[UTA Magazine]



Alumni Association to recognize 13 at Distinguished Alumni Gala

Saturday, October 26: Event Info

Hoang Van Dang graduated from UTA with a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1990 and a master's degree in architecture in 1993. He is an associate with the Beck Group and has been with the company, formerly Urban Architecture, for six years. He previously spent time at Polshek and Partners Architects in New York, working on projects such as the Columbia Law School. He has designed several buildings in the Fort Worth-Dallas area, including Prestonwood Baptist Church, the Prestonwood Christian Academy, Hillcrest Church, Keller City Hall, the G.E.A.R. Building, the Texas Street Lofts in Dallas and the World Savings building in Colleyville. He received a citation in 2000 at the Dallas AIA Unbuilt Awards. His work has been highlighted in several publications, including Texas Architect.

James C. Hyden graduated from Arlington State College (now UTA) in 1958 with an associate's degree in science. After completing his bachelor's and master's degrees at North Texas State University, he went on to a distinguished career as a coach, teacher and administrator in the Arlington Independent School District. His career began as an assistant football and basketball coach at Ousley Junior High School. He later coached and taught at Nichols Junior High School and Sam Houston High School. In 1980, he was named AISD athletic director and served in that position until his retirement in 2000. He was named Texas Athletic Director of the Year in 1992 and was inducted into the Texas Athletic Directors Association Hall of Honor two years later. Hyden and his wife, Anita, have three children and three grandchildren.

Robert G. Davis earned two degrees from UTA, a bachelor's degree in 1972 and a master of business administration in 1979. Today he is chairman and chief executive officer of USAA, one of the nation's leading financial services companies. After almost 25 years in the financial services industry, Davis joined USAA in 1996. He had previously worked with Bank One, MBank, Republic National Bank and E.F. Hutton. The son of a career naval officer, Davis is the most decorated combat veteran to lead USAA. He served seven years on active duty in the U.S. Army and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 26 Air Medals, the Bronze Star, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and the Purple Heart. He and his wife, Linda, have three children.

Kevin G. Abelbeck graduated from UTA in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport studies. His minor
in biology included additional hours in mathematics, physics and engineering. Since graduation, he has applied his skills to inventing and engineering fitness and medical products and today is president of OptiPro, Inc., based in Los Angeles. He holds U.S. utility patents on a variety of products, including the BodyRoc™, AbStar™, BodyFormer™, AbBike™ and Denise Austin's Future Step. Prior to establishing his own company, Abelbeck worked as a design engineer with Cobra Fitness Equipment, Keiser Sports Health Equipment and ADD Specialized Seating Technology. He is a professional member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and has published his research in several professional journals.

Dr. Robert C. Davis is a senior geotechnical consultant with Trinity Engineering/Kleinfelder, a geotechnical, materials and environmental engineering firm in Austin. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from UTA in 1970, followed by a master's in 1971 and a doctorate in 1973. He has served as the principal investigator, project manager and consultant for thousands of geotechnical projects, including residential subdivisions, commercial shopping and retail centers, office buildings, high-rise office towers, manufacturing plants, industrial facilities and public works. Dr. Davis is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He and his wife, Karen, have two sons.

Sharon Petrea Neece earned a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering at UTA, graduating cum laude in 1991. After college, she joined the U.S. Navy and was promoted to lieutenant, serving with the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Orlando, Fla., and then in the Naval Flight Officer Training Program at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Her students cited her as the best teacher at the Nuclear Power School. Following her military service, Neece became a professional health care representative with Pfizer Inc. in Omaha, Neb. Today she is a specialty representative for Pfizer's Women's Health Care, based in Orange County, Calif. While at UTA she was named to Outstanding College Students of America and Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

The Hon. James R. Wilson serves as state district judge in Tarrant County's 371st District Court. Born in Fort Worth, he grew up in Arlington and graduated from UTA in 1978 with a bachelor of arts degree in speech. He graduated from the California Western School of Law in San Diego in 1989 and began his legal career as a sole practitioner in all areas of the law. He was elected to the 371st District Court in 1994 and took office Jan. 1, 1995. Wilson is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Tarrant County Bar Association, the College of the State Bar and the Board of Criminal Judges. For the 2001-02 term, he serves as presiding judge of the Board of Criminal Judges. He and his wife, Amy, have four children and four grandchildren.

