Powers Honors Five UT Alumni, Academics with Presidential Citations

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers will recognize five leaders from business, academia, law, public service and philanthropy with Presidential Citations this week.

Award winners are Edmund T. Gordon, a professor of African and African diaspora studies; Charles W. Matthews, Jr., former vice president and general counsel at ExxonMobil; James Mulva, former president, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, and wife Miriam Mulva, who are noted philanthropists; and Shannon Ratliff, a leading attorney and former member of the University of Texas System Board of Regents.

Powers will present the Presidential Citations along with other major university awards in a ceremony Thursday, April 17.

"Ted, Charles, Jim and Miriam, and Shannon are among the best friends The University of Texas has ever had," said Powers. "I'm proud both of their career achievements and their devotion to the university, and it's my privilege to honor them with our highest award."

The university created the citations in 1979 to recognize the extraordinary contributions of individuals who personify the university's commitment to transforming lives. They salute those whose service exemplifies the values shared by the university community. The university does not award honorary degrees.

About the 2014 Presidential Citation recipients:

  • Gordon is chair of the African and African Diaspora Studies Department and associate professor of African and African diaspora studies and anthropology of the African diaspora at UT Austin. He also has been associate vice president of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and director of the Center for African and African American Studies at the university. His interests include culture and power in the African diaspora, gender studies, critical race theory, race education, and the racial economy of space and resources.
  • Matthews, a 1967 graduate of UT Austin, is former vice president and general counsel at ExxonMobil, where he worked since 1971. He is the immediate past chair of UT Austin's Development Board and served on the Commission of 125. He has chaired the Chancellor's Council and serves on the board of the UT System Foundation along with myriad other boards including that of the ATandT Cotton Bowl and the Children's Medical Center of Dallas.
  • James and Miriam Mulva are among the greatest supporters of UT Austin in its history. Their gift of $60 million to support the construction of a new engineering building and a renovation of the university's graduate school of business buildings follows a $15 million gift that supported the construction of a new Liberal Arts Building and its ROTC center. Jim earned a bachelor's in business administration from UT Austin in 1968 and an MBA in 1969. He followed service in the Navy with a distinguished career in energy, which included serving as chairman and chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips. Miriam is the director of the Mulva Family Foundation.
  • Ratliff earned a bachelor's from UT Austin in 1961 and a law degree in 1964. His long and distinguished career in law and public service includes serving as a member of the University of Texas System Board of Regents from 1985 to1991. He is owner of Ratliff Law Firm and has served as lead counsel for Fortune 500 companies in a variety of statewide and nationwide class actions and other complex litigation. He has represented clients in suits outside Texas in federal and state courts and is a former chairman of the Texas Public Safety Commission.