November 21, 2003

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations

Three VSU Alumni Honored at Alumni Association Annual Meeting

Distinguished Alumnus Award
Lieutenant Colonel Carl A. Buhler, USAF

Lieutenant Colonel Carl A. Buhler, USAF, is the squadron commander of the 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Buhler is responsible for the largest squadron in air combat command. He leads more than 1,000 personnel in maintaining and generating top fighter crafts such as the new $200 million F/A-22 Raptor Fighter. Buhler's base of operations generates more than 15,000 sorties annually and manages all modifications for the 57th Wing and 53rd Wing in support of 10 separate flying programs for the United States Air Force Weapons School, Red Flag, Adversary Tactics Division and the 53 Test and Evaluations Group.

A highlight of Buhler's diverse career was serving as chief legislative liaison for the Air Force Executive Issues Team, Office of Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. During this assignment he identified, monitored and developed the Air Force position on a number of legislative and other issues impacting worldwide operations. He was also inside the Pentagon on Sept. 11 attack. Another of Buhler's accomplishments was being handpicked as a maintenance officer for the U.S. Air Force air demonstration squadron, the Thunderbirds. Mentoring is also important to Buhler. He is an active community speaker, with engagements throughout the year in which he educates the general public about the U.S. Air Force. Buhler graduated from VSU in 1989.


Distinguished Alumnus Award, posthumously
Major Wallace Cole Hogan Jr., USA

The memory of Major Wallace Cole Hogan Jr., USA, is honored by bestowing upon him the Distinguished Alumnus Award, posthumously. His mother, Jane Hogan, accepted the award on his behalf.

Hogan served 21 years in the U.S. Army until his death at the Pentagon; his office was the point of impact for the suicide airliner that destroyed a portion of the Pentagon. His final assignment was as an aid to the General for Chief of Operations. Commander, Special Forces Instructor Detachment, U.S. Army Jungle Operations Training Battalion, Fort Sherman, Panama is only one of the many assignments Hogan accepted during the span of his career. His many awards and decorations include, the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Scuba Diver Badge and more. Hogan graduated from VSU in 1984.


Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award
Jose Israel Cortez

Cortez is the first recipient of the Graduate of the Last Decade Award, which is presented to a recent graduate who had demonstrated outstanding achievement in his or her profession and significant service within the community.

Cortez is a recruitment specialist with the Southern Pine Migrant Education Agency (SPMEA) and helps provide migrant services to 22 school systems in 20 counties throughout south central Georgia. Cortez finds migrant families, who often travel across school district lines, with school-aged children and encourages them to take advantage of educational opportunities. His efforts have resulted in many migrant students graduating high school and some even going on to college.

It is Cortez's personal struggle that guided him to such an advocacy role. He came to the United States when he was 10 years old, where he and his family became migrant labors. Cortez dreamed of attending college. He worked as an agricultural laborer, with SPMEA and taught English to Hispanic immigrants at night while he pursued his degree. Cortez graduated from VSU in 2002.