCU in 1997 with a degree in biology. Since 2002, he has been a certified physician assistant at Coastal Orthopedics in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area.
He has been a member of CCU’s Alumni Association Board of Directors for 11 years, serving the last six as president of the executive committee. As president, he speaks each year at CCU’s commencement ceremonies to welcome the newest members of the alumni body. In addition, he spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the new Pi Kappa Phi patio at the recently renovated Atheneum Hall Alumni Center.
Forbus has been a local resident for the last 25 years and is a graduate of Socastee High School. His educational background includes earning a bachelor’s in physician assistant studies from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and a master’s in physician assistant studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
He is board-certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is an active member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants.
From left: Director of Alumni Relations Jean Ann Brakefield '84, Alumnus of the Year Brian Forbus '97 and CCU President David A. DeCenzo at the 2015 Founders Day Convocation
2015 Young Alumnus of the Year
James Marino earned a marine science degree with a minor in coastal geology from CCU in 2013. In July, he joined the Peace Corps for a two-year stint in a small village in the Philippines. He is working to improve the ecosystem there by establishing a marine protected area for local corals, sea grasses and mangroves. He also is creating a sustainable fishery for the village.
Originally from Connecticut, Marino was very active on campus. He supported sustainability legislation as a senator in the Student Government Association. As a result, he was named a Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow, which recognizes students who demonstrate a personal commitment to creating lasting change for the better in their communities. He also served as co-chair for Relay for Life, where he helped to establish the annual Shawn R. Ponton Memorial Car Show fundraiser as a tribute to a fellow classmate who lost his life in a car accident.
Immediately following graduation from Coastal, Marino held an education/conservation internship at the Bald Head Island Conservancy in North Carolina. He also was an education assistant at the Mote Marine Laboratory and the Aquarium in Sarasota, Fla.
From left: Director of Alumni Relations Jean Ann Brakefield '84, Sarah Craig '13 and CCU President David A. DeCenzo. Craig accepted the award on behalf of James Marino '13, who is working in the Philippines.
View past honorees below.
Read more about the Founders Day Celebration »
Gary Gilmore '80 | Outstanding Alumnus of the Year
Megan Laffin '14 | Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year
Brian Forbus '97 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
James Marino '13 | Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year
Patrick Sparks '95 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Brooke Donaldson '11 | Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year
Alexander D. Klaus '05 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Amy McAllister-Skinner '12 | Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year
Olin Utterback '98 | Business Administration
Amber Campbell '04 | Science
Melanie B. Dozier '11 | Education
Alexandra Tamburro '10 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Dr. Steven Jachec '95 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Alexandra Tamburro '10 | Young Alumnus of the Year
Lisa Rachels '98 | Business Administration
Tim Hardee '78 | Science
Rob Spino '00 | Education
Erin Donovan | Humanities and Fine Arts
Tami Springs Brooks '80 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Jason Repak '07 | Young Alumnus of the Year
Christopher S. Huggins '90 | Business Administration
Robert M. Johnson '98 | Science
Ebbie Gore '87 '00 | Education
R. Walter Hill IV '00 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Delan Stevens '79 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Jason Repak '07 | Young Alumnus of the Year
Thomas Loehr ’80 | Business Administration
Caryn Self-Sullivan ’97 | Science
Melissa McCloud ’95 | Education
Robert Shelton ’97 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
William Marsh '86 | Business Administration
Sachin Gupta '91 | Science
Forrest Alton '99 | Education
Natasha Mabry Hanna '94 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Cynthia Galloway '80 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Woody Ford '05 | Business Administration
Geoffrey Parsons '88 | Science
Sherry Johnson '96 | Education
Dawn Richardson '98 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Mike Pruitt ’84 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Mark Adkins '89 | Business Administration
Will Adkins '89 | Business Administration
Joanne Patterson '95 | Science
Georgia Vaught Anderson '74 | Education
Yasemin Kanan Saib '95 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Derek Blanton ’79 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Mike Pruitt ’84 | Business Administration
Christine Shutter ’94 | Science
Jody Hyden ’88 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Bruce Maggi ’01 | Education
Timothy Meacham ’79 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
D. Wyatt Henderson ’88 | Business Administration
William C. “Bill” Eiser ‘82, ‘84 | Science
Stephanie Horner Toney ’01 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Ashley D. Godwin ’92 | Education
John Trueluck ’00 | Continuing Studies
The Honorable Alan D. Clemmons ’82 | Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Jay Huggins '88 | Business Administration
Tony D. Prince '93 | Science
Janice Cannan ’96 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Sandy Sarvis Brossard ‘79 | Education
Kenneth Charles Canturbury ‘99 | Continuing Studies
Scott Harrelson '86 | Business Administration
Dr. John Bailey '84 | Science
Anita Williams Huggins ‘98 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Mark Roach ‘84 | Education
Paul Sweeney ‘00 | Continuing Studies
Dale Zeglin '84 | Business Administration
Kerry Schwanz '93 | Science
James Guignard ’97 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Johnny Calder ’70, ’89 | Education
Tabby Shelton ’99 | Continuing Studies
Larry D. Coats, Jr. | Business Administration
Stuart Stevens | Science
Ashley L. Bruton ’96 | Humanities and Fine Arts
Debbie Dewitt '80 | Education
Warren Gall '86 | Continuing Studies
Other Past Recipients
William H. Alford ‘77
Fran B. Gilbert ‘78
Ruth S. Kearns ‘68
Michael C. Krug ‘79
Clark B. Parker ‘77
Juli S. Powers ‘79
William E. Stanton ‘86