CMU honors alumni and professor

Jamie Hamilton
Jamie Hamilton
Debra Thompson Smith
Randy Phillis








Jamie Hamilton and Debra Thompson Smith — two business leaders who’ve earned acclaim not only for the success of their enterprises, but also their community service — have received distinguished alumni awards from Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.

Randy Phillis, a professor, author and poet, has received the distinguished faculty award from CMU.

Hamilton is chairman and chief executive officer of Home Loan & Investment Co., a banking and insurance company in Grand Junction.

Smith is president, general manager and majority owner of Pulliam Pool Builders in Fort Worth, Texas.

Hamilton graduated from what was then Mesa College in 1978 with a teacher degree. He played four years on the college baseball team and was an Academic All-American and honorable mention All-American.

He played professional baseball in the minor leagues before returning to Grand Junction and joining Home Loan & Investment Co.

In addition to his duties at Home Loan, Hamilton has served on the Community Hospital Board of Directors, CMU Board of Trustees and Governor’s Commission on Science and Technology. He serves as chairman of the National Junior College Baseball World Series Committee. He also served as athletic director at CMU, and a recreation center on the campus was named for him.

Hamilton was named Colorado Volunteer of the Year in 1995, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1999 and Grand Junction Lions Club Lion of the Year in 2011. He earned the 2002 Meritorious Service Award from the American Baseball Coaches Association and in 2011 was inducted into the Colorado Dugout Club Baseball Hall of Fame and National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Smith graduated from what was Mesa State College in 1984 with a bachelor’s of business administration degree.

She worked in the banking and audit industries in Texas before joining Pulliam Pool Builders in 1992.

Pool & Spa News has ranked Pulliam Pool Builders among its top 50 U.S.

builders for the past nine years. In 2006, Smith was named the top manager nationwide.

Smith served as president of the Aquatic Professional Education Council and was involved in enacting state legislation protecting jobs in the pool industry. She also served as chairwoman of the Weatherford, Texas, Chamber of Commerce and continues to serve on the executive board. The East Parker County Chamber of Commerce named Smith its Woman of the Year in 2011.

Shriners Hospitals awarded Smith its C. Victor Thornton Humanitarian Award in 2011 for her efforts to raise more than $160,000 in donations to Shriners children’s hospitals in Texas over the past five years.

Phillis has worked at CMU since 1992 and taught 29 different courses over that span, including many courses he developed himself from scratch.

He has served as chairman of the English department as well director of the writing center and freshman composition. Phillis has published two books and an anthology. He’s written two chapters in other academic books and more than 100 of his poems have been published in journals.

Phillis founded Pinyon in 1995 and has edited CMU’s creative writing journal ever since. He’s also served in editorial positions on 21 books and chapters of books. In addition, he’s served as a judge or juror for 57 competitions.