Island University Announces Homecoming Banquet Honorees for 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, The National Islander Alumni Association and Islanders Athletics proudly announce their award honorees for the 2023 Homecoming Honors Banquet, taking place Friday, Feb. 24, in the University Center, Anchor Ballroom.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards and Athletic Hall of Honor Inductions will be presented to alumni that evening as part of the Homecoming 2023 festivities that run from Feb. 19-25.

“We are looking forward to this year’s Homecoming festivities and we are excited about honoring this new cohort of exceptional alumni,” said Dr. Haysam Dawod ’85, President of the National Alumni Association. “These three remarkable individuals make an Islander Impact in their communities every day and we are proud of the work that they do to spread the Islander spirit.”

Islanders Athletics honors individuals that have laid the foundation of success for future Islander student athletes. This year, Islanders Athletics celebrates the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the impact of women in sports by honoring volleyball standout Brittany Gilpin ’18. Gilpin was the 2016 Southland Conference (SLC) Player of the Year and Student-Athlete of the Year.

“Brittany exemplifies the ideal Islanders athlete by being both solid in the classroom and on the court,” said Interim Islanders Athletics Director Adrian Rodriguez. “She played a critical role in her team’s success and always showed grit and determination for success. We are so excited to present her with this much-deserved honor.”

The 2023 Homecoming Honors Banquet is open to the public and tickets can be purchased at online at the Islander Alumni Store. Ticket prices begin at $75, with tables of eight priced at $500.

The 2023 recipients include:

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Cheema HHB
  • Distinguished Alumnus: Jagdev Cheema ’68 — Cheema graduated from the University of Corpus Christi with a degree in business. He has lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico for 30 years and worked as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo. As a tennis player for UCC, he has always felt a connection to the Island University. He and his wife Linda (who he met on campus) have a strong desire to help student athletes and business students by providing them financial support through scholarships.  
  • Outstanding Alumnus: Dana Sisk ’01— Sisk, currently is the Executive Vice President of Rally, the largest credit union in South Texas. She is also the co-owner of She Leads Consulting and has held positions of progressive responsibility in the financial services and banking industry for over 25 years. A native of Tennessee, Sisk earned an accounting degree from Tennessee State University in Nashville, and a Master of Accountancy at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She is a past president and active member of the Rotary Club of West Corpus Christi and a graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi, class 45.
  • Young Alumnus Award: Jesse Gilbert ’07, ’14, ’22 — Gilbert was named President and CEO of the Texas State Aquarium in December 2021. He has more than two decades of experience in executive and non-profit leadership, strategic business planning, crisis manage, budget management and external partnerships. He holds degrees in biology and marine and field science, a Master of Science in Fisheries and Mariculture, and a Master in Business Administration, all from the Island University. Gilbert’s experience, commitment, and leadership have been instrumental in the Texas State Aquarium’s recent growth and the addition of the soon-to-open Wildlife Rescue Center.
Athletic Hall of Honor InductionsGilpin HHB
  • Brittany Gilpin ’18 (2017 last season) — Gilpin was both the 2016 SLC Player of the Year and Student-Athlete of the Year and was the 2016 SLC Tournament MVP. She was a three-time All-Conference First-Team selection in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and a 2016 AVCA All-Region honoree. Gilpin ranks second all-time in program history in kills (1,249), fourth in blocks (245.5) and fifth in hitting percentage (.268). Gilpin helped lead the Islanders to a 31-15 (16-0 SLC) record in 2015 and 24-8 (16-0 SLC) in 2016 to go along with back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.

For a full list of all alumni-related Homecoming events, visit or call 361.825.5787.