Twelve Aggies have been selected as the 2016 recipients of the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University, the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students are proud to welcome as Distinguished Alumni:
- Dr. Jarvis E. Miller ’50 of Bryan
- Dr. Charley V. Wootan ’50, posthumously awarded
- Dr. Charles W. Graham ’53 of Elgin
- Dr. Robert L. Walker ’58 of College Station
- David G. Eller ’59 of Houston
- Dr. William M. Barnes ’64 of San Antonio
- Patrick K. Gamble, General USAF (Ret.) ’67 of Hemphill
- Otway B. Denny, Jr. ’71 of Bryan
- Van H. Taylor ’71 of Bryan
- Ray A. Rothrock ’77 of Portola Valley, Calif.
- Dr. Susan Rudd Bailey ’78 of Fort Worth
- Cindy Taylor ’84 of Houston
Since the inception of the award in 1962, only 261 of Texas A&M’s 455,000 former students have been recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Awarded jointly by the university and The Association, this award recognizes those Aggies who have achieved excellence in their chosen professions and made meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.
“Texas A&M’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni demonstrate the broad reach and influence of Texas A&M,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “This group includes fearless leaders and influencers in the fields of engineering, technology, energy, medicine, veterinary medicine, national defense, finance, education and philanthropy. Their stories truly display the power of a Texas A&M University education.”
“Our 2016 Distinguished Alumni are an inspiration to Aggies everywhere,” said Dwain Mayfield ’59, The Association of Former Students’ 2016 Chair of the Board of Directors. “Their varied professional pursuits and far-reaching influences across our Aggie Network are all strongly rooted in our core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service.”
Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79 echoed the sentiments of Young and Mayfield and offered his congratulations on behalf of The Association of Former Students. “The Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M,” Garner said. “The less than one-tenth of one percent of our former students selected for this award represent the very best of our worldwide Aggie Network.”
Dr. Jarvis E. Miller '50 was president of Texas A&M University from 1977 to 1980 and was named a president emeritus by the Board of Regents. In 1980, Gov. Bill Clements asked him to serve in the state Office of Budget and Planning to head up his “Texas 2000” planning effort. He later became the office’s director. In 25 years with A&M, Miller’s leadership roles included serving as director of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and leading A&M’s contracts with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Argentina and the Dominican Republic. As a student and member of A&M’s elite Ross Volunteers unit, he and a classmate designed the group’s distinctive red sash. Miller is an Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and an inductee into the Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry; he was a longtime Class Agent for the Class of ’50. He has been active with the A&M United Methodist Church and the Aggieland, Downtown Austin and Bryan Rotary Clubs.
Dr. Charley V. Wootan '50 built the Texas A&M Transportation Institute into the top university-affiliated transport research organization in the U.S. He was the institute’s director from 1976 to 1993 and director emeritus from 1993 to 2001, the year he passed away. In 2003, he was inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor. He received awards from the Texas Department of Transportation, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the Transportation Research Board. He founded the Council of University Transportation Centers. He chaired the board of the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, which in 2001 named the Charley V. Wootan Grant Program for him. In 2012-13, the program awarded grants of $5 million to 1,500 students. He served 1944-46 in the U.S. Marine Corps and later in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He was involved with the Greater East Texas Higher Education Authority, College Station United Way and College Station Noon Lions Club.
Dr. Charles W. Graham '53 is one of the world’s top equine veterinarians and a leader in Texas’ horse and cattle industries as well as a tireless volunteer, advocate and youth mentor. He has built the largest vet hospital facility/business in Texas and also created the state’s oldest continuous stallion breeding operation, Southwest Stallion Station. A member of the Texas A&M Equine Research Committee, he was an influential participant in funding and construction of the new Veterinary and Biomedical Education Complex. He has helped recruit leaders for A&M’s Equine Initiative and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He is a former director of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and was a founder of Frontier Bank of Texas in Elgin; a director of the American Quarter Horse Association; a member of the Board of Managers of Kalon Biotherapeutics; and a founding member of Rodeo Austin.
