Four University of Texas at Austin alumni, one of whom is also a current faculty member, have been recognized by President Jay Hartzell for their dedication and support of the university.
Leticia Fernandez, Melinda B. Hildebrand, Jeanne L. Klein and Richard J. Reddick each received the university’s Presidential Citations this year.
The Presidential Citation honors the extraordinary contributions of individuals who personify the university’s commitment to the task of transforming lives, and it is the highest honor bestowed by The University of Texas at Austin.
About the 2022 Presidential Citation honorees:
Letty Fernandez earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from UT Austin before beginning a 15-year career in broadcast journalism working as a reporter, anchor, producer and assignments editor. She then joined what was then The University of Texas at Brownsville (now The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley) as director of news and information, and she currently serves media relations liaison in the Division of Marketing and Communications for UTRGV.
Fernandez is on the UT Austin Alumni Advisory Board for the Office of Admissions and is a Life Member of Texas Exes. A past president of the Brownsville Texas Exes alumni chapter, she helped create the Rio Grande Valley Scholars scholarship at Texas Exes, which awards annual $10,000 scholarships to exceptional students from the region to help them complete an undergraduate degree at UT Austin.
Melinda B. Hildebrand
Mindy Hildebrand earned her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from UT Austin. She currently serves as president of the Hildebrand Foundation and vice president of Hilcorp Ventures Inc. She is also the president and owner of River Oaks Donuts in Houston.
Hildebrand is an active community, serving on the boards or committees of several organizations, including the MD Anderson, Houston, Executive Committee, Board of Visitors; UT Austin’s What Starts Here Campaign Executive Committee; UT Austin Development Board; UT’s McCombs School of Business Advisory Council; the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Bayou Bend and European Arts sub-committees; the Houston Parks Board as a Trustee; and she has volunteered for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, as a member of the International Committee for 34 years. She has been married to fellow UT alumnus Jeffery D. Hildebrand for 33 years, and they have three children.
Jeanne L. Klein
Jeanne Klein earned her bachelor’s degree in special education, with a minor in art history, from UT Austin. Her time at UT inspired her lifelong goals of advancing education and art. She has served on the College of Education advisory board for 29 years, and following a talk she heard at one of the board meetings, has devoted a great part of the last 10 year to working with the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts to introduce Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into classrooms.
Klein has also served on the Blanton Museum of Art’s advisory board for many years, having been part of the transformation of the museum from small rooms in UT’s Art Building to a world-class museum on campus. She notes that one of the most important art projects she brought to campus is Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin,” a building and art within that sits on the Blanton’s grounds.
Richard J. Reddick
Richard J. Reddick, Ed.D., earned his bachelor’s degree in Plan II from UT Austin, and he has served as a faculty member since 2007. He is the inaugural Associate Dean for Equity, Community Engagement, and Outreach and Distinguished Service Professor in Educational Leadership and Policy for the College of Education. Effective August 1, 2022, he will be Senior Vice Provost for Curriculum and Enrollment and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at UT Austin. Reddick is also faculty co-chair of the Institute for Educational Management and Bravely Confronting Racism in Higher Education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Reddick conducts ethnographic research on the experiences of faculty of color in predominantly White university settings, mentoring relationships in higher education, Black families in American society and work-family balance in junior faculty fathers. A dad to two, husband, son and brother, Reddick is also the co-host of the new NPR podcast, Black Austin Matters. A trivia maven, Reddick has appeared and won on several game shows, including Wheel of Fortune (UT College Week Champions, 1994) and Jeopardy!
A list of previous Presidential Citation recipients and additional information about the award is available on the president’s website.