Legendary TV Anchor, McDermott Scholars Among Alumni Honored at University’s 10th Awards Gala

The University recently celebrated its exceptional alumni and community leaders at the 10th annual Awards Gala. Honorees included a legendary TV news anchor, the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program Alumni and an alumnus who had traveled all the way from Taiwan.  

Former CBS 11 news anchor Tracy Rowlett MA’80 and six others were honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. George Fair, Tracy Rowlett and Dr. David E. Daniel

Tracy Rowlett accepts the Distinguished Alumni Award from George Fair, Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies (left), and President David E. Daniel.

After more than three decades on the air in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the retired award-winning journalist said he still makes time to visit his alma mater. Acknowledging UT Dallas’ former commuter-school image, Rowlett said: “My goodness, what a University to be proud of today. Sometimes I just drive through campus, looking at all of the new trees, buildings and students. I simply love it.”

Brent E. Christopher, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), was honored with the Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award. Christopher has fostered a successful partnership between one of the nation’s largest community foundations and the University. Christopher and CFT helped the University leverage millions in matching funds through the Texas Research Incentive Program, under which smaller gifts could be combined to reach the matching criteria. Because these gifts are required to pass through an organization not affiliated with a university, UT Dallas worked with CFT.

UT Dallas Alumni Awards Gala 2012

More than 300 guests packed the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel ballroom for the 10th Awards Gala.

“The spirit of vigor and entrepreneurialism is at the heart of this institution and the heart of Gifford Johnson,” Christopher said. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of all of us at CFT.”  The Johnson award is named for the first president of the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies, the institution he helped transform into UT Dallas in 1969.

When Yancey Hai MA’78 came to UT Dallas, he was a self-proclaimed “poor student” from Taiwan. Now the vice-chairman and CEO of Taiwan-based Delta Electronics, Hai remembers that as a student he paid “$13 a credit, and that’s all I could afford.” He still maintains ties to UT Dallas, hosting visitors from the Naveen Jindal School of Management at Delta’s headquarters and organizing an event for faculty visiting Taipei.

The Eugene McDermott Scholars Program Alumni were honored with the Green and Orange Award for Alumni Service. The group recently created an independent nonprofit organization that supports the work of the McDermott Scholars Program and fosters connections between the program’s alumni and the University. Established by Mrs. Eugene McDermott, who attended the gala, the McDermott Scholars Program brings some of the nation’s brightest students  to UT Dallas.

“We owe a great debt to this University, to its founders, professors, leaders and to Mrs. Margaret McDermott,” said Andres Correa BA’05. “I don’t think of what we’ve done as alumni service, it’s more of a call of duty that we have to fulfill.”


Alumni Gala Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award

Green & Orange Award for Alumni Service

  • Alumni of the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program – UT Dallas

Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award


Alumni from the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program celebrate with Mrs. Margaret McDermott and Executive Vice President and Provost Hobson Wildenthal. The scholars received the Green and Orange Award for Alumni Service.


Gala Honorees

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Susan G. Fleming PhD’87 - Director Emeritus, Shelton Evaluation Center, The Shelton School, Dallas, TexasChandrasekhara R. Guntakala MS’98 - President and Chief Executive Officer, Anuta Networks, Milpitas, Calif.Yancey Hai  MA’78 - Vice Chairman and CEO, Delta Electronics, Inc., Taipei, TaiwanRobert E. Holmes, Jr.  BA’78 - President and Founder, Holmes, Diggs & Eames, PLLC, Dallas, TexasJ. Brian McCall  PhD’06 - Chancellor, The Texas State University System, Austin, TexasTracy Rowlett MA’80 - Anchor and Managing Editor (Retired), CBS 11, Dallas, TexasQingming Yang PhD’93, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Geosciences, Approach Resources Inc., Fort Worth, Texas

Green & Orange Award for Alumni Service

Alumni of the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program - UT Dallas

Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award

Brent E. Christopher - President and CEO, Communities Foundation of Texas, Dallas, TexasAage Møller – Margaret Fonde Jonsson Professor, UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

See the Alumni Link online for full profiles of the awardees.

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