Dr. Robert L. Walker '58 raised hundreds of millions of dollars for A&M during a career that included 30 years as A&M’s vice president of development as well as serving as associate executive director of The Association of Former Students and executive director of the Texas A&M Foundation. He has been described as A&M’s “chief friend maker,” and held the James Aston University Chair in Institutional Development. He has been a board member and officer of the Ed Rachal Foundation, a board member for the Community Foundation of Brazos Valley, and a board member and president for two years of the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce. He has spoken at Aggie Musters for 49 years and was the 1987 speaker at the main campus Muster. He has chaired the board of A&M’s Institute of Nautical Archaeology and served on the Board of Regents for Pepperdine University.
David G. Eller '59 is a longtime biotechnology leader. He is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Celltex Therapeutics Corp.; previous positions include president of DuPont Pharmaceuticals-Europe; CEO and president of Virbac Corp.; and founder, chairman and CEO of Granada BioSciences. He was on The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents from 1983 to 1989, serving as chair from 1985 to 1989, and was the first in A&M’s history to be designated a chairman emeritus; for a time, he was simultaneously System chancellor. He established the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences & Technology in Houston and has served on boards for the Texas Chamber of Commerce, Greater Houston Partnership, Baylor College of Medicine, Memorial Hermann Hospital, Allied Bancshares, First Interstate Bank, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Houston Ballet and the Rice University Energy & Environmental Systems Institute. He served eight years as an officer on active duty and reserves in the U.S. Army.
Dr. William M. Barnes ’64 is a former Rockwell International executive and accomplished engineer; spending 33 years with Rockwell, he became senior vice president and chief financial officer. He was named an Outstanding Alumnus of A&M’s Dwight Look College of Engineering in 1992 and an Outstanding Alumnus of the Department of Industrial Engineering in 2002; received a lifetime award in 2009 from the Texas Council of Industrial Engineering Department Heads; and in 2001, received the Leonardo da Vinci Annual Award given by Rockwell to their Outstanding Engineer. He endowed a chair and a professorship in industrial engineering and has funded A&M professorships and labs through the Rockwell Foundation, served as a charter member of the Chancellor’s Century Council and has been a member of the Engineering Advisory Board. He has also raised funds for Texas A&M and A&M athletics as well as for San Antonio’s Witte Museum, and supported the United Way of San Antonio.
Patrick K. Gamble, General USAF (Ret.) ’67, is a former fighter pilot who retired after 34 years with the U.S. Air Force as a four-star general in command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces. With 394 combat missions in Vietnam, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and 14 air medals. As president of the University of Alaska System for five years, he headed 16 campuses with 34,000 students. He was also president and CEO for nine years of the Alaska Railroad Corp. In 2001, he was inducted into the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor. At A&M, he has served on the President's Corps of Cadets Board of Visitors, Bush School of Government and Public Service Development Council and board of the Texas A&M Private Enterprise Research Center. He has served on boards for the University of Alaska Foundation, National Armed Services YMCA, USAF Air University and Alaska Pacific University, as well as the Department of Defense Dependents Education Council.
Otway B. Denny, Jr. ’71, a former president of the Houston Bar Association and fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, has been a partner with Norton Rose Fulbright in Houston since 1981. At Texas A&M, he has served on councils supporting liberal arts and the Corps of Cadets and the 12th Man Foundation’s Advisory Board; he is a past chair of the Board of Directors of The Association of Former Students and is on the Board of Trustees of the Texas A&M Foundation. For 20 years, he was a Class Agent for the Class of ’71. He has chaired both the Houston Bar Foundation and Texas Bar Foundation charitable organizations; volunteered with Veterans Legal Initiative; and chaired Houston Volunteer Lawyers. He has led the Houston Young Lawyers Association and the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas and was named Aggie Lawyer of the Year by the Texas Aggie Bar Association in 2000.
