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UT Arlington honors distinguished alumni

Friday, October 7, 2011

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Media Contact: Kristin Sullivan

A veteran Texas legislator and an international shipping magnate are among seven University of Texas at Arlington graduates who will be honored at the 46th Distinguished Alumni Gala at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, in the E.H. Hereford University Center’s Bluebonnet Ballroom.

Rep. Lon Burnam ’79, a 15-year member of the Texas Legislature, earned his master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from UT Arlington. His legislative work has often focused on environmental, educational and social justice issues. Since taking office, he has ensured that 27 interns from the University’s School of Social Work saw real problems faced by real people and learned to maneuver state agencies to resolve them.

He worked with UT Arlington’s Center for Mexican American Studies on issues protecting community interests. The director of the Dallas Peace Center for 10 years, Burnam is now a nonprofit consultant to civil rights and religious pluralism organizations. Last year the Peace Center created the Lon Burnam Environmental Justice Fund. 

Mustaque Ahmed ’81, is the university’s Distinguished International Alumnus. He helped start the International Student Organization at UT Arlington while earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. After graduating, he returned home to Bangladesh as part owner of a freight business. After company changes and mergers, he now serves as managing director of DHL Global Forwarding Bangladesh.

To help his country, he expanded transportation options for manufacturers and helped create the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed and the ABC School for underprivileged children. An artist and arts patron, he created UT Arlington’s Festival of Ideas and later endowed it, and he also endowed the Global Research Institute within the College of Liberal Arts. A member of the Development Board, he created a fund that provides short-term loans to students for emergency needs.

The Distinguished Alumni Award, established in 1965, is the highest honor given by the University and the Alumni Association. The award honors individual achievements, contributions to industry or profession, community service and demonstrated loyalty to UT Arlington.

The Gala generates significant scholarship fund. In 2011, almost $50,000 in scholarships was awarded to deserving students.

Dr. Maxwell Scarlett ’66, a 2005 Distinguished Alumnus, will be the master of ceremonies. He practices emergency medicine across the state and is the former CEO Lekar Emergency Medical Associates in Lampasas, Texas. He is the first African American graduate of UT Arlington.

The other alumni honorees are:

  • Jane P. Avila – founder and president of The Art Station, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit agency that serves clients with special needs through the practice of art therapy.
  • Harry Dombroski - senior vice president of financial administration for Hunt Consolidated.
  • Al Ellis – Counsel at Sommerman and Quesada, a Dallas law firm, who has been named a “Top Lawyer” by numerous publications.
  • Keith Weiss – Six Sigma Master Expert at Raytheon, which has recognized him for numerous awards for excellence in quality and operations.
  • Karin W. McCallum – former chair of UT Arlington’s Department of Communication and Athletics booster is the honorary distinguished alumna.

Visit to see more about the 2011 honorees and for tickets and sponsorship opportunities.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.