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Distinguished Alumnus Awards

The Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University, has been awarded since 1962 to only 318 of Texas A&M’s more than 555,000 former students.

Presented jointly by the university and The Association of Former Students, this award recognizes Aggies who have achieved excellence in their chosen professions and made meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.

This year's honorees are below. To see and read about all past honorees, please visit our Tribute Wall.

2022 Honorees

Travis L. Smith, Jr., Class of 1898

Travis Logan Smith, Jr., Class of 1898, was a prolific entrepreneur across industries, an influential Aggie alumni leader, and a benefactor to many. Throughout each of his professional endeavors, he creatively turned profits into scholarship funds for students in financial need, including establishing two endowed scholarships.

Gen. Joseph W. Ashy ’62

General Joe Ashy ’62 retired from the Air Force as a four-star general, having led North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command. He mentored U.S. flag officers for 18 years, and served as the 2021-2022 president of The Association’s Sul Ross Group.

Thomas W. Powell ’62

Thomas W. Powell ’62 relied on core values to inform his 30 years of corporate leadership, growing his family business, Powell Industries, to an international scale. In his personal life, he does the same, from establishing STEM chairs and fellowships, to welcoming Aggies to his ranch to study exotic animals.

Dr. Joe R. Fowler ’68

Dr. Joe R. Fowler ’68's passion for engineering has revealed itself in his clear academic and professional excellence and his service to those Aggie engineers who follow. While earning numerous professional accolades, Fowler has also been present on campus as a guest lecturer, class project judge and trusted advisor.

William Mahomes, Jr. ’69

Bill Mahomes, Jr. ’69 was the first African American student to graduate from the Corps of Cadets, and is now a distinguished lawyer specializing in public finance. He has also served on the boards of over 25 different organizations, including the A&M System’s Board of Regents, serving each with integrity and humility.

Mark A. Fischer ’72

Mark Fischer ’72 founded Chaparral Energy, where he was CEO until his retirement, and still leads the boards of six additional companies. His entrepreneurial spirit also helped him in serving as a co-chair for Texas A&M’s recent Lead by Example campaign, which raised over $4.25 billion. 

Clifton L. Thomas, Jr. ’72

Clifton L. Thomas, Jr. ’72 began his Aggie journey playing football under coach Gene Stallings ’57, and has since contributed to A&M’s strategic capital development as a member of the A&M System Board of Regents. His career reflects similar growth, as he multiplied both oil distributors and convenience stores under his leadership.

Mark W. Albers ’79

Mark W. Albers ’79 spent a career at ExxonMobil, rising to senior vice president of their corporate management committee. He has served others through a number of philanthropic boards, including the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors and the Texas A&M University System’s Advisory Board of University Lands.

Gregory Cokinos ’79

Gregory M. Cokinos ’79 is president and CEO of law firm Cokinos Young, where he specializes in construction litigation. His dedication to his field, proven by his regularly earned professional awards, and to his community, shown through his consistent philanthropical support, is rivaled only by his love for Texas A&M.

Billy 'Bill' Jones ’81

Bill Jones ’81 has consistently risen to leadership, from serving as the commissioner of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Association to serving as chairman emeritus of the A&M System Board of Regents. His passion for public policy and history, paired with his legal expertise, has left Texans an excellent legacy.

Dr. Jimmy J. Williams, Jr. ’83

Dr. Jimmy Williams, Jr. ’83 has had a notable engineering career, and is now a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2020, he co-chaired Texas A&M’s task force on diversity, equity and inclusion, with findings that directly impacted the university’s current initiatives.

Elaine Mendoza ’87

Elaine Mendoza ’87 is a prominent public servant, in addition to being an engineer, a biotechnology and information company CEO, and the A&M System Board of Regents’ first Hispanic chairperson. She has led in many spheres to champion Texans’ education, from pre-kindergarten through college, focusing especially on underserved communities.

To see and read about all past honorees, please visit our Tribute Wall.

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For information about the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Gala, please visit this page or contact Jamie Veazey '17, Director of Events, at 979-845-7514 or




505 George Bush Drive
College Station, TX 77840

Phone Number

(979) 845-7514

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