2014 Distinguished Alumnus Awards A Smash Hit

Before Nick Rose’s game-winning field goal, before Tyrone Swoopes showed he could throw a nice deep ball, before the opening kickoff on Saturday evening, the University of Texas and its alumni had an occasion in which to feel intense pride. The win was just the icing on the cake.

Twenty minutes before the shootout between Texas and Iowa State commenced, the six Distinguished Alumnus Award winners and one Distinguished Service Award winner were honored on the field at DKR, and this class was as star-studded and influential as ever. Earl Campbell, BS ’79; uf0Jk6Z-1Scott Caven, BBA ’64, LLB ’67; Dealey Herndon, BA ’69; John Massey, LLB ’66; Matthew McConaughey, BS ’93; and Karen Nyberg, MS ’96, PhD ’98, Life Members, were vaunted as “alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the University of Texas.” Jody Conradt, former women’s basketball coach and women’s athletics director, was introduced to the pumped-up crowd as only the seventh winner of the Distinguished Service Award, presented to non-alums in “recognition of remarkable service” to UT. Six of the seven who made it onto the field—Campbell was unable to attend—were given an introduction, and received raucous cheers as they each flashed a Hook ’em Horns sign to an adoring crowd.

The previous evening in the LBJ Library auditorium, all seven were introduced with videos featuring their families, friends, and colleagues, and the DAA winners received their iconic burnt-orange blazers before delivering a short speech. The event, televised on Longhorn Network, had more than 800 alumni and friends of the university in attendance, with President Bill Powers welcoming the attendees, previous DAA winners, and latest honorees, and Texas Exes board chairman Charles Matthews as emcee. Nyberg, the final honoree, and a NASA astronaut, summed the class up nicely in her speech: “Sitting on top of a rocket … not scary. Being last on the podium after these remarkable people? Terrifying!”


For more info on the nominees, click here. You can view the tribute videos shown during Friday night’s ceremony below. In the final video, you’ll see a Texas Longhorns shirt that Nyberg wore in outer space. She has graciously donated this shirt to the Texas Exes, where it will hang proudly in the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center.

Jody Conradt:

Scott Caven:

Earl Campbell:

Dealey Herndon:

John Massey:

Matthew McConaughey:

Karen Nyberg:

 DAA group photos by Mark Rutkowski. Crowd photo by Reddit user Brian Dawkins.


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