UNT North Texan contents UNT North Texan feature stories UNT North Texan eagle tale UNT  North Texan alumni news UNT North Texan feedback
MoreUNT North Texan time tracksUNT newsUNT North Texan contact usUNT North Texan past issues

alumni news

Alumni and friends honored
at annual awards dinner April 27



Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award
Presented to individuals who have achieved prominence in their profession, thereby reflecting a positive image of UNT

Harry J. Brownlee ('65) of Dallas, executive vice president of Maxon, Mahoney, Turner Inc., one of Dallas' largest independently owned insurance companies. Brownlee received his bachelor of business administration degree in banking and finance. He has served as chair of the board of directors of the UNT Foundation Inc. and is the former chair and a lifetime member of the UNT President's Council. He received the UNT President's Citation in 1998. Brownlee is also the current president of Galleon Reinsurance Ltd. in Hamilton, Bermuda. He serves on the board of directors for Lone Star Insurance Co., also in Hamilton.


Don Buchholz ('52) of Dallas, an entrepreneur and chair of Southwest Securities. Buchholz received his bachelor of business administration degree. He serves on the board of directors of the UNT Foundation Inc. and received the UNT Outstanding Alumnus Service Award in 1999. He is the founder and former chair of the board for Southwest Securities Inc., a subsidiary of Southwest Securities Group Inc. He also served on the New York Stock Exchange Board of Governors from 1969 to 1972 and the National Association of Security Dealers Board of Directors from 1988 to 1991. He is the chair of First Savings Bank of Arlington and general manager of Buchholz Investments.


C. Dan Smith ('62) of Plano , owner of C-Koe Aluminum Inc. and CDS Capital Group. Smith attended North Texas on a football scholarship, graduating with a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing. He became owner of C-Koe Aluminum shortly after graduating. A strong supporter of UNT athletics, he is a past recipient of UNT's Green Glory Award and is currently the chair of the UNT athletics division for Campaign North Texas. His service to Plano includes establishing the Plano Futures Foundation in 1992 to build an alliance between Plano schools and the community and to provide private donations to support education. He currently serves on the boards of Legacy Bank of Texas, Plano Bancshares Holding Company, Practical Parenting Association and Dreamer Ministries.


Green Glory Award
Presented to individuals — not necessarily UNT alumni whose assistance to UNT has enabled the university to provide a margin of excellence in its endeavors

John ('72) and Lindy Rydman ('72) of Houston, owners of Spec's Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods. Both earned bachelor of music degrees in music education. John was in the UNT Marching Band and Concert Band, and both were in the Chapel Choir and Grand Chorus. This year, the couple became charter members of the Dean's Camerata, a society at the College of Music whose members include music lovers and philanthropists who want to further the rich musical tradition at the university. Recently, the Rydmans donated $1 million to the university through Spec's Charitable Foundation. The bulk of the gift, $900,000, endows the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band to support its annual operations and provide jazz scholarships. The remaining portion of the gift, $100,000, provides scholarship opportunities at UNT for the employees of the Rydmans' business.


Lisa Copeland Troutt ('85), a part-time interior designer in Dallas. Troutt received a bachelor of science degree in fashion design with a business minor. She is a member of the March of Dimes Executive Board of North Texas and also serves on the boards of the Family Place Partners and the Episcopal School of Dallas. A lifetime member of the UNT President's Council, Troutt is a member of the UNT Board of Visitors. Recently, she donated funds to UNT to be used for a geological trail near the Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building on campus, as well as to establish a scholarship for the Center for Play Therapy.


Honorary Alumnus/Alumna Award
Presented to individuals who never attended UNT but have exhibited outstanding devotion and service to the university

Dan R. Eddy III of Duncanville, director of external affairs for Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. Eddy's leadership in the Best Southwest Partnership, an organization for business leaders in Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster, was vital in gaining the support of area legislators to establish the UNT System Center at Dallas in 1999. He chaired UNT's "Where Eagles Soar" Gala in September 2000, which raised more than $250,000 for the System Center, and he helped to obtain $309,000 from the Southwestern Bell Foundation. A member of 13 different chambers of commerce, he serves on the 24th Congressional District Military Academy Selection Board, the Duncanville Civil Service Commission and the Northwood University Board of Governors.


