Remembering Distinguished Alumnus Jack S. Blanton


The UT community has lost a staunch supporter and the namesake of the largest art museum on a college campus.

Jack S. Blanton, BA ’47, LLB ’50, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus, passed away in Houston on Dec. 28 at the age of 86. His lifetime of service to the University began after he received two degrees on the Forty Acres, one in history and the other in law. Post-graduation, Blanton began working his way up the ladder at Houston’s Scurlock Oil Company, where he ultimately became president, CEO, and chairman. He then served on UT’s Centennial Commission and the Commission of 125.

Blanton was one of Texas Exes’ own. In addition to receiving the association’s Top Hand Award in 1970 and the prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1977, Blanton also served as Texas Exes president. He even donated a Charles Umlauf sculpture, “Mother and Child,” to help beautify the Alumni Center grounds. It can be found on the west side of the building, overlooking Waller Creek.

After his time at the Exes, Blanton was called upon by the UT System Board of Regents in 1985. He later served as the board’s chairman in 1987, and in 1994 he received the Santa Rita Award—the highest honor given by the Board of Regents for commitment to the purposes and objectives of the UT System.

In 1997, a $12-million gift from Houston Endowment Inc. honored Blanton, its former chairman, by officially renaming UT’s art museum the “Blanton Museum of Art.” Today, the museum’s collection tops 17,000 works, making it the largest art museum on a college campus.

FMmaddenIn November, Blanton reunited with fellow Distinguished Alumni at the Texas Exes’ annual Distinguished Alumnus Awards in the LBJ Library Auditorium. There, he donned that hard-earned burnt-orange blazer and posed with friends Wales Madden Jr., BBA ’77, MBA ’79, and Mark McLaughlin, BBA ’52, LLB ’54, Life Members.

“The university has lost a great friend,” said UT president Bill Powers of Blanton’s passing. “Jack Blanton served UT in countless ways. He supported programs as varied as the law school, the Wildflower Center, British Studies, athletics, nursing and, of course, the Blanton Museum of Art. Moreover, for decades he contributed his time, energy and vision to UT. And he was a wonderful friend. I will miss him.”

Top, photo courtesy UT-Austin. Inset, from left: Wales Madden Jr., Mark McLaughlin, and Jack Blanton.


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