About the Awards

Since 1967, Texas Tech Alumni Association has been presenting the awards to the most prestigious graduates of Texas Tech University for their professional achievements, contributions to society and support of the university.

Past recipients have governed states, flown space missions, sung leading roles in the great opera houses of the world, served as CEO's and military commanders, won Olympic Gold Medals, and even performed heart surgery on celebrities such as Larry King and David Letterman.

Nominations are accepted year-round from members and friends of the Alumni Association, as well as Texas Tech University faculty and staff. Attendance at Texas Tech University is a requirement to be eligible for nomination, although receiving a degree is not compulsory. A committee comprised of alumni and university officials reviews the nomination materials and makes the final selections.

Download the Distinguished Alumni Nomination Form >>

2016 Distinguished Alumni

Mark Lanier ’84
The Lanier Law Firm, P.C.

Mark Lanier is the founder of The Lanier Law Firm, with offices in New York, Houston, Los Angeles and Palo Alto. Attorney, author, teacher, pastor and expert story-teller, Lanier has earned international recognition as one of the country's top trial lawyers based on courtroom battles involving some of the world's largest companies. Described as one of the decade’s most influential lawyers, Lanier continues to support his alma mater, serving on the Law School’s Foundation Board.

Laura Nieto ’95
Senior Manager, Southwest Airlines

Laura Nieto serves as Senior Manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots at Southwest Airlines. She has a passion for and expertise in community outreach to diverse audiences and has formed a powerful team that develops strategic relationships with key constituencies and national leaders with various segment audiences. She is a member of the company’s Diversity Council, a fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s Executive Leadership Program and was recently named to the Top 25 Latino Leaders list.

Jaston Williams ’71

Jaston Williams is a playwright, performer, writer and teacher, as well as a West Texas native. Best known for his performances in the “Greater Tuna” series, Williams continues to use his talent to entertain with hilarious yet insightful portraits of his characters. His work with the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research at Texas Tech led to the creation of the BurkTech players, a performance group combined with Burkhart students and Texas Tech students who work collaboratively to present public performances.

2015 Distinguished Alumni

Mica R. Endsley, Ph.D. ’82
Chief Scientist, United States Air Force
Arlington, Va.

Mica Endsley earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Texas Tech University in 1982. She went on to earn a master’s degree from Purdue University and a doctorate from the University of Southern California.

Endsley is the chief scientist of the United States Air Force. She provides independent scientific advice to the secretary of the Air Force and works with top scientists and engineers. She is the first human factors engineer and the first female to serve as chief scientist.

M. Dan Howard, CPA ’59
Founder, Howard, Cunningham, Houchin and Turner, LLP
Lubbock, Texas

Dan Howard received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas Tech University in 1959. He earned his CPA designation in 1960. He began his career in Dallas and then moved back to Lubbock, where he founded Howard, Cunningham, Houchin and Turner, LLP.

Howard is very civic-minded and active in the Lubbock community. He has chaired numerous boards and has been a leader at First Methodist Church. He recently has received the William H. Tinney Ethics Award from The Metropolitan Lubbock Rotary Club.

Terry E. Fuller ’77
President, Phoenix PetroCorp, Inc.
Frisco, Texas

Terry Fuller received his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering in 1977 from Texas Tech University. He began his career as a drilling engineer and progressed through numerous supervisory positions with various companies.

Fuller is president and founder of Phoenix PetroCorp, Inc., an independent oil and gas production company with operations in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. He remains close to his alma mater and has been named a Texas Tech Distinguished Engineer. He is a member of the Academy of Petroleum Engineers in the Whitacre College of Engineering. He is chairman of the Texas Tech Foundation Board and has been president of the Red Raider Club.

Past Recipients


​Jim Angle '69, Chief National Correspondent, Fox News Channel

Steven G. Gamble, Ph.D. '67 '68 '76, President, Eastern New Mexico University System

Judge T. John Ward '64, U.S. District Judge (Retired), Eastern District of Texas


Rear Adm. (Select) John D. Alexander '82, Assistant Commander of Navy Personnel Command for Career Management (PERS-4)

Scott Pelley '78, Anchor and Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News and Correspondent for 60 Minutes

Robert J. Salem, M.D. FACS '50


Ginger Kerrick '91 '93, Flight Director, NASA Space Center

Brian McCoy '75, President/CEO, McCoy's Building Supply

David Schmidly, Ph.D., '66 '68


Brig. Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. '84, Deputy Director of Operations, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base

Larry R. Byrd '57, Pesident and Partner of the All-Plastics Molding Inc.

