Six honored as Notable ‘Noles at FSU-PC


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — For the 23rd year, Florida State University Panama City honored alumni who have made accomplishments in their field.

At Tuesday’s luncheon and ceremony, six people- three from the 2018 and three from the 2019 class, were recognized. The 2018 ceremony was postponed because of Hurricane Michael.

Tuesday’s honorees made a total of 77 Notable ‘Noles since the award began in 1996.

“It’s so important for us to recognize graduates of this campus who have taken their life experiences and what they learned here at Florida State University and have accomplished so much in their communities,” dean Dr. Randy Hanna said.

News 13 talked to the Notable ‘Noles about what the award means to them.

2018 class

Kenneth Ayers III is a software developer in California and a 2007 and 2008 FSU-PC graduate. His father, Ken Ayers Jr., is a previous Notable ‘Nole winner and accepted the award on behalf of his son.

“His training here at FSU Panama City has really prepared him for a great career in software development,” Ayers Jr. said.

Brittany Cole has spent her career in media and marketing throughout Bay and Walton Counties. After her dad passed away unexpectedly, she transferred home to complete her degree at FSU-PC.

“He loved Florida State and he always hoped I would be a Seminole. So you know today dad this one’s for you. Not only am I a Seminole, I’m a Notable ‘Nole,” Cole said.

Karen Hurst is the senior vice president/chief marketing officer at Innovations. She was part of FSU-PC’s first graduating class.

“I love this campus. I’m so proud to be a Notable ‘Nole from FSU-PC. I watched this campus grow from 1987 – when I graduated it was a very small campus to what it’s become today. It’s an opportunity for me and it’s an opportunity for so many people,” Hurst said.

2019 class

Bay County property appraiser Dan Sowell was part of the school’s second graduating class. When he was a student, grades were posted on the door with students’ social security numbers next to it.

“[The award] was a complete surprise to me. It really was but i’m grateful and humbled by it and appreciated it,” Sowell said.

Dustin Stokesbary is the vice president of commercial lending for Centennial Bank. He says becoming a Notable ‘Nole has been something he thought about since starting classes.

“This is an award that you know at the end of your life and you look back and you think about the few things you’ve done and you did well, this’ll be right there with them,” he said.

Karen Barss, the vice president of finance at Panhandle Educators Federal Credit Union, also received a Notable ‘Nole award.

For more on all of today’s winners, click here.

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