The Florida State University Alumni Association will honor the class of 1972 at its annual Emeritus Alumni Reunion during homecoming weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2.
The Alumni Association also will salute five graduates with Emeritus Alumni Society Awards, which recognize people who personify the university’s tradition of excellence through their service and achievements.
The Emeritus Alumni Society, a constituency organization of the Alumni Association, encourages the continued interest and participation of emeritus alumni, who graduated from the university 50 or more years ago.
“The Emeritus Alumni Society is thrilled to welcome the Class of 1972 back home to Florida State University, said Eleanor Connan, Emeritus Alumni Society president. Our emeritus are in for a treat with all the amazing events we have planned for this homecoming.”
The emeritus class has a full weekend of activities planned in celebration of their homecoming. This includes a guided bus and walking tour, a welcome luncheon, priority seating for the homecoming parade and football game, plus the Class of 1972 Induction Brunch and the Emeritus Alumni Society Awards Ceremony.
The Society encourages all emeritus to join in, catch up with their alma mater and relive their Seminole memories during homecoming weekend.
Tickets can be purchased here: https://gonol.es/EAS22
The 2022 Emeritus Alumni Society Awards honorees are Maxwell Carraway, Eleanor Connan, Gene Walden, Dr. Cecile Reynaud and the late Jimmy Patronis Sr.
Commitment to Excellence Awards
Maxwell Carraway (B.S. ’70)
Max Carraway served as university registrar from 1976 until his retirement in 2003. A native of Wakulla County, Florida, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Florida State University in 1970.
He began his career in facilities design and planning at Florida A&M University and was later hired at FSU, where he quickly built a reputation as a problem solver.
The FSU Faculty Senate requested that he be appointed as assistant registrar with the special assignment of dealing with the overbooking of classrooms on campus.
In 1997, Carraway received the FSU President’s Humanitarian Award. In 2007, the Max Carraway Employee of the Year Award was named in his honor. The latter award is presented each year to an employee who has consistently demonstrated empathetic and caring service excellence to the faculty, staff and students of FSU.
Carraway became involved with the Association of Retired Faculty Board after he retired from FSU. He served in several board positions before becoming vice president in 2008 and president in 2009.
During his tenure on the board, he worked closely with the Office of University Relations to develop the Docents Program for the President’s House, which opened in 2007. The docents are trained in the house’s history, contents and the donors who contributed to the project. After completing his service as past president, he served on the board as special adviser. In this role, he served as liaison to the Office of the President, the Provost and the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement.
Eleanor Connan (B.S. ’63)
Eleanor Connan, chair of the Florida State University Emeritus Alumni Society, worked as a retail management and merchandising professional for 48 years, serving Burdines, Frost Bros., Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and finally as the director of Chanel Inc. She retired in 2011.
Her philanthropic work throughout her career included service with the Houston Symphony, where she sat on the board of advisers and was a part of the Conductor’s Circle. She also served on the executive committee of the Houston Symphony League. She sat on the board for the Museum of Fine Arts for its Clothing and Textiles Division and the Moores School of Music Board of Directors at the University of Houston.
Connan earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from FSU in 1963. She was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and involved in Gamma Alpha Chi and Phi Chi Theta business fraternities. She was a member of the Marketing Club, president and treasurer of the Women’s Glee Club, member of Fashion Inc., the Raquettes and the University Singers, where she served as publicity chair and librarian. She was a junior counselor and a member of the Sophomore Council, and she was inducted into Garnet Key for her outstanding leadership, service and spirit.
She and her husband, Andre, live in Tallahassee, enjoying their retirement. Connan is an ardent supporter of music and the arts. She is a national patron of the Houston Grand Opera and a member of the Tallahassee Community Chorus. She is also incredibly supportive of Seminole Athletics as a member of the Seminole Boosters Inc. Board of Directors, a Golden Chief and the Coaches clubs for men’s and women’s basketball and the Softball Locker Room Legacy.
Gene Walden (B.S. ’68)
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Gene Walden always knew he’d be a ‘Nole. Walden entered Florida State University in 1964 and was an active student, participating in various clubs, and a brother of Theta Chi fraternity. Walden graduated from the School of Criminology with his Bachelor of Science in 1968. After commencement, Walden served in the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer until 1972. Following his return to civilian life, Walden worked as a parole and probation officer throughout various offices in Florida. In 1986, Walden returned to his hometown and founded McCurdy-Walden Incorporated, an industrial roofing company providing systems designed specifically for North America and Central America.
