Weatherford College to honor its own at Homecoming

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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At its annual Homecoming this Saturday, Weatherford College will honor three former students with the highest honors bestowed on alumni.

Dr. Christa Johnson Mars, Class of 1971, a surgeon in the Mayo Clinic in Wisconsin, will be recognized as WC Alumnus of the Year. Dr. Eldon Clary Jr., Class of 1960, dean of the College of Education at Arkansas Tech University, and Duane Durrett, Class of 1968, dean of WC Wise County, will be honored as Distinguished Alumni.

Mars graduated from WC as the valedictorian, completing pre-med courses, and enrolled at Texas Wesleyan University. After her junior year, she was accepted into medical school at the University of Texas, where she graduated four years later in the top five of her class. Recognized as the first woman surgeon in the medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha, Mars’ career through the years finally took her to the Mayo Clinic Health System in Wisconsin, where she was recruited to build a surgical program in that area. Mars has done extensive advanced training in minimally-invasive surgery, endoscopy, ultrasonography and breast surgery. She performs 350-600 surgeries annually.

Clary, a Mineral Wells and Millsap native, is a long-time educator, having received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in Education at the University of North Texas. His distinguished career led him to Arkansas Tech in the late 1960s, where he has held various leadership positions, most recently the dean of the College of Education. Clary has authored and presented numerous papers on educational topics such as curriculum development, teacher education, decision-making and rethinking student teaching, among others. Additionally, he has served on numerous peer-review committees for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Durrett is a familiar name around Weatherford, Weatherford College and the music industry. He has been a WC employee for more than 38 years, having served in various teaching, management and executive positions. An accomplished drummer, he has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in music, including Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Chuck Berry, David “Fathead” Newman, Ray Price and many others. He founded and directed the WC Jazz Band from 1970 until 1990, leading the first community college band ever chosen to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Currently, he is the dean of WC’s new Wise County campus.

The trio of award recipients and their families will be honored guests Saturday at the Homecoming Awards Dinner, which will be held in the lobby of the WC’s new Academic Building, beginning at 5 p.m. WC alumni and members of the general public are invited to attend. Tickets are $15 per person. Contact 817-598-6272 or email mjohnson@wc.edu for reservations.

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