2006 Alumni Awards Recipients
Distinguished Alumnus Award
H.E. Adel A. Al-Jubeir ('82) of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is advisor to the Royal Court of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. When he arrived at North Texas in 1982 as a 16-year-old seeking a college degree, he found much more. Besides obtaining a bachelor of arts, summa cum laude in political science and economics he learned about America. While living in Denton, he says he found out America is about Main Street, not Wall Street. It is about faith and family and tradition. It is about hospitality, tolerance and inclusion. He says recognizing these values in each other helps build bridges of communication. Al-Jubeir is grateful for these lessons and uses them to influence international decisions.
Phil McGraw ('76, '79) of Los Angeles is a nationally-syndicated television show host and professional psychologist. A graduate of UNT's clinical and behavioral medicine programs, McGraw claims it's nice when he see how his education has served him and how it stands up against that of his colleagues from around the country and the world. UNT is very much a part of McGraw's life today through his connection with his former major professor and mentor Dr. Frank Lawlis. McGraw states that his UNT education was the best investment he ever made, and he's proud to be a North Texas Eagle.
Ronald C. “Ron” Waranch ('54) of Palm Desert, California, a former developer and builder from 1958 through 2005, said of accepting his award that he was returning to the sweet roots of UNT. Waranch started from humble beginnings in Corpus Christi. He worked after school and summers from age 10 through his college years and graduated from North Texas State College in 1954. Over the past 34 years, he had been involved in many philanthropic and business-oriented activities. At UNT, he established a scholarship and gave more than $1 million for the Ronald C. Waranch Tennis Pavilion. Among his many honors, Waranch received the prestigious Horatio Alger Award in 2003. Waranch believed that the foundation he received at North Texas guided him to a better quality of life.
Ronald C. Waranch passed away on January 5, 2010.
Green Glory Award
Dan Christie ('68) of Prosper was owner of the Collin County Land Company in Prosper. An education major, he contributed to scholarship programs and assisted students from the area in attending UNT. Christie was past president of the UNT athletics booster club, a member of the North Texas Exes, the Geezle Athletic Fraternity, the UNT President's Council and the UNT Athletic Council. He also headed up the effort to rename a gym on campus for longtime football and tennis coach Ken Bahnsen, who coached him during his college days. Christie said he experienced some of the fondest memories of his younger years at the university. The friendships that began while he was a UNT student were truly one of the richest blessings of his life. Christie died of complications of a viral infection on May 6. He will be missed.
Robert Badgett Morgan ('63, '65) of Houston was former director of Jazz Studies for Houston High School for Performing and Visual Arts from 1976 to 1999 and professor of music for Sam Houston State University in Huntsville from 1965 to 1976. UNT had a positive effect on Morgan's life in both personal and professional realms. He gives credit to his UNT professors and student colleagues for helping him achieve local and international musical success. And now, Morgan and his wife, Helen, are helping UNT music students achieve their dreams by funding the Morgan Scholarship in the College of Music.
Honorary Alumna/Alumnus Award
Debbie and David Burns of Conroe are proud of parenting a UNT student. Debbie is an educator in Conroe's Independent School District and David is a piping designer for VECO Engineers in Alaska. They became lifetime members of the UNT Parent Association when their daughter, Lori, decided she wanted to attend the university in 2000. Through the UNT parent group, they were given a chance to work with the North Texas Exes, and they are now lifetime members of that organization. Flying their Mean Green Flag in their front yard, they say they're proud that their daughter chose North Texas, and that as parents, they have had the privilege to become a part of a great university.
Edward A. Moorehead, an engineering consultant in Denton, says UNT is a family matter. Although he is not a UNT graduate, Moorehead's wife, Kay, graduated cum laude with a bachelor of business administration in finance and his son, Eric, graduated with a degree in business administration. Upon retirement, Moorehead relocated his family to Denton to reacquaint them with the university. At that point, the family embarked upon what they call a lifelong adventure of attending many UNT opera performances. The Mooreheads believe that Denton and North Texas are fortunate to have the University of North Texas as a resource with far-reaching influence and talent from local arts to civic leadership.
Esther R. Smith of Dallas says her involvement with UNT honors the legacy of her late husband Don Paul Smith. He was founder and chief executive officer of Enersyst Development Center in Dallas. He also was an innovator and inventor of large-scale food processing equipment which can be found in UNT's Gateway Center kitchen. When her husband passed away, Smith found enjoyment in continuing his interest in UNT even though neither of them attended the university. She underwrote the Don Paul Smith and Esther R. Smith Scholarship Fund and says it's a pleasure to meet and present these scholarships to deserving recipients each spring.
Outstanding Alumna/Alumnus Service Award
Diane Grandey ('68) and James “Jim” Grandey ('67) of Richardson are doing what they love since UNT became a huge part of their lives. Their UNT degrees have helped them realize their dreams. Jim's goals were about business while Diane's dreams were about education. Jim is self-employed in sales at Redcliff Enterprises and Diane supports the efforts of the Alternative Certification teachers for iteAChtexas (I Teach Texas). With careers firmly established, the Grandey's have turned their focus on UNT. They attend football and basketball games as well as UNT music festivals and performances. They continue to find ways to be involved in the university and say they feel blessed to be part of a history of a great university.
J.V. “Virgil” Strange ('68) is vice president and owner of Axiom Commercial Company of Denton. With a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting, Strange used his talents and resources to build UNT's Alumni Center, Schrader Pavilion, Ben E. Keith Hospitality Deck and the Athletic Academic Center. Strange built these structures to serve a particular need, provide a special amenity for the campus and exceed the limits of ever-shrinking state funds. Students, friends of the university, families and fans gather in these structures that contribute education, recreation and community spirit.
Ulys Knight Spirit Award
Joneel Harris ('66, '75, '99) and Richard Harris ('62) of Denton consider themselves UNT team members. Collectively, they have 99 overlapping years with the university as students, employees and supporters. Both first-generation students, they appreciate their faculty mentors who instilled in them a respect for higher learning. And, a college education has paid off for both of them. Joneel's business and education degrees have prepared her to work as UNT's associate vice president for Enrollment Management. Richard's mathematics degree provided a good foundation for his career at UNT. Before retirement, Richard served as associate vice president for Computing and Information Technology and chief technology officer. The Harrises say they have experienced something impressive-a student-centered and collaborative campus climate where people are empowered to work together.
President's Citation Award
Robert E. Carter ('71) of Houston is founder and chief executive officer of Enterprise Advisory Services Inc., a business and technical management consulting company. Graduating with a bachelor's degree in business administration, Carter states UNT was a life-changing experience for him. He credits his accounting professors with nurturing skills he had developed as a youngster growing up in Bryan, Texas - hard work, resourcefulness and getting along well with others. Carter says thanks to his professors' help, he entered the business world equipped with a singularity of purpose and sheer tenacity that enabled him to face life's challenges with unwavering confidence.
Richard F. Gonzalez ('90) of Plano is managing partner of Freedom Wireless Limited Partnership, doing business as Phoneraiser. A first-generation student, Gonzalez' parents came to the United States from Paraguay and Brazil over 42 years ago with no knowledge of English and less than $50. Gonzalez started his quest to achieve the great American dream by getting a business degree from UNT. During his college days, he started a company and became an entrepreneur. He points to his parents as the reason for his success, and he is grateful for many sacrifices they made so he could receive this prestigious award.