No parade, but Troy homecoming will carry on

Published 6:17 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Troy University will celebrate its 2020 Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 24, under the theme of “Home Sweet TROY.”

TROY’s Homecoming game is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff as the Trojans welcome Sun Belt Conference opponent Georgia State to Veterans Memorial Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of the Homecoming parade and limited some events that are usually a part of the festivities, traditions such as the crowning of the Homecoming queen and the recognition of Alumni of the Year will continue this year.

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The Homecoming Court will be recognized during pre-game festivities on the stadium’s plaza level beside the Trojan Warrior Statue. The Homecoming Queen will be crowned in the same location during halftime. Both recognitions will be broadcast via the stadium’s video boards.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about the need to approach events and activities differently this year, but Homecoming at TROY still holds a special place in the hearts of our alumni and fans,” said Faith Byrd, Director of Alumni Affairs. “We are excited to recognize four Alumni of the Year, as well as a special posthumous recognition of our Honorary Alumna of the Year. We know that while we have to celebrate a bit differently this year, Troy University is and will always be ‘Home Sweet TROY’ for the Trojan Family.”

Troy University will recognize four alumni as Alumni of the Year and one honorary Alumna of the Year during halftime of the game. This year’s honorees are: Brig. Gen. Ed Crowell (USAF, ret.), Joe Judkins, Freddie Thomas and Lawrence Tynes. Dr. Jean Laliberte will be honored posthumously as Honorary Alumna of the Year.

Gen. Crowell, who received his Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in management in 2001, has been a member of the Troy University Board of Trustees since 2009. His military service in the Air Force and Reserves spanned 35 years, including stints as the commandant of the Air War College, vice commander of Air University and mobilization assistant to the Commander of Air University before his retirement in 2009. He recently retired as president and chief executive officer of VT Miltope, a leading manufacturer of computers, servers, network peripherals and airborne solutions. Crowell is a past chairman of the State of Alabama’s Ethics Commission, a past member of the Board of Directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, past chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, and past chair of the River Region United Way Annual Campaign. In 2018 he was selected as the YMCA Man of the Year, and currently serves on its Board of Directors in Montgomery. He is married to Ernestine Jordan Crowell. They have two children.

Judkins, a 21-year veteran of the Air Force, earned his bachelor’s degree in social science in 1996 and his master’s degree in psychology in 1997. Following his Air Force retirement in 1996, he worked with Choice Behavioral Health from 1996 to 2000 before working for the Lockheed Martin Corporation from 2000 to 2018. An active member of the Fort Walton Beach, FL community, Judkins is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Stage Crafters Community Theatre, a past member of the Northwest Florida All Sports Association and member of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church. A lifetime member of the Troy University Alumni Association and president of the Emerald Coast Alumni Chapter, he established an endowed scholarship for the Emerald Coast chapter and also helped establish alumni chapters in Pensacola and Panama City. Judkins is a charter member of the Trojan Warrior Council, a member of the TROY Shield Society, a member of the Trojan Warrior Society and an avid supporter of Trojan athletics events. He and his wife, Jane, have three children and three grandchildren.

Thomas, a former walk-on who became a two-time All-American football player at TROY, earned his bachelor’s degree in management in 1988. He was a member of both the 1984 and 1987 NCAA Division II National Championship Teams. In 2015, Thomas was inducted in the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame. In 2019, he was named to the Sun Belt Conference’s Honor Roll of Players. Since 2009, Thomas, a Montgomery native and current Birmingham resident, has served as staffing team manager at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC. A member of the Troy University Alumni Association Board of Directors and a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, Thomas also serves as president for the Trojan Tailgaters chapter, chartered in 2015. The chapter’s annual Alumni Ball during Homecoming helps fund the Student Alumni Association Scholarship. Thomas has been an active coach and supporter of youth sports and a mentor to youth organizations. He and his wife, TROY alumnus Deborah, have three children – one a TROY graduate and the other two current TROY students.

Tynes, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants and a 2013 inductee into the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame, is a 2000 TROY graduate. After helping TROY to a pair of Southland Conference titles and two NCAA I-AA playoff berths, Tynes went on to a more than 12-year professional football career as a placekicker, including two years with the Ottawa Renegades of the Canadian football League, two stints with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and six years with the New York Giants. Tynes is the only player in NFL history to have two overtime, game-winning field goals in the playoffs, and he still holds TROY records. Tynes is a senior vice president for Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation company. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Live Like Luke, a Kansas-based non-profit organization that offers enrichment activities for children, as well as tragedy assistance and “bucket list” opportunities for terminally ill or injured children and their siblings. Tynes and his wife, Amanda, have twin boys.

Dr. Laliberte, who passed away in June, was one of Troy University’s most enthusiastic supporters. Dr. Laliberte joined the TROY family in 1991, serving as a professor of marketing, a position she would hold until 2005. In 2000, she was named Associate Vice Chancellor for Development, serving in that position until her retirement in 2017. Dr. Laliberte spearheaded the University’s Building Beyond Boundaries capital campaign, which well surpassed its goal by raising $258.3 million. She also was responsible for founding the TROY Shield Society, which recognizes donors who make planned legacy gifts to the University, and, herself, left a $50,000 legacy gift that will go to the Laliberte Endowed Scholarship. Dr. Laliberte was also dedicated to serving the Troy community, including serving as the local chapter and state treasure of Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority; as a member of Troy Rotary; secretary of the Troy Arts Council; Troy Arts Auxiliary; the Troy Regional Medical Foundation; and Park Memorial United Methodist Church’s Circle of Benevolence, among others. She is survived by her husband, David; her daughter Jennifer “Jeni” Laliberte-Gruber (Nick); her grandchildren, John Harrison and Hawkins Gruber.