Co-founder of National Instruments receives College of Fine Arts award

AUSTIN, Texas—William C. Nowlin Jr., co-founder of National Instruments, and his wife, Bettye Holt Nowlin will receive the highest honor bestowed by the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, the E. William Doty Award, at the college’s graduation ceremonies on May 16.

The award recognizes people who have made extraordinary contributions to education, the arts and society, and who have rendered exceptional service to the college and the university.

It will be presented in a ceremony during the Fine Arts Commencement at Bass Concert Hall. Bettye Nowlin will be present to receive the award from Robert Freeman, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

Bill and Bettye Nowlin are both graduates of the university, in electrical engineering and education, respectively. Bill was a member of the Longhorn Band, and is now a member of the Alumni Band.

Bill is the chair of the College of Fine Arts advisory council. Bettye also takes an active role on behalf of the university, while serving on the boards of the Austin Museum of Art, Austin Community Foundation and Austin Parks Foundation.

“Many of us at the College of Fine Arts have dedicated our lifetimes to training professional artists,” Freeman said. “A key challenge for all of us in the years ahead is to think about creative ways to increase demand for the arts in America. Bill and Bettye’s enthusiasm for the arts—Bill is also a gifted photographer—should motivate all of us to find ways to stimulate the growth of avocational interest in the arts.”

The Nowlins’ philanthropy has enriched the Fine Arts curriculum in many areas through the William and Bettye Nowlin Endowed Professorship in Photography, the Nowlin Endowed Presidential Fellowship, William and Bettye Nowlin Faculty Research and Travel Endowment in Photography, major gifts to the Schele Chair in Art History, the DiNino Chair in Music, and the Center for the History of Ancient American Art and Culture (CHAAAC).

“Bill and Bettye Nowlin have made a significant commitment to the quality of arts education at the university. Our department has increased its national and international recognition as a result of their philanthropic contributions,” said Ken Hale, chair of the Department of Art and Art History. “The photography area has been able to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and graduate students in the field. The creation of the CHAAAC Endowment and the Schele Chair have strengthened our Pre-Columbian program, which is the best of its kind in the world.”

The award, named after E. William Doty, founding dean of the College of Fine Arts, seeks to recognize highest standards of excellence. Previous recipients include renowned writer and art collector James A. Michener; Penn State University President Emeritus Bryce Jordan, a School of Music alumnus; Oscar Brockett, professor emeritus of theatre history; Edith O’Donnell, community leader and long-standing supporter of the arts and education; Kent Kennan, professor emeritus of theory and composition; and Jack S. Blanton, Houston philanthropist and key supporter of the college’s efforts to build a new home for the university’s art museum which now bears his name.

For more information contact: Bruno Longarini, College of Fine Arts, 512-475-7021.