Joshua "Josh" Rizzo '07 September 17, 2012 4:47 PM updated: November 7, 2017 2:07 PM
Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students are proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award:
Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students also recognize eight recipients posthumously including the seven Aggies recognized with the Medal of Honor.
Medal of Honor Awardees
Established in 1962, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University. Since its inception, 216 individuals have been recognized for their significant contributions to their professions, Texas A&M University and their local communities.
“Each day, I am reminded of the power of our Aggie Network with its worldwide reach,” said A&M President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, Class of 1971. “And each day, I am also thankful for the efforts of individual former students such as these, who so generously give of their time, expertise and other resources to help propel Texas A&M to be among the nation’s top public universities, while also making their mark as leaders in their professions and communities. They are truly role models for all Aggies.”
The recipients learned of their honor when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and Association representatives, including Loftin; The Association of Former Students’ 2012 Chair of the Board of Directors Otway Denny, Class of 1971; Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III, Class of 1979; Association Vice President Marty Holmes, Class of 1987; a Ross Volunteer; along with Reveille and her handler.
“The Distinguished Alumnus Award is reserved for those Aggies who have made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments, affiliations and careers reflect Texas A&M’s core values of Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, and Selfless Service.” Denny said. “Each of our 2012 Distinguished Alumni exemplify the impact that Aggies can have on their alma mater, their communities, and our world.”
Garner echoed the sentiments of Loftin and Denny and offered his congratulations on behalf of the Aggie Network. “I am grateful for, and inspired by, the example our 2012 Distinguished Alumni provide our worldwide Aggie Network. While they represent a wide variety of life experiences and achievements, they all share the same deep commitment to Texas A&M and epitomize our core values.”
The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Distinguished Alumnus Award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on September 21. In addition, the 2012 recipients will be recognized during the Texas A&M football game against South Carolina State on September 22.
Brief biographical information on each of Texas A&M University’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni is included below.
The Association of Former Students, established in 1879, is the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University. The Association connects the nearly 500,000 members of the worldwide Aggie Network with each other and the university, and provides almost $7.3 million a year in impact to university scholarships, awards, activities and enrichment for students, faculty, staff and former students. For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award or The Association, contact Kathryn Greenwade at KGreenwade88@aggienetwork.com or visit www.AggieNetwork.com/DistinguishedAlumni/.
Texas A&M University 2012 Distinguished Alumni
He worked for the Soil Conservation Service in Lamesa supervising soil-erosion projects for the Civilian Conservation Corps before entering the service in 1942. In 1943, he was assigned to the 338th Infantry Regiment, 85th Division, where he was promoted to staff sergeant and was one of the leading noncommissioned officers in the 1st Platoon, Company B. Atop Mount Altuzzo, Italy, in 1944, Keathley volunteered to take command of two additional platoons whose officers had been killed in action. He led Company B in fending off an enemy counterattack, even after he sustained a mortal wound from an enemy hand grenade. He was the third Texas Aggie awarded the Medal of Honor.
Keathley and his wife, Inez, had two daughters. He passed away on September 14, 1944.
In 1940, he enlisted as a flying cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Dallas. He was commissioned a second lieutenant, air corps reserve, and then promoted to first lieutenant in 1942. Carswell was first assigned to the 62nd Squadron, 39th Bombardment Group at Tucson, Ariz., before he transferred to Biggs Field, where he became a flight commander and later promoted to captain. In 1944, he was transferred to the army air base in Clovis, NM, and then moved to Langley Field, Va., where he was promoted to major before departing for duty in China with the 374th Bombardment Squadron, 308th Bombardment Group. He served on the 374th Bomb Squadron and commanded a detachment of B-24 bombers in Liuchow, China, where his plane was attacked by antiaircraft fire during a sea-sweeping mission over the South China Sea to locate enemy vessels. After two engines were shot out, the hydraulic system and one gas tank were damaged, Carswell’s crew bailed out, but he remained with his aircraft and attempted to save his copilot and another crew member, whose parachute was damaged. All three were killed when the aircraft crashed into a mountain. He was the fourth Texas Aggie awarded the Medal of Honor.
Carswell and his wife, Virginia, had one son. He passed away on October 26, 1944.
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and later served as a training officer at Camp Wolters. He received orders for Europe and was assigned to the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, where he joined Company L as a rifle platoon leader. In 1944, while leading his platoon in an attack at Sigolsheim, France, Whiteley was hit and severely wounded in the arm and shoulder, but continued clearing hostile troops from strong points. He continued fighting, even though his eye was pierced by a shell fragment, and led an attack which cracked the core of the enemy resistance. He was the sixth Texas Aggie awarded the Medal of Honor.
Whiteley returned to A&M in 1946 as a lecturer in freshman agronomy classes before earning a Ph.D. in agronomy in 1959. He would remain a part of the Texas A&M faculty and was eventually named a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
Whiteley and his wife, Anna, had two sons and three daughters—one of whom attended Texas A&M. He died of a heart attack on December 2, 1986.