Michael L. Gilbert, Ph.D., '80, President of Bayer Cotton Seed International

Kirk Lewis, Ed.D., '76, CEO of the Pasadena Independent School District


Les Shepherd '83, Chief Architect of the U.S. General Services Admin.

James E. Skinner '74, Exec. V.P., COO & CFO of The Neiman Marcus Group Inc.

Bobby G. Waddle '55, U.S. Air Force & City of Desoto Mayor


Douglas E. Barnhart '69, CEO of Makena Consulting Inc.

Larry D. Johnson '61, Founder, President and CEO of The Johnson Development Co.

Wyman Meinzer '74, Photographer and Author


Jeff D. Morris '74, President and CEO of ALON USA

Dunia A. Shive '82, President and CEO of Belo Corp.

Dale V. Swinburn '65, Owner of Dale Swinburn Farms, Partner and Director of Windstar Inc.


Angela Fick Braly '82, President & CEO, WellPoint

Royal Furgeson '64, U.S. District Judge

Richard Ligon '58, '60, Ranching and Business


Dain M. Hancock '64, '66, Retired Business Executive, Lockheed Martin

Phil Price '67, President & CEO, the Price Group

Karen P. Tandy '74, '77, Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration


Carey Hobbs, CEO and President, Hobbs Bonded Fibers

Sheryl Swoops, WNBA Player - Houston Comets

Alan B. White, Chairman and CEO, PlainsCapital Corp.


Jerry S. Rawls, President and CEO, Finisar Corp.

James E. "Jim" Sowell, Chairman, Sowell and Co.

John B. Walker, Founder and CEO, EnerVest Management Partners Ltd.


C. Moody Alexander, D.D.S., M.S. '54, Orthodontist and Professor

Maj. Gen. Robert T. Clark '70, Deputy Commanding General of the Fifth Army

Col. Rick D. Husband '80, Commander of the STS-107 Columbia, Honored Posthumously


David P. Frazier '72, Founder and Former CEO, DF&R Corp.

Nelda Jo Price Koumalats '70, Historical Romance Author

Diane King Scovell '68, Volunteer Service, Banking & Ranching


Harold M. Brannan, M.D., '53, President, South Texas Radiology Group

Susan Graham '83, Performer, Mezzo-Soprano

Gary R. Petersen '68, Co-founder and Partner, Encap Investments, L.C.

Bill R. Womble '60, Attorney, Thompson & Knight


Robert L. Duncan '76, Texas State Senator, Partner, Crenshaw, Dupree & Milam

J. Rex Vardeman '61, Board of Directors, TriPoint Global

Gerald L. Woolam, M.D. '62, Physician, Lubbock Surgical Associates; President, American Cancer Society


Dicky Grigg '70, Partner, Law Offices of Dicky Grigg

Andrew Sansom '68, Executive Director, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Ken Talkington, M.D. '61, Physician, Obstetrics and Gynecology


Jimmie Ruth Wittenburg Evans '71, Community Volunteer, Agribusiness/Investments

Shirley L. Garrison '40, Agribusiness, Investments/Banking

Will D. Jarrett '58, Former President, Westward Communications

William M. "Bill" Sims '55, Former Texas State Senator, Rancher


Charles Harper '55, President & CEO, Harper Perkins Architects

Robert A. Junell '69, Texas State Representative, and Attorney-Small, Craig & Werkenthin

Diane Phillips McGauley '69, Executive Director, The Family Place

Polk F. Robison '34, Retired TTU Athletic Director & Coach


Scott G. Arbuckle '57, Chairman & CEO, Eljer Industries, Inc.

C. R. "Choc" Hutcheson '48, Oil Royalty Investments

O. Wayne Isom, M.D. '61, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center


R. Guy Carter '28, Attorney, Retired; Carter, Jones, Magee, Rudberg & Mayes

Tom Craddick '65, Texas State Representative; Investor-Craddick Properties

Brig. Gen. Walter Burl Huffman '67, Assistant Judge Advocate General of the Army, the Pentagon

Judy Odom Sims '74, CEO and Co-Founder of Software Spectrum


Bob L. Herd '57, Independent Oil & Gas Operator/Producer, Herd Producing Co., Inc.

