Robert C. Jeffrey College Benefactor Awards

Robert C. Jeffrey served as dean of the Moody College of Communication from 1979 to 1993. During his tenure, he hired many of the college's best and brightest faculty members and helped build the college's endowment. He is remembered by many as a person of extraordinary warmth and commitment, and a person of irresistible charm. He is best known, however, as one of the finest ambassadors the Moody College has ever had. He died in April 2000.

The Robert C. Jeffrey Benefactor Awards were established in 2006 and are awarded each fall to individuals who have given generously to the college with their time or resources. 


Jay Bernhardt and Rachel Mersey

Jay M. Bernhardt

Jay Bernhardt served as the sixth dean of Moody College of Communication from 2015-2023 before departing to become President of Emerson College. Under Bernhardt’s leadership, the college raised $130 million, attained over 80% four-year graduation rate, enhanced Moody’s academics by expanding the Honors program, launching the Communication and Leadership degree and UT in New York program and growing the UT in Los Angeles program. He also unveiled numerous research centers and institutes, boosting the college’s research enterprise and brought in over 50 new faculty members with exceptional skill and experience. Bernhardt was deeply committed to building a strong sense of community among faculty, staff and students.

Neely award

Blake Neely

Blake Neely graduated from UT with a degree in Linguistics in 1991, and has been a supporter of Moody College through its UTLA program. He won an Emmy for “The Flight Attendant,” and has been nominated for seven other Emmys, has scored more than 35 TV series, 20 films and received five ballet commissions. In 2020, he established a major endowment for UTLA, which supports scholarships for current and future students to ensure access to the program regardless of their financial status. He also helped design the lounge at UTLA to have an Austin-chic look inspired by his own Cow On the Wall Studios. He has served as a featured lecturer on film music at numerous universities, including UT. He is a board member of Education Through Music Los Angeles and author of the book, “Piano for Dummies.”

Past Winners

Mary Pat and Jim Nelson

The Nelsons are generous supporters of Moody College, most recently giving $5 million to establish the Nelson Center for Brand and Demand Analytics at UT Austin, which will give advertising and public relations students the data skills they need to compete in today’s job market. In addition to their philanthropic contributions, Jim served as Chair of the Moody College Dean’s Advisory Council and leads several public education improvement initiatives.

Ya'Ke Smith

Ya'Ke Smith is an associate professor of film production in UT Austin’s Department of Radio-Television-Film and was the inaugural Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Moody College. A renowned independent filmmaker, his works have been screened and won awards at more than 100 film festivals.

Dr. Miguel Wasielewski 

Dr. Miguel Wasielewski is the Vice Provost of Admissions at The University of Texas at Austin.  He joined the Office of Admissions in 2015 after spending over 20 years in UT’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. Miguel is passionate about making college accessible for all students and feels that the work he has done and is doing will encourage students to attain a college degree and redefine what will be possible for their lives.


Arthur M. Blank

Arthur Blank is the co-founder of The Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and PGA Tour Superstore. In 2020, through the awarding of a 10-year legacy grant, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation established the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research at The University of Texas.

Dr. Courtney T. Byrd

Dr. Courtney Byrd serves as the Founding and Executive Director of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research, which encompasses the three distinct and previously-established branches she also founded and continues to direct: the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute, the Dr. Jennifer and Emanuel Bodner Developmental Stuttering Laboratory, and the Dealey Family Foundation Stuttering Clinic, all at The University of Texas. Dr. Byrd started building a stuttering program at UT Austin in 2003, when she arrived as a postdoctoral fellow researching the nature of stuttering, but her vision and work have grown to include access to quality care and opportunity in higher education.

Dale D. Holder

Dale Holder is a graduate from The University of Texas, who studied mechanical engineering and went on to develop and design pipeline systems. Holder is a person who stutters, who began stuttering in childhood and it continued through college and his professional career. After receiving treatment at UCLA and then later retiring to Austin, he searched for opportunities to give back to stuttering therapy, and first met Dr. Courtney Byrd in 2013; he has been a donor and supporter of her stuttering education and research efforts ever since.


