2009 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed on an alumnus by the University, and is awarded to individuals who are distinguished in their chosen profession or life's work and who demonstrate pride in the University.
Aziz Sancar (Ph. D. ’77)
Dr. Aziz Sancar is presently the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina, School of Medicine. In 1969 Dr. Sancar received his medical degree from the Istanbul University School of Medicine. After practicing medicine in his homeland of Turkey, Dr. Sancar came to the University of Texas at Dallas where in 1977 he received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology for his research on a DNA repair enzyme called “photolyase” under the direction of Professor Claud S. Rupert. Throughout his extensive years in DNA research, Dr. Sancar has published 295 research articles and 35 book chapters. His current research is focused on DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoints, cryptochrome and the circadian clock. He is married to Gwendolyn Boles Sancar of Waco, Texas. Gwendolyn is also a graduate of UT Dallas and is currently a professor at the University of North Carolina.
The Honorable Jerry Madden (M.S. ’78)
First elected to the Texas Legislature in 1992, State Representative Jerry Madden represents House District 67, which is comprised of Collin County, Plano, Richardson, and Dallas County. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Corrections and is a member of the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence. Representative Madden is a graduate of West Point Military Academy and spent six years in the U.S. Army before coming to UT Dallas. In 1978, Representative Madden earned his Master’s Degree from the UT Dallas School of Management. Throughout his time in the Texas Legislature, Representative Madden’s legislative initiatives have included judicial campaign finance reform, virtual education, military voting, and the need for rehabilitation programming in the Texas criminal justice system. As he moves towards formal retirement this year, Representative Madden plans on a continuation of his work in advancing sound policy for the Texas Legislature.
Cynthia Sherry (B.S. ’78)
Dr. Cynthia Sherry is the current Chairman and Medical Director of the Department of Radiology at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. She is also a medical director and managing partner for Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center. Dr. Sherry serves as the current President of the American College of Physician Executives, an organization dedicated to physician education and advancement in medical management and leadership roles. She has been awarded Fellowship in the American College of Physician Executives and the American College of Radiology (ACR). In 1978, Dr. Sherry received a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from UT Dallas and went on to earn her medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Dr. Sherry also holds a Masters Degree in Medical Management at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2003, she was the team physician for the U.S. Figure Skating Championship held in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Sherry is married to UT Dallas chemistry professor A. Dean Sherry, Ph.D., the Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Systems Biology, Professor of Chemistry.
Christopher Progler (Ph.D. ’97)
Dr. Christopher Progler is currently the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Photronics, Inc. in Allen Texas. His extensive experience in research and development regarding the use of integrated circuit (IC) fabrication has made him a leading contributor to the field of photolithography. Dr. Progler began his university education at the University of Rochester, Institute of Optics where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In 1997, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the UT Dallas, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering. During his time at UT Dallas, Dr. Progler was also a member of the Texas Instruments Process and Design Center’s technical staff, which conducted independent R&D in next generation lithography and patterning technologies. After leaving TI, Dr. Progler went to work for IBM Corp., in their Semiconductor R&D Center as a department manager and led the group in researching nanoscale lithography in regards to IC production initiatives. Dr. Progler is also active in organizing industry wide technology conferences and is an internationally recognized public speaker.
David Holmberg (E.M.B.A. ’00)
Mr. David Holmberg is currently the president and chief executive officer of HVHC Inc. a Pennsylvania-based vision care company. Mr. Holmberg is also the chairman and chief executive officer of San Antonio, Texas-based Eye Care Centers of America (ECCA), a position he has held since January 2008. His prior experience in the retail market include Executive Vice President of Operations for Jo-Ann Stores, Inc., President of Cole Licensed Brands, and the positions of President and Executive Vice President of Store Operations for Zale’s Canada. Mr. Holmberg earned an Executive M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2000 and is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.
2009 Green and Orange Award Recipients
The Green and Orange award honors UT Dallas alumni who have provided exceptional volunteer support to the University.
Robert E. Hewlett Jr. (B.S. ’82)
Mr. Robert E. Hewlett Jr. is now retired and currently resides in Dallas, Texas. He enjoys travelling with his wife of over 50 years, Gloria, and his other interests and volunteer work include the American Association of University Women and Dallas Retired Teachers. Mr. Hewlett has over 30 years of experience in the natural gas, natural gas liquids, and refined petroleum industry. Mr. Hewlett started out working as a roughneck on an oil rig and also spent time in his youth as a iron worker. During the Korean War, Mr. Hewlett was in the U.S. Air Force from 1953 to 1958, working as a Special Agent for the Office of Special Investigations. Before retiring from the petroleum industry, Mr. Hewlett was a senior consultant with Juno-Grimm & Associates and an engineering consultant with Bob Short & Associates. Mr. Hewlett received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Public Administration in 1982 from UT Dallas. In 2001, the School of Management recognized him as a Distinguished Alumnus for his service as a mentor for the Cohort MBA program.
James R. Hellums (Ph.D. ’00)
Dr. James R. Hellums currently serves as an adjunct professor at UT Dallas, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering. He is recently retired from Texas Instruments where he was a TI Fellow in Standard Linear Design. Dr. Hellums is responsible for much of the great success of the UT Dallas’ analog circuit program. Dr. Hellums brings to the program over 31 years of industry experience as an analog integrated circuit (IC) design engineer. Throughout his career Dr. Hellums has designed 77 integrated circuits, 56 of which have produced over 2.5 billion dollars of revenue. Dr. Hellums earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from UT Dallas in December, 2000 for his dissertation on Time Domain Quantum Transport in Open Dissipative Systems.