Stephen J. "Tio" Kleberg '69, Vice President, Agribusiness, King Ranch

Jack W. McAninch, M.D. '58, Professor, University of California, Chief of Urology, San Francisco General Hospital

Helen verDuin Palit '78, Founder and President, America Harvest, Inc.


E.R. "Dick" Brooks '61, Chairman, President and CEO, Central and South West Corp.

Dolores Hutto Carruth, M.D. '58, Neonatologist

R.D. "Don" Cash '66, Chairman, President and CEO, Questar Corp.

Joseph A. Stanley, Jr. '39, Investments and Civic Work


Donald E. Ledwig '59, Executive Director, American Production & Inventory Control Society

John Field Scovell '68, Chairman and Director, Woodbine Development Corp.

R. Canon Clements '32, Retired Banking and Financial Executive

Ilah Coffee Merriman '57, Chief Executive Officer, Houston and Hawaii Offices of H&R Block


J. Fred Bucy, Jr. '51, Retired President and CEO, Texas Instruments

James E. "Pete" Laney '65, Texas State Representative and Farmer

Billie Jean Stroehle Smith, M.D. '60, Director, University of Houston Student Health Center

Elizabeth M. Watson '71, Chief, Houston Police Department


J. C. Chambers '54, CLU, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

James W. Lacy '49, Chairman of the Board, Lacy & Byrd

Rodrick L. Shaw '47, Lubbock County Judge

William B. Snyder '55, President, Chief Executive Officer, Government Employees Insurance Co.


James L. Snyder '41, Rancher

J. Garland Threadgill '50, Retired Consulting Engineer

Edward E. Whitacre, Jr. '64, President and Chief Operating Officer, Southwestern Bell Corp.

Betty Clawson Wright '53, Betty Wright Investments


Bob Bullock '55, Texas State Comptroller

T. Scott Hickman '57, Petroleum Consultant

Frances Mayhugh Holden '36, Historian-Writer, Cultural Leader

James L. "Rocky" Johnson '49, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer-GTE

Walter McDonald, Ph.D., '56, Poet and Paul Whitfield Horn Professor English, Texas Tech University


Georgia Mae Ericson '36, Retired Dietitian and Food Service Manager, Now Stock Farmer, Mt Blanco Canyon

Robert L. Pfluger '51, Rancher

Floyd C. Rector, Jr., M.D., '50, Chief Renal Division, University of California Medical Center

Charles W. Stenholm '61, United States Congressman


R.A. "Rob" Brown, Jr. '58, Rancher

Bill E. Collins '32, Retired Chairman of the Board, Hemphill-Wells

Jack H. Henry, M.D., '60, Orthopedic Surgeon

B.J. "Joe" Pevehouse '48, Adobe Oil & Gas Corp.


Marion F. Baumgardner, pH.D. , '50, Director, Remote Sensing Applications, Agronomy Professor, Purdue University

Kent R. Hance '65, Law Partner, Firm of Boyd, Veigel and Hance

Arch G. Lamb '39, Retired, Farm Management and Investments

Gerald R. Seemann, M.D., '59, Vice President and General Manager, Developmental Sciences, Lear Siegler, Inc.


Clint Formby '49, President of Formby Group Radio Stations

J. L. Gulley, Jr. '49, Independent Oil Producer & Geologist

Charles L. Harris, Jr. '47, Vice President, Mfg. Bed Products Division, WestPoint Pepperell

Robert J. Lewis '49, Retired, Chairman of the Board, United States Bank


R.G. "Wick"Alexander, D.D.S., '58, Orthodontist

W.K. "Bill" Barnett '44, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive , First National Bank

Frank M. Burke, Jr. '60, National Director, Energy & Natural Resources Practice, Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co.

Virginia Hufstedler Love, Ph.D., '32, Retired, Austin College


Anna Belle Collier '29, Retired Banking Executive

Alex K. Cooke '47, Chairman of the Board, Fields & Co.

Katherine L. Rodgers, M.D., '55, Pediatrician

Allan J. Tomlinson, Jr. '54, President and Chief Operating Officer, Diamond Shamrock Corp.