Juliet S. Berkowitz

Juliet S. Berkowitz has worked in advertising and as fashion editor for several magazines, including Mirabella, Vogue and Mademoiselle. Ms. Berkowitz managed publicity for Christian Louboutin and opened the first store in the United States. Ms. Berkowitz is involved in several educational and charitable not for profit institutions in the United States and South Africa, including the Institute of Race Relations and is a board member of the Kennedy Center International Committee.

Edmund T. Gordon

Edmund T. Gordon is the founding (former) chair of the African and African Diaspora Studies Department, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and Anthropology of the African Diaspora, and Vice Provost for Diversity at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Gordon is also the former Associate Vice President of Thematic Initiatives and Community Engagement of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement as well as former Director of the Center for African and African American Studies at The University of Texas. 

Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez 

Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez has a long legacy of daily news experience, mostly as a reporter, for the Boston Globe, WFAA-TV in Dallas and the Dallas Morning News. Rivas-Rodriguez founded the Voces Oral History Project (formerly the U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project) in 1999, which has videotaped interviews with over 960 men and women throughout the country. Voces has become an international resource for documentary film producers, scholars, journalists and the general public. 

Sylvia Ponce-Carson 

Sylvia Ponce-Carson is the former Deputy General Manager of KUT and KUTX, after more than 30 years in public media. Since joining KUT in 2001, Sylvia has been at the center of its growth every step of the way – from an eccentric single station to one of the most robust and admired public media enterprises in the country. During her tenure, KUT has experienced exponential growth in dollars raised annually from both membership and underwriting. 

Dan Rather 

Given his distinguished record and his long exposure on television around the globe, Dan Rather may be the best-known journalist in the world.  He has covered virtually every major event in the world in the past 60 years.  His resume reads like a history book, from his early local reporting in Texas on Hurricane Carla to his unparalleled work covering the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; the civil rights movement; the White House and national politics; wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia and Iraq.  From his first days as the Associated Press reporter in Huntsville, Texas, in 1950, Rather has more than earned his reputation as the “hardest working man in broadcast journalism.”

Anita L. Vangelisti 

Anita L. Vangelisti is the Jesse H. Jones Centennial Professor of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work focuses on the associations between communication and emotion in the context of close, personal relationships. She has published numerous articles in journals, edited or authored several books, and has served on the editorial boards of over a dozen scholarly journals.

Rosental Alves

Rosental Alves worked for nearly three decades as a professional, practicing journalist before beginning his academic career at the university in 1996. His work in newsrooms is also marked by the vision and innovation that have been equally apparent during his time as a member of Moody’s faculty. He is the  holder of the Knight Chair in International Journalism, and he created the first UT class focusing on online journalism. He also serves as the director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, which pioneered the use of technology to train journalists in the digital era.

Mark Bernstein 

Mark Bernstein has served the university for more than three decades. He’s a thoughtful leader and teacher. As the associate dean for undergraduate education at Moody, he is instrumentally involved in the entire student experience – from recruiting the very best high school performers, to uplifting anxiety-riddled freshmen and sophomores, to motivating and congratulating those close to graduation.

Jordan Levin

Jordan Levin combines creativity and business savvy to develop his own niche expertise in building content platforms and programming. He’s respected in the industry for his insightful understanding of young audiences and the ability to develop a range of content genres – from TV series to film, scripted to reality, as well as news, live events, sports and animation.

Maurie McInnis

Maurie McInnis is the executive vice president and provost, otherwise known as the university’s chief academic officer. She is the first female to serve as provost in UT’s history, and also the first individual selected from an outside institution to hold the position in nearly 40 years.

Michael and Tami Lang

Michael S. Lang has held a distinguished career in law and finance, and some people may be surprised to learn that Mr. Lang is a person who stutters and identifies stuttering as his biggest strength and challenge. Mr. Lang has stuttered for over 65 years and through his own personal experiences, he recognized a tremendous gap in the resources, research and services available to the stuttering community worldwide. Mr. Lang dedicated himself to filling this gap with the establishment of the first distinct institute within a university setting devoted exclusively to excellence in stuttering research and clinical practice. Mr. Lang hopes that what begins here at The University of Texas at Austin will contribute to a sea change in the world’s understanding and treatment of this complex disorder thereby ensuring our university’s mission of what starts here changes the world.