He was first commissioned a second lieutenant in the Regular Army, and later assigned to the Tank Destroyer Center at Camp (later Fort) Hood as an instructor. In the Huertgen Forest at Kommerscheidt, Germany, Leonard repeatedly braved intense enemy fire to direct the fire of his tank destroyers, which enabled his battalion to destroy six German tanks. He went on reconnaissance missions alone to discover what opposition his men faced, reorganized confused infantry units whose leaders had been killed, and continued to fight until he was disabled by a high-explosive shell which shattered his arm.
Leonard was reported missing in action on November 7, 1944—his body was recovered in November 1949 and then identified in January 1950. He was the fifth Texas Aggie to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
After college, he completed military training at the Armor Officers Candidate School in Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant, armor. In 1944, Fowler received orders to Italy as a replacement officer and was assigned to the 191st Tank Battalion on the beaches of Anzio. During the attack on Carano, he came upon two disorganized infantry platoons that were held up by an enemy minefield, so he took command and organized the units. He made a personal reconnaissance through the minefield, lifting antipersonnel mines out of the ground with his hands. Once the infantry deployed, he made a second reconnaissance into enemy territory in search of a route to continue the attack. One of the American Sherman tanks was set on fire by German fire, and under intense fire, Fowler ran to the burning vehicle in attempts to save the lives of the wounded tank crew. Only when the enemy tanks had almost reached his position did he withdraw and personally render first aid to the nine wounded infantrymen. Fowler was the second Texas Aggie awarded the Medal of Honor.
Fowler and his wife, Ann, had one son. He passed away on June 3, 1944.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed, he left A&M to join the Marine Corps in 1942. He was assigned to the Company A, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, where he was a corporal. In 1945, the 28th landed on the Japanese beaches of Iwo Jima, one of the Volcano Islands. Harrell was in a two-man foxhole in a perimeter defense around the company command post when Japanese troops infiltrated the line. His counterpart’s rifle jammed, which left Harrell alone while he retrieved another one from the command post. During that brief time, Harrell shot and killed five Japanese soldiers, and lost his left hand and fractured his thigh. Two more enemy troops charged his position and placed a grenade by his head, but Harrell was able to kill one of them and return the grenade to the other, thereby killing the soldier, but he destroyed his right hand in the process. His commander later called Harrell’s position the “two-man Alamo.” He was the seventh Texas Aggie awarded the Medal of Honor.
After the war he worked as a contact representative in the Prosthetic Appliance Group at the Veterans Administration Center in San Antonio, and was later promoted to chief of the Prosthetics Division.
Harrell had two children with his first wife, Larena, and then two more children with his second wife, Olive. He passed away on August 11, 1964.
He enlisted as an aviation cadet in 1942 in the wake of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. After completing the training courses, Hughes received his wings and commission as a second lieutenant. In 1943 he was assigned to the 564th Heavy Bombardment Squadron, 389th Heavy Bombardment Group at Lowry Field, Colo. The group moved to Europe, and then Benghazi, Libya, where the attack against the Axis oil refineries of Ploesti, Romania was launched. Hughes flew in the last formation at dangerously low altitude, and his plane received several direct hits that seriously damaged his aircraft. He continued to approach the target area, Steaua Romana oil refinery in Campina, with full knowledge of the consequences he faced, with his plane leaking oil and the ground ablaze. He continued to bomb the target area with great precision, even after the left wing of his plane caught on fire. He was the first Texas Aggie awarded the Medal of Honor.
Hughes was married to Hazel Dean Ewing. He passed away on August 1, 1943.
He was called back into the army in 1951, where he advanced from 1st lieutenant to captain at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio in 1953. During his tenure there he joined the BAMC Comets baseball team and played at the national championship level in 1951-52. It was here that he was introduced to oral surgery and was encouraged to continue his education, and he became a certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in 1958. Walker was an assistant professor, and then professor as well as Chairman of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and ended his time there as Professor Emeritus.
Walker held leadership roles and remained active in many societies and associations around Texas, such as the American Trauma Society, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Dallas County Dental Society and the Southwest Society of Oral Surgeons, just to name a few. He won numerous honors and achievement awards, like the Texas Dental Association Gold Medal for Distinguished Service in 2003, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dallas County Dental Society in 2002, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Baylor College of Dentistry (now Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry) in 1999. He was a founding member, board member and past president of the Texas A&M Medical-Dentistry Society, past chair and vice-chair of the College of Science External Advisory and Development Council, member of the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Association, The Association of Former Students, the Texas A&M Foundation and the 12th Man Foundation. In 1994, he established the Emily and Robert Walker Endowed Scholarship in Science at Texas A&M, followed in 1995 by the Emily and Robert Walker ’45 Endowed Lectureship in Biology. In 2004 he was honored with induction into the Texas A&M College of Science Academy of Distinguished Former Students.
