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Orange Tower Honors Distinguished Alumni

The UT Tower will shine with burnt orange lights Friday, November 8 in honor of this year’s distinguished alumni.

Presented by the Texas Exes, the Distinguished Alumnus Awards are granted to alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the university. Created in 1958, the awards are given annually on a Friday evening before a home football game. 

The Texas Exes recognizes as many as six recipients each year. This year’s recipients include a colonel, a research scientist, a Nobel Laureate and others. They are: 

Sanford L. “Sandy” Gottesman, BBA ’73, Life Member
Sandy Gottesman formed The Gottesman Company in 1993, after 20 years with the Trammel Crow Company, where he served as Austin-area partner. In 2007, The Gottesman Company merged to form Live Oak-Gottesman. During his career, Gottesman and his partners developed several million square feet of office, retail, and industrial properties. He was inducted into the McCombs Business School Hall of Fame in 2016 and received The University of Texas Presidential Citation Award in 2017. Since leaving Live Oak-Gottesman in 2015, he primarily focuses on Gottesman Company investments and his nonprofit work, which includes serving on the Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee and UT Development Board. He was a founding member of the Center for Real Estate and Finance at UT Austin and is a former member of both the Texas Exes Board and the Development Council for UT Elementary School.

Christy Haubegger, BA ’89, Life Member
A pioneer for Latinas, Christy Haubegger’s career has been dedicated to improving the images and opportunities for people of color in the media and entertainment worlds. After graduating from UT Austin, Haubegger earned her JD from Stanford Law School and went on to found Latina magazine in 1996. In 2003, she served as executive producer of the film Spanglish. Haubegger currently serves as executive vice president and chief enterprise inclusion officer for WarnerMedia. Prior to her current role, she led the Multicultural Business Development at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), working with clients such as Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, and Salma Hayek, among others. She is a founding member of TIME’S UP, an initiative that addresses systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace, and serves on the boards of RetailWinds, Hudson Pacific Properties, and the nonprofit Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT).

Colonel (Ret.) Leon L. Holland, BS ’61, Life Member
Colonel Leon L. Holland is a career Army Medical Service Corps officer and administrator. He is a founding member of The Precursors, a group representing African-American students who were enrolled over 40 years ago, and who helped integrate the Forty Acres. He was the first African American commissioned from the UT ROTC Program, as well as the first African American to be selected to head two premier Army medical logistics organizations. He served as chief of staff for the Army Medical Research and Development Command, received two Legion of Merit Awards, and was inducted into the Distinguished Order of Military Medical Merit. Holland is a recipient of the Heman Sweatt Legacy Award, the Dr. James L. Hill Leadership Circle Award, and The University of Texas Presidential Citation.

Eduardo Roberto Rodriguez, JD ’68, Life Member
Eduardo Roberto Rodriguez is an attorney and current partner at Atlas, Hall & Rodriguez. He has tried cases in South Texas for local, regional, and Fortune 100 companies and served as president of the State Bar of Texas, and on the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association. His numerous awards include the 2007 Good Apple Award for his work in the areas of social and economic justice. In 2017, Rodriguez was invited to the U.S. Supreme Court to receive the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award. A steadfast supporter of the UT Law School, for the past 21 years Rodriguez has hosted the Rodriguez Family Annual BBQ, the Law School’s largest alumni event.

Maria Alma Solis, BS ’78, MA ’82, Life Member 
Maria Alma Solis is a research scientist and former research leader with the Systematic Entomology Laboratory. She is also curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Solis is internationally recognized as an authority on economically important snout moths and has published more than 100 research papers and book chapters on their classification and biology. She is on multiple scientific advisory and editorial boards, and has been president of several scientific societies, including the Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity section of the Entomological Society of America. She is a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America.

Michael W. Young, BA ’71, PhD, ’75, Life Member
Michael W. Young is the Fisher Professor and head of the Laboratory of Genetics at Rockefeller University, where he also serves as the university’s vice president for Academic Affairs. Young uncovered the molecular bases of circadian rhythms, the previously unknown internal processes responsible for cycling patterns of biology such as sleep, learning and memory, metabolism, hormone action, cardiovascular function, and immunity. Young is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, American Philosophical Society, American Academy of Microbiology, and Physiological Society of London. He received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries of molecular mechanisms that control circadian rhythms.


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