Bell Tower Gala Honorees
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Bell Tower Gala 2016 Honorees

David Berges (’71) • Distinguished Alumnus

DAVID BERGES graduated from CBU in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He joined General Electric’s Manufacturing Management Program and spent 15 years in a variety of manufacturing and management roles. He later moved to positions of increasing responsibility in Barnes Group, and Honeywell. In 2001, he became chairman and CEO of Hexcel, an advanced composite materials company with a market capitalization of $200 million focused on aerospace. He is married to Debra Kendall, and they are generous contributors to CBU.

Berges says that his “charity of choice” has always been education. “It is my firm belief, that more educated people will contribute more to society. I don’t donate to big universities so they can build bigger buildings to attract professors who rarely see students. I donate to schools who work to improve student body diversity because I believe desperately-needed tolerance is more likely to result. And I donate to schools who work to give kids a chance. Not everyone comes from a college family, not everyone knows what they want to do, and not everyone can afford school. CBU is the kind of institution I want to support. CBU maintains a very diverse student body—and they give kids (like me) a chance.”

David Berges nominee video

Gabriela “Gabby” Salinas (’11) • Distinguished Young Alumna

GABRIELA SALINAS is a 2011 CBU graduate of the Biochemistry program with a Microbiology degree from UTHSC and is currently seeking her PhD in Immunology and Biochemistry. Gabby has embodied the core values of Faith, Service, and Community though her work, educational focus, and community involvement. Not only is she a champion for CBU, she served as such a phenomenal example of CBU alumni success that one her younger brothers enrolled and is a current CBU student.

In addition to managing her job at St. Jude and her studies in the PhD program at University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Gabby travels the country as a champion for the work of St. Jude. As an advocate for St. Jude's work, she has founded a fundraising team, Danny's Dream Team, composed of pediatric cancer survivors who now participate in the annual St. Jude Half Marathon. Herself a three-time bone cancer survivor, Gabby too, is a participant.

Gabriela Salinas nominee video

Dr. Emily A. Holmes • NAB Teaching Excellence Award Recipient

DR. EMILY A. HOLMES joined the Religion and Philosophy faculty at CBU in 2008. She holds degrees from Emory University (Ph.D. 2008), Harvard University (M.T.S. 1999), University of Cambridge (M.Phil. 1998), and Tulane University (B.A. 1996).

Dr. Holmes’ research interests include medieval theology and mysticism, women’s writing practices, feminist theory and theology, and food ethics and the spirituality of eating. She has published articles and chapters in a variety of journals and books and is the author of Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation (2013); the co-editor of Breathing with Luce Irigaray (2013); and the co-editor of Women, Writing, Theology: Transforming a Tradition of Exclusion (2011). She has received grants from the Louisville Institute, the CBU Faculty-Staff Development fund, and the Lindsay Young Fellowship at the University of Tennessee, and was a fellow of the American Academy of Religion/Luce Summer Seminars in Theologies of Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology (2009-2010). Dr. Holmes is the network editor for feminist theology at Religious Studies Review and served as co-chair of the Women and Religion section of the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR) from 2007-2010. She recently edited a special issue of the Journal of Theology & Sexuality on the theme of maternality and is currently developing a theology of food justice.

At CBU, Dr. Holmes teaches courses in World Religions, Christian Spirituality, the History of Christian Thought, and Catholicism and Other Faith Traditions. She has developed new courses in Women and Christianity and in the Spirituality and Ethics of Eating. Her religion courses are interdisciplinary and experiential in approach, drawing on Dr. Holmes’ strengths in theology, philosophy, and literature, as well as her personal and professional interests in religious diversity, spirituality, and food ethics. Dr. Holmes is faculty advisor to the CBU Gay Straight Alliance. In 2010, she received the New Advisor Award. She has served on the Vanderhaar Symposium committee; chaired the Faculty Assembly Policy Committee from 2012-2015; and chaired the CBU Safe Zones Committee from 2013-2014. As a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees, she developed the CBU Philosophy of Compensation in 2015. She currently chairs the newly-formed CBU Food Committee.

Dr. Holmes served on the board of GrowMemphis from 2013-2016 and now serves as a charter board member of Memphis Tilth, a non-profit collective housing like-missioned initiatives for land, food, people, and place. She also serves on the Christian Education committee of First Congregational Church and is the Community Garden Leader of Peabody Elementary School. Dr. Holmes lives in midtown Memphis with her husband (Dr. Paul Haught) and their children, Dominic and Jacob.

Emily Holmes nominee video

Dr. Ray W. Brown • Brother Lawrence Egbert Award for Distinguished Service Recipient

DR. RAY W. BROWN has been active in the CBU community ever since he began as a student in the early ’60s. During his collegiate career, he was nominated sophomore class president and later president of the Student Government. After graduating, he rejoined CBU as an assistant professor in 1967 and gained tenure in 1974. Dr. Brown was also the chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department for several years and served as Dean of Engineering from 1992 to 1999.

Dr. Brown received the Distinguished Service Award from the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers in 1997 and the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award from CBU in 1999. 

Dr. Brown has now been teaching at Christian Brothers University for 49 years. His research and consulting work are invaluable and have paved the way towards more extensive investigations and testing. In essence, Dr. Brown is an excellent teacher and a great mentor. Beloved and respected by his students, his dedication and impact can be seen in their own statements:

  • “Without an inspiring, dedicated and patient instructor like Dr. Brown, I would not have chosen to pursue a career as a Process Engineer. I owe my fascination with Mechanical Engineering and heat energy for the past eleven years to the influence of Dr. Brown.”
  • “All teachers pass along knowledge of the topics they teach.  What set Dr. Brown apart was his ability to make entire classes fail impossible 10-point quizzes each Friday early in a semester.… His ability to put a slight twist to his test problems helped prepare all of his students for the real world.”
  • “Dr. Brown was always fair, never expected more from a student than they should be able to accomplish, cared about them and was determined to prepare them for life after college.”
  • “In my four years at CBU, I had a total of 5 courses taught by Dr. Brown. In each, he was always prepared to answer any question and address any problem.”
  • “I graduated in 1970 with my BSME and had the privilege of being in Dr. Brown's heat transfer class. (In fact a few friends and I enjoyed it so much we took it a second time, if you catch my drift!) He has my greatest respect.”
Ray brown nominee video