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Distinguished Alumni  

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

Poppy Northcutt is currently the President of both the Houston Area Chapter of NOW and of Texas State NOW. The National Organization for Women, Inc. (NOW) is the oldest and largest grassroots, multi-issue women's rights organization in the United States. In the 1970s, she served on the national board of directors of NOW and was also the founding chair of the Harris County Women's Political Caucus, the first Women's Advocate for the City of Houston, and a special consultant for the NOW International Women's Year Conference. She was the co-coordinator of the Texas Women’s Credentials Challenge during the 1972 Democratic National Convention. This credentials challenge was part of a national effort on the part of the Women’s Political Caucus to increase the representation of women as delegates at all levels of the Democratic Party. She also is a long-time volunteer deputy voter registrar in Harris County, TX.

Poppy graduated from The University of Texas in Austin in 1965 with a B.A. in mathematics. In her early career, she worked for TRW Systems, a NASA contractor, as a return-to-earth specialist on the Apollo 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. She also received the Apollo Achievement Award and the "Silver Snoopy" flight safety award for her work on Apollo 11. Poppy was in the Mission Control Center during the Apollo 8, 10, 11, 12, & 13 missions.

In mid-life, Poppy attended law school at the University of Houston Law Center where she graduated summa cum laude. She clerked for a federal appellate judge and then prosecuted and later defended criminal cases. While working as a prosecutor she was instrumental in starting the Domestic Violence Unit at the Harris County District Attorney's Office where she served as the unit's first felony prosecutor. In private practice, she specialized in criminal trial and appellate work mainly handling serious felonies including capital murder cases. Now semi-retired, she is a referral lawyer for Jane’s Due Process, a non-profit organization that provides legal services for pregnant teenage girls.

Poppy frequently speaks on women's rights issues and on the role of women in the space program. She has been featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles, podcasts, and in several documentaries on PBS about the space program including "Makers: Women Who Make America," “NOVA: Apollo’s Daring Mission,” and “American Experience: Chasing the Moon.”



ParmesanCamille Parmesan - Climate Change Expert and Conservation Warrior

Camille Parmesan is Director of Research at the CNRS Station for Experimental and Theoretical Ecology (SETE, in Moulis, France) as a "Make Our Planet Great Again" Laureate. 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 also authored numerous assessments of impacts of climate change on agricultural pests and on human health, through changes in disease risk. Her 2003 paper in Nature was ranked the most highly cited paper in Climate Change (Carbon Brief, 2015).

Her scientific awards include being the 2nd highest-cited author in "climate change" (T Reuters) and being named the "2013 Distinguished Scientist" by Texas Academy of Sciences. She has been elected Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. She received the Conservation Achievement Award by the National Wildlife Federation and was named "Outstanding Woman Working on Climate Change," by IUCN. 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 is an Adjunct Professor at The University of Texas at Austin. 



Emerging LEADER


ButlerDale Butler  Surgeon and Decorated Navy Medical Officer

Dr. Butler is a 2005 graduate of the college with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology. Throughout his time at UT, Dr. Butler worked as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Thomas Juenger’s Integrative Biology laboratory. Upon graduation, he served in the United States Peace Corps in Shighatini, Tanzania. For two years, he taught chemistry and biology at a Tanzanian secondary school. He received his MD from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2012 and completed a general surgery residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Memorial Hospital in 2017. 

After completing his surgical training, he began active duty as a Navy Medical Officer at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.  In early 2018, he reported to Second Medical Battalion, Second Marine Logistics Group. He supported the Marines of Task Force Southwest as a general surgeon at a Role II 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.  Dr. Butler is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and holds an academic appointment as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. He is active in numerous professional surgical societies. 





EnglishDoug English Football Legend, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Doug English attended The University of Texas, graduating in 1976 with a degree in History. As a Texas Longhorn football player, he helped Texas to three Southwest Conference titles. After attending UT, English began a decorated career in the NFL. Along with defensive end Al "Bubba" Baker, English was a cornerstone of the Lions’ feared "Silver Rush" defensive line of the late ’70s and early ’80s. The 6-foot-5, 255 pound English was Detroit’s second-round pick in 1975 out of UT Austin. In 1979, after recording 122 tackles (90 solo) and 6.5 sacks, English was voted as the team’s Defensive MVP. After a year off due to chronic injuries that were hampering his play, English rejoined the Lions prior to the 1981 season. English’s best season came in 1983, when he recorded 13 sacks and two safeties, making him only one of 17 NFL players to record two safeties in a single season. That year, the Lions won the NFC Central Division title with a 9-7 mark. In 1984, English was awarded Texas Sports Headliner of the Year by the Headliners Club of Austin. Upon the arrival of new coach Darryl Rogers in 1985, English was moved to nose tackle in the team’s new 3-4 defensive alignment. The following year, he was entered into The University of Texas Longhorn Hall of Fame.

English's football career ended after the '85 season due to him receiving a neck injury. He finished his career with 59 sacks, which still places him sixth on the Lions’ all-time list. He was named All-Pro three times (1981, 1983–84) and went to four Pro Bowls (1979, 1982–84). English had 4 safeties throughout his career, tying him with Ted Hendricks and Jared Allen for the most safeties in NFL history. He has received numerous other awards for his football career, including being inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Michigan Sports 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. Since 1988, English has raised over $5 million for funding research through the Lonestar Foundation, (in which he is Chairman and President), for recovery programs, and adaptive sports programs for people with spinal cord injuries. He has also served as the 40-Year Host of the Lone Star Classic, an event benefitting the Lonestar Foundation. English also currently enjoys being a rancher and spending time with his wife and children.


The 2020 Hall of Honor awards ceremony is being postponed until 2021. We look forward to celebrating these incredible individuals at a later date.

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