Longview, TX (LISD) — Longview ISD on May 10 will honor three former students during the annual Distinguished Alumni ceremony and luncheon.
Events are set to begin at 9:30 a.m. with the Longview ISD Foundation commemorative brick presentation at the Lobo Foundation Plaza (near the home entrance to Lobo Stadium). This event is free and open to the public.
An 11:15 a.m. reception at Pinecrest Country Club will be followed by lunch at 11:30. Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased from Debbie Leith at the Education Support Center, 1301 E. Young St., by May 6th for $15.
Honorees are nominated at-large and chosen by a committee of previous honorees, volunteer Distinguished Alumni Committee members and the district’s Community Relations office. Distinguished alumni typically have excelled professionally, in addition to serving the communities in which they live. Following are brief biographies of this year’s honorees:
Dr. Harvard Ayers
Since graduating from Longview High School in 1959, Harvard Ayers has become widely recognized for his anthropological, archeological and conservation efforts. His inspiration, according to Dr. Ayers, is the golden rule.
“In order for a society to function, there must be a sense of ‘we are in this together’ and always use the filter of how you would feel if someone treated us the same way you treat them,” he recently wrote.
Dr. Ayers, professor emeritus of anthropology at Appalachian State University, is described by his colleagues as a “mover and shaker.” He has written and published two books and has been an active member of the Sierra Club since 1977, chairing several committees and founding the Native American Committee. He additionally led a 2006 archeological expedition of the Blair Mountain Battlefield, where 15,000 coal miners fought in 1921 for better working conditions, and currently chairs the Friends of Blair Mountain, an organization charged with preserving the area. Ayers also has extensively researched climate change in the Artic and its effect on inhabitants of that region.
Ayers earned his BA in anthropology from the University of Texas in the four years following high school, and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1963 to 1965. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from Catholic University in 1967 and 1972, respectively.
Mayor Barbara Reid Bass
Mayor Barbara Reid Bass is known throughout east Texas as a visionary and tireless worker – both in her professional life and her involvement in the community.
Bass began her education in Longview ISD at South Ward Elementary School and graduated from Longview High School in 1972. She became a Certified Public Accountant after graduating from Texas A&M Commerce in 1976. Bass is a managing partner at Gollob Morgan Peddy PC, the largest CPA firm between Dallas and Shreveport.
When she’s not working at the firm Bass strives to make Tyler a better place to live. She is a member and past chairman of the Tyler Economic Development Council. She also chaired the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas.
Outside of her career and leadership in the Tyler community, Barbara and her husband Bill are members of Pollard United Methodist Church, where she is past chairman of the administrative board and serves as foundation treasurer. She has also served as chairman for the Hospice of East Texas Foundation and as treasurer for the East Texas Symphony.
Perhaps her most widely known accomplishment is her service as Tyler’s mayor. Bass was elected to the post 2008 and has been twice re-elected. Her three-term limit as mayor will wrap up in 2014.
Dr. David Fletcher Smith
Dr. David Fletcher Smith, according to his college alma mater, is writing a script that might someday result in the cure and prevention of many diseases.
Smith, a member of Longview High School’s class of 1963, is an accomplished researcher and professor of biochemistry. Consequently, he has made many new discoveries about proteins and carbohydrates – the building blocks of life.
Smith holds a B.S. in chemistry/biology from Texas Lutheran University; he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; and did post-doctoral work at Florida State University. He has taught at Virginia Tech, University of Georgia, Oklahoma University and Emory University School of Medicine, where he now teaches.
He is widely known for his biochemical research, which has been published in multiple professional journals. More recently, Smith began working collectively with six international research centers on a project exploring and identifying the molecular structure of carbohydrates on cellular membranes. Smith was featured in Time magazine for these efforts.
Smith has been recognized for his work by the National Cancer Institute, among other national and international organizations. Texas Lutheran University has also honored him as one of their distinguished alumni.