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Six join MSU Halls of Fame; Saxon receives Founders Award

Morehead State University welcomed six new members into the Alumni and Athletic Halls of Fame and honored an individual with the Founders Award for University Service Friday, Oct. 20, during the Homecoming Banquet. 

The Founders Award for University Service was presented to Dr. David Saxon. He retired from Morehead State University in 2016 after 49 years of loyal and dedicated service as a professor of biology. A native of Wingo, Saxon received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Morehead State and a Ph.D. degree in physiology from Southern Illinois University. 

Awards received include the Morehead State University Distinguished Teaching Award, MSU Student Government Faculty Member of the Year Award, MSU Greek Life Faculty Member of the Year Award, Greek Student Master Teacher Award, and Northeast Area Health Education Center  Mentorship of the Year Award. 

As director of premedical advising for many years, Saxon developed premedical curriculum paths to guide students in preparation for the Medical College Admission Test and medical school. He has written evaluation letters for hundreds of students applying to medical school. He has been devoted to activities at SOAR, sponsorship of Prae-Medicorum/Premedical Society, and volunteering for enrollment services events. 

The Founders Award for University Service was established by the Board of Regents in 1978 and has been presented each year to individuals with records of outstanding service to the University over a sustained period. 

Inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame were renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Gary Mathern (78), longtime MSU Bowling Coach Larry Wilson (65) and music professional Scott Wojahn (79)

Mathern is a professor of pediatric neurosurgery at UCLA and works at the Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA in Los Angeles. A renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and “super specialist,” he tends to work on infants and children with intractable epilepsy and performs some of the most radical surgical procedures for some of the rarest brain conditions and diseases. In addition to assisting in the development of epilepsy surgery programs for children in Brazil, China, India and Taiwan, his research and success stories have been in national news outlets and programs like Nightline and the TODAY show. 

Wilson is a retired MSU Bowling coach and faculty member with the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Wilson coached the MSU bowling teams from 1972 until his retirement while serving as assistant director of intramurals and recreation and the manager of University Lanes. The lanes were renamed Larry Wilson Bowling Lanes in his honor in 2008. During his career as coach, the women’s team won national championships in 1989, 1998, 2000 and 2002, while the men’s squad finished runner-up in the national tournament in 2003 and third place in 2005.  

Wojahn is a singer, composer, musician, conductor and music producer. In 1990, he co-founded Wojahn Bros. Music in Santa Monica, California, a music production company specializing in producing music for the world’s largest advertising brands, including Ford, AT&T and Fruit of the Loom. He also has produced music for notable artists like singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin, country star Vince Gill and blues guitar legend Buddy Guy. 

Inductees of the Athletic Hall of Fame were MSU Football alum Charles Byrd (06), MSU Soccer alum Rebekah Kendall (07) and another MSU Football alum Nick Nighswander (74).   

Byrd was an All-American cornerback and kick returner for the MSU Eagle Football team from 2001-04. He was named to the All-Pioneer Football League following the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons. In those same years, he was also named Football Gazette All-American and, in 2003 and 2004, was a Sports Network Football All-American. He helped lead the Eagles to three consecutive Pioneer Football League South division championships. Byrd has spent the last nine years as assistant strength coach for the New Orleans Saints. 

Kendall is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Eagle Soccer team and is the first soccer player inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. While scoring 30 career goals from 2004-07, which tied a program record, she also holds school records with 11 match-winning goals and 284 career shots. She holds multiple single-game program records, recording four assists against Shawnee State in 2004 and racking up eight points in one match on three different occasions. 

Nighswander played offensive lineman for MSU from 1970-73, where he was a three-year starter, two-time team captain and Team MVP in 1973. He was an All-OVC selection in 1972 and 1973. He blocked for an offensive unit that scored 34 touchdowns and averaged 331 yards per game in 1973. Following his career at MSU, he played two seasons with the Buffalo Bills. After his football career, he coached high school football in Northern Kentucky for 10 years. 

Additional information is available by contacting the Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, 800-783-ALUM or email alumni@moreheadstate.edu.  

Pictured above: From left, Nick Nighswander, Rebekah Kendall Messer, Dr. David Saxon, Scott Wojahn, Larry Wilson and Dr. Gary Mathern.