Top of UT Tower in front of a blue sky.

The UT Tower will shine with burnt orange lights Friday, April 26 in honor of the 2019 Presidential Citation Award recipients.

This year, two attorneys with extensive experience in public service, an engineer turned accomplished businessman, and a legislative consultant have been recognized President Gregory L. Fenves for their notable support of the university.

Randall H. Erben, Daniel T. Hodge, Jack P. Randall and Cal E. Varner each received the university’s Presidential Citations. President Fenves presented the citations along with other major university awards during a ceremony Friday, April 26.

“The University of Texas does not confer honorary degrees. Instead, we present the Presidential Citation to members of our community who have made exceptional contributions,” President Fenves said. “This year, I am honored to award citations to four remarkable individuals. Each has provided truly exceptional service to UT and worked selflessly to ensure that The University of Texas is a university of the first class — now and forever.”

The Presidential Citation recognizes the extraordinary contributions of individuals who have helped the university achieve its mission while exemplifying UT’s values and its commitment to transforming lives.

About the 2019 Presidential Citation recipients:

  • Randall H. Erben is an adjunct professor of law at UT and works at the law firm of Erben & Yarbrough. Erben’s legal career began with the San Antonio law firm of Foster, Lewis, Langley, Gardner & Banack, where he attained partner status in 1986. He then entered public service, serving as Texas’ assistant secretary of state, director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations, and acting assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George H.W. Bush Erben co-founded Erben & Yarbrough in 1993. In 2015, Erben served as legislative director for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He was appointed to the Texas Ethics Commission by House Speaker Joe Straus in 2017 for a term expiring in 2021. He also serves on the boards of directors of the Texas Exes and The University of Texas Development Board.
  • Daniel T. Hodge is a former first assistant attorney general and chief of staff to the governor of Texas. He began his professional career on Gov. Greg Abbott’s first campaign for Texas attorney general in 2001. In 2010, he was appointed first assistant attorney general. After Abbott was elected governor in 2014, Hodge was charged with overseeing the gubernatorial transition and was named chief of staff to the governor. In 2017, he was named an Outstanding Young Alumnus and an Outstanding Young Texas Ex. He is the founder of a strategic and public affairs consulting firm, DTH Strategies LLC, and is an advisory director at the Bank of Austin.
  • Jack P. Randall graduated from UT Austin with a B.S. and an M.S. in engineering and began his career with Standard Oil of Indiana (Amoco), where he became manager of mergers and acquisitions for the exploration and production sector. In 1989, he left Amoco to start his own M&A firm, Randall & Dewey, serving as president and CEO for 15 years. In 2001 he co-founded Caymus Energy, a public equity investment fund. He has initiated and completed hundreds of merger and acquisition transactions including one of the largest in U.S. history. In 2011 Oil & Gas Investor magazine awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his pioneering contributions to the energy M&A industry. He has served on numerous public, private and philanthropic boards including 20 years at MD Anderson Cancer Center. At UT Austin he has chaired advisory boards for the College of Engineering, Petroleum Engineering and the Energy Institute, and he received the UT Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award.
  • Cal E. Varner established Varner & Associates Inc. in 1981. In doing so, he became the first full-time, independent African American lobbyist in the history of Texas. He has represented the interests of more than 160 private businesses and other entities including the City of Austin, the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Board, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and Tesla Motors. Active in civic matters, Varner formerly served as planning commissioner for the City of Austin. He served as a director for JPMorgan Chase, Austin, for 16 years and is a member of the Huston-Tillotson University Board of Trustees.

The Presidential Citation program was established to recognize the extraordinary contributions of individuals who personify the university’s commitment to the task of transforming lives. The university does not award honorary degrees, and these citations are designed to salute persons whose service exemplifies the values shared by the university community. The Presidential Citation honors those who have brought great distinction to the university and helped the institution to achieve its mission. The first Presidential Citations were bestowed at Honors Day in 1979.

A list of previous Presidential Citation recipients is available on the president’s website.

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