Blue Ridge School is proud to recognize five alumni for outstanding service and dedication to their communities and to the School. The 2022 alumni award recipients are shining examples of the range of interests and influence that Blue Ridge School graduates have following their years on campus. We are exceedingly proud of their accomplishments and know they will be lasting examples for future generations of Blue Ridge School students.
The 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award was presented to Joshua H. Watt ’72 of Johns Creek, Georgia. This highest honor for Blue Ridge School alumni recognizes its recipients for extraordinarily distinguishing themselves in their community and career. Josh graduated from the University of Georgia where he was a leading member of the football and lacrosse teams. He has been a senior financial advisor PIM portfolio manager with Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network for nearly 30 years and is a former member of the Blue Ridge School Board of Trustees. Josh and his wife Julie have two children and four grandchildren. He is an active member of his church and the University of Georgia Football Lettermen’s Club.
The Henry Morschheimer, Jr. ’67 Founder’s Award honors alumni who have demonstrated their commitment to and support of the philosophy and goals of Blue Ridge School. This year’s recipient is Jim McKenry ’82 of Richmond, Virginia. Jim graduated from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and quickly made a name for himself in the men’s apparel industry. His company, The Bird Dog Group, handles U.S. sales and distribution for European men’s apparel brands. Jim and his wife Lela are active with several Richmond-area non-profit organizations. He also serves on Blue Ridge School’s Alumni Leadership Council.
The Anthony T. Noel ’78 Alumnus of the Year Award recognizes demonstrated devotion to Blue Ridge School through volunteering of time, energy, and support to the School and fellow alumni. This year’s recipient is Robert Vinson, Jr. ’87 of Decatur, Georgia. Rob is a graduate of The College of Charleston and has worked in real estate and real estate tax consulting for nearly 30 years. He currently serves on the Alumni Leadership Council. He says, “I didn’t come back to BRS until 12 years after the summer school counseling job. And that was 2000. Then I came back for my 20th reunion in 2007 and have been back to just about every reunion since. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but BRS helped make me who I am today, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to join the BRS family.”
The Young Alumnus Awards goes to two brothers this year: Brannon Schmidt ’12 and Mason Schmidt ’13 of Erwin, Tennessee. The Schmidt brothers developed a love of the outdoors while students at Blue Ridge School and recently turned that passion into a river guide and paddling business. Mason says, “Brannon and I are honored and feel very lucky to be given this award among the amazing group of alumni that BRS has. We would not be here at Blue Ridge Paddling today without our experience at Blue Ridge School. The outdoor program and the staff at BRS opened Brannon’s and my eyes to this industry’s potential and really sparked our desire to get into the industry. I will never forget the canoeing trip that we took down the Shenandoah River during my time at BRS. Followed by an amazing multi-day expedition style trip down Desolation Canyon in Utah. Those memories will last forever and are truly the moments that inspired us to do what we are doing now.”