University awards were presented at the annual Alumni Awards Dinner April 20. The event honors alumni and others who have provided service and support to the university as well as alumni who have achieved prominence in their fields. This year's honorees were:
Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award
Given to individuals who have achieved prominence in their profession, thereby reflecting a positive image of UNT
Bob Belden ('78) of New York, N.Y., jazz musician, composer, arranger, producer and historian, earned a bachelor's degree in music composition from North Texas. He performed in the One O'Clock Lab Band, then under the direction of Leon Breeden. Belden is the producer of the Miles Davis box set series for Sony and a three-time Grammy winner for production and liner notes. He also earned a Grammy nomination in 2001 for Re: Animation Live! from Blue Note for best contemporary jazz album. In addition, Down Beat Magazine presented him with the Masterpiece Award for his CD Black Dahlia in 2002. Belden has produced more than 300 jazz recordings and reissues, including 14 of his own CDs, and has composed music for film and television. He has recorded and performed with Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Sting, among other noted musicians.
R. Dale Olson ('56, ‘57 M.M.) an acclaimed trumpeter from Fullerton, Calif., and Galveston, earned his bachelor's degree in music education and a year later completed his master's degree in trumpet performance, the first such degree conferred by North Texas. He later earned a master's degree in experimental psychology from California State University at Fullerton. Olson is retired from professional performance at Walt Disney Studios in California and is a retired director of research at F.E. Olds and Son Inc. He is the owner of Acoustic Instruments in Fullerton and an investor in Olson Historic Properties in Galveston. He has researched brass musical instrument design and performance, lectured about music at universities and International Trumpet Guild conferences, and written in the fields of music, psychology and history. He is a lifetime member of the North Texas Exes.
Nicholas D. Ricco Sr. ('61) of Dallas and Rockport is the president of Ricco Properties and general partner of Ricco Family Partners Ltd. His business career has included the acquisition and sale of more than 40 property and casualty insurance agencies as well as real estate development. He earned his bachelor of business administration degree from North Texas and returned in 1999 to work on a master's degree in journalism. Ricco served in the U.S. Air Force as a navigator and instructor for 11 years and then served in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a commander in 1974. At UNT he is a lifetime member of the President's Council and a member of the College of Music Advisory Board. He previously served on the advisory board of the College of Business Administration.
J. Terry Strange ('67, '68 M.B.A.) of Houston is a retired vice chair and global managing partner of the audit division of KPMG LLP. He began his career with the company shortly after receiving his bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from North Texas. He first worked in KPMG's Fort Worth office and in the New York executive office Department of Professional Practice. In 1979 he became a partner, specializing in SEC matters and the energy industry. He was managing partner for the Houston office and the Southwest when he was named vice chair and global managing partner in 1996. Named one of the 100 most influential accountants in the United States in 2001 by Accounting Today, Strange retired from KPMG in 2002. He is a lifetime member of the UNT President's Council.
Green Glory Award
Presented to individuals — not necessarily UNT alumni — whose assistance to UNT has enabled the university to provide a standard of excellence in its endeavors
Scott Wallace of Carrollton, is community banking president for Wells Fargo Banks national association in Denton and North Dallas/Fort Worth division. Wells Fargo has had a full-service branch in the University Union since 2002. During the past five years, under Wallace's leadership, Wells Fargo has donated more than $1.1 million in direct cash contributions to UNT and has helped sponsor many UNT events, including the annual Leadership Luncheon of the Murphy Enterprise Center, the VelmaE. Schmidt Fall Conference on Early Childhood Education and UNTs 2004 Gala Celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the university. Wells Fargo also helped to sponsor the 2006-07 season of UNT Opera and other musical groups in the College of Music. Wallace, a 1980 graduate of Kilgore College, became a senior vice president with Wells Fargo in 1995. He was named to his current position in 2001. At UNT, he is a member of the President's Council.
Denton attorney Howard Watt and his wife, Maggie, a licensed nurse (pictured with President Gretchen M. Bataille, center), created the Watt Family Endowment in 2000. The endowment helps fund scholarships for undergraduate students enrolled in UNT's interdisciplinary minor in Jewish studies, administered by the history department, and fellowships for graduate students who study Jewish topics. It also helps bring guest speakers to campus and funds two scholarships — one in the name of Howard and Maggie Watt and one honoring George Watt, Howard's late father. The Watts also established the Donald F. Baker Fund in the Study of Sexualities to support UNT's minor in the study of sexualities. The fund is named for Maggie's brother, Donald Floyd Baker. Maggie is the chair of the advisory board for the study of sexualities program, while Howard is a board member. Howard is the chair of the advisory board for the Jewish studies program and also was on the advisory board for the College of Arts and Sciences. Both are members of the President's Council.
