U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, philanthropists Joe and Teresa Long, university Senior Vice President Shirley Bird Perry and Ransom Center Director Tom Staley received Presidential Citations, among the most prestigious honors the university awards, on Friday, Feb. 25, at a dinner hosted by the university's president, William Powers Jr.
The university's Tower glowed orange in honor of all the recipients while they were recognized during the event at the ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center. The awards also included the Civitatis Award, Arno Nowotny Medal and the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award.
The Presidential Citation was created in 1979 to recognize 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 of Texas at Austin community. Four students will receive a Presidential Citation Endowed Scholarship honoring the recipients.
As United States trade representative, Kirk is a member of President Barack Obama's Cabinet and is the president's principal trade adviser, negotiator and spokesperson on trade issues.
Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long are two of the university's most prolific philanthropists. They each have received the university's Distinguished Alumnus Award for their extraordinary contributions and service throughout the university and the Austin community.
Perry has been senior vice president of The University of Texas at Austin since April 2004. She joined the university's administration after her graduation from the university in 1958, serving first as program director and then as director of the Texas Union. She is a 2005 Distinguished Alumnus.
Staley is director of the Harry Ransom Center and as a professor in the Department of English is the C. B. Smith, Sr., Nash Phillips, Clyde Copus Centennial Chair honoring Harry Huntt Ransom.
Powers presented other service awards, including the Civitatis Award to David M. Hillis, the Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professor in Natural Sciences, Section of Integrative Biology, and Associate Professor Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, director of the Center for African and African American Studies. The award is presented to faculty members who have demonstrated exemplary citizenship throughout a career of service at the university. It recognizes dedicated and meritorious service to the university beyond the regular expectations of teaching, research and writing.
Carol A. Holmgreen, associate registrar from 1981 to 2002, and Gary F. Shelton, assistant director of the Texas Union from 1976 to 2003, received the Arno Nowotny Medal. The medal recognizes staff members of the Division of Student Affairs who render meritorious service to students during their careers at the university.
Executive Vice President and Provost Steven W. Leslie presented the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award, which recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching. The recipients included Associate Professor Kirsten L. Belgum, Department of Germanic Studies; Associate Professor Elizabeth Engelhardt, Department of American Studies, Center for Women's and Gender Studies; Steven J. Friesen, the Louise Farmer Boyer Chair in Biblical Studies, Department of Religious Studies; Eve Nicols, the Elizabeth Tarpley Regents Fellow in Textiles and Clothing, School of Human Ecology; Professor Ami Pedahzur, Department of Middle Eastern Studies; Associate Professor Domino Renee Perez, Department of English, Center for Mexican American Studies; and Associate Professor Charters S. Wynn, Department of History and Department of Slavic Languages and Literature.