Rhodes College Recognizes 2021 Distinguished Alumni

collage image of three individuals smiling

Rhodes College’s 2021 alumni awards were presented during the college’s Homecoming/Reunion Weekend Oct. 1-2. Dr. Stephen C. Threlkeld from the Class of 1986 received the Distinguished Alumni Award; Anna M. Laymon from the Class of 2011 the Young Alumni Award; and Florence M. Johnson from the Class of 1988 the Black Student Association Distinguished Alumni Award.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have brought honor to Rhodes College through extraordinary achievement in their profession and community.

Dr. Stephen C. Threlkeld ’86, who specializes in infectious diseases and internal medicine, has been in the forefront helping Memphis and the Mid-South combat the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been a leader in Rhodes’ partnership with Baptist Memorial Health Care, providing COVID-19 prevention, testing, and health care services to the college. Threlkeld has made himself available to the college all while caring for critically ill patients, appearing on media outlets to educate the general public on COVID-19 research and guidelines, and providing counsel to government and business leaders on the most recent protocols.

Threlkeld was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa while a student at Rhodes, and he graduated magna cum laude and with honors with a B.S. in biology. His tireless efforts to keep the Rhodes community healthy and safe during COVID-19 and his overall work in the Memphis community have brought honor to the college.

The Young Alumni Award

This award is presented to young alumni who have brought honor to Rhodes through achievement in their profession and community.

As vice president of programs and planning at the America250 Foundation in Washington, D.C., Anna M. Laymon ’11 is spearheading the design and execution of programs nationwide in celebration of America’s 250th anniversary in 2026. Prior to joining the America250 Foundation, Laymon became the youngest female head of a federal agency when she was tapped to serve as executive director of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. In her roles, she has worked with organizations, governments, and stakeholders across the country to implement programs creating better communities. 

Laymon holds a B.A. in international studies from Rhodes and credits her undergraduate coursework with formally introducing her to the discourse of women’s studies, helping her to develop critical skills, and changing the course of her life.

Black Student Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award

The award recognizes African American alumni whose record of outstanding personal achievement and service to others has inspired Rhodes students and brought honor to their alma mater.

Florence M. Johnson ’88 is principal attorney at Johnson and Johnson, PLLC in Memphis, representing individuals and corporate entities in traditional labor and employment law. She has extensive trial experience in state and federal courts and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer of the Mid-South and Pro Bono Attorney for Justice by the Tennessee Supreme Court. She also has served as a member of the Tennessee Bar Association Commission on Racial Ethnic Diversity.

Johnson received a B.A. in political science/international studies from Rhodes. While a student, she was  a McCoy Theatre crew member and participated on the inaugural Rhodes College Mock Trial Team. She also is a Rhodes College Mock Trial Judges Hall of Fame inductee.