Dr. David A. Laude, Jr.

Dr. Laude is Senior Vice Provost. Laude was Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education from 1997 until 2010 when he became Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. He served as Interim Dean of the College of Natural Sciences in 2011-2012. In 2012 he became Senior Vice Provost.

Dr. John Murphy

Dr. Murphy has worked professionally in many capacities including advertising sales, marketing research, and strategic planning. His research interests include integrated brand promotion, campaign planning, and media management with an emphasis on practical applications. Dr. Murphy has served on the Board of Directors of the American Advertising Federation, the Board of Directors of both the American Advertising Foundation and the Austin Advertising Federation. He has served as a member of UT's Faculty Council, the University of Texas Press Advisory Committee, the Texas Union, and Texas Student Media. 

Bill Stotesbery

Bill Stotesbery was CEO and General Manager of KLRU-TV, the PBS station serving Austin and Central Texas, since 2004. KLRU-TV is a community-owned, non-profit organization, and the non-commercial public television station serving more than 800,000 households in 18 counties in Central Texas, one of the nation’s major media markets.  As Austin’s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member station, KLRU is the only locally owned, major network affiliated broadcast television station in Central Texas.

Moody Foundation

This organization has been a force for transformational change, not only for Moody College, but for the entire state of Texas. In 2013, this foundation provided a landmark gift to the college and in their honor the college now bears its name. It’s difficult to describe the enormous impact that this gift has already had and will continue to have on the College, which now has the largest endowment to support the teaching and study of communication of any public institution in the country. This gift ensures that the college can recruit the best students and provide them with the best training, programs and facilities. This gift is also an acknowledgement of the importance of communication education—that Moody students will make vital contributions to industry, democracy, and public institutions, in Texas and beyond.

Barry Brummett

In his 16 years as a leader in the College, Barry Brummett has proven to be a deft administrator, a tremendous mentor and advocate for faculty, and a dedicated servant who has helped guide his department with his time and counsel. Serving as a department chair for 16 years is a tremendous feat. That he has done so is a testament to his character and dedication, and especially his poise and patience. He is loved and respected by his faculty members for his sense of humor and for fostering collaboration, mutual respect and a collegial atmosphere. 

Janet Dukerich

Janet Dukerich’s commitment and contributions to Moody College have been immense. As senior vice provost for faculty affairs for UT, she works with colleges and schools across campus to ensure continued excellence among the university’s faculty – which in turn ensures the excellence of programs and education for students. She guided two searches to find a new dean. The Moody College has been privileged to receive her excellent advice, delivered with great humility and often with a dry sense of humor. 

Karen Elliot House

Karen Elliot House came from humble beginnings and went on to become an internationally renowned journalist, Pulitzer-Prize winner and the first female publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Since graduating from our college in 1970, she has served as a trail blazer in the field of communication, as an inspiration to students and as a donor and trusted advisor.

Michael J. Wilson

Michael J. Wilson originally came to the 40 Acres in 1971, he earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and pursued a career in media marketing and sales at the urging of legendary Journalism Professor Griff Singer. 40 years later, he returned to his alma mater to help grow the college through fundraising and external relations. He helped usher in a period of tremendous growth for our programs and initiatives including landmark transformational gifts like the establishment of the Moody Endowment, and gifts establishing the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute, the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy, and countless other programs.

Roderick P. Hart 

Roderick P. Hart was one of the most successful deans in the history of Moody College and is among its most renowned scholars and teachers. An expert of politics and the mass media, he has taught in the Communication Studies Department since 1979 and is the author of 12 books. He has taught courses on political communication, rhetoric, and government and has won nearly every teaching award from the University. He founded the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, a research and outreach center committed to reversing civic and political apathy. From 2004 to 2015, he served as dean of the Moody College of Communication. Hart transformed the Moody College through his commitment to students, faculty, and philanthropy. 

Anne Reed

Anne Reed served as executive assistant to the dean with grace and style. As overseer of the Dean’s office, Anne ensures that all visitors are met with friendship and professionalism. She is the College’s chief guardian, its chief worrier, its chief warrior. She is part administrator, part psychologist, part social worker. She works for a demanding, control-freak of a boss but somehow she stays serene. Anne came to the Moody College in 1994 and amassed over 30 years of service to the University.  

