Former Illinois Wesleyan University President Dr. Minor Myers, Jr., once said during a commencement speech, “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
That is what I desire for our students. Over the years, I have seen many of our alumni go out into the world and accomplish great things. I take pride in knowing that this institution was part of their success.
A few hundred of our alumni will be gathered on campus this weekend for our annual Alumni & Friends Awards Gala. It’s a sold out event. I am looking forward to seeing so many of those who call this university their alma mater.
Our alumni may have attended this university in the past, but they are also a critical part of our future. They are the legacy of this institution, the ones who will preserve the spirit of UT Tyler for years to come. We have a special environment here, and it just shows in the number of former students who are dedicated to becoming successful and to supporting this university.
To those who are among our alumni, your success can be a stepping stone and an inspiration for those who follow you out of this institution. I encourage you to remain involved, because by staying in touch you can make valuable connections as well as make a difference to those just starting their professional careers.
At the gala on Saturday, we will honor three alumni who embody this university’s spirit of excellence.
Our Distinguished Alumni Awards are presented to those who have distinguished themselves in their professional achievements, contributions to society and support of the university.
Distinguished Alumna Dawn Franks earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from UT Tyler in 1979 and 1989, respectively. She currently serves as the executive director of the Ben and Maytee Fisch Foundation. Dawn is a genuine advocate for this university and for philanthropy in this community. In addition to working with a variety of organizations to help them secure funding, she also provides countless hours of support and coaching to area non-profits.
Distinguished Alumnus David L. King earned a master of business administration from UT Tyler in 1983. He serves as president of CB&I Engineered Products – a global technology, engineering and construction organization, which as part of the global CB&I organization has more than 50,000 employees worldwide. He has 40 years of experience in the arena of technology, engineering, procurement, design, fabrication and construction of energy-related projects.
This year’s Distinguished Young Alumnus is Michael Wysocki. After earning a bachelor of science in political science from UT Tyler in 2003, he later became a family law litigator/partner with the McCurley, Orsinger, McCurley, Nelson and Downing LLP Family Law Practice in Dallas. He has been listed several times as a Texas Rising Star, an annual listing for the top young attorneys in Texas. He is also the youngest associate in his firm’s history to be named partner.
As you can see, we have some truly successful individuals among our alumni. Each of those being honored, and each of our thousands of alumni, is part of a growing force that has weight both here in Tyler and in the areas beyond. Without their support of this institution, much of what we do would not be possible.