Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees » 2019 Inductees

2019 Inductees

11th Annual Dobyns-Bennett High School Alumni Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: October 24, 2019

MaryLee DavisCLASS OF 1961

MaryLee Davis, Ph.D.
MaryLee graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Science Degree. She taught at James Madison School before pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Michigan State University. While at MSU, she was employed as a Congressional Staff Assistant in the Washington D.C Office of the Honorable James H. "Jimmy" Quillen, M.C.

Dr. Davis became the first woman administrator at Michigan State University and in the Big Ten to work as a University Legislative Liaison Officer and was the first woman to serve in the position of the Corporate Secretary of the MSU Board of Trustees. Among her administrative roles at MSU she served as: Associate Vice President for Governmental Affairs, Assistant Vice President for Public Service and Community Affairs, Assistant Vice President for Administration and Public Affairs, and Assistant Executive Vice President. Dr. Davis achieved the rank of Professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University. She also served as Professor of Family and Community Medicine and was Senior Advisor to the Dean of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Her Healthcare Leadership includes: Sparrow Hospital and Health System, where she served as Board Chair for 11 years, and later chaired the Physician Health Plan board for 11 years. She was a Board Member and Governance Council Chair of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, the Trustee on the American Hospital Association Region 5 Policy Board, and a Member of the American Hospital Association Council on Governance.
Dr. Davis was Co-Founder and President of the Capital Region Community Foundation, the Zonta Club of East Lansing Area, and the Michigan Campus Compact. Her organizational leadership includes service as President of the National Association of Women in Chambers of Commerce, as a Board Member of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, as President of the Capital Area United Way and as the CAUW General Campaign Chair. She also provided leadership for the American Council on Education Michigan Network, serving as State Coordinator/Chair and creating its influential Public Policy Initiative.
In 1982, Dr. Davis became the first person to receive the International ATHENA Leadership Award. In 2008, she received the Michigan State University Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Diversity. In 2015, the State of Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame inducted Dr. Davis for her many achievements in Education, Medicine/Health Care, and Women’s Advocacy.
Dr. Davis was appointed by three Governors to four Treasury Department positions that had statewide impact including serving as a Michigan Finance Authority Board member and appointments to other Healthcare, Higher Education, and Finance boards. The Award-Winning Lansing State Journal named her as “One of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the Millennium for the Greater Lansing Area.”
She has also been honored to receive: The Public Relations Society of America’s “P.A.C.E. Maker Award; ”The American Society for Public Administration’s Michigan Public Service Award; Sparrow Health System Founder’s Award; Michigan Health and Hospital Association Governance Leadership Award; Salvation Army Community Service Award; Capital Area United Way’s Leadership Award for Outstanding Volunteerism; Woman of Distinction Award, Michigan Capital Girl Scout Council; and was the first woman to receive the Chief Okemos Boy Scouts Distinguished Citizen Award.
She moved back to Kingsport in 2015, joined the Kiwanis Club of Kingsport and was elected to its Board of Directors. She was appointed to the Board of Directors for Petworks: Kingsport Animal Services. MaryLee is also a BMA appointed Commissioner on the Kingsport Higher Education Commission and the University of Tennessee appointed her to its Alumni Legislative Council. She served on the Research and Academics Steering Committee for the “Better Together” Healthcare Initiative and on the County Mayors’ Regionalism Task Group on Workforce Excellence and Promotion.
She is passionate about helping people become better educated about and more involved in responsible public policy and often serves as a moderator for candidate campaign townhall meetings. Dr. Davis is President of the Leadership Solutions Group which specializes in Governance Strategies for Executives and Boards in Higher Education, Healthcare, and Community Based Organizations. She continues in her role as Professor of Higher Education Administration and Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Executive Assistant to the President, Emerita, at Michigan State University.

Jo-Marie St. MartinCLASS OF 1978

Jo-Marie St. Martin

Jo-Marie St. Martin graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Mary Washington College with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics. She received her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee, College of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and the District of Columbia and has a TS/SCI security clearance.

Ms. St. Martin practiced law at Wilson, Worley, Gamble and Ward in Kingsport Tennessee, specializing in federal banking laws, secured transactions, title insurance and interest in real property, contracts, corporate formation and planning and officer and director duties and shareholder rights.

Jo-Marie St. Martin, Vice President, Federal Government Relations, W. R. Berkley Corporation opened the Corporation’s Washington D.C. office January 2017.  In that capacity, she led the Coalition for American Insurance, a group of major insurance groups, in their successful quest to amend the U.S. Tax Code to close the Foreign Affiliate Reinsurance Loophole that gave foreign insurance companies a lower tax rate – and competitive advantage – on U.S. generated property and casualty business.  As a result of the Coalition’s and her work, provisions to close the loophole were included in the P.L. 115 – 97, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

Ms. St. Martin was the highest ranking staff attorney and highest ranking woman staff in the U.S. House of Representatives. She has extensive relationships with Members of Congress, White House staff, senior Congressional aides, and private sector leaders.

