Alumni Recognition | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Alumni Recognition

Alumni Recognition

LBJ School alumni take the mission of public service out of the classroom and into the workplace to truly change the world, and the LBJ School and The University of Texas at Austin strive to recognize their outstanding achievements.

LBJ School and LBJ Alumni Board's:

Distinguished Public Service Award

The Distinguished Public Service Award (DPSA) was established in 1989 by the LBJ School Alumni Board. The award is presented each year to an LBJ School alumnus whose career and public service record best represent the values on which the school was founded.

Selection Criteria 

Nominees must have made significant contributions to public policy; promoted the advancement of the public affairs vocation; been engaged in community service and/or volunteerism; shown commitment to the LBJ School and its mission; and demonstrated leadership, the ability to work well with diverse people, and other attributes (honors/awards, etc.).

Nomination Process

Nomination packages should include:

  • A cover letter stating the justification for the nomination
  • A current version of the nominee's résumé, curriculum vitae or biography
  • Additional letters of support (if available)
  • Other supporting items (e.g., newspaper articles, list of publications or sponsored legislation, etc.)
  • Name, address, telephone number and email address of the individual(s) submitting the nomination

Anyone may submit nominations, and individuals who have attended the LBJ School for more than one year are eligible to be nominated. To reactivate a nomination that was submitted within the past two years, the nominator must submit a new cover letter and, if needed, provide the update information.

Send nominations to the Alumni Board Recognition Committee, c/o Alumni Relations or through U.S. mail to LBJ School of Public Affairs, P.O. Box Y, University Station, Austin, TX, 78713-8925.

Selection Committee

The selection committee includes members of the Alumni Board Recognition Committee, the Alumni Board faculty representative, the Alumni Board GPAC representative, and the previous year's Distinguished Public Service Award winner.

Past Recipients

2018 - Nancy La Vigne (MPAff 1991), Vice President for Justice Policy, Urban Institute
2017 - Mark Zion (MPAff 1980), Executive Director, Texas Public Power Association (retired)

2016 - Laura Huffman (MPAff 1991), State Director, The Nature Conservancy in Texas
2014 -
Mike Naeve (MPAff 1972), Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
2013 - David Berteau (MPAff 1981), Senior Vice President at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
2012 - Robert N. Campbell, III (MPAff 1973), Vice Chairman and U.S. Public Sector Leader, Deloitte LLP
2011 - John O'Brien (MPAff 1981), Director, Texas Legislative Budget Board
2010 - Courtney Brown (MPAff 1983), Former Director, LBJ School Office of Student and Alumni Programs
2009 - Edward E. Emmett (MPAff 1974), Harris County Judge
2008 - Anne Dunkelberg (MPAff 1988), Associate Director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities
2007 - Rafael Fernández de Castro (MPAff 1986), Chair and full-time Professor, Department of International Studies, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México
2006 - Sheila Wilson Beckett (MPAff 1977), Resident Budget Adviser, U.S. Treasury Department
2005 - Jorge C. Garcés (MPAff 1977), Deputy Managing Director, North American Development Bank
2003 - Michael Reyna (MPAff 1982), Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Board of Directors, Farm Credit Administration
2002 - Dana DeBeauvoir (MPAff 1981), Travis County Clerk
2001 - Albert Hawkins (MPAff 1978), Assistant to the U.S. President and Cabinet Secretary
2000 - Bill Owens (MPAff 1975), Colorado Governor
1999 - Craig Pedersen (MPAff 1981), Executive Administrator, Texas Water Development Board
1998 - Tim Delaney (MPAff 1983), Chief Deputy Attorney General, State of Arizona
1997 - Ken Apfel (MPAff 1978), U.S. Social Security Commissioner
1996 - Steve Spinner (MPAff 1984), Job Training Adviser, U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee (posthumous recognition)
1995 - Jesus Garza (MPAff 1977), Austin City Manager
1994 - Susan Rieff (MPAff 1980), Governor’s Policy Council Director and Chief Environmental Policy Adviser, Texas Governor’s Office
1993 - John Hall (MPAff 1978), Chair, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission
1992 - DeAnn Friedholm (MPAff 1979), State (Texas) Medicaid Director; Deputy Commissioner of Medicaid, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
1991 - Rodney Ellis (MPAff 1977), Texas State Senator
1990 - Jan Hart Black (MPAff 1975), Dallas City Manager
1989 - Billy Hamilton (MPAff 1975), Director of State and Local Services, KPMG Peat Marwick


