Blankenship to receive Distinguished Alumnus Award
Thursday, October 1, 2009
to receive Distinguished Alumnus Award
Dr. Billy J. Blankenship
of Corpus Christi will be honored as the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished
Alumnus Award by the Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association
during the annual 81st Homecoming celebration at the university.
Blankenship will be recognized at 8 p.m.
Oct. 23 during the Distinguished Alumnus Award presentation at Lumberjack Bash.
Lumberjack Bash begins at 6 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom of the Baker
Pattillo Student Center.
Brady Smith, a
1994 SFA graduate and resident of Encino, Calif., also will be honored during
the evening as the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.
tickets for the awards presentation are $10 each and must be purchased in
advance. Seating is limited, and tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served
Distinguished Alumnus Award was initiated in 1966 to honor SFA's former
students whose participation and dedication have helped strengthen the total
program at SFA.
A native of
Longview, Blankenship is a fifth-generation Texan who has had an illustrious
career as a military officer, doctor, dentist, pilot and professor.
He graduated from
SFA in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science degree and in 1954 with a Master of
Education degree. He earned a D.D.S. from the University of Texas Dental Branch
in Houston in 1958 and his M.D. from University of Texas Medical Branch in
Galveston in 1963.
military career spans several branches of the armed forces, including the Navy,
Air Force and Marine Corps, where served during the invasion of Okinawa in
World War II, China Civil War, Korean War, Cuban Liberation Army and
Vietnam. By the time he was 21,
Blankenship had sailed around the world five times while serving in the
Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, Indian, North Sea and Persian Gulf.
During his career,
Blankenship logged miles in 90 foreign countries and all 50 states. His
exploits include escaping from being held prisoner for two days following the
capture of his merchant ship by the Red Chinese, working with the elite Navy
SEALS and assisting with the recovery of a spy plane in Thailand.
From 1957 to 1988,
he served as a physician and dentist for the Navy, Air Force and Marines.
Blankenship spent four years as a professor of surgery and pharmacology for the
University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, two years as chief of
the surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery division at University of Texas
Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston and three years as surgeon and assistant
professor at UTMB-Galveston. He is past medical director of hyperbaric medicine
at Spohn Memorial Hospital and Spohn Shoreline Hospital in Corpus Christi and
is a former professor and director of the dental department at Del Mar College
in Corpus Christi.
He is a noted
consultant in the specialty areas of hyperbaric medicine, aerospace and diving
medicine, oral and maxillofacial surgery and wound care medicine to hospitals
in the south Texas area.
career, Blankenship has published or presented more than 150 papers, held
memberships in 80 professional organizations and served without pay on four
different occasions in foreign medical clinics. He has received 55 decorations
from the Armed Forces and a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. State
Department for his service.
His highest military
rank is captain in the medical corps of the U.S. Navy. Blankenship’s awards
also include a Post-Doctoral Fellowship by the U.S Public Health Service,
1958-1960; 1963 AOA Honor Medical Society and 1966 Certificate of Humanitarian
Service by the American Heart Association; 1958 OKU Honor Dental Society by the
American Dental Association; and 1999 International and 2007 Marquis Who’s Who
current affiliations include the Texas Medical Association, Nueces County
Medical Society, Association of Military Surgeons of the United States,
Submarine Veterans of the United States, Undersea Medical Society, division
surgeon for the 3rd Marine Division, Fleet Reserve Association and
the Society of Quiet Birdmen of America. He also has served in medical
missionary units to Central America on three occasions.
Blankenship and his
wife Carolyn, a 1952 and 1954 SFA graduate, have three daughters, Roberta,
Jimmie and Jean Ann.