Walker and his wife, Emily, had one daughter and two sons. He passed away on April 28, 2011.
After college, he was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves in Austin, and then a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army at Fort Bliss. In 1963, he earned an Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service and started practicing law. After working as an accountant for the Texas Department of Agriculture, he was an instructor of business law at the University of Texas at Austin, state representative aide in the Texas House of Representatives before becoming president and shareholder of McMahon, Surovik, Suttle, P.C.
Surovik has served many organizations in Abilene, including the Abilene Industrial Foundation, Abilene Chamber of Commerce, First Financial Bank-Abilene, The Community Foundation of Abilene, the Abilene YMCA, the Volunteer Council at Abilene State School, Hendrick Home for Children, and the Public Responsibility Committee of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, and the St. Paul United Methodist Church Foundation, among others.
He is an active supporter of Texas A&M through the A&M Legacy Society, Endowed Century Club at The
Association of Former Students, the Former Student Body President Association, the Texas A&M Foundation Planned Giving Council and the Texas Aggie Bar Association. In 1973, he was named Outstanding Young Lawyer by the State Junior Bar of Texas, and he was the Texas Aggie Bar Association’s Aggie Lawyer of the Year in 2011. In addition, he is a past Chairman of the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees, past Chair of the Board of Directors at The Association, past area representative (West Texas) for The Association, and past president of the Abilene A&M Club.
Surovik resides in Abilene. Two of his three children graduated from Texas A&M.
Lohman began his career as a petroleum engineer at Amoco Production Corporation in 1958. In 1962, he moved to Texas Oil & Gas Corporation, where he worked his way up from a district engineer to manager of Gas Gathering & Processing, while concurrently serving on the Board of Directors and president of the Delhi Gas Pipeline until 1988. The same year, he founded Taurus Energy Corporation, and a year later founded TELCO Investments.
He received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Texas A&M College of Engineering in 2004 and the honor of Distinguished Graduate from the Department of Petroleum Engineering in 2002. He was a member of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, served as vice president and director of the Gas Processors Association, and was an inducted into the Hall of Honor by A&M Lettermen’s Association in 2010.
Lohman endowed the Tommie E. Lohman Laboratory for Gas Engineering, established the Carolyn S. and Tommie E. Lohman ’59 Professorship in Engineering Education and an Engineering Graduate Fellowship, funded the “Shaping the Future” statue at the College of Education, and was instrumental in establishing the Lohman Learning Community in the College of Education. He was involved in several organizations, including the Engineering Advisory Council, Chancellor’s Advisory Council, College of Engineering External Advisory and Development Council, A&M Legacy Society and Texas Aggie Bar Association. A long-time Endowed Century Club member, he served as past president of the 12th Man Foundation, as well as the executive committee.
He was active in his church, serving as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Richardson Baptist Church and Fallswood Baptist Church for twenty years combined. Lohman and his wife, Carolyn, had two daughters and lived in College Station. He passed away on
February 4, 2012.
Hornburg entered the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1968 and commanded all levels—flight, squadron, wing, numbered air force and major command. While on active duty, he fought, participated in or commanded forces in four wars, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism. He was also awarded three Legions of Merit, 10 Air Medals, two Air Forces Distinguished Service Medals and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal. In 2004, he was made an honorary Tuskegee Airman in honor of his efforts in developing and mentoring minority officers and airmen. General Hornburg commanded a composite fighter wing during Operation Desert Storm and the first Air Force composite wing during the services reorganization in 1991. He directed air operations over Bosnia, commanded the Joint Warfighting Center, served on the Joint Staff, and directed operations at Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He also has served as Tactical Air Command's F-15 demonstration pilot for the East Coast, Air Force Liaison Officer to the U.S. Senate, Chief of the Air Force Colonels' Group, and he commanded Air Education and Training Command. He retired as commander, Air Combat Command in 2005 after 36 years of service to the USAF and more than 4,400 flight hours. He continues to serve the aerospace field as an Aerospace Industry Consultant.
In retirement, Hornburg has served as director of the Armed Forces Benefit Association, an insurance company founded by General Dwight D. Eisenhower to assist military members. He is a trustee of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, director of the Fisher House, a foundation that assists military families, and is a senior advisor for Segs4Vets, a program that provides Segways for American disabled veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a senior advisor to the Sierra Nevada Corporation, the Camber Corporation, Environmental Tectonics Corporation and Conceptual Mindworks, Inc.
He has served as member and Chairman of Strategic Planning and Fundraising for the President’s Board of Visitors for the Corps of Cadets since 2003, and he has served on the President’s Advisory Council Strategic Planning Committee since 2010. He is a past chair of The Association of Former Students and an Endowed Century Club Member. He led the Texas A&M Commandant Search Committee in 2010 and is a member of the Aggie Real Estate Network.
Hornburg and his wife, Cynthia, reside in Fair Oaks Ranch. They have two sons, who are both USAF pilots, and five grandchildren.