Severine Halls

Severine Halls worked as a senior project manager for UT System, using her broad understanding to tackle large capital projects. With 30 years of experience, she knows everything about building design, landscaping, contractors, warranties, planning, budgets, negotiations, and team unity. Severine's most outstanding attribute, though, may be her patience. We have come to appreciate her sharp intellect as well as her layered political skills. 

John Flemming

John Flemming's career traces the growth of the telecommunications industry itself. He began working in sales management at IBM and MCI but then became involved with IXC, a digital broadband company. While there, John oversaw sales and marketing, eventually becoming president of IXC's international subsidiaries in Latin America and London. Today, he is principal of Vision Corporation, a company he founded that makes early-stage investments in communications technologies and services.For the last several years, he has been chair of our Advisory Council and one of our most vigorous advocates both on campus and off. He also made an especially generous gift to us, resulting in the John R. Fleming Lecture Hall, prominently located on the first floor of the Belo Center.

Marsha Jones

Marsha Jones exudes intelligence, depth, maturity, and trust. Add a teaspoon of passion and a tablespoon of integrity and you get one of the most respected lobbyists in all of Texas. Marsha sees her Legislative work as the cornerstone of democracy. Representing HillCo Partners, she has lobbied in behalf of healthcare policy, arts and entertainment, education, finance, and even the Dallas Cowboys. Marsha and her husband Robert have been consistently generous to our College and have done so as quietly as possible. It was harder to get their permission to put their names on a room than to get the required money from them. An ideal donor gives both time and treasure. Marsha is currently on the Moody College Advisory Council and, before that, on the board of the Annette Strauss Institute. 

Patrick Cantilo

Patrick Cantilo is a person of consummate generosity; he is a stalwart KUT contributor, always the first in line to reach for his checkbook. He does so humbly, quietly, but also firmly. His instinctive generosity often unnerves others, causing them to donate more than they might have otherwise. Patrick Cantilo leads by example. He is model civil servant. Patrick has been an active member of the KUT Board, bringing together like-minded people and organizations to help the station and to provide sage advice without pushing a personal agenda. He helped KUT move into the Belo Center and helped start the new KUTX as well. He believes that supporting NPR is a sacred duty.


Ann Chappell

Ann Sutherland Chappell is a citizen’s citizen and, most important, she is our fine citizen especially. As a professional volunteer who instinctively asks what else she can do when she has already done everything. She has been a loyal member of our Advisory Council for many years and has given generously to this college, perhaps in part because she met her husband, David, in a speech class during her undergraduate days. Two rooms in the CMA building are now named in their honor to memorialize that auspicious encounter. Ann is also the reason we recently received a wonderful gift from the Amon Carter Foundation. She combines a generous heart with hard-headed good sense and has made this college proud.

Joe Dealey

Joe Dealey is as fine a human being as you could ask for and a person of broad philanthropic vision. A native Dallasite and fourth-generation member of the family that founded The Dallas Morning News, Joe began his career as a staff writer for the News but eventually struck out on his own, ultimately becoming a consummate media professional in the areas of crisis communication, media relations, legislative affairs, and public affairs consulting.The dean’s conference room in the Belo Center now bears the Dealey family name and that is because of Joe. Joe Dealey’s grace and kindness are rare qualities and we are honored he has used them in our behalf; he cares about UT, enlightened journalism, and excellence. 

Dr. Tom Marquardt

Dr. Tom Marquardt, the Ben F. Love Regents Professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders, is a tireless individual. He is the whole package – an excellent scholar, a top-notch researcher, an inspiring teacher, and a dedicated mentor to young faculty members, clinicians, and graduate students. Tom helped the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders make the transition from a teaching and clinical program to one with a research focus. At crucial moments in the Department’s history he helped it set a new course and did so with care, precision, and sensitivity. Tom always put the department above himself. 

Chris Plonsky

Chris Plonsky is a stalwart supporter of our Texas Program in Sports and Media and of so much else this college is doing.Chris began her career as a sports information officer shortly after the passage of Title IX, the landmark law that provided equal opportunity to female athletes. Since then, Chris has become a national role model for all young women, athletes as well as non-athletes.A journalism student and basketball player at Kent State, Chris brought the lessons learned on the hard court to UT, where she now serves as Director of Women’s Athletics. Her fast-paced college spirit is still part of her but it is leavened by a kindness and generosity not always found in the heat of battle.

