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Southern Conference Announces 2008 Distinguished Service Award Winners; WCU's Avis A. Phillips Recognized

May 1, 2008

Spartanburg, S.C. - The Southern Conference has announced the 11 recipients of the league's 2008 Distinguished Service Award. Each member institution selects an honoree based on that person's contribution to the institution. Each award winner will be honored for their contributions at the Southern Conference awards dinner in Hilton Head, S.C. on May 28, 2008.

The Distinguished Service Award program was started in 2002 as a way for the Southern Conference to recognize those individuals from its member institutions who have contributed to all aspects of the university. This year's honorees include Tommy Sofield (Appalachian State), Ernest and Cindy Masters (College of Charleston), Dr. Sam Pearson (The Citadel), Sterling Martin (Davidson), Vicki Hightower (Elon), Dan and Kat Joyner (Furman), Tim Durden (Georgia Southern), Dr. Richard A. Beavers (UNC Greensboro), James L. "Bucky" Wolford (Chattanooga), Ted Phillips, Jr. and Avis A. Phillips (Western Carolina) and Ed Wile (Wofford).

"The Distinguished Service Award honors select individuals who have gone above and beyond the call to help Southern Conference institutions better achieve their goals to the benefit of thousands of student-athletes," said Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino. "We sincerely appreciate their efforts and are happy to recognize the award recipients with this honor."

Avis A. Phillips and her son, William Ted Phillips, Jr., are longtime supporters of Western Carolina and the Catamounts' athletic programs. Ted is a WCU graduate who was a member of the football team from 1978-1980. He is a member of the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees while Avis is a former member of the same group.

Ted is the Chairman and President of Buffalo Construction Co. and President of the Wellington Development Company. Avis is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Avisco, Inc., a general and specialty contractor based in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Together, the two founded a major endowment at WCU that supports football student-athletes who major in the area of construction management.