ATLANTA – The Georgia State University Alumni Association has selected five exceptional graduates as the 2023 recipients of its Distinguished Alumni Award, the organization’s highest honor. They will be celebrated at the 60th annual Distinguished Alumni Award reception and ceremony on Friday, Oct. 13 at Zoo Atlanta’s Savanna Hall, 800 Cherokee Ave. SE.
“Every day, Georgia State alumni make their mark in every possible field, and this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients demonstrate Panther excellence in their respective careers, communities and commitment to their alma mater,” said Christina Million, associate vice president and executive director of the Georgia State Alumni Association. “Our 2023 honorees uphold and extend the legacy Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients began 60 years ago of elevating what it means to be – and all that is achievable for – a Georgia State graduate.”
The 2023 Georgia State Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award honorees are:
David Deeter (B.B.A. ’77, MBA ’78) – As Co-Founder, David Deeter has a major role in facilitating the growth of Frazier & Deeter. From 2001 - 2009, during his term as Managing Partner, the firm experienced an average growth of 20% annually and became a Top 100 Firm in the US (the firm has since moved into the Top 50). In a survey conducted by Inside Public Accounting, David was recognized by his peers as one of the 5 most admired leaders in US accounting firms.
David’s work primarily focuses on income tax and financial planning. He is an advisor to many of Atlanta’s leading families and has extensive experience with companies in the real estate, entertainment, finance, manufacturing, services and nonprofit industries. A trustee emeritus of the Georgia State Foundation board, Deeter is a former board member of Trilith Studios and a co-trustee of a substantial Atlanta-based family trust.
Jack R. Fox (M.Ed. ’75) – Retired Brigadier General Jack Fox served as cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services after a career in the Army, Army Reserves and New Mexico National Guard. After receiving his undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University, Fox was commissioned as a U.S. Army Second Lieutenant/Infantry. He became a Panther while stationed at Ft. Benning, near Columbus, Ga., earning his master’s degree in education from Georgia State. Fox has also been commandant of cadets at the New Mexico Military Institute and president of St. John’s Military School. A member of the board of trustees of the United States Higher Learning Commission, Fox also provides his time and expertise to the Westphall Foundation of New Mexico Vietnam Veterans, as well as the New Mexico State University Army ROTC Alumni Association and the New Mexico Military Museum Foundation, both of which he has served as president.
Beth Johnston (MBA ’85) – Beth Johnston retired from Delta Air Lines in 2008 after a 31-year career with the company, advancing from flight attendant to senior vice president of human resources. In 2010, she became chief human resources officer for Qatar Airways, a role she held until she retired in 2014. During her time there, she helped the Doha, Qatar-based commercial airline grow its workforce from 14,000 employees to more than 35,000. In addition to being a trustee emeritus of the Georgia State Foundation board, Johnston also has mentored Panthers through the WomenLead program. The resident of Vero Beach, Fla. stays actively involved in her community with Women’s Impact 100 and as a member of the executive committee for volunteers at the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital, for whom she is also a driver for the volunteer ambulance association.
Felicia Mayfield (B.S.Ed. ’75, M.Ed. ’80, Ed.S. ’87) – Felicia Mayfield is a career educator, spending 36 years as a teacher, principal, associate superintendent and chief of staff, and 11 years as a tenure track associate professor at Clark Atlanta University. A trustee of the Georgia State Foundation board, Mayfield is the current chair of the Women’s Philanthropy Network and a former chair of the university’s Alumni Board of Directors. Additionally, she serves her alma mater as a member and representative on the development committee of the Panther Athletic Club, and as a supporter of the Rialto Center for the Arts. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Mayfield also belongs to the International Coaches Federation, specializing in life and executive coaching.
Dallas Smith (B.B.A. ’86) – T. Dallas Smith is founder and chief executive officer of T. Dallas Smith & Company, the largest African American-owned commercial real estate firm in the U.S. exclusively focused on tenant representation. After beginning his real estate career at Atlanta Air Center Realty, he became the first African American broker at Cushman & Wakefield of Georgia in 1989. He went on to pioneer the brokerage division for H.J. Russell & Company, an African American-owned construction management firm, where he was VP of the brokerage. Smith is a former chair of the Georgia State Foundation board’s real estate committee and has been a guest lecturer at many classes at the university. He has a seat on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, is a trustee of the Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority board and is a member of the board of the University System of Georgia Real Estate Foundation Manager, LLC. Smith is the first African American president of the Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS® and serves on the boards of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of REALTORS®.
The Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner and ceremony will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13 in the Savanna Hall at Zoo Atlanta. Learn more about the event and sponsorship opportunities and purchase tickets at alumni.gsu.edu/daa.