Lt. Gen. James F. Hollingsworth attended North Texas Agricultural College (now UTA) in 1935-36. A member of the Corps of Cadets, he went on to serve in the corps at Texas A&M University and is the most decorated general officer in the history of the school. He graduated from A&M in May 1940 with a bachelor's degree in agriculture and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Serving in World War II, he participated in seven major campaigns extending from North Africa to the occupation of Berlin in 1945, rising from platoon leader to commander of a regimental-size armored task force in Gen. George Patton's Third Army. He later commanded the Army's XXIV Corps in Vietnam. He retired from active duty in 1976 and formed Hollingsworth Consultants Inc., an aerospace consulting firm.

Remy Cabatu Tolentino is chief nursing officer and vice president for cardiovascular services at Baylor University Medical Center. Tolentino received her bachelor of science degree in nursing with a minor in psychology/sociology from Texas Woman's University in Denton. She completed her master's degree in nursing at UTA in 1985 with an emphasis in adult health. She has been at Baylor for 21 years and has practiced as a cardiothoracic intensive care unit nurse while also serving in various management positions. She was named a 2001 Vision Partner for the Dallas chapter of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and was recognized as one of the "Great 100 Nurses" for 2001 by the Dallas/Fort Worth Hospital Council. She has served as an adjunct faculty member in the UTA School of Nursing and has taught classes at the Louise Herrington Baylor School of Nursing.

Randolph Blake, a Centennial Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., graduated from UTA in 1967 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. He earned his doctorate from Vanderbilt in 1972, with a dissertation on binocular vision. He later served a postdoctoral fellowship at Baylor University College of Medicine and The University of Texas Health Science Center, where he trained in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. He served on the faculty at Northwestern University from 1974 to 1988, when he moved to Vanderbilt to chair the Department of Psychology. Dr. Blake is a fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a fellow of the American Psychological Association. He and his wife, Elaine, have one son.

Thomas Chapmond graduated from UTA in 1979 with a master of science in social work degree. From his first experience caring for foster children as a houseparent at the Crockett State Home, he has worked to benefit abused and neglected children. He came to UTA in 1977 to pursue that goal, and today he is executive director of the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, the state agency responsible for Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, Child Care Licensing and a variety of prevention and early intervention programs. In the early 1980s, he worked with other children's advocates to secure state funding for a program offering crisis counseling and emergency residential care to troubled youth. The Services to At Risk Youth, or STAR, program is now available in all 254 counties in Texas.

Robert T. Babbitt earned a bachelor's degree in political science from UTA in 1976 followed by a Ph.D. in administration in 1984. Today he is president and CEO of McDonald Transit Associates, Inc. of Fort Worth. He began his career as a management intern with City Transit Service of Fort Worth in 1977. Since then he has worked with the Abilene Transit System, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Nashville, Tenn. He began at McDonald Transit in 1981 as a vice president. With more than 25 years in the business, Dr. Babbitt has been responsible for the overall operations of several transit systems, including system planning and design, maintenance management, fiscal reporting, insurance procurement, capital purchases, facility planning and grant preparation and administration.

Tommy R. FranksDistinguished Alumni Service Award
Gen. Tommy R. Franks, U.S. Army, serves as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. From there, he commands all U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East. The general began his career as a second lieutenant in 1967. In 1969, he was selected to participate in the Army's Boot Strap Degree Completion Program and came to UTA, where he graduated with a business administration degree in 1971. Since then he has filled commands in Germany, Korea, Atlanta, Ga., and at Fort Hood, Texas. He has also held positions at the Pentagon, Fort Sill, Okla., and Fort Monroe, Va. During Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, he served as assistant division commander, First Cavalry Division. His many awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with "V," Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal with "V." Gen. Franks and his wife, Cathy, have one daughter and two grandchildren.

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