Rising Leader Award

The Rising Leader Award was established in 2017 by the LBJ School Alumni Board. The award aims to recognize the efforts of our more recent alumni, honoring professional achievement for LBJ graduates under the age of 40 or within the first ten years of their LBJ School graduation. 

Selection Criteria

The award recognizes alumni who have stood out as leaders and catalysts for change, and who have made a meaningful difference to individuals, organizations or governments. Recipients exemplify the LBJ mission of “improving the quality of public service in the United States and abroad at all levels of governance and civic engagement.”

Nomination Process

Anyone can nominate an LBJ alumn for this award with a letter of recommendation. Including a resume or CV of the nominee is encouraged but optional. Alumni may nominate themselves. All nominations are confidential.

Submit nominations to the Alumni Board Recognition Committee, c/o Alumni Relations or through U.S. mail to LBJ School of Public Affairs, P.O. Box Y, Austin, TX 78713.

Selection Committee

The selection committee includes members of the Alumni Board Recognition Committee, the Alumni Board faculty representative, the Alumni Board GPAC representative, and the previous year's Rising Leader Award winner.

Past Recipients

2018 - Rachel Hoff (MGPS 2014), Communications Director and Policy Advisor, Senate Armed Services Committee
2017 - Matthew Randazzo (MPAff 2003), Chief Executive Officer, The National Math + Science Initiative

2017 - Vanessa Stotts (MPAff 2013), Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State

LBJ Austin Area Alumni Chapter's:

Spirit of LBJ Award

President Johnson created a public policy school to “produce thinkers and doers: people who dream of progress and will try to turn those dreams into achievements.” In support of this vision, the LBJ Austin Area Alumni Chapter annually awards the Spirit of LBJ Award. 

The award recognizes commitment to the greater LBJ School community that goes above, and beyond and captures Lyndon B. Johnson’s spirit of vision, leadership, and action. Winners receive a $500 scholarship.

The LBJ Austin Area Alumni Chapter is accepting nominations for any current student from now through March 8, 2019. The Chapter will select two recipients: one from the Class of 2019, to be awarded in April, and a second, graduating December 2019 or later, to be awarded in the fall.

Submit a few paragraphs (at most a page) communicating why you believe the nominee is deserving of the award, along with any supporting documents to Self-nominations are accepted.

What Characteristics Should the Award Recipient Possess?

  • Past, present, and future commitment to serving the larger community, LBJ School, and student body
  • Demonstrated leadershipπ
  • Strong sense of ethics and integrity

Nominations should provide an overall picture of the nominee's contributions to and achievements in public service with consideration given to the following:

  • Community service activities
  • Overall distinguished quality of work
  • Examples of significant results achieved
  • Innovative ideas recognized and/or implemented

Who is Eligible?

  • Any LBJ School student who is in good standing with The University of Texas at Austin
  • Holders of any major LBJ scholarship or fellowship are ineligible for the award

For additional information, please contact the Austin Area Alumni Chapter at

Past Recipients

2017 – Juan Cardoza-Oquendo (MPAff 2018)
2016 Marimar Miguel (MPAff 2017) and Cassie Gianni (MGPS 2017)
2015 Martha Berry (MPAff 2015)
2014 –
Rochelle Olivares (MPAff 2015)
2013 – Kelly Steffen (MGPS 2014)
2012 – Garry Davis (MPAff 2013)
2011 – Wes Ven Johnson (MGPS 2012)
2011 – Sophie Checa (MPAff 2012)
2010 – Leah Bojo (MPAff 2012)
2009 – Sarah Hutt Chenn (MPAff 2010)
2008 – Agnes Sekowski (MPAff 2011)