The 2023 Outstanding Young Texas Exes Are Ahead of the Game

From left, Dr. Amy Faith Ho, C.C. Melvin Ike, Kovid Gupta, Glen Powell.

One of the most prestigious awards given by the Texas Exes and the University honors those who have accomplished what some only dream of—and before their 40th birthdays. Whether making movies, closing deals, or saving lives, the 2023 Outstanding Young Texas Exes are proud to be Longhorns, proof of the enduring impact of their alma mater. Surrounded by friends, family, and admirers at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center last September, they each accepted their newest accolade and shared some wisdom on what they learned at UT and how it got them to where they are today.

Kovid Gupta, BBA, BS, BA ’10

Kovid Gupta is no stranger to the spotlight. Born and raised in Houston, he was always interested in filmmaking, but he knew the value of a business degree. After two initial attempts to gain admission to McCombs, he was able to graduate from UT with three degrees—including a bachelor’s of business administration. He went on to earn his MBA at Cornell University.  

This ambition and determination serve Gupta well in his career as a nonfiction author and a Bollywood screenwriter and director for some of India’s most successful studios. He’s written more than 1,000 episodes for Indian television, and he was assistant director for Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time. He credited his parents—whom he affectionately called his producers—and The University of Texas for his success.  

In thinking back to his time on campus, he remembered attending a candlelight vigil in front of the Tower. “When I looked at the hundreds of my peers around me, I realized the power and magic that the Forty Acres held,” he said. “In darkness, you can find light. It’s just about looking within you and looking at those around you.”

Dr. Amy Faith Ho, BS ’10

While earning her MD at Southwestern and completing her residency in emergency medicine at the University of Chicago, Amy Ho discovered a passion for the medical humanities. She became interested in sharing an insider’s view of medicine and harnessed her confidence in the arena of political advocacy. “That’s what UT did for me,” Ho said. “It taught me how to think, how to challenge. It taught me how to form a voice and to have a fearlessness in sharing that voice.”  

She’s since served on the boards of directors for multiple medical political action committees, lobbied at the Texas Capitol, and showcased her work everywhere from Forbes to the Today show—all while practicing emergency medicine at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and teaching at the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.  

With her son smiling in the audience, Ho also shared anecdotes from serving as a medical consultant on several network dramas and as the featured physician on the TLC and Discovery Life show Untold Stories of the ER. Her most recent foray into entertainment is with her children’s book, Is Mommy a Doctor or Superhero? (The jury’s still out on that question.)

C.C. Melvin Ike, BS ’07

For a former Texas Football defender, C.C. Melvin “Mel” Ike is surprisingly soft-spoken. The delivery of his speech at the Alumni Center betrayed the similar ease with which he has moved between fields—from undergraduate studies in biomedical engineering to graduating from both Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. “One of the marks of a good education is being able to hold two ideas in your head at once,” he said. “My education was less about the classes I took and more about developing judgement for when I eventually had to make really big decisions in my career.”  

And his track record is a testament to that judgement. Ike worked his way up in the investment banking world over the last decade, leaving his position as a managing director focusing on private, public, and growth equities at Blackstone in February 2023 to establish The Visualize Group. As founder and managing partner, Ike will make high-conviction, long-duration investments in generationally enduring businesses.  

He applied the same nuance and innovation from this newest initiative to UT’s iconic motto: “The truth is, what starts here doesn’t just change the world,” he said. “UT starts the world. It started mine.”

Glen Powell, ’11

Actor Glen Powell needs no introduction. On stage, he made fun of himself right away for showing up in cocktail attire to a business casual event. (He had swapped the button-up and tie for a black T-shirt under his tuxedo jacket.) With the same winsome grin, he quipped that he’ll never really consider himself an “ex” of UT because they’re “in a committed relationship.”

Despite breakout roles in Top Gun: Maverick, Hidden Figures, and Set It Up, Powell has always been outspoken about his roots. “The thing about The University of Texas is that only people who go to UT really understand what it means to be a part of this community,” he said.

After teenage roles under renowned directors and years of small Hollywood parts, Richard Linklater noticed Powell’s hard-earned maturity as an actor and cast him in Everybody Wants Some!! The pair collaborated again last year to co-write and produce Hit Man, in which Powell also stars and Linklater directs.

Powell characterized leaving UT to pursue his film career as one of the most difficult decisions he’s had to make in his life—but hinted at his intentions to eventually return and complete his degree. Looking back, he offered some advice. “You’re not running the same event as everyone else, so don’t look in the other lanes,” he said. “Just keep running in your lane, and eventually you’ll get to where you’re going.”

CREDIT: Portraits by Matt Wright-Steel


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