2017 Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Banquet March 3


The HSU Board of Young Associates along with the Office of Alumni Relations will host the 14th annual Outstanding Young Alumni Awards on Friday, March 3.

This award recognizes alumni who achieved outstanding accomplishments in their field of study, community, state, or nation. The Board of Young Associates created this award and it was first presented in 2004.   

This year’s recipients are Dr. William B. Cutrer, Pediatric ICU Doctor/Professor; Ms. Shanna Smith, Hospitality Industry Professional; and Mr. Jeremy Shea Leech, entrepreneur/ jeweler.  

Dr. Cutrer, who received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology in 1999, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He works to advance medical school curricular and assessment programs. During his time at HSU he was a member of the Cowboy Band.   

Dr. Cutrer said, “My time at HSU was absolutely outstanding and I loved every minute! The rigorous academic program paved the way for successful medical training. HSU also allowed me to pursue my interests in studying and understanding the Bible that continues to serve as a solid foundation for my ministry efforts today.  Last but certainly not least, the opportunity to travel and perform as part of the World Famous Cowboy Band was a highlight of my time on the Forty Acres.” 

Ms. Smith, who received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2008, is the Chief of Staff for Visit San Antonio. She oversees the organization’s long-term strategic plan, produces critical executive communications, and oversees major events. While at HSU, she was a cheerleader. She has served on the Board of Young Associates since 2012.    

“HSU provided me with a strong spiritual and educational foundation to begin my career on the right path," said Ms. Smith. "HSU’s passionate, caring professors invested in not only the quality of my academics, but also my personal quality of life and wellbeing. HSU truly opened my eyes to the importance of relationship building and nurturing. I am incredibly grateful for the impact the university has had on my life. HSU has truly helped shape my foundation and future. The fond memories I have of my time at Hardin-Simmons have led me to be very passionate about the university’s endeavors, opportunities and future.” 

Mr. Leech has owned J. Shea Jewelers in Abilene since 1999. He graduated from HSU in 2003 with a Bachelor of Behavioral Science in Psychology. He opened the store while still at HSU and while serving as a youth minister in Sweetwater. The store started as a 100 foot mall kiosk to a full-grown jewelry store offering custom castings, their own line of jewelry, and much more. 

Mr. Leech shared, “My time at HSU will always be cherished. It afforded me the opportunity to get a quality education with a faith-based foundation. I formed lifelong relationships with my peers as well as the professors.”  

The Board of Young Associates invite you to attend the Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Banquet. To find more details and tickets visit www.hsutx.edu/oya.   



  • A Princeton Review Best Western College
  • Council for Christian Colleges & Universities  
  • Center for Student Opportunity: Promoting a College-Bound Culture
  • US News Best Colleges
  • Military Friendly
  • Colleges of Distinction
  • College Choice Best Christian Colleges and University
  • University and College Accountability Network