Malouf Abraham '34, Malouf Abraham, Inc.

Jean McLaughlin Kahle '44, Philanthropist

Wendell Mayes, Jr. '49, President, KNOW-AM & KCSW

W.B. "dub" Rushing, '32, Private Investments


Camille G. Bell, Ph.D., '42, Chairperson, Home Economics Education, Texas Tech University

H. P. Bezner '49, Drilling Manager, South Texas Division, Exxon Co.

Ray Butler '49, President, Harkins & Company Oil & Gas-Drilling and Producing

Elmer L. Tarbox '39, Retired Businessman, Former State Representative, Founder Elmer's Weights, Inc.


C. Robert Black '58, President and General Manager, Texaco Iran, Ltd.

Roy Butler '49, President, Noble Affiliates, Inc.

Scott M. Grundy, M.D., '55, Chief, Metabolic Section, VA Hospital in California

Mina W. Lamb, Ph.D., '32, Prof Emeritus, College of Home Economics, Texas Tech University


Alvin R. Allison '39, Attorney

John J. Hinchey, M.D.,'36, Orthopedic Surgeon

Berl M. Springer, '43, President and Chief Operating Officer, SPS

Robert C. Jordan '41, Chief Financial Officer, New England Life Insurance


Lauro F. Cavazos, Ph.D., '49, Dean, Tufts University School of Medicine

Manuel DeBusk '33, Attorney and Businessman

Marshall Formby '32, Attorney and Businessman

Hon. John C. White '46, U.S. Department of Agriculture


Maj. Gen. Richard E. Cavazos '51, Director, Inter-American Region Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense International Security Affairs

Howard H. Hinson '34, President & Chief Executive Office, Texas Pacific Oil Co., Inc.

Dysart E. Holcomb, Ph.D., '34, Vice President Research & Development Pennzoil Co.

Ewell L. Hunt, M.D., '29, Physician and Surgeon


Arthur W. Busch '50, Vice-President Environmental Affairs, Southwest Research Institute

R. Trent Campbell '32, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Mosher Steel Co.

J. Doyle Settle '33, Chairman of the Board, Setco Glove Award Corp.

Wilmer Smith '37, Nationally-Known Agricultural Leader


Joe B. Alford '39, Executive Director, American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers

John R. Bradford, Ph.D., '42, Dean College of Engineering, Texas Tech University

Judge James G. Denton '38, Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court

William M. Pearce, Ph.D., '35, President, Texas Wesleyan College


Earnest F. Gloyna, Ph.D., '42, Dean of Engineering, University of Texas

Rilla C. Lovell '40, Business Education Consultant, San Diego City Schools

Bevington A. Reed, Ph.D., '48, Texas Commissioner of Higher Education

Charles W. Wooldridge '30, Chairman of the Board, Texas Power and Light Company


Maj. Gen. Ross Ayers '33, Adjutant General for Texas

Charles H. Feltz '40, Vice President, North American Rockwell Corp.

Don Maddox '34, President, Textiles, Inc.

Lola Smith '39, Former President, National Extension Homemakers Council


John R. Bertrand, Ph.D., '40, President, Berry College

George W. Burnett, D.D.S., '37, Associate Dean, School of Dentistry, Medical College of Georgia

C.A. Cash '35, President, Diamond Shamrock Corp.

Charles Bates Thornton '35, Chairman of the Board, Litton Industries


Rear Adm. Felix P. Ballenger '34, Commanding Officer, National Naval Medical Center

Charles A. Bucks '48, Senior Vice President, Continental Airlines

W. Austin Davis '36, V ice-President, North American Rockwell Corp.

Demetrio B. Lakas '53, President, Republic of Panama


Governor Preston E. Smith '34, Governor of Texas

Ima Smith '33, First Lady of Texas


Waggoner Carr '40, Former Attorney General of Texas

Rear Adm. Donald D. Chapman '39, Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy

Porter Parris '38, Vice-President, Hilton Hotel Corp.

Dan Thornton '32, Former Governor of Colorado


William W. Akers, Ph.D., '43, Educator and Researcher

Jack F. Maddox '29, Business and Civic Leader

Fred H. Moore '30, Industrial and Business Executive

Jack Tippit '47, Cartoonist and Professional Leader