AUSTIN, Texas – UT President ad interim Peter T. Flawn has been chosen to receive a newly created award from UT’s alumni association. The University of Texas Distinguished Service Award will be The Ex-Students’ Association’s highest honor for a non-alumnus, reserved for one who has served UT Austin in a profound way. It will not be given on a regular basis, but only by consensus of the past presidents of the Association. The award will be given in conjunction with the Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Awards, the highest honors it bestows to alumni. This year’s ceremony will be Oct. 2nd.
The award description reads, in part: "From time to time, there emerges an individual who was not a student at the University of Texas, but whose service makes a profound and positive difference to the University."
Flawn has served as president of the University of Texas during two crucial periods in its recent history. He is widely credited with moving UT into the top tier of American universities by spearheading a capital campaign during his first administration from 1979-85. Dubbed the "war on mediocrity," it created more than 750 endowed faculty positions across campus. After 12 years of retirement, he returned in 1997 to serve a year as president ad interim at a salary of $1. His experienced hand steadied a university that had just lost not only its president, but its provost, the second in command, and while doing so, Flawn successfully launched UT’s most ambitious capital campaign ever, a quest for $1 billion.
"A recipient like Peter T. Flawn sets the standard for people who will receive this award in the future," says Jim Boon, executive director of The Ex-Students’ Association.
Larry Temple, the association’s president, concurs: "In its 115 years of existence, no individual has been more important to the University of Texas than Peter Flawn. The fact that the University has achieved eminence and is on the threshold of preeminence is attributable in large measure to Dr. Flawn’s leadership, drive, and commitment. He epitomizes the very best of this University. In honoring him, The Ex-Students’ Association recognizes a unique individual who combines dignity and grace with rare accomplishment."
Flawn was born in Miami in 1926. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, he studied at Oberlin College and Yale. He came to the University of Texas in 1949 as a professor of geology and in 1960, became director of its Bureau of Economic Geology until being made vice president in 1970. In 1972, he was named executive vice president, and left the next year to serve four years as president of UT-San Antonio. He and his wife, Priscilla, have two daughters, Tyrrell and Laura.
With more than 63,000 members, the UT Ex-Students’ Association is one of the strongest alumni associations in the country, supporting education through scholarships, teaching awards, public policy initiatives, and conferences, and serving "Texas Exes" through career counseling, travel, reunions, continuing education, fellowship, and Texas Alcalde magazine.