Adams, Cohn, and Manns named as distinguished alumni

Longview Independent School District on May 13 will honor three former students during the annual Distinguished Alumni ceremony and luncheon.

Events are set to begin at 9:30 a.m. with the Longview ISD Foundation commemorative brick presentation at the Lobo Foundation Plaza (near the home entrance to Lobo Stadium). This event is free and open to the public.

An 11:15 a.m. reception at Pinecrest Country Club will be followed by lunch at 11:45. Tickets for the luncheon are $15 and can be purchased at the Education Support Center, 1301 E. Young St.

Honorees are nominated at-large and chosen by a committee of previous honorees, volunteer Distinguished Alumni Committee members and the district’s Community Relations office. Distinguished alumni typically have excelled professionally, in addition to serving the communities in which they live.

Martin R. Adams
Adams, a 1953 graduate of Longview High School, continued his education at Texas A&M, where he graduated with honors in chemical engineering and was a Distinguished Military Graduate in the Corps of Cadets, and then attended the University of Colorado where he earned a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering. Commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, Adams served from 1958 – 1962 at the Wright Air Development Center in Dayton, Ohio, where he conducted research on aeronautical systems and materials.

Upon completion of his service obligation, Adams was employed by Exxon Corporation, then called Humble Oil and Refining Co., as a business and policy analyst at Corporate Headquarters. With Exxon, Adams gained extensive analytical and management expertise. These skills served him well in his later career as an entrepreneur and business builder. Adams describes this later work as being like a “corporate midwife,” giving birth to new businesses and reviving faltering ones. His complete career activities are described in his autobiography, “The Chronicles of Martin,” which was published in 2014.

Much of Adams career has involved the development of complex mathematical models of the energy marketplace and other large systems. Serving as an assistant secretary of the U. S. Department of Energy, Adams work during the oil crisis years in the 1970s and 1980s helped to solve our nation’s energy problems. His work led to innovations in oil and gas production technology, particularly in shale formations. Thus did Adams play a significant role in boosting production of American hydocarbons now and in the future.

Martin and his wife, Margery, live in the mountains of Stowe, Vermont where they have been avid skiers and outdoorsmen for many years. Adams is the son of former Longview Chief of Police Albert Adams and his wife, Leta Adams.

Adams was nominated by lifelong friend, Dr. Frank Jackson. Adams said that he was “blown away” that someone who’s known him so long, “even remotely believes that I am “Distinguished.” Adams continued, “I just pray that today’s kids in LISD are getting the exposure to outstanding teachers like Frank Jackson and I had. LISD gave us and others like us a tremendous start in life.”

Dr. Shannon Marie Mitchell Cohn
Cohn, valedictorian of the 2001 Longview High School class, continued her education at the University of Texas where in 2005 she earned a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in chemical engineering, and her medical degree cum laude in 2009 from the Baylor College of Medicine.

Beginning her career in 2009 as a resident at Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in 2012 Cohn began working in hematology/oncology at the hospital. Since last year she has been a pediatric oncologist/researcher at Children's Blood and Cancer Center in Austin.

Though still a young professional, Cohn has received numerous honors and has given various lectures in addition to being published in medical journals. She has also lent her medical expertise as a volunteer doctor for "Camp Esperanza" treating child cancer patients.

Daughter of Marshall and Leisa Mitchell of Longview, she is married to Stephen and the couple resides in Austin. Cohn was nominated by former classmate Emily Mackey Melton Harris, who praised her friend's profound modesty "about her gift of healing."

"Certainly other doctors could have given the same treatments ... but Shannon also builds personal relationships with families and her young patients," she said. "She talks to them at any hour of the day or night, and does things like wearing silly masks with them at Halloween. I have personally witnessed her compassion with families who need to be consoled."

Harris said she remembered watching in 2002 when her own father was named a Distinguished Alumni, and thought Cohn would someday be on the list.

"Even though we were still young, I knew her heart," she said. "I knew her continued drive for success and helping others would someday blossom into the remarkable woman and friend she is today."

Gatha Manns
Manns, a 1984 Longview High School graduate, earned an athletic scholarship to Baylor University where she received her bachelor's degree in 1988, followed by a Juris Doctorate from the college's law school in 1993. Joining the U.S Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps during her second year of law school, Manns later received her master's degree in International Environmental Law from George Washington University.

"Joining the U.S. Navy's JAG Corps was an important decision for me personally and professionally," Manns said. "It was the realization of my personal sense of obligation to serve my country, in the capacity of my chosen profession."

Manns said tours of duty in the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf heightened her interest in the study of both international and environmental law.

"As the world population increases, more national and international discussions will take place concerning our collective need to protect the environment from pollutants that threaten to shorten the human lifespan and the quality of our lives on this planet," she said. "A sound understanding of environmental law is necessary to participate in critical discussions, and to aid the debate on viable worldwide solutions."

Nominated by Dianne Miller of Longview, Manns now serves in the Office of the Chief Prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Defense. Manns is working on the prosecution of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Manns said that, as a JAG office, she often has "a front-row seat to the inner workings of policy."

"I have observed and had numerous discussions with commanders in a wartime environment," she said. "I have seen, on a small scale, how significant policy-level decisions are made."

A two-time Academic All-American in track and field as well as All-East Texas in basketball during her high school years, Manns continued to receive accolades during her collegiate years and professional career — including a commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for her work during the investigation of a 2013 shooting at the Washington Naval Yard, in addition to numerous military honors and citations.
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