During her tenure as General Counsel and Chief of Legislative Operations to Speaker John Boehner, Ms. St. Martin successfully executed a multi-faceted legislative, litigation, and procedural plan for the passage of every major bill including the CROMNIBUS, STOCK Act, Working Families Flexibility Act, and Intelligence authorizations. She developed and negotiated the bipartisan 2014 amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act strengthening the party committees and increasing campaign finance limits. Ms. St. Martin oversaw all legal and litigation matters of the House. She has a specific expertise in congressional investigations, House rules, Government ethics and political intelligence, financial services and securities, insider trading, campaign finance, labor and pensions, education, and national security issues. Ms. St. Martin advised the Speaker on all ethical matters, and oversaw the Republican

Conference and the Speaker’s Member appointments to Chairmanships and Committees.

The New York Times examined and detailed Ms. St. Martin’s central role in initiating, developing, and managing the U.S. House of Representatives litigation against the Executive Branch, House v. Burwell noting her ferocious defense of the House.

Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer during a floor speech praised St. Martin for her knowledge of the law and the House rules and for her constructive and friendly opposition, noting her intellect, her judgment, and her tenacity, even though her focus was always a challenge when he was Majority Leader, he recognized that she has always been good for the House of Representatives.

Ms. St. Martin has appeared on Roll Call’s “Fabulous Fifty” list of the most influential staffers on the Hill for over ten years. She has been profiled in the New York Times, National Journal, National law Journal, Roll Call, and Fortune Magazine as an effective, influential and knowledgeable senior Hill staff member.  During the 110th and 111th Congresses, Ms. St. Martin served as Floor Director and General Counsel for the Republican Leader and led the effort for a successful strategy to regain the majority in the House of Representatives by offering substantive alternatives to major White House initiatives including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Cap and Trade legislation, including creating and implementing the House Republican Floor Energy Taskforce.

Ms. St. Martin previously served as General Counsel to the Committee on Education and the Workforce. She played a critical role in the passage of important legislation such as the Pension Security Act, No Child Left Behind, Higher Education Act, National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Act, Welfare Reform, vocational education and federal labor laws.

She and her husband, Rob Green, currently reside in Bethesda, Maryland.

Jimmy QuillenCLASS OF 1934

Honorable James H. "Jimmy" Quillen

Born in 1916, the Honorable James. H. “Jimmy” Quillen was one of ten children born to John and Hannah Quillen. He held numerous part-time jobs while growing up in Kingsport including delivering telegrams by bicycle. “Jimmy” graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1934. He worked at the Kingsport Press and later at the Kingsport Times-News. In 1936, he established his own weekly newspaper, the “Kingsport Mirror”, becoming the youngest newspaper publisher in America. He sold the “Kingsport Mirror” and started another weekly newspaper, “The Johnson City Times.

Mr. Quillen entered military service in 1942, serving with the United States Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Antietam as a public information officer. He was discharged a Lieutenant in 1946. He returned to Kingsport becoming involved in the construction business, real estate development, insurance sales and worked as a bank executive.

Mr. Quillen married his longtime sweetheart, Cecile Cox in 1952 whom he credited for influencing him to enter the political arena. He was elected to the Tennessee Legislature in 1954, where he served his constituents in East Tennessee for the next eight years. He was selected as a Tennessee delegate to the Republican National Convention three different times.

Mr. Quillen was elected to Congress in 1962, serving the First District in the United States House of Representatives and was elected sixteen more times for a total service of 34 years. Most notably, he served on the House Rules Committee becoming the most senior member of the most powerful committee in Congress. Mr. Quillen holds the record for the longest unbroken tenure of a Tennesseean within the United States House of Representatives.

In 1968, Mr. Quillen sponsored and saw passage of the first legislation to establish a federal law against desecration of the American flag. He led the fight to defeat an effort in the Senate that would adversely affect Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport. His many efforts resulted in the funding of millions of dollars needed for jobs and projects in the upper East Tennessee region.

Mr. Quillen led a ten year battle to secure a medical school for Northeast Tennessee. It was established in 1974 and named in his honor. The Center for Rehabilitative Medicine was dedicated to him and his wife in 1985. The Regional Heart Center was named in his honor and dedicated in 1994 by Holston Valley Hospital and Medical Center in Kingsport.

Tennessee’s Interstate 26 from the Virginia border to the North Carolina line is known as the James H. Quillen Parkway.

Mr. Quillen was named “Tennessee Statesman of the Year” in 1986 for his work to remedy federal funding involving Medicaid.

On his 80th birthday in 1996, Governor Don Sundqvist declared “James H. Quillen Day” throughout the Volunteer State.