Janice Daman

Janice Daman is a person with a computer-like memory who likes solving engineering problems. She has served as both COO and CFO of Moody College since 1997, and then became the College’s primary liaison for construction of the Belo Center. In that role, she logged countless hours in countless meetings and has overseen tens of thousands individual decisions.  She dealt with architects, construction foreman, designers, accountants, and 675 layers of U.T. bureaucracy. Janice is dependable as dependable gets.  All who love this college are in her debt.

Stewart Vanderwilt

Stewart Vanderwilt has raised $11 million to build the KUT Public Media Studios, even while managing its day-to-day operations and overseeing its twice-a-year fund drives to ensure that his employees keep getting paychecks.  Since becoming manager, Stewart has increased KUT’s listenership by three-fold and also won three coveted Edward R. Murrow awards.  More recently, he figured a way to split KUT into two stations – one all-news and the other all-music – which required even more fund-raising. Stewart is more than a fund-raiser.  He is a visionary, a man with the foresight to see what others could not see and then to bring it to life.  Stewart only takes on big challenges, and the result is that KUT is now woven into the fabric of Austin, tying together its music, culture, and politics in a way never before imagined.

Jim Moroney

Jim Moroney, the publisher of The Dallas Morning News and chairman of the Newspaper Association of America, frequently testifies on behalf of the newspaper industry at Congressional hearings in Washington, and took on the digital revolution to make his paper a pioneer in the disruptive space of the new, digital media. He has served loyally on our College’s advisory board and has helped underwrite our annual International Symposium on Online Journalism as well.  Most importantly, he was one of the earliest supporters of our magnificent new Belo Center.

James Huffines

James Huffines’ career was shaped by banking and public service, and he helped build the Belo Center for New Media.In 2003 Governor Rick Perry appointed him to the U.T. System Board of Regents, where he served for 7½ years.  During that time, James oversaw 15 campuses, more than 200,000 students, and a $12 billion annual operating budget. We asked James to speak at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Belo Center, because his powers of persuasion had caused the Board of Regents to become co-investors in our building. Characteristically, James took no credit for that, identifying everyone else as the building’s champion; we would like to recognize James as a champion to the Moody College.

Bill Powers

Bill Powers served as president of UT Austin from 2006-2014 and was instrumental in helping secure the building of the Dealey Center for New Media.  It has been said that no matter who you are, Bill Powers can find a way to relate to you, in part this is because Bill is so affable and in part it’s because he’s so smart.  He can talk politics and philosophy, mathematics and physics, literature and 19th century art.  Bill Powers is a scholar, yes, but he’s also an intellectual of the first order. His most important chapter began when he came to U.T. in 1977, where he became a member of our Academy of Distinguished Teachers, served as dean of the Law School, and where later – as President – became the University’s liaison to the State and the nation.  

John Barnhill, Jr.

John Barnhill, Jr., a 1959 graduate of the School of Journalism, is a man whose affection and commitment to The University of Texas has deepened with each passing year. After earning his degree, John went to work for Blue Bell as one of their first salesmen and quickly moved its products into new markets. Over the course of his career, John combined his people skills with a brilliant management style to propel Blue Bell to one of the top three brands in the country – all of this despite Blue Bell's regional location. John never considered slowing down when retiring from Blue Bell, he turned his attention to his alma mater, serving on the UT Board of Regents from 2003 to 2009, and on countless committees at the behest of the Governor, the Chancellor, and several U.T. presidents. In 2006, he and his wife established the “John and Jane Barnhill Communications Endowment" for Texas Exes, which supports its alumni communications, including the Alcalde.  This magnificent gift was not only innovative but served a crucial need for the Exes and for U.T. generally.