Merle and Marian Volding. With homes in both Dallas-Fort Worth and Crested Butte, Colo., the Voldings played a critical role in starting the College of Music's Crested Butte Mountain Music Institute, a summer festival partnership between UNT and Crested Butte. Merle, an accountant and entrepreneur who founded BancTec Inc. and several other smaller companies, serves as secretary of the institute. Marian is a full-time wife, mother of three and grandmother of seven.

Outstanding Alumnus/Alumna Service Award
Presented to individuals who have provided exceptional volunteer service to UNT

Carl Finch ('75, '79 M.F.A.), creator of Denton's Grammy-winning, nuclear-polka sensation Brave Combo. Finch received his bachelor of fine arts degree in advertising art and his master of fine arts degree in drawing and painting. He founded Brave Combo as a student at UNT in the 1970s, and more than 20 years later, it is still very much a part of the university's fabric. Every year, the band plays before Homecoming as part of the day's festivities. Its music has been performed for major motion pictures and television programs including The Personals, an Academy Award-winning documentary. Three of it albums have been nominated for Grammys, with Polkasonic winning in 2000.

Leroy Whitaker ('50, '52 M.S.), a native of Paris, Texas, retired deputy general counsel, general patent counsel and assistant secretary for Eli Lilly and Co. Whitaker earned his UNT degrees in chemistry and was a research chemist for Shell Chemical Co. and Jefferson Chemical Co. before moving to Eli Lilly. He now works as an intellectual property law attorney and consultant. He serves on several advisory boards at UNT, is a life member of the UNT President's Council and North Texas Exes, and chairs the Campaign North Texas committee for the College of Arts and Sciences. He established the Whitaker Charitable Trust to fund the Dr. Leroy Whitaker Scholarship, designated for students demonstrating financial need. He also chaired the committee that raised $1 million to match funds to endow the Welch Chair in Chemistry.

President's Citation
Presented to individuals who have given extraordinary service and support to UNT either in enhancing its reputation or in helping the university to accomplish its mission

Mamie L. McKnight ('51, '70 Ed.D.) of Dallas, a counseling psychologist and preservationist and co-owner of Gem-Mac consulting firm. McKnight received a bachelor's degree in science and her doctorate in counseling and student personnel administration. She is a former board member and chair of the Dallas Landmark Commission and Texas Historical Review Board. She is a member of the UNT Counseling Program Advisory Board. She was also inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 2000 in the civics category.



The Rev. Tommy Nelson ('73) of Denton, founding pastor of Denton Bible Church. Nelson received his bachelor of science degree in physical education and was a quarterback for the Eagles. The chaplain of the team from 1991 to 1993, Nelson was also a member of the 1990 search committee to find a new coach. He is a strong supporter of the UNT chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and ministers to UNT students through the college program at Denton Bible Church, which he founded in 1977. Since that time, the church has grown from 100 members to about 4,000 members. Nelson became well known in 1991 for his Song of Solomon seminars on relationships and marriage. He is also the author of The Big Picture and The Book of Romance and a national speaker for Campus Crusade for Christ and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.


Ulys Knight Spirit Award
Presented to an alumnus, alumna or group that has made noteworthy efforts to sustain spirit among the UNT family. Named for a 1928 graduate who was also a member of the North Texas championship basketball team, and was also known as "Mr. North Texas"

John R. Anderson ('65), an orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Denton. He received his bachelor's degree in biology. Besides conducting a private practice, Anderson has been UNT's team physician since 1974. He is also team physician and consultant in sports injuries for the Denton Independent School District. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Western Orthopedic Association, Texas Orthopedic Association, American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and Alamo Orthopedic Society. He is an honorary member of the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association and the Texas Society of Sports Medicine.


Rob Black of Dallas, employed with J.C. Penney Co. Inc. in logistics and contracts. Black is pursuing a business degree at UNT and is the founder of the Mean Green Club. The group bolsters spirit and support of UNT athletics — providing caravans to away games and a connection for alumni throughout the state. Black served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a Desert Storm veteran.


UNT home UNT calendarCampaign North TexasNorth Texas Exesathletics