AUSTIN, Texas —Colorado Gov. Bill Owens has been selected by the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Alumni Association as the recipient of its 2000 Distinguished Public Service Award. The award is given annually to an outstanding graduate of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.
A native of Fort Worth, Owens is Colorado’s first Republican governor in 24 years and also the first LBJ School alumnus to serve as a state governor. Texas Gov. George W. Bush was among several of Owens’ colleagues who sent letters of endorsement to the LBJ School Alumni Association.
“I am familiar with the history, purpose and many graduates of the LBJ School,” wrote Bush. “I strongly believe Gov. Owens represents the best attributes that the school fosters — dedication to public service, professional integrity, stewardship of public resources, and ability and willingness to work with people of diverse political positions.”
Before he was elected governor in 1998, Owens served as state treasurer and as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives and Senate. As a legislator, he sponsored successful legislation in the areas of welfare reform, child abuse, education, tort reform and criminal justice. Owens also has extensive private sector experience. After having been graduated from the LBJ School in 1975, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as an analyst for Touche Ross & Co. He later worked as a management consultant for the Gates Corporation, which eventually led him to Colorado, where he became the director of the state’s division of the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association.
As governor, Owens has worked to promote economic development, increase funding in education, cut taxes and limit state spending. Among his major accomplishments is the passage of a referendum for increased transportation investment, which is part of a broader statewide “smart growth” project. Owens also is leading an initiative to make Colorado a center of high-tech industry and commerce. As part of this endeavor, he established the Commission on Science and Technology, an advisory board comprised of academics, public officials and technology professionals.
The LBJ School Alumni Association presents the Distinguished Public Service Award annually to a graduate who is considered by his or her peers to have significantly contributed to public policy, excelled in their chosen field, shown dedication to community service and volunteerism, and demonstrated commitment to the LBJ School of Public Affairs and its mission. The Distinguished Public Service Award is the second honor Owens has received from UT Austin. Last spring, he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the UT Austin Graduate School. As part of that award, the University has established a $5,000 fellowship at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in Owens’ name.