2019 University of the South   EQB Awards Recipients

The EQB Awards recognize outstanding individuals (between their 15th and 35th reunion years) for their impact in business, leadership, community, educational, or philanthropic endeavors. Furthermore, the awards seek to recognize individuals who have shown repeated loyalty to and support of the University, and are given to those who exemplify Sewanee’s core values of honesty, integrity, and respect.

Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum. (from Psalm 133)
Behold how good and pleasant it is when kindred dwell together in unity.

Lisa Barden, C’90
Marcel Lettre, C’94
Andrew McCalla, C’94
Liz Edsall McLaurin, C’90
Mike Raeber, C’90
Tyler Vaughey, C’95
Meredith Walker, C’91
Michael Wayne, C’94
Dale Wellman, C’99
Jay Williams, C’94

Lincoln, Nebraska

Dale Wellman was named the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year in 2018. He is entering his sixth season as head men’s basketball coach at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

He led the Prairie Wolves to the program’s first ever national championship in 2018 as NWU finished the season with a school record 30 victories and only three losses.

Wellman received National Coach of the Year honors from three different organizations for the 2017–18 season. He was also the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for a second straight season and received West Region Coach of the Year honors. Wellman has received coach-of-the-year recognition in each of the last four seasons.

Overall, Wellman has a career coaching record of 150–118 in 10 seasons as a head coach. That spectacular NCAA Division III championship year, he was NABC National Coach of the Year, D3hoops.com National Coach of the Year, and D3 News National Coach of the Year.

The following year, he was named Hoopdirt National Coach of the Year, NABC All-District Coach of the Year, and American Rivers Conference Coach of the Year while leading the program to both the regular season conference championship and conference tournament championship.

At Sewanee, he majored in history and was a member of the varsity basketball team. He was inducted into the Sewanee Athletics Hall of Fame with the 1997 team.

Bronxville, New York

Tyler Vaughey serves as senior vice president, U.S. Small Merchants, within Global Merchant and Network Services (GMNS) at American Express. In this role, he is responsible for acquiring and growing merchant relationships with small businesses across the United States.

Before assuming his current role in October 2018, Vaughey served as senior vice president, Global Marketing, within GMNS. In this role, he led marketing efforts directed toward and implemented on behalf of the millions of merchants who accept American Express as a form of payment around the world. Prior to assuming this role in May 2015, Vaughey served in two successive VP roles within the U.S. Small Merchants organization, and he was responsible for marketing, product development, and client management activities for small merchants in the United States. Before moving to GMNS in 2012, Vaughey held a variety of leadership positions over a 10-year period in Global Corporate Payments (GCP). He served as vice president, Centralized Account Management, and led a Phoenix-based team that managed relationships with middle market companies in the United States and Canada. Prior to that role, Vaughey served as vice president, Business Development, and led a sales organization that partnered with middle market companies in the Northeastern United States. Prior to that role, he served as director, Business Development, in Indiana and led a sales team that partnered with middle market companies in several Midwestern states. Vaughey began his career with American Express in 2003 as marketing manager in New York and played a role in developing new distribution channels for GCP.

Vaughey earned a master of business administration degree from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University.

He previously served on the board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Arizona and currently serves on the board of the Electronic Transactions Association.

At Sewanee, Vaughey was an English major and was a member of the varsity men’s tennis team. He was inducted into the Sewanee Athletics Hall of Fame with the 1993 team.

Bethesda, Maryland

Marcel Lettre was nominated by President Obama as the under secretary of defense for intelligence (USDI) and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the fourth under secretary of defense for intelligence in December 2015.

As the USDI, Secretary Lettre was the principal intelligence advisor to the secretary of defense. He exercised authority, direction, and control on behalf of the secretary of defense over all intelligence and security organizations within the Department of Defense, including the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Defense Security Service, and the intelligence components of the combatant commands and military services. Across the defense intelligence components, Secretary Lettre oversaw the $17 billion Military Intelligence Program, the defense portion of the $54 billion National Intelligence Program, the intelligence interests within the Battlespace Awareness portfolio, and more than 110,000 personnel. He was also dual-hatted as the director of defense intelligence in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and reported to the DNI in this capacity. He was the department’s principal interface with the Central Intelligence Agency and other elements of the intelligence community, and represented the department on intelligence and sensitive operations at the National Security Council.

Previously, Lettre served as an analyst for a global management consulting firm and in research roles including for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Nuclear Nonproliferation Project, the Harvard-Stanford Preventive Defense Project chaired by William J. Perry and Ashton B. Carter, and a Congressional commission examining the organization and efficacy of the U.S. government regarding intelligence and programs to counter weapons of mass destruction.

Lettre is currently a vice president at Lockheed Martin.

He has a master’s degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Lettre grew up in an Army family and is an outdoorsman and hiker, having once backpacked the full 2,200- mile length of the Appalachian Trail.

At Sewanee, he majored in politics, earned Phi Beta Kappa distinction, and graduated magna cum laude. He was elected to the Honor Council and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. As an alum, he has held the position of Sewanee Fund class volunteer and served as an advisor for the Career Center.

Austin, Texas

Shortly after leaving Sewanee, Andrew McCalla decided to enter the solar industry, inspired by the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency to counteract the negative environmental impacts associated with conventional energy generation. After a brief stint of technical training at Solar Energy International in Colorado, he was hired by a Houston-based solar company to focus on the design and sale of remote power systems for international markets. After four formative years in that role, yet motivated to provide turn- key installation services to the nascent grid-tied Texas market, he returned to his hometown of Austin and founded Meridian Solar in 1999. In the 20 years since, Meridian has designed and implemented approximately 500 installations, representing roughly 150 megawatts of installed capacity in 14 states. Recently, in a continuation of the arc that took Meridian from a one-man shop focusing on agricultural and residential projects to a 30-person multistate engineering and construction company focusing on commercial and industrial projects, McCalla has transitioned the company to a consultancy, focusing on client advocacy and representation in all markets, but with a renewed focus on energy storage.

While numerous weddings and a bit of aerobatic training were the primary reasons for his earliest and intermittent postgraduate travels to Sewanee, those visits started to become more frequent and focused in 2007, when McCalla began to donate his time and his company’s resources to helping the University review and evaluate solar energy opportunities on the Domain. Working with a mix of University administration, staff, faculty, students, and local utilities, McCalla has been involved in many discussions, presentations, panels, feasibility studies, and engineering analyses over the years. Some of those investigations have borne physical fruit, with Meridian donating a stand-alone solar power system for the crew boat house at Lake Dimmick, and contributing in-kind services toward the 33 kW system that sits atop the Snowden Hall expansion. Back in Austin, Meridian has sought to help interested current students and alumni by providing industry information and introductions, or roles at the company, having employed four Sewanee alumni and two student interns.

Along the way, this involvement led to his participation for a number of years on the Alumni Executive Board, off of which he reluctantly rolled sometime after his term limit had been met. Since then, and eager for a way to give back (not to mention get back), to Sewanee, McCalla co-chaired a successful effort to raise funds for the construction of the Gavin Moore Memorial Pavilion in Lost Cove, opening this fall, in honor of his late pledge brother, roommate, and friend-to-many, and which will serve as an outdoor classroom and shelter for hikers and overnight campers.

At Sewanee, McCalla was a Spanish major and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Sherman Oaks, California

Michael Wayne founded Kin in 2007 and has grown the business into a global lifestyle entertainment company. Kin creates and distributes award-winning lifestyle entertainment in all forms and across all platforms. Kin Community is a multiplatform network that is home to the best lifestyle content creators across social platforms. Kin has raised over $40 million in venture capital funding from leading firms including Mayfield Fund, General Catalyst, Atomico, Emil Capital, and Corus Entertainment, among others.

Before founding Kin, Wayne served as vice president of strategic alliances for Sony Pictures Digital and Sony Pictures Television. Prior to joining Sony, Wayne served as vice president of business development for Launch Media, where he was part of the core team that grew the online music media company from start-up through IPO and ultimately through it acquisition by Yahoo! Prior to Launch Media, Wayne was a marketing manager for the ABC television network. He began his career as an entrepreneur in Prague, Czech Republic, where he founded Velvet Magazine, the first English-language city magazine in Central and Eastern Europe.

Wayne has lectured at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and UCLA’s Anderson School of Business. He has been featured in numerous publications, including Business Week, Variety, Ad Age, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He has appeared on the Hollywood Reporter’s Digital Power 50 list multiple times.

He is board chair of Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization that provides more than 140,000 girls across the United States. and Canada with life-changing experiences and solutions to the unique challenges that girls face.

At Sewanee, Wayne majored in English and was a member of the men’s varsity basketball team and the men’s swimming and diving team. The summer after his sophomore year, he landed an internship at Rolling Stone Magazine, where he wrote a story about a student band called Home Boogie Posse. After Rolling Stone, he interned at MTV, where he had the opportunity to work on the coverage of the 1992 presidential election, the L.A. riots, and various music events.

Nashville, Tennessee

Jay Williams is a well-known entertainment industry veteran and co-head at WME, a global leader in sports, entertainment, media, and fashion. He began his agency career nearly two decades ago in the William Morris mailroom and quickly worked his way through the ranks, learning every aspect of the business from the ground up.

He was named International Entertainment Buyers Association Talent Agent of the Year in 2014, 2016, and 20184

Williams has helped to guide the careers of country superstars Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Chris Stapleton, and Brothers Osborne, as well as countless others. Additionally, he works with numerous successful cross-genre artists, including Dan Tyminski, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Nikki Lane, Blackberry Smoke, Molly Tuttle, Mipso, and many more.

Williams’ passion for and dedication to the music industry extends far past the walls of the WME Nashville office and into the community. He currently serves as a board member for Music Health Alliance, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Habitat for Humanity, the ACM’s Lifting Lives, the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music, and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.

At Sewanee, Williams was a natural resources major and a member of Kappa Alpha Order, and the Black Ribbon Society. As an alum, he has been an emerging leader, a member of the city networking council, and serves on the Alumni Executive Board. He has hired countless Sewanee interns, sponsors three internships through the Career Center, and has helped recent graduates secure positions in the music industry.

Austin, Texas

Meredith Walker is the co-founder and executive director of Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. What started as an online “clubhouse” primarily for girls has evolved into an inclusive, positive online community for smart girls and boys alike—anyone who identifies with its mission of positive empowerment and advocacy of causes relating to education, creativity, leadership, and more. Promoting the mission of Smart Girls, she has traveled as the journalism envoy for the U.S. State Department Bureau of Culture and Education's mission to the Al Za’atari and Emirates refugee camps and visited remote primary-care clinics in Haiti and rural villages in Malawi. She has documented the status of women and girls around the world with global aid delegations, participated on numerous panels, and earned the title of “distinguished lecturer.”

In 2015, Walker was named a Profile In Power finalist by the Austin Business Journal, and Austin Way designated her “The Confidence Builder.” In 2015, Tribeza Magazine called her “unapologetically, brilliantly herself ” in naming her one of their 30 “Persons of the Year.” She was the September 2016 cover woman for Austin Woman magazine. In 2016, Walker was a guest of the Obama White House, hosting the Champions of Change for Computer Science Education summit and serving as an expert panelist on the White House Summit: Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in Media and Toys Panel. She and Poehler were co-panelists at United State of Women: Revolutionizing Gender Norms.

Walker was a 2016 WIlliam J. Clinton Distinguished Lecturer at the Clinton School for Public Service and served on a delegation to Haiti with CARE and Hope Through Healing Hands. Meredith's appointments include the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders Advisory Council, Common Sense Advisory Board for Gender Equality, the UN Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change (GICC), and the ONE Girls and Women Advisory Board.

At Sewanee, Walker was a religion major and wrote for the Sewanee Purple. She was a student phone-a-thon caller and a member of Theta Kappa Phi sorority. As an alum, she has served as a Beyond the Gates volunteer, been a keynote speaker on campus, and has been a Sewanee Fund class volunteer.

Austin, Texas

Lisa Barden is the executive director for Keep Austin Fed, a food rescue nonprofit organization with a mission of reducing hunger and helping the environment by connecting surplus food with neighbors in need. Over 10 years after this grassroots effort was founded, and a year after obtaining its nonprofit status, Barden became the first paid employee of the organization, and over the next two years rapidly grew the operations by more than doubling the number of food contributors and increasing the reach by adding 50% more recipient partner organizations. Juggling the schedules of food businesses, nonprofit recipient organizations, and hundreds of volunteers to do the individual food rescues, Keep Austin Fed has redistributed over 3.5 million pounds of wholesome surplus food, keeping it out of the landfills and getting it to those in its community facing food insecurity. In 2017, Barden co-organized the first Feeding the 5000 event in Texas, a global campaign designed to bring awareness to the needlessness of food waste by preparing a delicious communal meal for 5,000 people made entirely out of food that would have otherwise been wasted.

Before her career in the nonprofit world, Barden spent over 20 years working in information technology at the University of Texas at Austin. She developed one of the first interactive internet accessible systems for the university as well as the online application for admission that would later become the basis for the Texas Statewide Common Application. For her role in the development of a national award-winning career placement system for the Cockrell School of Engineering, she was awarded the University Staff Excellence Award.

In between these two very diverse careers, Barden started her own business to promote health and fitness through discovery of movement. Working with boutique studios and trainers of all types of exercise modalities, she aggregated a series of free fitness classes every Friday to encourage people to explore them all to find their passion.

Currently, Barden serves on the Coming of Age Austin Advisory Council—part of a national initiative to build a community of adults age 50 and over living a fulfilling, rewarding, and engaged life beyond full-time employment. Barden was also recently appointed by the Austin City Council to serve on the Zero Waste Advisory Commission.

At Sewanee, Barden majored in mathematics, co-captained the varsity women’s soccer team, and was an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Nashville, Tennessee

Liz McLaurin started her career in theatre, acting in both New York and in regional theatre. Before joining the Land Trust for Tennessee, she held positions at Vanderbilt University, Nashville Public Television, Nashville Public Radio, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, and Colgate University. At Colgate, she was a founding board member of the Partnership for Community Development, which has revitalized the town center down the hill from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. She has worked with the Land Trust for Tennessee in various roles for over 11 combined years. In her first year as president and CEO, the organization protected over 18,000 acres and brought over $16 million to the closing table for conservation. In 2018, she spearheaded the relocation of the organization’s Nashville downtown office to historic Glen Leven Farm, rooting the organization in a place that embodies both its vision and mission. Under her leadership, during the past two years, the Land Trust undertook and published a first-of-its-kind in our nation, statewide conservation plan that sets priorities for proactive conservation for years to come.

McLaurin serves on the Williamson County Comprehensive Land Use Plan Advisory Committee, the Center for Nonprofit Management’s CEO Council, the Alumni Board of Leadership Franklin, the Harlinsdale Committee of Friends of Franklin Parks, Tennessee State Parks’ Planning Committee, and as chair of the Land Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Franklin’s Charge. McLaurin served on Metro Nashville’s Livable Nashville Committee, Nashville’s Plan to Play Steering Committee, and the Nashville Food Waste Initiative Committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Franklin, was a winner of Nashville Business Journal’s 2014 Women of Influence Awards, and has been named to Nashville Post’s In Charge List multiple times.

At Sewanee, McLaurin was a theatre major. As an alum, she has served a class communications volunteer, a Beyond the Gates participant, and an emerging leader.

Atlanta, Georgia

Mike Raeber has served as the University of Georgia’s general counsel since 2014. He is the University’s chief legal officer, leading a team of seven attorneys providing advice and counsel to the university president and senior administration on a wide variety of legal issues. Raeber is a member of the university’s cabinet and also serves as general counsel to the University of Georgia Athletic Association.

Before joining UGA, Raeber was a partner in the business litigation group at King & Spalding, a Global 50 law firm based in Atlanta, where he worked for almost 20 years, practicing complex commercial litigation. At King & Spalding, Raeber was named to Georgia Trend magazine’s Legal Elite and named one of Georgia’s top business litigators by Thomson-Reuters Georgia Super Lawyers magazine. In 2010, Raeber was featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for his successful pro bono representation of a wrongly convicted prisoner, obtaining habeas corpus and securing the client’s release after serving 17 years of a life sentence.

Raeber currently volunteers and serves on the board of directors of Extra Special People, a nonprofit organization based in Athens, Georgia, annually serving more than 450 individuals with special needs through weekend and after-school programs, summer camps, and family support programs. Previously, Raeber served for five years on the board of directors for KIPP Metro Atlanta, a group of eight public charter schools serving low- income students in underserved communities in Atlanta. Raeber served for 20 years on the board of directors and continues to serve on the advisory board for the Truancy Intervention Project Georgia, a nonprofit legal organization providing pro bono representation and mentoring to children involved in juvenile court truancy proceedings.

Raeber is a 1993 cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was published in the Georgia Law Review and later served as editor-in-chief. During law school, Raeber interned on the Georgia Supreme Court, and following graduation, he served as law clerk to the Hon. Stanley F. Birch Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

At Sewanee, Raeber was a political science major, fraternity president, Discipline Committee chair, proctor, and Sewanee Purple sportswriter, as well as a member of Highlander, Green Ribbon, and Silver Spoon societies. He was a member of the men’s varsity basketball team, As an alum, Raeber has served as a Sewanee Fund class volunteer and as an admissions volunteer.