Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Sam Lovelady

Sam Lovelady, having been decidedly indecisive in booking passage to Higher Education, was easily tempted to abandon ship at inauspicious ports of call along the way, first at Unremarkable, later near Oblivion.

He credits the unceasing provocation of ardent Amarillo College faculty for scuttling such notions, buoying his hopes, inspiring him to stay the course.

“Amarillo College was like a rescue,” said Lovelady, a partner in the accounting firm of Lovelady, Christy & Associates. “I shudder to think what might have happened had AC and its dedicated faculty not been there for me.”

What did happen is this: Lovelady, a product of Tascosa High School, remained a student at AC from 1973 to 1975, laying the groundwork for a subsequent bachelor’s degree and an exceptional career as a certified public accountant, a calling that has taken him to the pinnacle of public service in his hometown.

For his many contributions to the betterment of the community from which he sprang, AC has named Lovelady its Distinguished Alumnus for 2014.

Lovelady, whose stellar leadership was on display when he presided over such august bodies as the Amarillo Area Foundation and the Board of Amarillo ISD, will be feted by the College at a special luncheon in his honor later this year.

“Sam Lovelady represents what Amarillo College has been for so many—a place to get a great start where dedicated and caring faculty have the privilege of molding and shaping lives,” Amarillo College President Paul Matney said.

“AC had an opportunity to help Sam find his way, and how inspiring it has been to see him develop into a tremendously successful business leader and to set such a high standard for community service. Our community is much better off because of Sam Lovelady, and we’re so proud to honor him as our 2014 AC Distinguished Alumnus,” Matney said.

Lovelady had no intention of attending AC. He enrolled on the cusp of the fall semester in 1973 and was surprised the College found last-minute space for him.

“Due to my lack of planning, I was blessed they took me in,” he said. “Even then, I was not as responsible a student as I could have been, far from it, in fact.”

At one point a science teacher gave him a rather stern warning.

“Acting sort of like a Dutch uncle, he pulled me out in the hall and told me very frankly that I was on my way to being a bum,” Lovelady said. “That got my attention. So many members of the faculty took an interest in the students, cared about us.

“Their personal interest in me made a difference,” he said. “Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d have ended up on the right side of the road.”

Lovelady’s path clearly has been straight and true since his days at AC. He has served on boards for the Harrington Foundation, the AC Foundation, and the Amarillo Symphony. A former president of the Opportunity School Board of Directors, Lovelady recently rejoined that assembly, and he presently serves as vice chairman on the board of Downtown Amarillo, Inc.

Now he joins a noteworthy group of past recipients of AC’s Distinguished Alumni Award, a roster that includes, among many others, such luminaries as U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury G. William Miller, and Ben Sargent, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist.

“AC gave me the foundation I needed at a critical time in my life,” Lovelady said. “I’ll be forever grateful for my experiences at AC and for the opportunities that came as a result of them.

“AC is a marvelous asset of which Amarillo can be proud.”


Past Recipients