of Young Associates (BYA), in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Relations,
will host the twelfth annual Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Banquet at 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 20 in the multipurpose room of the Johnson Building. The award
recipients this year are Mr. Justin Furnace ’01, Mr. Jason Newman ’95 and
Allison Rhodes Ex ’95.
is given to the three alumni, that at the time of selection graduated from
Hardin-Simmons University no more than 20 years prior and are not over the age
of 45. The award is presented to those that have achieved a significant level
of distinction in their field or brought extraordinary benefit to the world.
award] stemmed from a realization that young alumni of Hardin-Simmons
University are doing great things in their fields of endeavor and/or in their
community/state/nation, and an avenue for recognizing these efforts was
needed,” Britt Jones, director of Alumni Relations said. “Additionally, the
Young Associates realized this award category would be yet another way of
connecting the University with her young alumni.”
graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in history and went on to receive his Doctorate
of Jurisprudence from Texas Tech University in 2004. He is the Corporate
Manager of External Affairs for Hilcorp Energy Company, one of the largest
privately owned oil and gas companies in the United States and he serves on the
Board of Directors for Zion Oil and Gas, a company devoted to finding oil in
HSU because his pastor in Belton, Texas was an alumnus and when he came to
campus he knew it was the place that God wanted him to be at. Furnace was a
member of Phi Alpha Theta and the Moot Court team while at HSU. During his time
at HSU Furnace was impacted by Victor Carrillo, ’86, who taught legal studies
and Dr. Don Taylor, professor of history.
Carrillo became a life-long friend and mentor and I later became his Chief of
Staff and Legal Counsel while he was the Chairman of the Railroad Commission,”
Furnace said. “He convinced me to go to law school and profoundly influenced my
career. Dr. Don Taylor has a passion for history and it showed in his teaching.
I love history and always will due in large measure to the hours I spent in his
attending HSU Furnace met his wife, Lyndee (Pursley) Furnace, ’01, they now
have three children Andrew, Justin and Mason.
working at Hilcorp Furnace served as the President of the Texas Independent
Producers & Royalty Owners Association. He currently serves on multiple
boards including the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Louisiana
Oil and Gas Association and the Marcellus Shale Coalition. He is also a current
member of the HSU Board of Development and previous member of the BYA.
encourages students to look for ways to expand their horizons in order for HSU
graduates to attain the highest levels in their chosen fields.
the time to set yourself up for a lifetime of future success,” Furnace said.
“For some it will mean a graduate program, others will head directly into the
workforce. Either way do not accept ceilings placed by others, or yourself, on
your achievement. There will be times when opportunities will present
themselves to you that will have the potential to change your trajectory. You
not only have to be wise enough to recognize them but also ambitious and
motivated enough to maximize them.”
graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and went on to attend South Texas
College of Law where he graduated as valedictorian with his Doctorate of
Jurisprudence in 2004. After law school he started as an associate at Baker
Botts LLP in Houston and in 2014 he was made a partner.
HSU was a family affair, his father Dr. George Newman, professor of biology for
over 25 years exposed him to campus life from an early age.
truly home to me,” Newman said. “I literally grew up there, following my day
around campus and going on field trips with his students to the Guadalupe
Mountains and our family land. It was natural for me to complete my
undergraduate education there.”
received the Judge Thomas Gibbs Gee Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service, he
has been recognized as a “Texas Rising Star” multiple times and he has been
listed as a recommended energy litigator in “The Legal 500 U.S.”
holds multiple court admissions and affiliations including the State Bar of
Texas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Texas and he is on the
Advisory Board for the Institute for Energy. He has also published in multiple
law journals and presented at various symposiums and conferences.
He and his
wife Jamie (Ellis) Newman have two children, Rhett and Wyatt.
also a family affair for Rhodes, who majored in political science and minored
in leadership studies, she went on to earn her Bachelors of Arts in political
science and economics from Columbia University – Barnard College and her Master
of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. Nearly 20 of
her relatives, including her dad, mom and grandfather graduated from HSU and
she grew up hearing their stories about campus.
deciding on colleges, I visited other schools, but HSU is where I felt most
comfortable and I knew it was a community and education that fit my
priorities,” Rhodes said.
HSU Rhodes was active in Student Congress, holding the position of Committee
Chair for University Queen Coronation, a member of Sigma Alpha, Concert Band,
Model UN, the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageants and part of Freshman SING!.
Rhodes was influenced by her time in Dr. Lanny Hall’s classroom, who at the
time taught a Legislative Process class which influenced her decision to study
political science, along with other professors who pushed her to be better.
of the [Legislative Process] class, we visited the Texas state capitol, met with
elected officials, and heard fascinating first-hand stories about the
behind-the-scenes legislative process,” Rhodes said. “I was also part of the
inaugural class for the Leadership Studies program led by Drs. Turner and
Whitehorn which was a fantastic learning experience that I still reflect upon.”
sophomore year Rhodes participated in a Model UN trip to compete in New York
City, which would completely change the course her life was taking.
days opened up an entirely new world to me and within a matter of months I
would move to NYC, making it my permanent home for the next 11 years,” Rhodes
eight of those years exploring different fields from investment banking to
television production to public relations before finding that finance was her
niche. She became the Vice President and Private Wealth Advisor for Goldman
Sachs in 2008.
hopes that HSU students will make the most of the opportunities that are given
to them in order to maximize their chances at success after graduation.
most of every summer during college to get internships that allow you to
explore career fields and develop professional skills,” Rhodes said. “It will
help you immensely in securing a great job upon graduation and propelling your
career forward faster. Believe in yourself, work hard, have a positive
attitude, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.”
year’s award winners speak to the caliber of graduates that HSU is sending out
into the world in every vocational area. These three stand as a goal for
current students to strive for.