HSU Hosts Hall of Leaders Luncheon to Honor Four New Inductees

March 25, 2019 Macee Hall, Staff Writer

(ABILENE, Texas)–On March 22, Hardin-Simmons University hosted its annual Hall of Leaders luncheon in the Johnson Multipurpose Room to recognize the 2019 Hall of Leaders inductees. This year’s luncheon honored Mr. Pete Ondeng, Ms. Cydney Mizell, Dr. William O. Beazley, and Ms. Cynthia Pearson. Typically, the Hall of Leaders inducts three to four individuals each year, chosen from a pool of HSU graduates, former students, former faculty and staff, and other university leaders who exemplify leadership, service, and are people of excellent character.

Mr. Pete Ondeng is an economic development practitioner, author, speaker and a one-time Presidential candidate who came to Hardin-Simmons as an international student from Kenya in the late 1970s. After graduating from HSU in 1982 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting, Ondeng worked in various leadership roles, including as a senior financial analyst with the United States Agency for International Development in their Nairobi office. Ondeng authored two books, entitled How to Start Your Own Small Business and Africa’s Moment, the first of which sold 25,000 copies in the three years following its publication. Ondeng is currently the Founder and President of the Lead Africa Foundation, a think tank that also trains emerging leaders from all backgrounds.

Ms. Cydney “Cyd” Mizell worked as a servant leader through her teachings and humanitarian works in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mizell attended Hardin-Simmons from August of 1976 through December of 1977 and was known for her selflessness and Christ-like service. After earning a Master of Divinity degree in biblical languages from another seminary, Mizell worked as an administrative assistant for an international organization, which took her to Afghanistan in 2005. In Afghanistan, Mizell taught English at Kandahar University, gave sewing lessons at a girls’ school, and participated in irrigation, rehabilitation, health care, and restoration projects that helped Afghans gain agricultural advantages. On January 26, 2008, Afghan gunmen abducted and presumably killed Cydney Mizell and her driver. Cyd Mizell’s legacy lives on through the lives of those she impacted around the world.

Dr. William “Doc” Beazley worked in various positions under six HSU presidents from 1948 until 2006. Beazley received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bridgewater College in Virginia in 1936 before moving to Fort Worth in 1944 to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master of Religious Education degree in 1946, a Doctor of Religious Education in 1949 and, eventually, a Doctor of Education degree, as well. Beazley worked at HSU for the first time as a teacher under HSU President Dr. Rupert Richardson in the late 1940s before returning to Virginia, where the growing family stayed until 1960 when Beazley returned to HSU as Assistant to the President under Dr. Evan Reiff. Beazley remained at HSU until his death in 2006, taking countless roles within the university. Beazley’s most widely-known contribution to the school was as the director of the famous Six White Horses program.

HSU President Eric Bruntmyer addresses the audience.

HSU President Eric Bruntmyer addresses the audience.

Ms. Cynthia (King) Pearson is a non-profit executive and a leader in the Abilene community who has successfully run five major capital campaigns through Day Care Nursery in Abilene, where she acts as the CEO and president. Pearson graduated from Hardin-Simmons in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. In October of 1991, Pearson started her career at Day Nursery of Abilene, where she started as an assistant to the founding executive officer. Two years later, Pearson became the President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization and has since led her company to many successes, which has amassed 6.5 million in assets, effectively tripling its size, and is debt free. Pearson served on the HSU Board of Development from 2010 to 2012 and is a member of the Junior League of Abilene.

The Hardin-Simmons University Hall of Leaders, located in the first-floor corridor of the Elwin L. Skiles Social Science Building, provides a place where those on campus can recognize university leaders for their efforts. Established in 2001 through a generous donation from Doyle and Inez Kelley of Houston, the Hall of Leaders permanently recognizes inductees for their leadership and achievement within the university.

For a complete list of Hardin-Simmons University’s Hall of Leaders inductees and their biographies, click here: