Brevard College Announces 2024 Distinguished Alumni Recipients

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The Brevard College Alumni Association proudly announces the 2024 Gallery of Distinguished Alumni. This October, Brigadier General Hoyal B. Kye ’51 and Stacy Hawks ’08 will be honored as Distinguished Alumni, and McKayla Robinette ’20 will be honored with the inaugural Distinguished Young Alumna award. All recipients will be honored on the Friday evening of Homecoming weekend, October 11th, at 5:30 pm in the Francis Pavilion of the Paul Porter Center for  Performing Arts, alongside the 2024 Hall of Fame inductees.

“This group of Distinguished Alumni are more than worthy of these accolades,” stated Wendy Wood ’00, Vice President of the Alumni Association Board and Chair of the Honors and Awards Committee. “All three embody the College’s motto of ‘learn in order to serve.’ Whether it’s their commitment to their country, community, or passion, all three make their alma mater proud. We are so excited to celebrate them in a few months.”

Brigadier General Hoyal B. Kye `51

Brigadier General Hoyal B. Kye ’51 was selected as one of Brevard College’s 2024 Distinguished Alumni because of his unwavering dedication to his country and fellow veterans. According to the selection committee, Kye’s enthusiasm for life is contagious, and his love for his alma mater is incredibly apparent.

Growing up in Tobaccoville, North Carolina, Kye worked on his family’s farm. When he arrived at Brevard College in 1949, Kye worked at Micy’s Laundry on campus, shined shoes, and patrolled campus at night. His labor paid off when he realized he could purchase his dream plane, a Piper J-3 Cub. Kye flew his plane around Brevard, celebrating his hard work and dream of flying.

After graduating from Brevard College in 1951, Kye taught the eighth grade for one year before reporting for the U.S. Air Force Cadet Program. In addition to earning his engineering degree from Clemson University, Kye then completed Squadron Officer’s School, Air Command and Staff College, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and Brigadier General Officer’s School. From there, Kye served 35 years in the Air Force and the Air National Guard and accumulated over 7,000 flying hours as a command pilot. Kye also became a public speaker for the American Legion from 2001-2016, where he would share his story and encourage others to do the same.

Kye is still flying today, but as a skydiver! Kye says that he always wanted to jump out of an airplane and he finally achieved that goal at 88 years old. He now goes skydiving every year for his birthday and hopes to break the world record for most skydives for an individual in their 90s.

Stacy Hawks ’08

Stacy Hawks ’08 will also be honored as one of Brevard College’s 2024 Distinguished Alumni. Stacy was selected due to her commitment to her community and love for education. Her passions continue to educate others and help them navigate their own paths in life.

As a student, Hawks was heavily involved on campus. She worked in the Alumni House, helped with Open Campus Days in the Admissions Office, and worked part-time in the library. Hawks was recognized as a Presidential Circle member in 2008 and graduated Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Arts, all while receiving the Outstanding Senior Project award. She was also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, an honors society still active on campus today.

Her time at Brevard College led her to attain her Master’s in Education. This degree helped her become a caseworker in her community. She helped many families and individuals pursue their passions during her ten years in the role, whether they were passionate about education or finding a job. In 2019, she continued using her degree and what she learned at Brevard College to publish an NC Society of Historians Award-winning novel for Excellence, Dividing Ridge: the Unsolved Murder of Elva Brannock. In addition, Hawks has been featured as an Appalachian Memory Keeper Author in residence. She shares articles about her local community with its historic locations and people.

To continue her own passion for helping her community, Hawks has served and continues to serve on several boards as Chair, Vice Chair, or Secretary, including Alleghany Lives, a committee for depression and suicide awareness. In addition, she has served on the Alleghany Community Collaborative LICC, supporting families with children with special needs. Hawks achieves all this while being a local genealogist, helping people expand their family trees and preserve their history and heritage.

McKayla Robinette ’20

McKayla Robinette ’20 will join the Gallery of Distinguished Alumni as the inaugural Distinguished Young Alumna. As a young professional, Robinette has broken the glass ceiling within her community, studies, and the state of North Carolina. Her dedication to helping others, especially in the agricultural community, is something to admire.

During her time at Brevard College, Robinette was a leader on campus. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Agriculture, with a minor in Pre-Law. Her research as a student, Bridging the Information Gap Between Beginning and Experienced Farms, won her the 2019 Outstanding Academic Achievement for a Senior Project. While at Brevard College, she also received the 2020 Citizenship in Environmental Studies award. Robinette was the Senior Resident Advisor for Beam Residence Hall, a student representative on Brevard College’s Community Council, a supplemental instructor for the Department of Humanities, an ambassador for the Admissions Office, an assistant to the Office of Career Exploration and Development Office, and active in numerous clubs.

After her success at Brevard College, Robinette attended Auburn University for her M.S. in Rural Sociology. After graduating in 2022, Robinette began a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration at Walden University and is set to graduate in 2025. Robinette has published several articles regarding the learning experiences of farmers and provided recommendations for improved agricultural extension programming. To give back, Robinette invests in the agricultural community by training local 4-H and FFA career development teams, judging state competitions, and peer-reviewing journal articles.

Robinette serves as the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network Coordinator at the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, where she supports the state’s farmers, fishermen, foresters, workers, and families. Robinette’s passion for mental health and suicide awareness in rural and farming communities sets her apart. Growing up in a multi-generation farm family, Robinette understands the challenges firsthand and looks forward to making an impact as an agricultural leader.

Hoyal Kye, ’51

Stacy Hawk, ’08

McKayla Robinette, ’20