Van H. Taylor ’71 retired as president of network services for the southwest region of AT&T after a 34-year career with Southwestern Bell/SBC/AT&T. During his time as president and CEO of Technology Resources Inc., the research subsidiary of SBC Communications, from 1994 to 1997, he relocated the entire organization from St. Louis to Austin. Serving on The Association of Former Students Board of Directors from 2000 to 2007, he was chair of the board in 2006. On the Texas A&M Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2017, he served as chairman in 2014-15. He served on the Dwight Look College of Engineering Advisory Council from 1997 to 2012 and is an emeritus member. He is a trustee of the Community Foundation of the Brazos Valley; has been a board member and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity; and served on the Boy Scouts of America Circle Ten Executive Council.
Ray Rothrock '77 has backed many innovative firms as a longtime venture capital investor. He was managing general partner for 25 years of Venrock, a diversified early stage venture capital firm, and lead investor for 53 startup companies. He is a past chair of the National Venture Capital Association and his investment track record has earned him multiple listings on the Forbes Midas List. He was chairman and CEO of RedSeal, a $25 million cyber-security analytics company. He has been a board member of The Association of Former Students and a trustee of the Texas A&M Foundation, served on development councils for the College of Liberal Arts and Dwight Look College of Engineering, and was named a Distinguished Engineer in 2013 and Distinguished Nuclear Engineer in 2011. MIT’s Nuclear Engineering and Science Department named him a Distinguished Alumnus in 2012. He led efforts that raised $25 million for Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, Calif.
Dr. Susan Rudd Bailey '78 is speaker of the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates and served as 2010-11 president of the Texas Medical Association, the largest state medical society in the U.S. She was one of seven women in the A&M College of Medicine’s charter class and has been in private practice of allergy and clinical immunology at Fort Worth Allergy and Asthma Associates since 1988. The first female former student to become a regent for The Texas A&M University System, she served on the Board of Regents from 1999 to 2005. She has served on the Board of Directors of The Association of Former Students, and has also been a Muster speaker for numerous A&M Clubs. She is an elder and a member of the Chancel Choir at University Christian Church Fort Worth, serves on the Board of Directors of Casa Manana Theatre and is involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Cindy Taylor '84 is CEO of Oil States International, a diversified oilfield services company that she helped take public. She was among the first female CEOs in the energy industry, Houston’s first public company female CEO and one of only 50 female CEOs in the Fortune 1000. She is a board member for AT&T and Tidewater Inc. Her business honors include being ranked on the All-American Executive Team for Energy. A former trustee of the 12th Man Foundation and member of Mays Business School’s Dean’s Development Council, she was named an Outstanding Alumna of the Mays Business School in 2011. Recent awards include the McLane Leadership in Business Award; the Aggie 100 Summit Award; and the Women Former Students’ Network Legacy Award. She has served on the Board of Trustees for Texas Children’s Hospital and was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2014.
The 2016 Distinguished Alumni learned of their honor when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and Association representatives, including Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp ’72, Young, Mayfield, Garner and a Ross Volunteer, along with university mascot Reveille IX and her handler.
The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 7. In addition, the 2016 recipients will be recognized during the Oct. 8 Texas A&M football game against Tennessee. Nominations for the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award will be accepted May 1 through Sept. 1 at tx.ag/DAnominations.
The Association of Former Students, established in 1879, is the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University. The Association connects hundreds of thousands of members of the worldwide Aggie Network with each other and the university, and provided $11.2 million in impact to university scholarships, awards, activities and enrichment for students, faculty, staff and former students in 2015. For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award or The Association, contact Kathryn Greenwade '88 at KGreenwade88@AggieNetwork.com or visit AggieNetwork.com.
Profiles of Distinguished Alumni are listed on the Tribute Wall.