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Martin, Park to receive 2023 top alumni awards

Lipscomb University announced its top alumni awards for 2023 with Pat Martin (’96) named Alumnus of the Year and Ruth Steele Park (’18) named Young Alumna of the Year.

Martin and Park will be recognized at a special luncheon on Friday, Nov. 10 during Bisons Weekend Nov. 10-11. Bisons Weekend is a two-day Lipscomb University community event featuring alumni reunions, athletics events, a musical play and a number of other activities.

“The Alumni Awards are the highest honor conferred upon our alumni and recognize the inspiring ways Lipscomb alumni are making a profound impact in the world,” said Stephanie Carroll, assistant vice president of alumni and parent engagement at Lipscomb. “Pat and Ruth are outstanding examples of alumni who are making an impact, and it is an honor to recognize them in this way

Alumnus of the Year: Pat Martin

The Alumnus of the Year Award is presented on an annual basis and is the highest form of recognition given by Lipscomb University. The recipient should be “one singularly successful individual who, through exemplary accomplishments and recognition, and through his or her strong faith and servant-like heart, epitomizes the potential of a Lipscomb education and thereby brings credit and honor to the university.”

Pat Martin - 2023 Alumnus of the YearNashville restaurateur Pat Martin, a 1996 Lipscomb graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business, is the founder of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Hugh-Baby’s BBQ & Burger Shop and SweetMilk. A leader in the industry, Martin has been featured in Southern Living, Bon Appétit and on the Food Channel. He has participated in the Big Apple Block Party. Martin’s began as a 950-square foot joint in Nolensville, Tennessee, and today has seven locations across Middle Tennessee with outposts in Birmingham, Alabama; Louisville, Kentucky; and Charleston, South Carolina. Building upon the success of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Martin opened Hugh-Baby’s BBQ & Burger Shop in 2017 as a tribute to the small town barbecue and burger spots that dotted the mid-South of his youth.

In 2022, Pat’s debut book was released: Life of Fire: Mastering the Arts of Pit-Cooked Barbecue, The Grill, and The Smokehouse (Clarkson Potter). This fall he announced a new restaurant venture in partnership with Bill Darsinos of Greko Greek Street Food and Southside Grill called SweetMilk, which will serve up a traditional Southern, from-scratch breakfast and lunch every day. Martin lives in Nashville with his wife, Martha Ann, a 2002 Lipscomb graduate, and their three children.

Young Alumnus of the Year: Ruth Steele Park

The Young Alumnus of the Year Award is designed to recognize established and future leaders among Lipscomb’s young alumni. Alumni selected for this honor are recognized for their demonstrated leadership capability, a commitment to service of others and commitment to the mission of Lipscomb University.

Ruth Steele Park - 2023 Young Alumna of the YearRuth Steele Park, a 2018 Lipscomb graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, is a bridge engineer at Nashville’s Gresham Smith. In this role she uses her engineering expertise in bridge design, repair, load rating and inspection.

Her projects have included contributing to the design of the new LeConte Event Center pedestrian bridge in Pigeon Forge, repair of the Mount Juliet Road over I-40 bridge-widening project and developing a niche in load rating complex bridges using finite element modeling among numerous other projects.

While a Lipscomb student, Park participated in several mission trips to enhance communities through engineering projects as part of the Lipscomb University Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering’s Peugeot Center for Engineering Service in Developing Communities. Park was involved in the design of various engineering projects implemented in developing countries that included a water distribution system in rural Guatemala and a handicap accessible playground and Outdoor Therapy Center in Trujillo, Honduras. After graduation, Park continued to volunteer her time and expertise through the Peugeot Center, where she led assessment and construction trips to El Guano, Olancho, Honduras, to build a pedestrian bridge from September 2021 through May 2023. 


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