FLORENCE — Two alumni from the University of North Alabama will be honored at the fall commencement ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 in Flowers Hall.
J. Weldon Cole, ’60, and Harry L. Smith, ’64, will receive honorary degrees, according to a university news release.
During his time at Florence State College, now UNA, Cole was editor of the Lion Gridiron and business manager of The Flor-Ala student newspaper. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and received the Turris Fidelis award, which is the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior. In 2008, Cole was named UNA Alumnus of the Year, and in 2017, he received the UNA Lifetime Achievement Award. Cole had a distinguished career with Price Waterhouse in New York, as president of Beloit Corp., and as senior vice president of Albany International before retiring in 2000.
Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Florence State. He was a member of the football team and Alpha Chi. He was Alumni Association president from 1977-78 and was named UNA Alumnus of the Year in 1986.
Smith remained in Florence for 16 years as a Certified Public Accountant and often taught business courses at UNA. He moved to Memphis where he became co-owner, chairman, and CEO of Schilling Enterprises. Smith is now retired. He has served on the UNA Foundation Board of Directors and as its chairman since 2016. He and his wife have established several endowed scholarships at UNA.
Cole and Smith were unanimously approved to receive these honorary doctorates at the September Board of Trustees meeting.
“These individuals personify what it means to support one’s alma mater,” said UNA President Ken Kitts. “(They) set a strong example of loyalty and excellence from which we may all learn.”
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