Ray Farabee

Ray Farabee worked his way through college and law school, becoming a national student leader who pressed for desegregation on college campuses in the late 1950s. Later, Texas Business Magazine named him “Texan of the Year.”  As a state senator, Ray sponsored important legislation on patient’s rights, indigent health care, and criminal justice.  As vice chancellor and general counsel for the U.T. System, Ray worked on landmark litigation — the Hopwood case, the State of Texas tobacco settlement, and a patent infringement case that became the largest in U.T. System history. Ray now serves as chair of the KUT Advisory Board, which is heading-up the fund-raising effort for the new KUT Public Broadcast Center.  Ray and Mary Margaret were our first two donors. Ray’s been named one of Texas Monthly‘s “Best Legislators” five different times.  To quote an article in that magazine, "Ray Farabee is the sort to give politics a good name."

Terry Hemeyer

Dean Robert Jeffrey appointed Terry Hemeyer to the College of Communication advisory council over 20 years ago. After a career in the military that earned him the Bronze Star for service in Vietnam and that culminated in the rank of colonel, Terry began the second chapter of his career by working with Fortune 500 companies and some of the top public relations firms in the world. Terry's third act may be his best. As a senior lecturer in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, he has brought real-world experience to the classroom and challenged students to solve complicated business problems. His students tell us that he is not only passionate about the subject matter but that he cares for them as well.  For that he has received the coveted "Eyes of Texas Award" from the students at U.T. His creativity and buoyancy sustain us, as does his personal generosity. 

Dr. Steven Leslie

As provost of this university, Dr. Steve Leslie has personified the Hoosier attitude of discipline, respect, trust, and teamwork. Steve oversees teaching, research and academic outreach across the University and has twenty or more deans, vice-provosts, and unit heads reporting to him. Thanks to his support, the College is getting ready to move into the Belo Center for New Media and to refurbish the Jesse Jones Complex.  The Provost has helped support the Texas Program in Sports and Media, sustain the UTLA program, expand our entertainment studies initiative, and let us attract and retain the best faculty.  

Dr. Thomas Schatz

Dr. Thomas Schatz, renowned scholar, teacher, and intellectual – a down-to-earth guy with a taste for big ideas – has willed our Radio-Television-Film Department to national prominence. Tom came to U.T. in 1976 and quickly made his mark, penning the now–classic volume Hollywood Genres: Formulas, Filmmaking, and the Studio System. This was the first book to explain how movies are made and why. Rather than examining the stars, directors and plots, Tom studied the industry itself – who did what to whom and who paid what to whom.  That book gave Tom instant recognition. Tom's devotion to his students is boundless and his editorial prowess is legendary. Among his blockbuster ideas were the UT Film Institute and Burnt Orange Productions, which created four feature films and trained hundreds of students in moviemaking.  No other university had done what Tom did when launching these entities. 

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen, editor and executive vice president of the Houston Chronicle, is a tireless defender of press freedoms and champion of shield laws for reporters at the State and national levels. Jeff has won the Benjamin Bradlee Editor of the Year award and, his paper was named the state's top metropolitan newspaper by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors. Jeff personifies what we are trying to do here in the College. He is intelligent, fearless, opinionated, innovative, a truth-seeker. He is also benevolent, having served on the College's Advisory Council, guided our students to internships and employment opportunities, guest-lectured on a thousand occasions, and constantly told the dean how to run the college. It was Jeff Cohen's vision and energy that helped us receive a major gift from the Hearst Foundations to renovate the Texas Student Media building, home of Jeff's beloved Daily Texan.

Stan Richards

Stan Richards founded the largest independently owned advertising and public relations agency in the country—the Richards Group of Dallas. Stan has nurtured the next generation of advertising professionals. He is a man who derives immense pleasure from finding raw talent and watching it mature. Time and time again he has given the graduates of this college their first professional opportunities. Not surprisingly, a significant number of our alums started their careers at The Richards Group. Thanks to the Richards Group Endowed Presidential Scholarship, U.T. students can get help during their junior or senior years in our creative program. 

Darrell Rocha

As our assistant dean for student affairs, Darrell Rocha confronts a universe of student emotions each day—excitement, fear, sadness, joy, anger, glory. With the patience of a saint, with the touch of a diplomat, Darrell listens to all with an open heart. Under his guidance, our Office of Student Affairs was named an "Outstanding Program" by the National Academic Advising Association, an achievement of which all our advisors can be proud. But an achievement like this could not have been earned without Darrell Rocha's peculiar brand of patience, strength, compassion, hard-headedness, integrity and, once again, patience.

