MARTIN, Tenn. — An accomplished television news anchor and reporter, a legendary basketball coach, and a former dean, college president and co-founder of the WestStar Leadership Program will be honored during Homecoming 2014 at the University of Tennessee at Martin, Oct. 24-26.
WPSD Local 6’s Jennifer Horbelt, retired WNBA coach Lin Dunn and Dr. Bob Smith, president emeritus of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, will be honored during the 2 p.m. Homecoming football game against Austin Peay State University, Saturday, Oct. 25, at Hardy M. Graham Stadium.
The individual awards are:
•Jennifer Horbelt, Outstanding Young Alumni Award, recognizing outstanding achievement in the recipient’s chosen profession (recipient must not be more than 40 years of age),
•Lin Dunn, Outstanding Alumni Award, recognizing an alumnus or alumna for outstanding achievement in his/her chosen profession,
•Dr. Robert M. Smith, Chancellor’s Award for University Service, recognizing outstanding service to UT Martin.
Horbelt, who was raised in Houston, Texas, and received her communications degree in 2007, is the co-anchor of WPSD Local 6’s 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts alongside Todd Faulkner. She began her WPSD career while still a UT Martin student, working her way from intern, to reporter, to evening anchor, all while covering a wide range of stories.
In 2011, she left Paducah to anchor and report in Colorado Springs, Colo., at NBC affiliate KOAA News 5. While there, she took part in covering multiple, massive wildfires, including the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires, the Aurora Theater shooting, and the Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl XLVIII appearance earlier this year.
She also interviewed President Barack Obama during his 2012 campaign and Jimmy Fallon shortly before he became host of The Tonight Show. Horbelt returned to Paducah and her current position at WPSD earlier this year.
Dunn, a Dresden, Tenn., native, received her bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and English in 1969 from UT Martin and a master’s degree in 1970 from UT Knoxville. Regarded as a pioneer in women’s basketball history, her coaching career preceded passage of Title IX legislation in the 1970s and includes trips to the NCAA Final Four and WNBA finals.
Her collegiate coaching career began at Austin Peay State University and later included head coaching positions at the University of Mississippi, Purdue University and Miami University. She left Purdue, Miami and Austin Peay as the winningest coach at each school.
On the national level, Dunn served on the USA Basketball Team staffs for the 1992 Olympics and the 1990 gold medal-winning World Championship and Goodwill Game teams. She was head coach of the 1995 bronze medal-winning USA Jones Cup team and also served for eight years on the USA Basketball Team selection committee.
Dunn’s first assignment in professional basketball began when she took over the coaching reigns of the American Basketball League’s Portland Power during its inaugural campaign in 1996-97. Her storied coaching career ended recently when she announced her retirement as head coach of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever where she won a championship in 2012.
An Associated Press story that appeared on ESPN-W credits Dunn with 664 college and professional wins, which includes the WNBA postseason. Her 23 postseason WNBA wins place her third all-time in the league. The story also noted that her final 16 years of coaching were spent in the WNBA, and she was a head coach during the final 37 years of her career.
She was named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and the UT Martin Athletics Hall of Fame, all in 2010. In 2012, she was named to the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame, and in June, she became a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Smith holds degrees from Temple University, Ohio University and Wichita State University. He served for nine years as president of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania after serving three years as the university’s provost.
Before his time at Slippery Rock, Smith was UT Martin dean of arts and sciences, during which time he was a co-founder of the university’s WestStar Leadership Program that is entering its 26th year. He had previously served as associate dean of the Wichita State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as associate dean and acting dean of the University College and Continuing Education, and chair of the Wichita State Department of Communications.
Smith's work in enrollment management at UT Martin and Slippery Rock University led to double-digit increases in enrollment. Under his guidance, Slippery Rock University made rapid advancements, including a 22 percent increase in enrollment while improving its academic reputation, a 16 percent increase in retention and a 24 percent increase in graduation rates. During this period, the university received several awards for its innovative work in enrollment management, which earned Smith and his team speaking appearances at national conferences on all aspects of enrollment management.
Smith was a facilitator for the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ Presidential Seminars on Strategic Enrollment Management. He was selected as a "First-Year Student Advocate" by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, and he received AACRAO's inaugural “Strategic Enrollment Management Leadership” award.
He was an early adopter of performance metrics and performance funding. At Slippery Rock University, Smith led a cultural transformation that became a model for analytical data-driven decision-making that received commendation in 2012 by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. He co-chaired the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s revisions of performance funding that received praise from the Lumina Foundation, and he has been a frequent speaker and panelist on institutional performance, performance metrics and incentive funding models.
Smith’s longtime work on strategic communication with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education led to two CASE awards for teaching excellence, including the organization’s prestigious Crystal Apple Award.
PHOTO CAPTION – Dr. Robert M. Smith, president emeritus of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, WPSD Local 6’s Jennifer Horbelt, and retired WNBA coach Lin Dunn will be honored with Homecoming 2014 awards during the 2 p.m. football game against Austin Peay State University, Saturday, Oct. 25, at Hardy M. Graham Stadium. (Lin Dunn photo courtesy of Mollie McClure, McClureImages.com