Introducing The 2011 Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award Winners

Around the Alumni Center, we call the Distinguished Alumnus Awards our Oscars, but the Outstanding Young Texas Exes are like the Emmys and Golden Globes combined.

So when we announce the winners, we’re excited. And when we saw the names of this year’s Young Texas Exes, we were pumped. These four have compelling stories and are doing work that is by turns important, exciting, and fun.

There’s ad wizard Craig Allen, BS ’03, BA ’03, Life Member. As art director at the firm of Kennedy+Weiden, Allen is the creative genius behind Old Spice’s wildly successful “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, as well as Skittles’ standout “Touch the Rainbow, Taste the Rainbow.”

There’s NFL coach Daron Roberts, BA ’01, Life Member. A Harvard Law grad, Roberts left the attorney grind a few years ago to follow his dream of becoming a football coach. He had zero experience but the guts to ask every NFL team until he was given a chance. Now he is an assistant secondary coach for the Detroit Lions.

There’s a sharp political mind in Veronica Vargas Stidvent, BA ’96, Life Member. Stidvent was until recently the director of the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs before moving to the McCombs School Dec. 1. Her gold-plated résumé also includes past positions as assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department for Labor and special assistant to the president for policy in the White House.

And there’s a counterterrorism expert in Shaarik H. Zafar, BA ’97, Life Member. As deputy chief of the center’s Global Engagement Group, Zafar is a point person in the U.S. government’s efforts to deny international terrorists a next generation of recruits.

Members of our staff know each of these four winners, and we can vouch that not only are they impressive, they’re also proud Longhorns and down-to-earth people.

The awards will be formally given at Spring Commencement in May.

From left: Craig Allen, Daron Roberts, Veronica Vargas Stidvent, and Shaarik Zafar.


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