UT Arlington bestows highest alumni honor for accomplishments, dedication
Six alumni and a former professor were recognized for their professional achievements and service to the University at the annual Distinguished Alumni Gala in October.
Jane Avila ’90, Lon Burnam ’79, Harry Dombroski ’79, Al Ellis ’65, and Keith Weiss ’73 received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Mustaque Ahmed ’81 received the Distinguished International Alumni Award, and Karin McCallum received the Honorary Distinguished Alumni Award.
Avila earned a Master of Science in Social Work to combine with her background as an art teacher to explore art therapy. A personal tragedy allowed her to experience the healing power of art firsthand. She opened The Art Station, a nonprofit organization in Fort Worth, to serve people with mental health issues and is president of its board of directors.
Burnam, who holds a master’s degree in public and urban planning, has served as state representative for District 90 since 1996. His legislative work often focuses on environmental, educational, and social justice issues. The director of the Dallas Peace Center for 10 years, he is now a nonprofit consultant to civil rights and religious pluralism organizations.
Dombroski earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting. He joined KPMG Peat Marwick before moving in 1983 to Hunt Consolidated. Today he is Hunt’s senior vice president of financial administration and coordinates capital and investment decisions and overall planning for the firm.
Ellis holds a bachelor’s degree in history. He is “of counsel” with Sommerman and Quesada in Dallas and has tried more than 175 cases in 39 years as an attorney. Named a Top Lawyer by several publications, he has been honored for community service and teaching excellence in law education.
Weiss, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, delivers business strategies as a Six Sigma Master Expert at Raytheon, which has recognized him with numerous awards for excellence in quality and operations. He serves as the industry lead for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lean Advancement Initiative.
Ahmed holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and helped start the International Student Organization while a student. He is managing director of DHL Global Forwarding Bangladesh. At UT Arlington he has funded the Festival of Ideas and the Global Research Institute within the College of Liberal Arts.
Dr. McCallum, who joined the faculty in 1975, is a professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Communication. She is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and was UT Arlington’s first female faculty representative to the NCAA.