UT fountain.

The Tower will shine with burnt-orange lights Friday, November 10 in honor of this year’s Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients.

Created in 1958, Distinguished Alumnus Awards are granted annually to alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the University of Texas. The awards are given on a Friday evening before a home football game, and the Texas Exes recognizes as many as six recipients each year.

The 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients are:


John L. Adams, BBA ’66, JD ’69, Life Member, has chaired and is actively involved in numerous Dallas-based civic and charitable organizations. He is the former vice chairman of Trinity Industries, a Dallas-based industrial manufacturing company. Prior to joining Trinity, he was chairman and CEO of Chase Bank of Texas, which is now the Texas business of JP Morgan Chase. Besides serving on the Trinity Industries Board, he is also chairman of Group 1 Automotive Board of Directors, an international Fortune 500 automotive retailer, and recently retired as a director of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. In 2013, Adams was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame and is chairman of the McCombs Scholars Program and serves on their Advisory Council. He is chairman of The University of Texas at Austin Development Board, and is a member of the Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee.


Vice Admiral (Dr.) Raquel Cruz Bono, BA ‘79, Life Member, serves as director of the Defense Health Agency, where she oversees an integrated Combat Support Agency that enables the Army, Navy, and Air Force medical services to provide a medically ready force in both peacetime and wartime. In addition to being a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery, Bono is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Her personal decorations include a Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legion of Merit Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.


David O. Brown, ’83, retired this past October as chief of the Dallas Police Department. Brown was widely praised not only for the leadership he showed in the wake of the assassination of five Dallas police officers in 2016, but for his reforms designed to reduce violent confrontations between police officers and the community and increase the department’s accountability and transparency. In total, Brown served the department for 33 years, working in patrol divisions, SWAT, and internal affairs before being appointed police chief in April 2010. Currently, he serves as an on-air contributor for ABC News and Managing Director for Kroll. He is also a senior advisor for the Rainwater Foundation, and serves as a board member for Early Matters Dallas.


Michael L. “Mickey” Klein, BS ’58, JD ’63, Life Member, is an independent oil and gas producer in Midland, Texas. He worked as a petroleum engineer and attorney for Continental Oil Company prior to embarking on his career as an independent operator in 1969. Klein and his wife Jeanne are among the nation’s foremost supporters and collectors of contemporary art. He serves as chair of the Blanton Museum of Art National Leadership Board and chair of the UT Press Advisory Board. He is a member of the Longhorn Foundation and The University of Texas at Austin Development Board. Klein also serves on the board of trustees of The Contemporary Austin, where he was formerly board chairman, and is treasurer of Humanities Texas, where he was also formerly board chairman.


David A. Ott, BA ’68, Life Member, is surgeon-in-chief of Texas Heart Institute at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Dr. Ott enjoys an international reputation as one of the world’s most experienced heart surgeons known for his technical expertise in the field of cardiovascular surgery. He has lectured in 15 countries, authored more than 160 scientific articles, and has been clinical professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School, Houston. He is the 2017 recipient of the Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement. Ott is a board member of the John O’Quinn Foundation and also serves on the Integration Board of Catholic Health Initiatives-Baylor College of Medicine-St. Luke’s Hospital.


Sonia Pérez, BJ ’78, Life Member, is the president of AT&T Louisiana where she is responsible for developing the overall strategic direction of the company’s corporate activities in the state. She is the first woman to serve in the position of state president in Louisiana. Pérez has had the distinction of being appointed by Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards as chair of his Economic Development Transition Team. She also chairs the Committee of 100, Louisiana’s CEO business roundtable. Pérez serves on the UT System Foundation Board and, in 2006, she was the first Latina elected president of the Texas Exes.

Read more about the Distinguished Alumnus Awards and see past winners.