HPU presents Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal to alumnus

By Rachel Ellington, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – October 21, 2015 – Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy presented the Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal to George Aldridge, a 1975 HPU graduate, during an Academy Board of Directors banquet held recently on campus. At the banquet, Aldridge spoke to students, faculty, staff and board members on his career in foreign affairs.

Previously the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, the Academy was founded in 1962 under the leadership of Dr. Newman, who served as president of the university from 1955 to 1973.

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, presented the award, given by the Academy to honor individuals who share Dr. Newman’s vision of promoting Judeo-Christian values, our Western heritage and the free enterprise system.

Aldridge is a 1975 HPU graduate who earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He received his master’s degree in comparative politics and American government from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University – Commerce) in 1981 and completed doctoral coursework in comparative politics and international affairs from the University of North Texas.

He has won a number of awards including three Superior Honor Awards (two individual, one group) and seven Meritorious Honor Awards (four individual, three group). He was listed in “Who’s Who Among Young American Men” in 1988.

Aldridge served as director of the southwest offices of the National Association of Arab Americans from January 1986 to June 1990, when he then became a U.S. Foreign Service officer. His overseas tour encompassed Jamaica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Belize, Morocco, Kenya, Tunisia and Sudan. He then took on the position of director of the Middle East Partnership office in Beirut, Lebanon. His domestic assignments included staff assistant in the Bureau of African Affairs and program officer for Palestinian refugees in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Aldridge and his wife, Marie, have three children. His daughters attend Texas State University and Virginia Commonwealth University and his son is a junior at the International School of Luxembourg, in his wife’s native country.

Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Academy director, HPU’s Brand professor of history and dean of the School of Humanities, said the Academy is honored to be associated with distinguished alumni such as Aldridge.
“We thank Mr. Aldridge for his contributions to our nation and for returning to HPU to address our students, faculty and Board of Directors,” said Dr. Murphy.

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy recently presented George Aldridge, right, with the Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal. He is pictured with Dr. Justin D. Murphy, director of the Academy, HPU’s Brand professor of history and dean of the School of Humanities.