Each year, Hardin-Simmons honors our alumni and former students. Awards are given for outstanding achievements in either their careers, their community, or their dedication to HSU. If you know of an alum who meets the criteria for one of our awards, please click here to nominate them. Our award categories are:
The Alumni Service Award is the highest alumni honor HSU can bestow. It has been presented since 1943 to former student(s) who has contributed the most in his or her field of endeavor toward the betterment of HSU, or who has rendered the greatest service to the University. Awards are selected by a committee whose members are established by a campus leadership role.
This award, given since 1970, is presented to alumni whose personal and professional accomplishments are exemplary of the ideals and aims of the University and thus bring honor to HSU. Awards are selected by a committee whose members are established by a campus leadership role.
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.
The Athletics Hall of Fame honors former athletes and coaches who made a significant contribution to HSU and the athletics program. They are selected at least 10 years after completing their HSU playing career (after five years for coaches), by a committee including current and former HSU athletes from various sports.
2022 Alumni Award Recipients
Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Kassia (Jackson) Krone ’09/’11
Dr. Kassia Krone received her B.A. in English education in 2009 and her M.A. in English in 2011 from HSU. She received her Ph.D. from Texas Christian University.
Kassia is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition at Friends University, where she also serves as General Education chair and co-chair of Friends’ Diversity Council. She is the co-author of Yours in Filial Regard: The Civil War Letters of a Texas Family and the author of her forthcoming book, Hollywood’s Monstrous Moms: Depictions of Disability and Motherhood. Her work is also featured in Mississippi Quarterly. While at HSU she was active on the Graduate Student Council, serving as president 2010-2011.
Molly Moser ’10
Molly graduated from HSU in 2010 with a B.B.S in communication. Currently, Molly is the manager of the Abilene Convention Center, where she oversees and coordinates the comprehensive administrative and operational activities of the Abilene Convention Center. She was awarded the Hero of Tourism designation by The Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2014, 2015, and 2019. Molly is the Board Chair of the Day Nursery of Abilene Board of Directors, a Loaned Executive for the United Way of Abilene, and a designated member of the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors. While a student at HSU, Molly was active in Sigma Alpha and the NSO steering committee.
Robbyn (Tribbey) Reid ’09/’11
Robbyn received her B.B.A. in 2009 and her MBA in 2011 from HSU. Before earning her graduate degree, Robbyn was employed by Double Eagle Development in Fort Worth, which began her career in oil and gas accounting and finance. In 2017, Robbyn decided it was time to pursue her lifelong goal of owning her own business. Part of a team, Robbyn developed, built, managed, and maintained an 81-unit senior apartment complex in Granbury, TX called The Residence at Legacy Park. While at HSU, Robbyn was awarded the Academic Foundation Medal, Outstanding Finance Student of the Year, and the Koreen & Lee Hemphill Service Award.
2021 Alumni Award Recipients
John J. Keeter, Jr. Alumni Service Award
Mr. Robert Ryan ’59 and Mrs. J’Lyn McDonald Ryan ’60
The word “service” exemplifies the lives of Robert and J’Lyn Ryan, graduates of 1959 (B.S.) and 1960 (B.B.A.), including their long-standing active association with Hardin-Simmons.
Loyal supporters of Hardin-Simmons for many years, the Ryans continue giving of their time, their resources, and their hearts. Both Robert and J’Lyn have been active members of Alumni Association Board of Directors. Robert also served several years on the Young Associates Board.
In her student days, J’Lyn was a member of the elite Cowgirls association. She has maintained those friendships through her ongoing involvement in HSU’s Ex-Cowgirls organization, even serving as president in 2019 and 2020. The young ladies who, as students, comprised the Cowgirls functioned as a cheering squad at athletic events, performed short routines during halftime at basketball and football games, and served as official hostesses for special events on campus.
Robert, who transferred to HSU as a junior, was a two-year letterman in basketball. He, too, has continued his association with teammates in the intervening years.
Today, the Ryans are both retired public-school educators with careers which centered around serving others. J’Lyn taught for 37 years while Robert’s career spanned 42 years as teacher/coach, principal, business manager, and school superintendent.