Hatton Sumners Foundation

The Foundation created in Congressman Hatton W. Sumners’ memory takes special interest in the lives of our children. Through their work with the Law Focused Education division of the Texas Bar Association, Project VoteSmart, the Center for Ethical Leadership at the LBJ School, and the Strauss Institute's New Politics Forum, the Sumners Foundation help young people preserve the nation they've inherited. The Sumners Foundation knows that a democracy can't be preserved unless its citizens embrace it passionately. 

Isabella Cunningham

Isabella Cunningham—world traveler, master of many tongues, lawyer, professor, author, MBA, researcher, teacher and, most especially, mother. No faculty member in the history of this university, for example, has ever served on more important committees than Isabella Cunningham. She is the embodiment of academic citizenship, one whose institutional and personal loyalties run deep. Nobody loves this College more than Isabella Cunningham.

As a teacher, Isabella insists that her students stretch themselves; as a department chair, she demanded continuing excellence; as a university citizen, she works longer and harder and smarter than anyone on campus. Her intelligence, her imagination, and her high standards make her one-of-a-kind.

Kevin Hegarty

Kevin Hegarty, vice-president and chief financial officer for the University is more than UT's chief bookkeeper, he's also a brilliant administrator, the University's go-to guy. He has been interim vice-president for development as well as interim vice-president for information technology. For many years, he was one of our main advisors for Burnt Orange Productions and the UT Film Institute. Our college depended greatly on Kevin's fair-mindedness and mathematical gymnastics to help finance the Belo Center for New Media.

Chris Mattson

Chris Mattson encouraged KUT to aspire to higher levels of philanthropic support. Today, KUT has over 300 Leadership Circle members—and since its inception, led by Chris—the Leadership Circle has contributed more than $3 million to KUT. Chris and her husband, John McHale, have supported every major KUT endeavor during the past decade, including the design and construction of the new KUT Public Broadcast Center.

Dr. Steven Ungerleider

Dr. Steven Ungerleider—sports psychologist, author, and advisor to the U.S. Olympic team—has never forgotten his alma mater. Throughout the years, he has gone out of his way to support the Harry Ransom Center as well as a variety of initiatives for Presidents Faulkner and Powers. Fortunately, he has also supported this college, including the Annette Strauss Institute and the Texas Program in Sports and Media. In addition, thanks to Steven's support of the Strauss Institute's Speak Up! Speak Out! program, more than 600 Texas high school students have gone beyond the classroom's walls to identify community problems, create innovative solutions, and then present their findings to city officials and community leaders.

Robert (Bob) Woolfolk and Betty Carrow-Woolfolk

Betty Carrow Woolfork —who earned her master's degree from our college and who has served on our advisory council on two separate occasions—has been a stalwart supporter of our program in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Betty and Bob didn't simply show up at our meetings twice a year, but they rolled up their sleeves, got behind the College's initiatives, and introduced us to folks who could also help us financially. And, needless to say, Betty and Bob have been personally generous as well, helping us start new programs, try out new ideas, and deliver quality service to the clients of our Speech and Hearing Center. Our annual Betty Carrow-Woolfolk Lecture is a modest testament to this fine woman's generosity and intellectual curiosity.

Judy Trabulsi

Judy Trabulsi is the executive vice president of GSD&M's Idea City and one of the most highly-regarded advertising experts in the United States. Even as she helped build one of the nation's premier advertising agencies, Judy found time to be both a teacher and a mentor to young people, carefully nurturing the relationship between her agency and our own Department of Advertising. Judy continues to be an invaluable source of support for us, having served for many years on the College's Advisory Council as well as the University of Texas Film Institute's Advisory Board. In addition, she has contributed generously to the College and has caused others to be generous as well. 

Kevin Moomaw

Kevin Moomaw has spent his career in the political arena, having worked for numerous public officials and having served as executive director for both of George Bush senior's presidential campaigns in Texas. Kevin has also been a stalwart supporter of our College, especially in connection with the School of Journalism and the Annette Strauss Institute.Kevin has been a boon to the Annette Strauss Institute, particularly its New Politics Forum, which helps college students across Texas learn first-hand about modern political campaigns. 

