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Distinguished Alumni  


James TruchardJames Truchard - Tech Innovator

James Truchard received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at UT Austin in 1964 and 1967, respectively, as well as his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1974. While pursuing his Ph.D., Truchard worked full-time as a research scientist at the Applied Research Laboratory at UT Austin where he pioneered technologies for computer-based systems for testing sonar transducers and beamformers for many of the U.S. Navy’s fleet of submarines and surface ships. That work inspired him to co-found National Instruments (now NI), which counts among its customers 35,000 companies and 7,000 universities. Truchard and Jeff Kodosky co-invented LabVIEW, a graphical programming language that revolutionized how tests and measurements are performed in engineering and science experiments in a wide range of industries including space, defense, communication, and transportation.

Among his various honors, Truchard was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2007 and the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2019. He now actively supports research on the causes of, and potential treatments for, Alzheimer’s Disease.


Emerging LEADER


hinojosa1000Richard Hinojosa - The Advocate

Richard Hinojosa graduated from UT Austin with a B.S. in human development and family sciences in 2006. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center in 2010. He founded Hinojosa Law, PLLC and has represented thousands of clients in Texas and the Southwestern U.S.

Hinojosa strongly believes in giving back to the community, including as a volunteer coach in youth athletics, chairing the DePelchin Children’s Center annual luncheon, serving on the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity Stakeholders’ Council and providing scholarships for students in his home region. He has also maintained his commitment to UT Austin by serving as a mentor and providing support and time to the School of Human Ecology and the College of Natural Sciences on their Advisory Councils.





booth400David Booth - The Philanthropist

David Booth is executive chairman of Dimensional Fund Advisors, a firm he founded in 1981. Under his leadership, Dimensional has grown from a fledgling business operating out of the spare room of his Brooklyn brownstone apartment to a global investment manager with more than 1,400 employees and $659 billion in assets under management. A trailblazer in the financial world, he helped create one of the world’s first index funds in the 1970s and launched the first passively managed small company strategy in the early ’80s.

Booth, a generous supporter of universities and arts organizations, has made a world-changing gift of $10 million towards UT Austin’s involvement with the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). Currently under construction in Chile, the GMT will be the largest-ever ground-based telescope, enabling transformative advances in astronomy research at UT.


 2020-2021 Hall of Honor Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni  

NorthcuttFrances "Poppy" Northcutt - Space Exploration Pioneer and Women's Rights Activist

Frances "Poppy" Northcutt (B.A. Mathematics, 1965), a Distinguished Alumni Award winner, has fought for women’s rights for decades, through the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Harris County Women's Political Caucus, the Domestic Violence Unit at the Harris County District Attorney's Office, and Jane’s Due Process. In mid-life, she practiced law in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and in private practice. In her early career, she worked as a return-to-earth specialist on the Apollo space program. With the flight of Apollo 8, she became the first woman in an operational support role to work in NASA's Mission Control Center. She was a member of the mission operations team that received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the rescue of Apollo 13.



ParmesanCamille Parmesan - Climate Change Expert and Conservation Warrior

Camille Parmesan (Ph.D. Biological Sciences, 1995), also a Distinguished Alumni Award winner, is director of research at the CNRS Station for Experimental and Theoretical Ecology in Moulis, France. Her research focuses on the impacts of climate change on wild plants and animals and spans from field-based work on butterflies to synthetic analyses of global impacts on a broad range of species across terrestrial and marine biomes. She has worked with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for over 20 years and is an official contributor to IPCC's Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. She also holds the National Marine Aquarium Chair in Oceans and Public Health at the University of Plymouth (UK) and has served on the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin.



Emerging LEADER


ButlerDale Butler  Surgeon and Decorated Navy Medical Officer

Dale Butler (B.S. Cell and Molecular Biology, 2005), an Emerging Leader Award winner, served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Tanzania, teaching chemistry and biology at a secondary school. After receiving his M.D. and surgical training, he began active duty as a Navy Medical Officer. He supported the Marines of Task Force Southwest as a general surgeon at a surgical facility in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. In 2019, he became the department head of general surgery at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune. His military awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “C” device, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Fleet Marine Force Combat Operation Insignia and Campaign Star, in addition to other personal and unit awards.





EnglishDoug English Football Legend, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

As a Texas Longhorn football player, Doug English (B.A. History, 1976) helped Texas to three Southwest Conference titles. He went on to a notable career in the NFL, playing defense for the Detroit Lions. In 1983, English helped the Lions win the NFC Central Division title. English had four safeties throughout his career, tying two others for the most safeties in NFL history. Among his many awards, he is a member of The University of Texas Longhorn Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame and the All-Time Detroit Lions Team. English has spent the remainder of his career as a serial entrepreneur, as well as an advocate and philanthropist, contributing to his selection for the college Distinguished Service Award. Since 1988, he has raised over $5 million for research through the Lonestar Foundation for sports recovery programs and adaptive sports programs for people with spinal cord injuries.



We accept nominations year-round. For descriptions of each award and information on how to nominate an individual for next year, click here.