Weatherford College has announced Jon Vandagriff as the 2019 Alumnus of the Year. He will be honored during the annual Alumni Awards Luncheon April 12 along with Distinguished Alumni Award honorees Dr. Molly Harris and Keith Loftis.
Vandagriff is a 1955 graduate of WC and a lifelong Weatherford resident. He worked as a journalist for 16 years at the Weatherford Democrat and the Brownwood Bulletin, finishing his career as an award-winning managing editor of the Democrat.
He then transitioned to education, working for many years at Tarrant County College as a communications specialist, publications director and professor of journalism, history and photography. He retired after a 34-year career in education.
Most recently, Vandagriff spent nearly two years writing “Weatherford College: The First 150 Years,” a pictorial history book of the college. He is also the author of “The Democrat Years: Growing Process” and “The story of Parker County, Texas, 1862-1956.”
Currently, he teaches local history courses for the Doss Heritage and Culture Center and writes a weekly column about Parker County’s past in the Democrat.
He and his wife, Dottie, created a $10,000 scholarship fund for WC history students, the first endowed scholarship of the college’s sesquicentennial year.
Harris is a 1998 graduate of WC and is currently an administrator in the President’s Office at Grayson College where she serves as the public information officer for the college and as the liaison to the Board of Trustees and for the Office of the President.
From 2008 to 2015, Harris worked full-time at Weatherford College as a speech instructor and served as the Phi Theta Kappa honor society sponsor. She has also worked at Itawamba Community College in Mississippi.
In addition to earning her associate of arts degree from WC, Harris has a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M. She earned her doctorate in Community College Leadership from Mississippi State University.
She has won numerous honors from Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two year colleges, including being inducted into the Texas Region District II Hall of Honor and had an award created in her name by WC to recognize outstanding chapter presidents.
Loftis attended WC from 1989 to 1992 where he was a member of the jazz band. He earned a bachelor’s degree at The New School for Social Research and Jazz and Contemporary Music in 1997 and completed a Masters of Arts at New York University in 2006.
He was on the faculty at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center from 2011 to 2015, was an adjunct professor at New York University from 2004 to 2006 and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music from 2002 to 2004. He is currently an instructor for the United States Jazz Reach Program. He also teaches film scoring.
Loftis was a member of the Ray Charles Orchestra and has performed at festivals around the world. Most recently, he performed with composer Randy Newman on “Good Morning America.”
The Alumni Awards Luncheon will take place at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 12, in the Doss Student Center. The public is welcome to attend. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. To purchase tickets, call 817-598-6273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.