Dr. Randa Safady

Dr. Randa Safady, vice chancellor for external relations at The University of Texas System, oversees community relations, development, public affairs and strategic communications for nine universities and six health institutions. Randa was especially generous with her time when we set out to raise money for the Belo Center for New Media. Randa is a person of energy and commitment, a person of irresistible charm, and a smart, hard-headed professional to boot. Dr. Randa Safady — this College's unpaid ambassador to the world.

Robert and Maureen Decherd

Robert and Maureen Decherd believe in three things more than anything else: family, education, and the written word. Robert has spent his life tending an institution — the A.H. Belo Corporation — which owns media properties throughout the United States (including the Dallas Morning News) and which has earned eight Pulitzer Prizes since he became CEO. Robert and his family have funded three endowed professorships in our College, as well as a scholarship in the School of Journalism. Maureen's interests in the literary arts led her to establish two endowments, one in the College of Liberal Arts and another in the School of Journalism. Both provide stipends for non-tenured faculty and doctoral candidates interested in literature, American society, and the U.S. media.

Susan Dirks

For the past 15 years, Susan Dirks has been the chief operations officer for one of the best Radio-TV-Film programs in the country. She manages the budget, handles personnel and oversees endless departmental projects. Her job requires attention to detail, an understanding of people, and an ability to juggle political issues with deftness. Susan does all of this with a smile. 

Dr. Gene Burd

Dr. Gene Burd is an unsung academic hero who has touched the hearts and souls of countless students and who will leave an enduring legacy in the academy and, particularly, at this University. Gene has been shaping future journalists at the University of Texas since 1972. In 2004 he used more than $1 million of his own money—built up from saving up his paychecks and by wise investing--to establish the Urban Communication Foundation, which gives financial awards to journalists and researchers who specialize in city planning, architecture, zoning and environmental issues. He also set up an annual prize given by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication to honor one of his graduate students who died in 2002.

Patti Ohlendorf

Patti Ohlendorf, UT's vice-president for legal affairs, provided critical legal support and insight for establishing the University of Texas Film Institute. To date, more than 200 graduate and undergraduate students have worked on four films, and seventy-seven percent of them are now employed in the film industry. We would not be in the filmmaking business today if it weren't for Patti Ohlendorff. She has been our never-failing guide during this complex and labor-intensive project. 

Joe Phillips

Joe Phillips worked at The Daily Texan in a variety of capacities, including the news, editorial, and sports departments. Later, he moved to Central America to learn Spanish and to work as a stringer for the Miami Herald and UPI. Later, he founded the San Jose News in Costa Rica and then later the Guatemala News. To pay tribute to his mentor and professor, Joe established the Griff Singer Professorship, a permanent endowment designed to enhance education in the area of reporting and editing. Joe's gift ultimately brought Fluffy Cash to our faculty, who is now continuing Griff's legacy of mentoring budding journalists and strengthening the College's ties to the professional community.

Ted Strauss

Ted Strauss has had a distinguished career. Profiled in BusinessWeek while still in his 30s, he established multiple banks in Dallas, served as the senior managing director of Bear Stearns & Company, was an early board member of Clear Channel Communications, and also chaired the board of Strauss Broadcasting.Ted has spent a lifetime doting on his family, including his late wife, Annette Strauss, his two daughters, and his granddaughters. We love Ted Strauss because of his long standing support of the Annette Strauss Institute. Established in April of 2000 to combat political disaffection in the United States, the Strauss Institute strives to create more voters and better citizens through research, education, and improved communication.Ted helped us start the Institute to honor Annette, who served as mayor of Dallas in the late 1980s. 

Senator/Doctor Judith Zaffirini

Senator/Doctor Judith Zaffirini earned two degrees from the College of Communication. She later taught at the university level before starting her own business. The consulting firm she runs today involves broad-based consultation on communication issues. She was the first Hispanic woman elected to the Texas senate, and became a champion for higher education issues, having now served ten terms on the Senate Committee on Education, where she has been instrumental in creating financial aid legislation for students. She is also a proponent of college work-study programs, having overseen a series of important increases in funding for this program.