Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of Troy University, has been named as a finalist for the 2022 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
Created in June 2012, the award honors an individual and/or a group with a military background and/or involvement that has an impact within the realm of college football. The announcement of the 2022 Armed Forces Merit Award recipient will be made during an ESPN telecast on Nov. 11 between 5-5:30 p.m. (CT).
Dr. Hawkins is a finalist for the second-straight year and is joined on the list by tight ends Dominic DiNunzio from Texas Christian University and Tyler Huff of Texas State, 49-year-old defensive lineman Ray Ruschel from North Dakota State College of Science, and linebacker Wil Schoonover of West Virginia.
“This nomination reflects a vital part of Troy University’s culture, specifically a 70-year history of serving the U.S. military,” Dr. Hawkins said. “I am humbled by the nomination, and I am proud to lead an institution that places a priority on educating the men and women who serve our great nation so well. I am grateful to the FWAA for recognizing Troy University in this manner.”
Dr. Hawkins is a member of the College Football Playoffs’ Board of Managers as a representative for the Sun Belt Conference and has been the Chancellor of Troy University since September 1, 1989, making him the longest-serving CEO of a public university in the nation.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in 1967 from the University of Montevallo, Dr. Hawkins served in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as a platoon leader during the Vietnam War. For his combat duty, he received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and a citation from the Korean Marine Corps.
From 2014 to 2017, Dr. Hawkins served on the Marine Corps University Board of Visitors and was a member of the Air University Board of Visitors from 2004 to 2012, serving as Chair from 2010 to 2012. The Secretary of the Air Force presented Dr. Hawkins the Distinguished Public Service Award in 2012 in recognition of his service to the Air University Board of Visitors.
During Dr. Hawkins’ tenure as Chancellor, Troy University has been recognized as a leading institution for members of the military and veterans by U.S. News and World Report, GI Jobs, Military Times Edge, Advanced Military Education, and more. Under Dr. Hawkins’ leadership, the TROY for Troops Center was created to meet needs unique to the military-affiliated student. The University also introduced the Military and Family Scholarship for active-duty military or reserves and their spouses or dependent children. The scholarship reduces tuition to $250 per credit hour at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
TROY currently operates support centers at Kadena and Misawa air bases in Japan and Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys in Korea. TROY’s international operations extend to Vietnam, where in 2008, it became the first U.S. university to award the baccalaureate degree in that country. Today, there are more than 1,000 TROY graduates in Vietnam, including many rising leaders in business, government, military and education.
Past recipients of the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA include Nate Boyer of the University of Texas (2012), Brandon McCoy of the University of North Texas (2013), Daniel Rodriguez from Clemson University (2014), Bret Robertson of Westminster College (Fulton, Mo., 2015), Steven Rhodes from Middle Tennessee State University (2016), Dr. Chris Howard from Robert Morris University (2018), Army West Point assistant coach Mike Viti (2019) and Collin O’Donnell of Bluefield College of Virginia.