Walden continued to stay connected to his alma mater over the years. He was a co-founder of the Seminole Club of Clay County, which has seen great success and remains active. He is an active supporter of athletic and academic endeavors within the university, having donated over $400,000 to various causes.
Walden has served the university as a member of the FSU Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors, including as chair for two years during the transition from President Sandy D’Alemberte to T.K. Wetherell. Walden also served as interim president of the Association and on the Seminole Booster Board and Foundation Board. He is a member of the Circle of Gold and a lifetime member of the Alumni Association.
Though retired, Walden continues to maintain an active role as treasurer of the Emeritus Alumni Society. He is happily married to Mrs. Virginia “Ginny” Walden, with whom he has raised four children: two boys and two girls. The couple has eight grandchildren, one of whom has already joined the Seminole family. Asked about his dedication to FSU, Walden said: “The answer is always “yes’ when it involves Florida State. I can never completely repay what FSU has done for me and my life.”
Dean Eyman Distinctive Service Award
Cecile Reynaud (M.S. ’79, Ph.D. ’98)
Cecile Reynaud was the head women’s volleyball coach at Florida State University for 26 years. She won 635 matches and seven conference championships. For 15 years, she was a faculty member in Sport Management, where she taught and acted as the student adviser for the master’s program. She earned her master’s degree in 1979 and doctorate in 1998 while coaching at FSU, from where she retired in 2015. She has held various national and international coaching and administrative positions with USA Volleyball, serving as board chair from 2018 to 2020.
Reynaud has coached at the World University Games, the USA Volleyball High-Performance Championships, the FIVB World Grand Prix and as a Junior National Team Head Coach. She’s held roles as Deputy Competition Manager for Volleyball at the 1996 Olympic Games, the Head of Delegation for the USA Volleyball Women’s Sitting Team at the 2012 Paralympic Games and for the USA Volleyball Junior Boys Team at the 2015 World Championship. She was honored in 2016 with the “Friar Award,” USA Volleyball’s highest award. She was inducted into the Missouri State University Women’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983 and the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. She has served as president of the American Volleyball Coaches Association and was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2017. She was a founding board member and president of WeCOACH, a national organization dedicated to recruiting, advancing and retaining women coaches of all sports and levels.
Reynaud has served on the FSU Athletic Recognitions Committee, the FSU Varsity Club Board, as board president of the Refuge House and on the Tallahassee and Leon County Commission for Girls and Women.
She has written several books, including “The Volleyball Coaching Bible Volumes I & II,” “Coaching Volleyball: Technical and Tactical Skills,” “She Can Coach!” and “Winning Ways of Women Coaches.”
Conradi Lifetime Achievement Award
Jimmy Patronis Sr. (B.S. ’53)
Jimmy Patronis Sr., who passed away on Jan. 9, 2020, at the age of 88, was a dedicated alumnus and lifetime supporter of Florida State University. He was born on Jan. 19, 1931, in Tallahassee, Florida, to Theo and Evangelia Patronis. He graduated in 1953 from Florida State University with a degree in Business. Although an FSU alumnus and a diehard FSU sports fan, he attended the University of Florida for a year and a half.
Patronis served as a U.S. Air Force captain and moved to Panama City, Florida, in 1953 to go into the restaurant business with his brother, Johnny. The brothers operated the Seven Seas Restaurant and later purchased Captain Anderson’s Restaurant, which his family still owns. Patronis knew the value and lessons of hard work and will be long remembered for the many first jobs he gave to so many people over his lifetime.
Patronis was an active member of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Panama City Chamber of Commerce, the Beach Rotary Club, the Florida State Booster Club and a former owner and director of a local bank. Together, he and his brother proudly donated land for the Patronis Elementary School in Panama City Beach. He also co-founded the St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church. He was honored with an appointment as an Archon, the Order of St. Andrew, the church’s highest honor bestowed on a layman.
For 61 years he was married to the love of his life, Helen Cleondis Patronis. They had four sons, seven granddaughters, three grandsons and two great-granddaughters.