Monica Murrell Named 2017 Top Hand

Sitting in a room filled with nearly 100 other Longhorns, Monica Murrell, BA ’02, Life Member, never expected to hear her name called. What she thought was just a pleasant visit to the Alumni Center for some socializing and cocktails turned out to be an even more pleasant surprise—she was being presented the 2017 Jack Harbin Top Hand Award.  The award, whose recipients are always kept secret until the surprise reveal, recognizes those who have given extraordinary service to Texas Exes and the university.

“This award is fitting for Monica because she has always been one to get things done,” said Texas Exes Board President Del Williams, BBA ’83, JD ’85, Life Member. Murrell, who co-founded the Planning Mode eight years ago, has served as an active member of the Texas Exes Dallas Chapter board for more than 10 years. She’s taken on roles like social events chair, Texas Independence Day chair, at-large member, and VP of events chair.

Murrell says the work she’s most proud of having done with Texas Exes is helping to raise more than $1.35 million for the Forty Acres Scholars Program since 2010. She says what keeps her involved with the organization is the chance to help further educational resources and help others attend the university.

“I truly believe what starts here changes the world,” she says. “This university helps make education accessible to people who might not have the means or the perfect grades. Although Texas is competitive, it makes education possible—a good education.”

Former Texas Exes board president John H. Massey, LLB ’66, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus, presented Murrell with the award. They first worked together on a Dallas Scholarship Dinner eight years ago. The year prior, he said, the event had fallen apart and the chapter lost money. But with Murrell’s help, everything turned around.

“Monica is our hero, she’s our queen,” he said. “We’ve had eight scholarship events together and we’ve grossed now at just $2 million. She picked every venue and every event. She’s the real reason for our tremendous success. Thank you for everything you have done.”

Photo credit Eileen Wu.


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