The Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University, has been awarded since 1962 to only 330 of Texas A&M’s more than 574,000 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.
Michael J. “Mike” Plank ’83 is chairman and CEO of The Plank Companies, Inc., through which he leads numerous other companies and investments. By serving on the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and contributing to scholarships and campus advancements, Plank has demonstrated his care for the Aggie Network.
Anthony J. Wood ’87, best known as the founder and CEO of Roku, is a driven entrepreneur and visionary. Described as a bold, articulate and humble builder of ideas, Wood prioritizes generous giving and philanthropic research in the areas of mental illness, homelessness, plastic pollution, entrepreneurship and more.
Kathryn J. Greenwade ’88 devoted her life to Texas A&M, wholeheartedly embodying the core values. Her 20-year tenure as a vice president of The Association of Former Students and her volunteer leadership across Brazos County allowed her to become a role model and a friend to every Aggie she met.
James D. “Jimmy” Tittle ’49 has been called “Abilene’s Architect” for his numerous designs throughout his hometown, including houses, churches, a courthouse and even the zoo. Tittle has served on civic councils for the preservation of Texas arts and as chancellor of the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows.
Joseph R. Straus, Jr. ’50 co-founded the Texas Horse Racing Association and Retama Park Racetrack, helping to legalize pari-mutuel wagering in Texas along the way. For projects like introducing Simmental cattle to the U.S., Straus has been recognized time and again for his commitment to Texas agribusiness.
Hector Gutierrez, Jr. ’69 served a variety of industries in his career, from public utilities to local government. A founding member of the Texas A&M Hispanic Network, Gutierrez helped make possible Texas A&M’s recent designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution, which in turn unlocked new levels of federal funding.
Henry B. “Hank” Paup ’70 pours his heart into his passions, from his church to the Texas A&M swim team, where he was a record-setting student athlete. A lawyer, Paup has also given back to the Texas A&M School of Law, funding scholarships and sitting on the Dean’s Advisory Council.
Michael J. Havel ’76 championed the creation of campus landmarks, including the Centennial Eagle sculpture and the now iconic Haynes Ring Plaza. Positive and perseverant, Havel has led multiple companies as president, served on civic and nonprofit boards and mentored youth through organizations like the Boy Scouts of America.
P. William “Bill” Toler ’76 is known for his authentic and loyal leadership, especially in his professional roles. With an emphasis on developing those under him, Toler quickly rose through the ranks at Procter & Gamble, eventually becoming a global vice president, before moving to become CEO of Swift Communications.
T. Michael O’Connor ’77 has worked in law enforcement for over 40 years, including as the current U.S. Marshal of the Southern District of Texas. O’Connor has also served his state on the Texas Border Security Council and as vice chairman of The Texas A&M System Board of Regents.
Albert "Bert" Pfaff, Class of 1925, was an East Texas oil entrepreneur whose generosity made possible A&M’s 1939 football national championship. At the tail end of the Great Depression, Pfaff helped secure a key loan for a financially failing athletics department, offered summer jobs to student athletes and supported scholarships.
Jeffery T. Potter ’78 is a community-minded architect, especially in the field of education, participating in multiple committees for the improved safety of Texas school facilities. A fellow and former president of the American Institute of Architects, Potter is known in his industry as a leader, mentor and selfless servant.
To see and read about all past honorees, please visit our Tribute Wall.
Nominate an Aggie
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 Gala@AggieNetwork.com.