Gala Celebrates Alumni Accomplishments and University’s Advocates

Eight alumni and two of UT Dallas’ most ardent supporters were honored in front of a crowd of nearly 300 at the University’s annual Awards Gala held earlier this month.

Sara T. Martineau and Angel Ruiz received the new Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award — named for the former president of the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies, the institution that Johnson helped mold into UT Dallas in 1969. Johnson died on July 26, 2009, at age 91.

Alumni received the traditional Distinguished Alumni Award and the Green & Orange Award for Alumni Service.

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Christian Belady (MA ’90) called getting his business degree at UT Dallas — paired with his engineering experience — the “inflection point” in his career, especially as it relates to his current position as a partner in the company and Microsoft’s director of hardware architecture. “Ironically, my career didn’t really start until I finished my degree in business from UT Dallas. Mixing disciplines is one of the most valuable things you do in your career.”

For Elizabeth Ann Graves (BA ’83), juggling motherhood and classes made the University a place for academic and life lessons. “Over the last 27 years, I’ve been grateful that UT Dallas had a whole set of night classes. That certainly gave me the incentive to get my bachelor’s.

“I worked days and took night classes. My two children learned the importance of a great education that way.”

Joined by his college roommate, Naveen Jindal (MBA ’92) said attending UT Dallas as a young man helped him get in touch with his Indian roots. Moved by the common sight of both the American and Texas flags during his time in Dallas, Jindal, now a member of India’s Parliament, successfully campaigned for the right of all India’s citizens to fly their nation’s flag.

“I was 21 years of age and I had never held an Indian flag in India,” he said. When a UT Dallas classmate gave him the Indian flag, it inspired Jindal to advocate changes in his native country. “It was the best gift I ever got.”

Martineau, a civic leader, has watched the University evolve over the nearly 20 years she’s been a volunteer and supporter of the Callier Center for Communication Disorders. “It’s thrilling and gratifying to witness the spiraling achievement of this University and its leaders who are determined to bring UT Dallas to the forefront of undergraduate and graduate education.”

Alumni Gala Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award

  • Christian Belady (MA ’90) — Director of Hardware Architecture – Partner, Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.
  • Dr. Gary A. Frazier (PhD ’84) — Senior Engineering Fellow, Raytheon Advanced Products Center, Dallas.
  • Dr. Morton Ann Gernsbacher (MS ’80) — Vilas Research Professor and Sir Frederick C. Bartlett Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  • Elizabeth Ann Graves (BA ’83) — Civic Leader, Tulsa, Okla.
  • Naveen Jindal (MBA ’92) — Member of India Parliament, Executive and Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, New Delhi, India.
  • Rob Simpson (MS ’91) — Vice President, Worldwide Procurement and Logistics, Texas Instruments, Dallas.
  • Dr. Paul Waddell (PhD ’89) — Professor of City and Regional Planning, University of California–Berkeley.

Green & Orange Award for Alumni Service

  • Vincent E. Morgan (BA ’95) — Counsel, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Houston.

Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award

  • Sara T. Martineau, Civic Leader, Dallas.
  • Angel Ruiz, President and CEO, Ericsson Inc., Plano, Texas.

Angel Ruiz credited the University with providing Ericsson with some of its most talented employees.


Sara T. Martineau was presented her award by President David E. Daniel (right) and Dr. Thomas Campbell, executive director of the Callier Center for Communication Disorders.


Naveen Jindal said his time at UT Dallas inspired him to make changes once he returned to his native country, India.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].