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CCU Alumni of the Year honored

November 6, 2006

Five alumni of Coastal Carolina University have been named 2006 Outstanding Alumni of the Year.

Derek Blanton, class of 1979, was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. This award is given to a graduate of Coastal who has made a significant contribution to his/her profession or community over a period of time.

Blanton is a magistrate and municipal judge for Surfside Beach. During his years at Coastal, where he majored in history and minored in business administration, Blanton was one of the founders of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and was involved in the History Club.

He earned a juris doctorate degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich., in 1991. Blanton is active in the Surfside Area Rotary Club and serves on its board of directors. He was very involved in the Myrtle Beach All Aboard Committee, which saved and restored the old Myrtle Beach train depot. He also headed up the middle school dictionary program and worked as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. Blanton is an enthusiastic supporter of Chanticleer sports.

Mark and Will Adkins - E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration

Twin brothers Mark and Will Adkins both graduated from Coastal in 1989 with bachelor's degrees in business administration. Originally from Huntington, W.Va., they were active during their college years in Coastal's Business Club and they started club football as an intramural sport. Since graduation, the brothers have led successful careers as partners in the real estate and development business. Their company, the Waterfront Group Inc., based in Cornelius, N.C., is a growing firm serving the Carolinas and Virginia and employs a number of CCU graduates. In 2006, the Adkinses have pledged a total of $1.8 million for the proposed football field house in Brooks Stadium - the largest donation ever made to Coastal by alumni. They made a $300,000 donation in February 2006 and their pledge of $1.5 million was announced in November.

Georgia Vaught Anderson - Spadoni College of Education

A native of Loris, Georgia Vaught Anderson graduated from Conway High School in 1970 and was one of the first Coastal Carolina graduates to earn a bachelor's degree in 1974. At Coastal, she was president of the Student Government Association and won the George C. Rogers Award for Outstanding Service. In 1978, she graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law and married law school classmate David Anderson. She served as an assistant public defender for Spartanburg County from 1978 to 1983, when she transferred to the Spartanburg County Solicitor's Office. After a brief stint as an assistant solicitor she was appointed a full-time county magistrate. Anderson became a Family Court judge in 1995.

Joanne Patterson - College of Natural and Applied Science

Joanne Patterson entered Coastal as an adult, nontraditional student after earning an associate's degree in criminal justice from Horry-Georgetown Technical College. A single mother with a full-time job, she graduated magna cum laude in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. She worked in management positions with the Myrtle Beach Housing Authority and Citizens Against Spouse Abuse (CASA) before being named CASA's executive director in 2001. Patterson is also active in the Community Coalition and other organizations such as the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

Yasemin Saib - Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts Born in Iraq and raised in Saudi Arabia, Yasemin Saib enrolled at Coastal in 1991 as a political science major. While at CCU she participated in internship programs at Oxford University in England, Trier University in Germany and the University of the Bosphorus in Turkey. She graduated from Coastal, summa cum laude, in 1995. After earning a master's degree in technology from North Carolina State, Saib moved to New York where she worked in marketing and became active in Arab-America and Islamic philanthropic activities. After 9/11, she became a prominent media commentator and lecturer on Islamic issues, appearing on "Good Morning America" with Diane Sawyer and the PBS series "Frontline." In 2003 Saib moved to Dubai, where she works as a producer for the Al Arabiya News Channel.