Many Trojans have made an impact through public service

Alabama Capitol Building. Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Alabama Capitol Building. Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a series of columns highlighting outstanding Trojan alumni in different fields.
Hundreds of TROY Trojans have made a difference through public service, from town halls to Washington D.C.  This year is no different, as the current election cycle has two Trojans seeking statewide office and currently in runoffs for Republican Party nominations.

Troy King, a member of the class of 1990, is seeking the Republican nod for Attorney General. King served previously as AG for six years. Gov. Bob Riley appointed him to the office in 2004, and he won election to a full term in 2006. King was named a winner of the Distinguished Leadership Award, the most prestigious alumni award presented at the University, in 2006.

Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr., in describing King, said he was “an outstanding student leader who has continued that commitment to excellence throughout his professional career. I am proud of the service Troy King has provided to the State of Alabama, and if he is given the opportunity, I am confident he will continue to excel.”

Former State Sen. Gerald Dial of Lineville, has served on the Troy University Board of Trustees since 1991, is seeking the GOP nomination for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries. Sen. Dial is one of the longest-serving legislators in Alabama history, having served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1974-1983 and eight terms in the Alabama Senate beginning in 1983. Sen. Dial is currently the President Pro Tempore of the TROY Board of Trustees.

“I have worked with Senator Dial for more than four decades as he has served our state with great distinction,” Dr. Hawkins said. “He is an outstanding patriot and public servant and I know he will make a difference for the farming and business communities across Alabama.”

Several other notable alumni have made or are making their marks in public service, including four additional winners of the Distinguished Leadership Award.

The late McDowell Lee was the first recipient of the award, in 2000. While Lee represented Barbour County for two terms in the Alabama Legislature, his real contribution came as Secretary of the Alabama Senate. Lee held this post from 1963 until 2011.

Former U.S. Rep. Earl Hutto was the next Trojan with a political background to win the Distinguished Leadership Award, in 2005. Rep. Hutto, who made his mark as a local TV newscaster in the Florida Panhandle, was the first Trojan to serve in the halls of Congress. Rep. Hutto was elected in 1979 and served seven terms in Washington.

In 2014, another Florida Panhandle Congressman, U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, received the Award. Southerland, a member of the class of 1987, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011-2015.

The final officeholder to win the Distinguished Leadership Award, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio, received the honor in 2016. Johnson was first elected to represent Ohio’s Sixth District in 2010 and is a member of the class of 1979. On May 8, Rep. Johnson won re-nomination in the Republican primary with almost 85 percent of the vote.