Baylor Alumni Association to Present Young Alumni Awards at Homecoming

  • News Photo 4592
    David Phelps of Culleoka, Tenn.
  • News Photo 4591
    Kimberly Hightower of McGregor
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    Collin J. Cox of Houston
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    Dr. Tina Payne Bryson of San Marino, Calif.
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    Dr. Ali Azizzadeh of Houston
Oct. 28, 2008

Contact: Judy Prather, Baylor Alumni Association, (254) 710-6431

The Baylor University Alumni Association will present the 2008 Herbert H. Reynolds Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Oct. 31, during the first performance at Pigskin Revue at Baylor Homecoming. The award is given annually by the Baylor Alumni Association to recognize professional achievement and distinguished service by Baylor alumni 40-years old or younger.

This year's recipients include Dr. Ali Azizzadeh of Houston; Dr. Tina Payne Bryson of San Marino, Calif.; Collin J. Cox of Houston; Kimberly Hightower of McGregor; and David Phelps of Culleoka, Tenn.

Dr. Ali Azizzadeh is a board certified vascular surgeon, who specializes in minimally invasive treatment of vascular disease. After graduating from Baylor in 1994, he attended medical school and completed a general surgery residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and a vascular surgery fellowship at Barnes Jewish Hospital at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston and serves as director of endovascular surgery at Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute in Houston. He has authored or co-authored more than 60 scientific publications and 10 book chapters in medical journals and textbooks, and he actively participates in research on new surgical techniques that have greatly improved outcomes, including work to test new grafts, stents and other devices.

Dr. Tina Payne Bryson is the director of parenting education and development for the Mindsight Institute in Los Angeles, where she works alongside internationally known child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel. She is also an expert contributor for eHarmony's parenting website, where her articles and podcasts appear. A 1993 Baylor graduate, Bryson earned a master's degree from the University of Kentucky and her doctorate from the University of Southern California.

She is a sought-after public speaker whose professional life focuses on combining brain research and theory from various fields of science and offering it to parents in a way that is clear, humorous and immediately helpful. But she emphasizes that before she's an educator or researcher or writer, she's a mom. She and her husband, Dr. Scott Bryson '91, MA '94, are the parents of Ben, Luke and J.P.

A Waco native, Collin Cox served two terms as Baylor's Student Body President before graduating magna cum laude from Baylor in 1997. The permanent president for his class, he was also named to Phi Beta Kappa. Cox earned a master's degree from the University of Cambridge and completed law school at Duke University, before serving as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. He joined the firm of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., where he practiced litigation for almost four years.

In 2006, Cox returned to Texas and joined the law firm of Yetter, Warden & Coleman in Houston, making partner the next year. He is a director of the Texas Lyceum, Aspiring Youth of Houston and the Baylor Alumni Association, and he serves on Baylor's Student Life Advisory Committee and Duke Law School's Future Forum. He recently was named as a "Rising Star in Business Litigation" by Texas Monthly and has been selected as a "Leader of Tomorrow" by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Cox is married to another 1997 Baylor graduate, Jacquelyn Kelly DuBose Cox.

Kimberly Hightower is a special education teacher at G.W. Carver Academy in Waco. After graduating from Baylor in 1999, she served a two-year internship as the Missions Coordinator in the Baptist Student Ministries at Baylor before beginning her teaching career with the Waco schools.

Earlier this year, Hightower graduated from Baylor with a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, and she has become a National Board Certified Teacher, making presentations throughout the district and region on best practices for teaching students with disabilities. In 2006, she was recognized as the Outstanding Secondary Teacher for the Waco Independent School District.

David Phelps, a 1992 Baylor graduate, is a Christian vocalist, songwriter and vocal arranger, best known by many for his eight-year stint as lyric tenor and soloist in the Gaither Vocal Band. The recipient of four Dove Awards and two Grammy Awards, he has released several solo albums, including two Christmas collections, and his audiences have included President George W. Bush, Billy Graham Crusades and millions of ABC News viewers.

As a teenager, Phelps won the 1988 Seminar In the Rockies held in Estes Park, Colo., the youngest winner of the contest at that time. After graduation from Baylor in 1992, he served a stint as Artist In Residence for First Baptist Church in Hurst, Texas, before joining the Gaithers. His wife, Lori Purtle Phelps, is a 1993 Baylor graduate.

For more information about the Herbert H. Reynolds Outstanding Young Alumni awards, or any of the other eight awards presented by the Baylor Alumni Association, call (254) 710-1121 or check the association's website at

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