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Distinguished Alumnus Awards

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University, awarded since 1962 to only 279 of Texas A&M’s 477,000 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.

As the 2018 recipients are announced, this page will be updated to include their names. To nominate an Aggie for 2019, see below.

Eddie Joe Davis ’67

Eddie Joe Davis ’67, a former U.S. Army commander, served as Texas A&M’s interim president 2006-08. As president of the Texas A&M Foundation 1993-2016, he directed fundraising campaigns that brought more than $2 billion in support to A&M. He has served A&M and community organizations in numerous other leadership positions. Davis learned of the honor March 22 in a surprise announcement at an event in Bryan.

Charles L. Pence ’51

Charles L. Pence ’51 went into the oil industry and later development after Army service in Japan and in the Korean War. He has led city and infrastructure development projects and invested in starting not only companies, but also churches and a Lampasas school, while also supporting A&M. Pence learned of the honor March 22 in a surprise announcement at a dinner for scholarship recipients at the Sanders Corps Center.

L.D. 'Duke' Hobbs ’47

L.D. “Duke” Hobbs ’47 entered A&M in 1943, left to fight in World War II, then returned to graduate. After Air Force intelligence work and a civilian career in business, he returned to teach at A&M, where he also led the Center for Executive Development and actively supported many A&M organizations. Hobbs learned of the honor March 19 in a surprise announcement at the Sul Ross Group Reunion.

Robert Earl Keen ’78

Robert Earl Keen ’78 is an award-winning singer/songwriter credited as a founder of today’s independent Texas country sound. A Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and BMI Troubadour Award recipient, he works with Texas charities and returned to A&M to give fundraising concerts for Bonfire victims and Hurricane Harvey relief. Keen learned of the honor March 3 in a surprise announcement at a benefit concert in Helotes, Texas.

A. Dwain Mayfield '59

A. Dwain Mayfield '59 retired as vice president at Lockheed Martin after 44 years in the aerospace industry, during which he served A&M on advisory councils and boards and mentored students. He sponsors many students in The Association of Former Students’ Century Club and has been Chair of the Board for The Association. Mayfield learned of the honor March 2 in a surprise announcement at a meeting of Association volunteer leaders.

Kathleen M. Gibson '81

Kathleen M. Gibson '81 is president and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. She has served A&M as Chair of the Board of The Association of Former Students and a Texas A&M Foundation trustee. Named as a Dallas Business Journal “Top 25 Industry Leader in Women in Business,” she has led Dallas-area civic and charitable efforts. Gibson learned of the honor March 1 in a surprise announcement at a Foundation meeting.

Joseph B. Swinbank '74

Joseph B. Swinbank '74 started his first business while still an A&M student, is co-founder and co-owner of Sprint Companies in the construction waste and industrial service sectors, and has stayed closely knit to A&M with support and mentorship, including acting as “Prof for a Day” in rural entrepreneurship classes. Swinbank learned of the honor Feb. 23 in a surprise announcement at an event in Bryan.

John S. Sharp '72

John S. Sharp '72 served Texas for more than three decades in public offices including state representative for Victoria, state senator and state comptroller. In 2011, he became chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. In 2017, Texas’ governor tapped him to lead the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas post-Hurricane Harvey. Sharp learned of the honor Feb. 16 in a surprise announcement at an event on campus.

for 2019 will be accepted from Feb. 16, 2018, until Oct. 5, 2018.

Profiles of Distinguished Alumni are listed on the Tribute Wall.


For more information about the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Gala, please visit this page or contact Hannah Johnston ’11, Director of Events, at 979-845-7514 or




505 George Bush Drive
College Station, TX 77840

Phone Number

(979) 845-7514

© 2018 The Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University, All Rights Reserved