Hardin-Simmons To Honor Outstanding Young Alumni with Achievement Award

The HSU Board of Young Associates and the Office of Alumni Relations will host the 13th Annual Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Banquet Friday


The Board of Young Associates (BYA), in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Relations, will host the 13th annual Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Banquet Friday in the multipurpose room of the Johnson Building. The award recipients this year are Mr. Matt Chandler ’99, Dr. Cristel Camacho ’05, and Dr. Starr (Brockmeier) Hoffman ’99.

Recipients of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award have achieved a significant level of distinction within their chosen field or have brought extraordinary benefit to the world. They reflect the quality and caliber of today’s HSU students and alumni. At the time of their selection, recipients have graduated from Hardin-Simmons not more than 20 years prior and are not over the age of 45.

BYA is a select group of HSU alumni under the age of 40 who together aspire voluntarily to assist HSU in the areas of public relations, leadership, financial development, student affairs, and student recruitment. Membership on the board is granted by invitation through the BYA Membership Committee with approval of the general HSU board and the university president. The Board of Young Associates received approval for the Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2003 with the first awards being made in Spring 2004.

Matt Chandler graduated with a Bachelor in Behavioral Science in Ministry. Chandler is Lead Pastor of Teaching for The Village Church (formerly First Baptist, Highland Village) with five campuses in the DFW Metroplex. Podcasts and videos of Chandler’s sermons carry The Village Church’s ministry literally all over the world. Chandler has authored or co-authored several books, and his popular teaching series and studies are also available to churches world-wide.

He also serves as President of the Acts 29 Network, an organization dedicated to planting church-planting churches.

During his years in Abilene, Chandler led the huge interfaith Grace Bible Study which was attended by students from Hardin-Simmons, Abilene Christian, and McMurry Universities.

Chandler and his wife Lauren (Walker ’01), an author in her own right, live with their three children in Highland Village, TX.    

Cristel Camacho graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology/Biochemistry. She is a cancer research scientist. As a published Postdoctoral Research Fellow with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, Camacho focuses on understanding the role of DNA repair deficiencies in the developing central nervous system and its contribution to gliomagenesis.

After graduation from HSU, Camacho attended The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where, through the Cancer Biology graduate program, she carried out her graduate studies under the mentorship of Sandeep Burma, Ph.D. Camacho’s NASA-funded Ph.D. research (2012) focused on understanding the carcinogenic consequences of radiation exposure, particularly in the brain.

Among her many awards, Camacho was included in the 2014 edition of Latino American Who’s Who.

Camacho lives near Memphis, TN, with her husband Evan Villarreal.

Starr Hoffman graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art/English Literature. Hoffman is head of planning and assessment at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, an administrative position involving strategic planning, organizational development, and evaluating library performance.

She has previously served as Head of the Journalism Library at Columbia University and Head of the Government Documents Department at the University of North Texas. She also served as an adjunct faculty member and visiting assistant professor at the Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science in New York.

A published scholar, Hoffman holds three additional degrees, all from The University of North Texas, Denton, including a doctorate in higher education.

Hoffman and her husband Alex ’00, both Board of Young Associates auxiliary members, live in Las Vegas.

Presenting the awards will be Dr. Brad Butler (’97, OutstandingYoung Alumni Award winner 2010), a practicing anesthesiologist in Abilene, Texas, where he is on staff at Abilene Regional Medical Center. A decorated flight surgeon in the Air Force Reserves, Butler is a graduate of the School of Aerospace Medicine, Air University’s Squadron Officer School, and Air Command and Staff College. He has deployed in service of contingency operations to both Europe, the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia. He holds the rank of lieutenant colonel and is currently assigned to the 489 Bomb Group, Dyess Air Force Base, TX. 


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