Former Democratic nominee for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams and Plugerville city councilmember and community advocate Rudy Metayer will be honored as outstanding alumni of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin on Sept. 20.
Abrams, who earned her Master of Public Affairs in 1998, is the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Public Service Award, which honors an alumnus whose career and public service record best represents the values on which the school was founded: action-oriented leadership, dedication to public service and courage.
Metayer, who earned his Executive Master in Public Leadership in 2016, is the recipient of the 2019 Rising Leader Award, which recognizes the efforts of a recent alumnus who improves the quality of public service in the United States and abroad at all levels of government and civic engagement.
We are delighted to announce the winners of our 2019 outstanding alumni awards: @staceyabrams, Distinguished Public Service Award winner, and @rmetayer, Rising Leader Award winner. https://t.co/jIc6TYFlQ1— The LBJ School (@TheLBJSchool) August 19, 2019
Abrams was the first black woman in U.S. history to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party and won more votes than any other Democrat in Georgia's history. She served 11 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, including seven as minority leader, and in January 2019 became the first black woman to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union address. Following her gubernatorial campaign, Abrams focused her efforts on preventing voter suppression by founding Fair Fight. She has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels, including Fair Count, a nonprofit whose aim is to ensure that the 2020 Census is fair and accurate.
"I am honored to receive the LBJ School's Distinguished Public Service Award," Abrams said. "The education I received at LBJ honed my abilities to use public policy to address our nation's most pressing issues such as ending poverty, improving access to health care and expanding voting rights. I am grateful to the LBJ School alumni who nominated me for this award, and I look forward to celebrating this great honor."
"The education I received at LBJ honed my abilities to use public policy to address our nation's most pressing issues such as ending poverty, improving access to health care and expanding voting rights. I am grateful to the LBJ School alumni who nominated me for this award, and I look forward to celebrating this great honor."
— Stacey Abrams (MPAff '98)
"Stacey Abrams has shown remarkable leadership on behalf of her constituents as well as citizens all over this country," said Angela Evans, dean of the LBJ School. "Her tireless and fearless work to secure and protect voting rights has energized our nation and our politics."
The son of Haitian immigrants, Metayer is of the first generation in his family to complete higher education, earning a B.A. at The University of Texas College of Liberal Arts, an Executive Master in Public Leadership at the LBJ School, and a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law. As a community advocate, he has spoken and worked on issues ranging from teaching at-risk children, co-authoring an honor code for The University of Texas, helping forge a community policing partnership with local law enforcement and the State Bar of Texas, and creating pro bono legal advice clinics for U.S. military veterans. Metayer was recently named Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year by the Austin Bar Association and a Fellow to the Texas Bar Foundation.
"I'm humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award from my alma mater," Metayer said. "The skillset, knowledge and support provided by the LBJ School professors and staff have blessed me with the tools to serve the citizens of Pflugerville and the State Bar of Texas. At time in our country's history when government is viewed by many with skepticism and faith diminished, the LBJ School is a beacon and reminder of the power of people working together for a common cause to benefit not certain parts of society, but all people. The University of Texas is a special place, and LBJ School is one of its crowning jewels. What starts here really does change the world. Thank you again for this award. I hope to keep making you proud."
"At time in our country's history when government is viewed by many with skepticism and faith diminished, the LBJ School is a beacon and reminder of the power of people working together for a common cause to benefit not certain parts of society, but all people."
— Rudy Metayer (EMPL '16)
"Rudy Metayer has demonstrated relentless passion and dedication to advancing the public good," said Evans. "I am proud of the legacy he has already built, and this is only the beginning for him."
Abrams and Metayer will receive the awards during an invitation-only event at the LBJ School in conjunction with LBJ Alumni Weekend. Former classmates nominated both Abrams and Metayer for the awards.
About the LBJ School
The LBJ School, one of the nation's top public affairs schools, has a unique legacy of tackling the most complex policy problems of our day by creating innovative approaches that make a difference, not only within the walls of academia but also in the public and social dialogue of the world. Advancing scholarship and contributing viable solutions to society is the LBJ School's legacy and its path forward. More than 4,300 graduates are the living legacy of President Johnson’s bold and fearless action. For more, visit lbj.utexas.edu.