Inaugural Morris M. “Mickey” Gee Servant Leader Award given

Rylee Roquemore receives first memorial award for dedication and service to classmates, school and community.

Rylee Roquemore, a recent marketing graduate from Jasper, Ala., received the first Morris M. “Mickey” Gee Servant Leader Award from the Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics in the UAB Collat School of Business.

Rylee Roquemore, left, and Robert Robicheaux,
Ph.D., chair of the Department of Marketing,
Industrial Distribution and Economics

“Mr. Gee left such a huge legacy on our school, Birmingham, and Alabama at large that I feel so incredibly honored, but beyond any other emotion, I am humbled,” says Roquemore, past president of the UAB American Marketing Association Chapter. “I always told underclassman that Mr. Gee was someone they needed to know because he would most likely be the reason for their future employment.”

Gee, a business executive and UAB instructor, died March 5, 2012, at age 66. He was director of MIDE internships and known as a caring mentor by students.

“Rylee is an ideal recipient of this recognition, and this award is a most fitting tribute for Mickey,” says Robert Robicheaux, Ph.D., MIDE chair. “They worked closely together, and Mickey would be delighted to have her receive the first award in his honor.”

“Whether it was prospective student visits, MIDE events or speaking to classes it didn’t matter when or where I needed her, Rylee was always my go-to student for everything,” says Laura Tull, academic advisor in the UAB School of Business. “She truly represents what this award is all about.”

The School of Business faculty and staff will recognize a student who demonstrates traits of hard work, achievement, service to others and academic accomplishment each year. Roquemore worked tirelessly and effectively to continue the legacy of national and international recognition for the UAB AMA Chapter, which once again was recognized as one of the top 25 chapters in the world and honored for its Outstanding Chapter Communications and Outstanding Professional Development Activities.

“Rylee was one of the most effective leaders we have ever had to finish our marketing program and serve as president of the UAB AMA chapter,” says Robicheaux. “In addition to a full load of classes, she worked 20 hours a week, spent many hours each week in service and I believe spent more time in our offices than did most of our employees.”

“I do not feel like I am finished learning from Mr. Gee. He taught everyone he encountered so much about what it means to serve others,” says Roquemore. “He was continually putting his students and family before his own wants and needs and that is a tremendous legacy to leave behind. I can only hope that one day my legacy could be even a quarter of his. To quote a recent article about Mr. Gee, ‘when I grow up, I want to be like Mickey.’”

Rylee was a UAB Trailblazer for three years and on the Leadership Team for one year. She organized the making of the “G”s that everyone wore at Mickey’s funeral and she helped Mickey’s wife Harriett sort through his office after he passed. Rylee’s parents are Gary and Nancy Roquemore of Jasper. She was recently offered and has accepted a full-time position as assistant account executive for large accounts at Big Communications.