Each year, members of the Alumni Board with the task of selecting the College’s Distinguished Alumni have a difficult undertaking, not for lack of nominees, but in deciding among many deserving candidates. Austin College alumni are celebrated for accomplishment in their careers and their communities, their spirit of service, and the broadened perspectives fostered by their common educational experience. They are leaders who exemplify ethical standards and integrity, men and women concerned with creating a better way of life in their workplaces, their communities, and throughout the global neighborhood.
2011 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI
After graduating from Austin College in 1966, Daniel Breazeale earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at Yale University. In 1971, he joined the philosophy faculty at the University of Kentucky, where his 40-year career continues today.
During the intervening years, Daniel has received numerous teaching and research honors, including six individual research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2005, he was designated Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences. He has written and lectured extensively and is an active participant in many international scholarly societies.
Daniel and his wife, Vivianne (Chabas) ’66, live in Lexington, Kentucky.
JEFFREY NORTHRIDGE PHILLIPS
Involved in the Austin College community throughout his life as the son of Professor Ed Phillips, Jeffrey Phillips ’80 completed the College’s 3-2 engineering program with Washington University–St. Louis to earn an engineering degree and an Austin College degree. He also earned a master’s degree and doctoral degree, both in mechanical engineering, at Stanford University.
Jeff now works as a senior program manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), responsible for research toward developing advanced coal-based power plants. In 2005, he received the firm’s Chauncey Starr award for exemplary research.
Jeff and his wife, Mary Lynn, live in Huntersville, North Carolina.
Larry Sykes ’66 spent 32 years in the commercial real estate business in Dallas, and then found his true calling—working with homeless individuals through the Stewpot, a ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, and The Bridge.
He also brought Community Voice Mail (CVM) to Dallas, providing a phone number and voice messaging system for more than 6,000 homeless and at-risk individuals. He now serves as president of the national CVM board, which oversees service to more than 50,000 people in 400 communities.
Larry and his wife, Rebecca (Russell) ’67, live in Dallas, Texas.
FIRST DECADE AWARD
A First Decade Award is presented only as individuals meet the same criteria as Distinguished Alumni within the first decade after graduation.
VANESSA NOËL BROWN
Since graduating from Austin College in 2000, Vanessa Noël Brown’s career has been driven by her passion for human rights and social justice. Today, she is a foreign affairs officer in the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, focusing on the Middle East and North Africa.
She previously worked as a refugee officer at the Department of Homeland Security, and before that, served with several human rights and conflict management NGOs in the U.S. and around the world. Vanessa also spent time in Morocco as a David L. Boren Fellowship recipient, studying Arabic and researching conflict management initiatives.
Vanessa lives in Washington, D.C.
HEYWOOD C. CLEMONS VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD
Austin College awards the Heywood C. Clemons Volunteer Service Award each year to alumni or friends of the College in honor of continued service and commitment. The award is named to honor longtime Austin College Board of Trustees chair Heywood Clemons of Fort Worth, Texas.
In 2011, Michael Paul Bean ’76 of Sherman, Texas, and Stephanie Lee McDonald ’97 of Austin, Texas, were recognized for unselfish giving behind the scenes at numerous events of the Institutional Advancement and Institutional Enrollment offices.
SERVICE TO ALUMNI AWARD
The Alumni Board created the Service to Alumni Award in 2009 to honor a faculty or staff person who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the support and education of Austin College alumni around the world. The third winner of the award happens to be an alumna as well as a staff member, Cindy Curtis Bean ’75.
CINDY CURTIS BEAN
Cindy joined the Austin College Office of Alumni Relations in 1995, most recently serving as director. In her position, she has traveled hundreds of miles for Austin College and met many of the College’s graduates.
Cindy has been involved in many aspects of campus life throughout her career, including service as sponsor for Kappa Gamma Chi sorority, for which she twice has been recognized as Outstanding Greek Sponsor. She received the College’s Homer P. Rainey Award in 2008, given by the Board of Trustees for outstanding achievement and service.
Cindy retired from her position in December 2011, ready to devote more time to her family, particularly her young grandsons, but leaves the College with gratitude for the past and plans for continued involvement in the future.
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