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.

Call for Nominations: 2021 LBJ School Outstanding Alumni Awards
Nomination Deadline: 5 p.m. CT on July 30, 2021

The LBJ School Alumni Board is now accepting nominations for two alumni recognition awards — the Distinguished Public Service Award and the Rising Leader Award.

LBJ School and LBJ Alumni Board:

Distinguished Public Service Award

Established in 1989, the Distinguished Public Service Award is presented each year to an LBJ alum whose career and public service record best represents the values on which the LBJ School was founded.

Selection Criteria
All graduates of the LBJ School are eligible to be nominated. Nominees must have made significant contributions to public policy, such as the following: 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 groups, and other attributes (honors/awards, etc.).

Nomination Process
Nomination packets should include:

  • A cover letter stating the justification for the nomination
  • A current version of the nominee's resume, 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/self-nominations. To reactivate a nomination that was submitted within the past two years, the nominator must submit a new cover letter and, if needed, provide updated information. All nominations are confidential.

Submit nominations by 5 p.m. CT on July 30, 2021, to the Alumni Board Recognition Committee, c/o the Associate Director of Development and Alumni Relations (

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
2021: Shamina Singh (MPAff '97), Founder and President of Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard
Alejandra Castillo (MPAff '98), Former CEO of YWCA
Stacey Abrams (MPAff '98), Former Democratic nominee for Georgia governor
2018: Nancy La Vigne (MPAff '91), vice president for justice policy, Urban Institute
2017: Mark Zion (MPAff '80), executive director, Texas Public Power Association (retired)
2016: Laura Huffman (MPAff '91), state director, The Nature Conservancy in Texas
2014: Mike Naeve (MPAff '72), partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
2013: David Berteau (MPAff '81), senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
2012: Robert N. Campbell, III (MPAff '73), vice chairman and U.S. public sector leader, Deloitte LLP
2011: John O'Brien (MPAff '81), director, Texas Legislative Budget Board
2010: Courtney Brown (MPAff '83), former director, LBJ School Office of Student and Alumni Programs
2009: Edward E. Emmett (MPAff '74), Harris County judge
2008: Anne Dunkelberg (MPAff '88), associate director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities
2007: Rafael Fernández de Castro (MPAff '86), chair and full-time professor, Department of International Studies, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México
2006: Sheila Wilson Beckett (MPAff '77), resident budget adviser, U.S. Treasury Department
2005: Jorge C. Garcés (MPAff '77), deputy managing director, North American Development Bank
2003: Michael Reyna (MPAff '82), chair and chief executive officer, Board of Directors, Farm Credit Administration
2002: Dana DeBeauvoir (MPAff '81), Travis County Clerk
2001: Albert Hawkins (MPAff '78), assistant to the U.S. president and Cabinet secretary
2000: Bill Owens (MPAff '75), Colorado governor
1999: Craig Pedersen (MPAff '81), executive administrator, Texas Water Development Board
1998: Tim Delaney (MPAff '83), chief deputy attorney general, State of Arizona
1997: Ken Apfel (MPAff '78), U.S. Social Security commissioner
1996: Steve Spinner (MPAff '84), job training adviser, U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee (posthumous recognition)
1995: Jesus Garza (MPAff '77), Austin city manager
1994: Susan Rieff (MPAff '80), Governor's Policy Council director and chief environmental policy adviser, Texas Governor's Office
1993: John Hall (MPAff '78), chair, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission
1992: DeAnn Friedholm (MPAff '79), state (Texas) Medicaid director; deputy commissioner of Medicaid, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
1991: Rodney Ellis (MPAff '77), Texas state senator
1990: Jan Hart Black (MPAff '75), Dallas city manager
1989: Billy Hamilton (MPAff '75), director of state and local services, KPMG Peat Marwick

Rising Leader Award

The Rising Leader Award recognizes the efforts of our more recent alumni who 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."

Selection Criteria
All graduates of the LBJ School under the age of 40, or within the first 10 years of their graduation from the LBJ School, are eligible to be nominated. The award honors alumni who have stood out as leaders, catalysts for change and for making a meaningful difference to individuals, organizations or governments.

Nomination Process
Anyone may submit nominations/self-nominations with a letter of recommendation. Including a resume or CV of the nominee is encouraged. All nominations are confidential.

Submit nominations by 5 p.m. CT on July 30, 2021, to the Alumni Board Recognition Committee, c/o the Associate Director of Development and Alumni Relations (

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
2021: Erol Yayboke (MPAff '06), director of the Project on Fragility and Mobility at CSIS
Lauren Rose (MPAff '10), Public Policy Director, Texas Network of Youth Services
2019: Rudy Metayer (EMPL '16), Pflugerville City Councilmember
2018: Rachel Hoff (MGPS '14), communications director and policy adviser, Senate Armed Services Committee
2017: Matthew Randazzo (MPAff '03), chief executive officer, The National Math + Science Initiative
2017: Vanessa Stotts (MPAff '13), foreign service officer, U.S. Department of State

LBJ Austin Area Alumni Chapter:

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. The chapter will select two recipients: one from the Class of 2020, to be awarded in April, and a second, graduating December 2020 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 leadership
  • 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
Joel Carter (MGPS '20)
Holly Buttrey (MGPS '19)
2017: Juan Cardoza-Oquendo (MPAff '18)
2016: Marimar Miguel (MPAff 2017) and Cassie Gianni (MGPS '17)
2015: Martha Berry (MPAff '15)
2014: Rochelle Olivares (MPAff '15)
2013: Kelly Steffen (MGPS '14)
2012: Garry Davis (MPAff '13)
2011: Wes Ven Johnson (MGPS '12)
2011: Sophie Checa (MPAff '12)
2010: Leah Bojo (MPAff '12)
2009: Sarah Hutt Chenn (MPAff '10)
2008: Agnes Sekowski (MPAff '11)