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franklin county times

Two Russellville men to be honored at UNA banquets

By Staff
Jason Cannon
Franklin County Times
Two Russellville men will be among the honorees at University of North Alabama award ceremonies scheduled for today and tomorrow.
Dennis Upchurch, president and CEO of Citizen's Bank, will be bestowed with the Friend of the University at UNA's Alumni Awards Banquet today.
"A class by themselves, the friend of the university award honors non-alumni who promote the mission of the university by their individual donation of time, resources, and energy," Alumni Director, Carol Lyles said. "Their work is a labor of love. They are patrons, silently seeking to select deserving causes and special interests where they can share their expertise and talents."
Dennis Upchurch and Citizens Bank has a strong presence on UNA's campus and provides support to many of its programs.
The institution is the primary deposit bank for the university; Citizens Bank annually contributes $10,000 to $25,000 to the UNA Foundation; they are an official Gold Level sponsor of Lion athletics, including sponsorship of the Coach Mark Hudspeth and the Bobby Champagne shows and are supporters of the alumni program and Sportsman's Club.
The bank also provides financial support for two of the campus' most famous residents – lion mascots Leo III and Una. Citizens Bank makes annual donations that allow for scholarships to be provided for international students and hosts group banking programs which help them establish bank accounts.
The bank also has a presence during Freshman Week, among many other things.
In a separate ceremony, to be held in the Guillot University Center's Performance Center at 9 a.m. Nov. 3, six will be inducted into the UNA Athletic Hall of Fame, including Russellville's Billy Witt.
Witt, a native of Russellville, was a four-year letterman on the defensive line for the Lions from 1982-85. He was named to the UNA Team of the Decade for 1979-88, the First Forty Years UNA Football Team and the 50th Anniversary UNA Football Team. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 1985 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills and played for Buffalo in 1987. He also received a bachelor's degree in Business Management from UNA in 1987.