A Word With the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winners

Each year, the Texas Exes bestows on six Longhorns The University of Texas’ highest honor: the Distinguished Alumnus Award. On Nov. 2, once again, alumni and friends of UT Austin descended upon the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center to welcome home a new batch of honorees. They all stood proudly onstage in their orange jackets and spoke about what it means to be a Longhorn.

There was the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning writer. There was the groundbreaking medical pioneer who specializes in delivering health care to the underserved, especially women. Then there was the radio executive and regent whose name graces the School of Social Work; the attorney who served as special assistant to President George H.W. Bush; one of the top trial lawyers in the country; and the renowned financial services professional and philanthropist who taught at McCombs in retirement.

Though they all excel in different fields, what ties them together is their service to the university.



BA ’75, Life Member

“I virtually grew up on the Forty Acres. As a child, I saw my first play here, would audition for the first time, and be rejected for the first time, act in my first production, and finally, thankfully, receive the education and training that would lead to a long, varied, and successful career in the arts.”


Anitha T. Mitchell, MD

BA ’65, Life Member

“My relationship with the university was not always a love affair. I entered the university in 1961. Segregation on campus and in Austin was the order of the day. I had no intention of returning to this campus, until 2007, when I got a notification that the university was going to dedicate a dormitory in honor of Almetris Duren. The university saw what contributions she had made to students lives then, and built a magnificent edifice in her honor. They chose to honor her, and on that Sunday afternoon beneath the sprawling oak tree, I became a Longhorn.”


Chairman Emeritus, Estrada Hinojosa and Company, Inc.

BS ’69, JD ’83, Life Member

“The past recipients who are here, when you read their bios, it’s just overwhelming. In particular, someone who I’ve admired for years and who we just lost a few months ago: Frank Denius. He was the ultimate Longhorn. Immortal. When you look at his bio, it makes us feel so humble. It is a great honor to be here to tonight, and to have this jacket.”


Executive Chairman, Capstar Partners, LLC

BA ’72, Life Member

“When I came to UT in 1969, I was one of those lost kids. I didn’t know who I was, where I belonged, or what I wanted to do with my life. That all changed in the four years I was here. By the time I left in 1972, I had a clearer idea of all of those things. But more importantly, I had an identity forever.”


President, Mithoff Law Firm

BBA ’68, JD ’71, Life Member

“Ginni deserves this award as much or more than I do. Ginni doesn’t seek the limelight. She has a passion for education. This year marks 50 years of our marriage together. She is my partner in everything we have done, and we are all—our entire family—very, very grateful for this.”


Retired, Morgan Stanley

BBA ’68, Life Member

“Why am I up here tonight? I’ve never been an astronaut, or an admiral. I have never been an elected official or a regent. I have thought about this question and believe I am up here for two big reasons. First, I chose to get my education at The University of Texas. The second, and biggest reason I am here tonight, is that little redheaded girl [wife Beverly O’Hara] that I was fortunate enough to meet 53 years ago.”

Photographs by Matt Wright-Steel


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