Since 1958, the Distinguished Alumnus Awards have been the Texas Exes’ highest honor, reserved for an elite group of alumni whose professional successes and service to the University go far beyond expectations. Here at the Alumni Center, we call them our “Oscars,” since the two award ceremonies share much in common: a star-studded crowd dressed to the nines, classy video tributes, and even a red carpet.
This year’s event promises to have even higher wattage than usual. Meet the 2012 Distinguished Alumni:
Laura Bush, MLS ’73, is most famous for having been First Lady to President George W. Bush. Equally impressive are her many other achievements, including founding the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, which awards more than $1 million to school libraries every year. In 1995 she dreamed up the Texas Book Festival. The free annual celebration of books and reading draws more than 40,000 people to the Texas Capitol annually—and it inspired the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. The lifelong bibliophile is also the author of a bestselling memoir, Spoken From the Heart.
Julius Glickman, BA ’62, LLB ’66, Life Member, is an attorney and philanthropist. A top trial lawyer, his tenacity in the courtroom has always been matched by his passion for giving back. As a UT student, Glickman was student body president and led an effort to convince Austin barbershops to open their doors to African-American students for the first time. The Plan II graduate’s passion for the arts and humanities led him to chair Humanities Texas, fund a gallery in the Blanton Museum of Art, and support UT in myriad other ways, including chairing the Development Board and the Chancellor’s Council.
Charles Matthews, BA ’67, Life Member, is the retired vice president and general counsel of Exxon Mobil Corp. Matthews deftly handled thousands of lawsuits in the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Later, he again proved himself cool under pressure when he took the lead on one of the largest corporate mergers in history, the Exxon-Mobil merger. Matthews’ pro bono work has earned him dozens of accolades, including the 2009 Women’s Advocacy Award for service to women living in poverty and the Boys & Girls Club of America National Service to Youth Award.
Admiral William McRaven, BJ ’77, is the ninth commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. He planned and coordinated the attack that killed Osama bin Laden—calmly briefing President Obama as the attack in Abbottabad, Pakistan, unfolded. While working at the National Security Council after 9/11, McRaven was the principal author of the White House’s anti-terrorism strategy. The most senior SEAL in the U.S. Navy, McRaven studied journalism at UT. His writing background came in handy in 1996 when he wrote the definitive book on special operations, Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare, Theory and Practice.
Melinda Perrin, BS ’69, Life Member, is a Houston civic leader and health care advocate. The first woman to serve on the board of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System (then Hermann Hospital), Perrin has had a lifelong passion for improving health care. Recently, she convened researchers and leaders from eight Houston hospitals to study ways to reduce medical errors. Perrin has chaired the UT Development Board and the Chancellor’s Council. She was also a driving force behind the founding of the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education.
Hector Ruiz, BS ’68, MS ’70, Life Member, is president and CEO of Bull Ventures and ANSI Capital. The tech titan previously led Advanced Micro Devices and was president of the semiconductor products section at Motorola. In 2006, Fortune magazine named him to its list of 25 top business leaders. A native of Piedras Negras, Mexico, who walked across the border every day to attend high school in Eagle Pass, Texas, Ruiz is an education advocate who has served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, among many other volunteer positions.
The Distinguished Alumnus Awards ceremony will be held Oct. 19.