Letter from the Executive Director: The Greats

When people ask me why they should join the Texas Exes, I often reply: “Well, life is all about the company you keep.” In the photo above, I’m in some pretty good company. The 2019 winners of the Distinguished Alumnus and Distinguished Service Award were brought out onto the field of DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium during halftime of the Texas vs. Kansas State game. I love this moment. It’s when Longhorns of all ages, packed into the seats on our home turf, honor the people who have become legends in their field—and their commitment to making the university and the planet better for us all.   

This year, I was struck by the breadth of acclaim we have in this newest class: from a world-renowned expert on moths to a real estate titan, Nobel laureate, and a civil rights pioneer. 

At The University of Texas, we have been churning out these extraordinary thought leaders, disruptors, and visionaries since the 1800s. Look at the last 60 years’ worth of Distinguished Alumni and you’ll see what I mean.   

At the ceremony, we had over 70 former honorees come back to the Alumni Center to celebrate this group. The specialness of this occasion is accentuated when the previous winners come together, clad in their orange jackets, to parade down the aisles. You can see the arc of history pass right in front of you.   

Speaking of history, the remarkable couple on our Jan|Feb 2020 cover is making it every day. Charlotte and John Henderson, two kids who fell in love on the Forty Acres, just celebrated 80 years of marriage. Today they reside at Longhorn Village and are officially the Guinness World Record holders for oldest living married couple. Read their story, “Dearly Beloved,” on page 30.   

That is some sort of magic—two Longhorns who are as burnt orange as you can be. Talk about the power of our school spirit; maybe it even leads to a longer life. There is a theme in here somewhere. Perhaps it’s just a life well lived. All I know is, I want to be like them when I grow up. 

Hook ’em, 

 Chuck Harris, BBA ’86, Life Member 


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