Honorary Alumnus/Alumna Award
Recognizes individuals who are not alumni and who have exhibited outstanding devotion and service to the university
David O. Russell of Keller, vice president of external affairs for Verizon Communications and former GTE vice president, has worked on a variety of education-related initiatives throughout his career. At UNT he has served as co-chair of the College of Education Development Council in 2006-07. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and English from the University of Arkansas and has completed a graduate certificate program in telecommunications management and work toward an M.B.A. at the University of Dallas. Prior to his work in the telecommunications industry, he was an editor for several Arkansas newspapers. He has served as chair of the Texas Independent College Foundation and as a member of the board of directors of the Dallas County Community College District Foundation. He was a National Gold Medalist for the Verizon Excellence Award in 2004 and 2005.
Outstanding Alumnus/Alumna Service Award
Presented to individuals who have provided exceptional volunteer service to UNT
Michael D. Andereck ('75) of Dallas, the executive chair of Dallas-based Skywire Software, graduated with a bachelor of business administration degree. Prior to joining Skywire Software earlier this year, he was president and CEO of Docucorp International since 1997 and president and CEO of Image Sciences Inc. from 1983 to 1997. Andereck is a lifetime member of the UNT President's Council and the North Texas Exes. He is on the advisory board of UNT's Murphy Enterprise Center and is a past member of the UNT Chief Executives Round Table and UNT President's Visitor Advisory Board. He has also served as a guest lecturer for various classes in the UNT College of Business Administration.
Stephen Zhang ('94 M.F.A.) of Plano, vice president and image director for Fossil in Richardson, graduated with a master of fine arts degree in communication design. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design from Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in China in 1985. His paintings have been exhibited in the United States, Japan and China, and his design work has been featured in numerous publications. A former student of Rob Erdle, Regents Professor of art who died in 2006, Zhang helped initiate the Rob Erdle Watercolor Painting Award Fund, which provides an award for the best watercolor painting in the annual Voertman Student Competition. Zhang also serves on the School of Visual Arts advisory board and was a member of the honorary committee for the inauguration of President Gretchen M. Bataille.
Presented to individuals who have given extraordinary service and support to UNT either by enhancing its reputation or by helping the university accomplish its mission
Vernon Dale King ('73) of Baytown, an artist and educator at Crosby Middle School, graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in advertising art. He earned a master of arts degree in painting and drawing from the University of Houston at Clear Lake in 1982 and attended the Art Institute of Houston. Before joining Crosby Middle School in 2004, King worked at Houston's E.A. Olle Middle School, Richard Dowling Middle School of Fine Arts and M.B. Smiley High School. He also served as adjunct professor of art at Cy-Fair College, Fairbanks Center, in Houston from 2003 to 2006. King has exhibited in more than 60 local, regional, national and international exhibitions. He has won several awards, including the Achievement Award from Dupont Polymers Unit in La Porte in 1990; and second and third place medals in prints at the Southwest Ethnic Arts Society Exhibition in 1985.
Ulys Knight Spirit Award
Presented to individuals or groups who have made noteworthy efforts to sustain spirit among the UNT family (named for 1928 graduate Ulys Knight, known as "Mr. North Texas," who was a basketball player on North Texas' championship team and later was named the most popular man on campus)
Marcilla L. Collinsworth ('69, '73 M.Ed.) of Denton, UNT director of admissions, came to campus as a transfer student in 1966 and has worked for the Office of Admissions for 35 years. She earned a bachelor of science degree in education with a minor in mathematics and received her master of education degree in counseling and student services. She is a member of the President's Council, a lifetime member of the North Texas Exes, a supporter of the Marcilla Collinsworth Scholarship and a member of many other campus and professional organizations. Among numerous awards, she received the Outstanding Employee Award from the Office of Enrollment Management in 2005 and was named an Honorary North Texas Athletic Letter Winner.
North Texas Exes Outstanding Chapter Award
Presented to the chapter that has shown outstanding growth, scholarship dollars raised and outstanding performance in keeping North Texas Exes members and alumni connected to the university
The Denton chapter of the North Texas Exes was reactivated in 2002 and decided its main focus was to raise money to award scholarships to students who live in Denton County. The chapter was able to award one $500 scholarship for the 2003-04 academic year. In the spring of 2003, the chapter kicked off its first scholarship auction and raised enough money to award two $1,000 scholarships. This spring the chapter held its fifth annual auction and generated more than $20,000 that will be used to fund 10 awards for the next academic year. Accepting the award for the chapter were Wes Davis ('77), left, and Alfred Winder ('88).