Upsilon Xi : Lee University Homecoming 2001

The theme for Lee University Homecoming 2001 was "When You Believe," and it would be difficult for anyone to believe that Upsilon Xi did not again dominate the honors distributed by the university administration and students.

Benny Perez
The annual alumni breakfast was held at the Cleveland Holiday Inn and boasted over 50 alumni in addition to the many current members. The highlight of the breakfast was the announcement that United States Air Force Colonel Benjamin Perez was named the 2001 Upsilon Xi Distinguished Alumni of the Year. Benny has served for many years as an Air Force chaplain and was the Director of the United States Air Force Chaplain Service Institute. It was rumored last year that Benny might even be tapped for the post of the top military chaplain over all United States military servicemen. Benny Perez recently retired.

During the President's Circle luncheon, Lee President Paul Conn announced Upsilon Xi alumni Marty Smith, the current CEO at Cleveland Community Hospital, as the 2001 Lee University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

"A native of East Tennessee, Smith received his undergraduate degree in Communications from Lee College in 1989 and his MBA from the University of Tennessee in 1992. After receiving his graduate degree, Smith began his career in hospital administration in Gadsden, Alabama. He later moved to Ft. Myers, Florida and received his first opportunity as a hospital administrator in Oklahoma City at Midwest Regional Medical Center. While in Oklahoma, Smith was recognized by the state of Oklahoma's Department of Commerce, for his commitment to economic growth in Central Oklahoma."

"In 1998 Smith returned home to join Community Health Systems as CEO at Cleveland Community Hospital becoming the youngest CEO, at the age of 30, in the company's network of hospitals. During the last three years Cleveland Community Hospital has been one of the fastest growing hospitals in the country, with total volumes growing more 175%."

Marty Smith
"Active in the community in many ways, Smith serves as a Board Member for several organizations, including, the American Heart Association, the Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce and the Cleveland State Foundation. This year he's serving for the second time as a division chair of the Bradley County United Way Fund Drive. He is also on Lee University's Business Advisory Council and is a member of the Cleveland Rotary Club."

Lee President Paul Conn stated, "Without doubt, Marty Smith is one of Tennessee's most impressive young CEO's. His leadership at the hospital has taken it to an entirely different level, and his role as a community leader matches his professional achievement. All of us at Lee are proud of the reputation he has developed, and proud that he is a Lee alum.

Smith responded, "This is an unexpected honor for me. To be listed among the people who have previously won this award and to receive this recognition is very special. The work that Dr. Conn has done at the university has been an inspiration to me."

Smith is the 6th Upsilon man to be honored as the Lee University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. In the last 11 years, an impressive 45% (5 of 11) of Lee's award winners have been Upsilon alumni.


Stephen LaMagna and Rachael DiGulio
As if these two awards were not sufficient enough, Upsilon little sister Rachael DiGiulio of Chicago, Ill. was then crowned as Lee University's 2001 Homecoming Queen. This marks the 4th consecutive year that a Upsilon little sister has been honored as Homecoming Queen. Rachael was escorted by Upsilon member Stephen LaMagna of Yonkers, N.Y. Also representing the senior class was current Upsilon President Paul Rankin.

---Reported by Joe Giove
(Portions of this story were taken from the Lee University website - Office of Public Information. November 1 and November 5, 2001.)

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