Wherever they have lived, Robert and J’Lyn have devoted time to serve church and civic organizations and, always, to serve Hardin-Simmons University.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Mr. Joseph (Joe) Reid Allen ’60
An outstanding and versatile student athlete, first-generation college graduate Joe Allen (B.S. 1960) utilized his well-honed skills to launch and sustain an outstanding career as a successful football coach and teacher, principal, and superintendent.
During his first job as a head football coach, Joe successfully turned around a losing Roswell, NM, program in only two and a half years. From there, he spent 31 years in the Crane, Texas, Independent School District, ultimately holding the role of Superintendent 1988-1993. During this time, his peers selected him as Region 18 Chairman for the 1992-1993 school year.
Following retirement, Joe resumed a life-long interest in archaeology. His historical/archaeological study of Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos River in Crane County and of Castle Gap in Upton County resulted in a paper which he presented to the Texas State Historical Association in March 2003.
Joe met and began working with historical researcher and author Dr. Glen Ely on the various Butterfield Overland stage stops in Texas and other similar historic sites. He again presented his work to the TSHA, and Dr. Ely published The Texas Frontier and the Butterfield Overland Mail – 1858-1861, in which he credited Joe’s work.
Joe, who also earned the M.Ed. degree in school administration from Stephen F. Austin (1968), married HSU co-ed Doniece “Donnie” Silcott in 1961. They have three married children and 10 grandchildren.
Dr. Darrell J. (DJ) Gililland Jr. ’98
DJ Gililland thrives on hard work, busy scheduling, and continued learning, and propelled himself through earning his B.B.S. in All-Level Physical Education from HSU (1998) to ultimately receiving the Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University (2015).
As of 2018, DJ is an Assistant Professor and Clinical Education Coordinator for the Texas Tech University Health Science Center School of Health Professions, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Master of Athletic Training program after holding similar positions with Samford University and Hardin-Simmons University. His professional career includes 15 years at HSU, beginning with a dual faculty/staff appointment in 2002.
DJ’s credentials and memberships are extensive, and his heart is visible through his service. For TTUHSC, DJ sits on the Academics Council-Clinical Subgroup and the Human Trafficking Initiative Taskforce. Through his association with the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, he facilitated the March 2021 Clinical Immersion Minicon and is a member of the Institutional Peer (Site) Review Team. The State of Texas Governor’s Office selected him for the West Texas Research Collaborative Committee of the State’s Child Sex Trafficking Team.
A former member of HSU’s Board of Young Associates, DJ held student leadership roles with, among others, FCA, Student Leadership Council, and Student Athletic Trainers Assn. of the Southwest.
DJ and Andrea (M.Ed. 2010 & 2011), his wife of 15 years, have an 8-year-old daughter, Taylor.
Mrs. Shannon O’Chester Royce ’82
Since 1989, Shannon Royce has been making a difference from our nation’s capital in the areas of faith, family, and freedom. As a public policy and government relations authority, she specializes in strategic leadership, non-profit management, coalition building, grassroots networking, faith-based engagement, pro-family advocacy, and helping special needs children.
Presently, as president of the Christian Employers Alliance, she and her team work alongside and on behalf of Christian-owned businesses to protect religious freedom and to provide the opportunity for employees, businesses, and communities to flourish.
She held key roles in the past with such organizations as the Health and Human Services Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives where, as director, she led the effort to enhance and expand engagement of faith-based and community stakeholders.
Shannon also served as Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer for the Family Research Council, a nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to articulating and advancing a family-centered philosophy of public life.
Licensed to practice Law in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Shannon holds a J.D. degree from George Washington University School of Law (1993) and the B.B.S. degree from HSU (1982). While a student, she was involved in Phi Phi Phi, Baptist Student Ministries, and Student Congress.
Known as a strong leader, an effective manager, and a determined advocate, Shannon is also tenacious, completing 14 half marathons since 2007.
HSU Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees
Click through to see the most recent Hall of Fame inductees.