A Place in History: Meet the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipients

By Alcalde Staff | Published by Alcalde

2022 DAA Field 11122022 MWS0374 edited
Photo by Matt Wright-Steel, courtesy of Alcalde

[ARTICLE] ‘From the moment she walked into Memorial Stadium, Gay Gaddis knew she wanted to be part of The University of Texas.

During a chilly night last November, the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center was packed with admirers, well-wishers, old friends, and family members of six people who were having a night to remember. As their life stories were shared on giant screens, and Patty Huffines, immediate past president of the Texas Exes, and UT President Jay Hartzell described their many contributions to society, it was evident just how much opportunity can be found on the Forty Acres. From an oil tycoon and a senior staffer at the White House to an advertising virtuoso, committed civic leader, star trial attorney, and a government relations expert, The University of Texas can be the springboard to all kinds of greatness.  

Gay W. Gaddis 

BFA ’77, College of Fine Arts, Founder, Author, Artist, Gay Gaddis, LLC, Austin, Texas, Life Member  

“When I was in high school, I visited Austin and UT. The first time I walked into Memorial Stadium, I was overwhelmed by the size, spirit, and unmatched enthusiasm for this university. When the crowd broke into ‘Texas Fight,’ all I could say to myself was, I want to be a part of this. Tomorrow when I walk onto that same field, that voice of the high school girl inside me will say, I want to be a part of this. We are all part of this.”  

Thomas Dunning 

BBA ’65, McCombs School of Business, Chairman Emeritus, Lockton Dunning Benefits, Dallas, Texas, Life Member  

“The University of Texas started me on a life-changing journey. This is where I met my lovely wife, Sally—I would not be here without her advice and encouragement. McCombs gave me the essential tools and confidence to build a business, and UT is where I made lifelong friends. In fact, every good friend I have today I either met at UT or through friends of friends who went to UT.” 

Albert Hawkins III  

BA ’75, College of Liberal Arts, MPAff ’78, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Owner/Principal Consultant, Public Policy Consulting, Austin, Texas, Life Member  

“For nearly 30 years, my father worked at the meatpacking plant during the day and did janitorial work at night. He understood that education was our best path to success and was determined that I would attend The University of Texas. He would say that he wanted me to have a good job where I would be able to wear a shirt and tie to work.  Well, I may not always wear a tie to work anymore, but I think I did meet his expectations.”  

Jeffery D. Hildebrand 

BS ’81, Jackson School of Geosciences, MS ’85, Cockrell School of Engineering, Executive Chairman and Founder, Hilcorp Energy Company, Houston, Texas, Life Member 

“The success I have had in business would not have been possible without The University of Texas. It’s not just the education I received in the technical aspects of oil and gas development that helped me build Hilcorp. It was also where I developed a passion for hard work and being entrepreneurial. I am convinced that it was UT that helped me unlock something inside of me that allowed me to dream big.” 

Myra Liza Leo 

BA ’81, College of Liberal Arts, Principal, Husch Blackwell, LLP, Austin, Texas, Life Member 

“Because of my experience at The University of Texas, I was able to take advantage of internship opportunities at the Capitol. It was this foray into state government that piqued my interest, and like many of my Capitol family, I can honestly say I grew up there. It was the beginning of the career I enjoy today.”  

Michael W. “Mike” Perrin  

BA ’69, College of Natural Sciences, JD ’71, School of Law, Of Counsel, Winstead PC, Houston, Texas, Life Member  

“My life has involved, revolved, and evolved with The University of Texas. I have seen UT from all angles, from top to bottom—from prospect to recruit to student to graduate to alumnus to parent to employee and high-level administrator. I have lived UT and I can attest to the fact that, in all respects, our great university does measure up.”  

Enjoy the full article here.