James H. “Jimmy” Quillen spent his adult life serving and helping the people of East Tennessee. His open door policy was much more than a popular political slogan. It was a political reality for him. He was truly “The People’s Congressman.”

Calvin SneedCLASS OF 1972

Calvin Sneed

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Calvin fell in love with Kingsport as a young boy.  His dad Horace P. Sneed, owned and operated Sneed's Cleaning Service and served on the Kingsport Planning Commission. His mom taught in the city's all-black Douglass Elementary-High School in the Riverview community. Their young son's future profession coincidentally began at the Douglass School. Calvin recalls that each elementary teacher was required to come up with yearly programs that spotlighted their classroom's abilities. From those early years, Calvin’s interests always involved announcing and writing. It was audio-visual instructor Lib Dudney (D-B Hall of Fame '45) who hired Calvin for his first public speaking job in 1968. He read the morning announcements on the John Sevier Junior High School P-A system.

At Dobyns-Bennett in the fall of 1969, Radio-TV broadcasting teacher Verna Ruth Abbott took Calvin at the age of 15 to WKPT in downtown Kingsport, the radio station that launched the careers of both Doug Mayes and Mike McKay of WBTV, Channel 3, Charlotte, NC and (D-B Hall of Famer '54) John Palmer of NBC News, New York.  Program Director George DeVault hired Calvin to anchor weekend dee-jay shifts on WKPT-FM (now WTFM), to read the news occasionally during the week on WKPT-AM, and to help out occasionally in the fledgling WKPT-TV control room.

Upon high school graduation in 1972, armed with a recommendation from D-B guidance counselor Ruth Crowe, Calvin was the first African-American student to be accepted into the inaugural College of Communications Vocational Cooperative program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he interned for three years as a news reporter/photographer and newscast producer at WTVC-TV, Channel 9, Chattanooga.

Before graduating from the University of Tennessee with a major in broadcasting and a journalism minor, Calvin was hired by WATE-TV, Channel 6, Knoxville in the mid 70's as a reporter-anchor-photographer, eventually becoming the first African-American to co-anchor a weeknight main 6 PM and 11 PM newscast in East Tennessee, from Chattanooga and Knoxville to the Tri-Cities.  At WATE, he also co-hosted "PM Magazine," a TV feature show spotlighting unusual people, places and things in the five-state area.  He was also named a Kentucky Colonel at that time and was appointed to the board of the Tennessee Film, Tape and Music Commission in Nashville. 

Calvin's career took him to Columbus, Ohio and WTVN-TV (now WSYX) Channel 6 in the mid 80's where, as the station's "Six On Your Side" consumer reporter-anchor, he went to bat for viewers who had purchased goods and services and could not get satisfaction when the items failed or weren't delivered.  While at WSYX, Calvin also anchored the morning news for a time and co-hosted the city's first mid-morning talk show, which he personally developed into a "PM Magazine" type format.

After leaving WSYX in 1989, he served as the News Director at WSWZ-FM in nearby Lancaster, Ohio where he won a first-place Associated Press award for spending three days reporting from Ohio's first boot camp for youthful offenders.

It was in 1992 that Calvin returned to his Tennessee TV roots, coming back to WTVC in Chattanooga as an anchorman to start up the station's Consumer Watch division and operate a local hotline "Call Calvin" for viewers to phone in with problems. The number to call was 6-C-A-L-V-I-N.  For the next 25 years as a main news anchor, Calvin was nicknamed "The Consumer Watchdog of Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia," ultimately recovering more than seven million dollars in lost goods and services for consumers.  He won several awards and citations for his investigations into illegal telemarketing and other scams that put numerous offenders in jail, occasionally getting him yelled at, spit at and at one point, shot at. 

His series of reports on Tennessee's Civil Asset Forfeiture laws earned him special recognition from the state legislature when the laws were changed in 2016 to protect innocent motorists whose property was seized during traffic stops.

In 2017, Calvin ended his long broadcasting career the same way he started it... as the only African-American main news anchor in East Tennessee. That distinction still stands today.

He is the author of two coffee-table books of photographs he has taken of historic steel truss and concrete arch bridges, including many in the five-state region.  Calvin is a community contributor to the Kingsport Times-News, and is a member of the Dobyns-Bennett High School Alumni Association.  He also serves on the boards of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, the Great Golden Gathering Alumni Association and the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Tennessee-Northwest Georgia. 

Calvin is the founder and publisher of a website commemorating the historic Douglass High School and the Riverview neighborhood, and is still in love with the Model City, its neighborhoods and its people.  As a board member of the Friends of the Archives at the Kingsport Library, he is an avid and vocal booster of both historic and progressively modern Kingsport.

If you could not attend the 11th Annual Alumni Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, you can listen to it here as recorded by 90.3 FM WCSK Radio - The Voice of Kingsport City Schools!
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