Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson

Lady Bird

Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson (born Claudia Alta Taylor), former first lady of the United States, has been named the 1986-87 College of Communication Outstanding Alumnus.

“Lady Bird” received bachelor's degrees in history and journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. She served a six-year term on The University of Texas System Board of Regents and was a member of The University of Texas Centennial Commission.

During her White House years Johnson served as honorary chairman of the National Head Start Program, a program for underprivileged pre-school children. President Gerald Ford presented her with this country's highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom. She also received numerous other awards, including the Congressional Gold Medal.

Johnson was also an environmentalist. The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 was the result of her national campaign for beautification. She also chaired the Town Lake Beautification Project here in Austin.  She was a member of the National Park Service's Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings and Monuments and served on the council for many years.

On her 70th birthday Johnson founded the National Wildflower Research Center, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the preservation and re-establishment of native plants in natural and planned landscapes. She donated 60 acres of land and a sum of money to establish the center that was eventually renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt presented Johnson with the Native Plant Conservation Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award.