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Bright minds and independent thinkers

Howard Meyers personified many of the words we’re using on billboards to describe the essence of being a maverick.

Brilliant. He was a member of Mensa and a prolific researcher.

Determined. He earned his Ph.D. from UT Arlington at age 39 and ran marathons in his 40s.

Creative. He won first place in a Toastmasters International “Tall Tales” competition for a speech about a whale swimming up Niagara Falls.

Dedicated. He received the Buick Motor Division Volunteer Spirit Award for his service to numerous charitable organizations.

Sadly, Howard isn’t profiled in this issue. The former UT Arlington counseling director died of cancer in 2001, three weeks shy of his 50th birthday.

But his legacy remains.

The Howard H. Meyers Memorial Endowed Scholarship benefits graduate students seeking a master of education in teaching degree with early childhood teacher certification. A sweet gum tree planted in his honor grows outside Woolf Hall. A nearby plaque reads: “Dedicated in memory of Dr. Howard Meyers. Twenty years of service to the UTA community.”

After the University launched its “Be A Maverick” branding initiative in February, we sought examples that embodied the theme. They were everywhere.

Former Student Congress President Penny Willrich emerged from segregated schools to become a judge on the Arizona Superior Court. Now she imparts her knowledge as a law professor and helps troubled kids through the Arizona Youth Innocence Project.
Joel Montgomery, who holds three UT Arlington degrees, risked his life as a member of a Centers for Disease Control team dispatched to Angola in 2005 to fight the worst outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever in history.

Lu Pham, a Vietnamese immigrant, graduated with high honors from UT Arlington at age 19, then from UT Austin’s law school at 21. Today he is managing partner of Fort Worth-based Lynn Pham & Ross, LLP, the largest labor and employment law firm in Texas.

You can read about Willrich, Montgomery, Pham and a more than dozen others in our “Mavericks Personified” spread. The stories are as unique as the individuals, but all are linked by common threads. These are independent thinkers with passion, traveling the road they created for themselves.

 “A maverick blazes a trail,” alumna Jill Darden wrote in a February e-mail, “and leaves a path for others to follow.”

Our friend Howard Meyers left such a path. He would have made a great story for this issue.

P.S. As you noticed on the cover, we have changed our name from UTA Magazine to UT Arlington Magazine. Research prior to the brand launch indicated that most people outside Arlington did not know what UTA stood for. Many thought the A was for Austin. For external communications, we now refer to the University by its full name or UT Arlington. See the Q&A.

— Mark Permenter

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