The University of Texas at Austin has selected Dr. William W. Cooper, Dr. Stephen A. Monti, Robert S. Strauss and Sara Martinez Tucker to receive the prestigious Presidential Citation for 2008.
William Powers Jr., president of the university, will present the Presidential Citation and other major university awards to recipients in a ceremony later in the academic year.
The Presidential Citation was created in 1979 to recognize the extraordinary contributions of individuals who personify the university's commitment to the task of transforming lives. The university does not award honorary degrees, and these citations are designed to salute those whose service exemplifies the values shared by the university community. Four students will receive a Presidential Citation Endowed Scholarship, one each in honor of the recipients.
Cooper is the Foster Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus of Finance and Management in the Department of Information, Risk, and Operations Management in the McCombs School of Business. In his long, distinguished career, he has been an innovator in building bridges between theory and data, using the foundations of accounting and new methods of analysis to find solutions to complex economic and managerial problems. He is the co-author of 27 books and more than 500 scientific professional articles, ranging across the disciplines of information systems, management science, business management and information technology.
Cooper arrived at The University of Texas at Austin in 1980, at an age when most are contemplating retirement, and his scholarly output has increased since his arrival. He held posts previously at Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Chicago. Cooper was co-recipient of the 1982 John Von Neumann Theory Prize, was given the 1986 U.S. Comptroller General Award for Significant Contributions to the U.S. General Accounting Office and was inducted in 1991 into the Accounting Hall of Fame.
Monti is the executive vice provost of The University of Texas at Austin. He administers many of the functions that are critical to the operation and success of a world-class research institution. He is involved in developing the institutional budget, managing facility renovations and assigning space, administering facilities and capital projects, and overseeing the setting and review of tuition policy. Monti also advises the provost in the areas of academic program administration, institutional policy and procedures, and resource management.
Monti is a professor of chemistry, having come to the university's Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor in 1967. He has held positions in academic administration since 1974.
Strauss is an accomplished lawyer and diplomat, and a trusted adviser to the highest levels of government. A 1941 graduate of The University of Texas Law School, Strauss was instrumental in helping his fellow law school alumnus John Connally win the 1962 election for Texas governor. Strauss served on the Texas Banking Commission under Connally, while continuing to build his growing law firm, and he was United States trade representative under President Jimmy Carter.
President George H. W. Bush appointed Strauss U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1991, and following the collapse of the Soviet Union he continued as U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation. The law firm Strauss founded in 1945, now known as Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, is one of the largest in the world. The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin is named in his honor. A recipient of the university's Distinguished Alumnus Award, Strauss played a major role in U.S. political affairs in the second half of the 20th century.
Tucker has worked to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to pursue higher education. She is the under secretary of education, the U.S. Department of Education's top higher education official. In this position she oversees all policies and programs related to postsecondary, vocational and adult education, as well as federal student aid. In addition, she leads efforts within the department to expand opportunities for all Americans to undertake and afford a postsecondary education.
For nine years prior to entering public service, Tucker was chief executive officer and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing college education among Hispanic Americans. Tucker is a pioneer in the business community, as well. In a 16-year career at ATandT, she was the first Latina to reach the company's executive level, rising to the positions of vice president for consumer operations and regional vice president for global business communications systems. A holder of a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and a master of business administration degree from The University of Texas at Austin, Tucker has served her alma mater as a member of the Commission of 125, a life member of the university's Development Board, and a member of the Chancellor's Council. She is a recipient of the university's Distinguished Alumnus Award.