CEHD Alum Named Recipient of 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award


The Association of Former Students
Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: June 09, 2017

Ten Aggies have been selected as the 2017 recipients of the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University, the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students are proud to welcome as Distinguished Alumni:

Maj. Gen. Raymond L. Murray ’35, posthumously awarded
William M. “Bill” Huffman ’53 of College Station and Marshall
John M. Yantis ’53 of San Antonio
Ed Wulfe ’55 of Houston
Charles H. Gregory ’64 of Houston
Arno W. Krebs, Jr. ’64 of College Station
Jorge A. Bermúdez ʼ73 of College Station
General (Ret.) William M. Fraser III ’74 of Garden Ridge
Craig Brown ’75 of Houston
Martín Torrijos ’87 of Panama

Biographical information on each is included below; this information is also available at tx.ag/DA2017. Photos available upon request.

Since the inception of the award in 1962, only 271 of Texas A&M’s 469,000 former students have been recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Awarded jointly by the university and The Association, this honor recognizes those Aggies who have achieved excellence in their chosen professions and made meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.

“The 2017 Distinguished Alumni demonstrate the impact Texas A&M has on the state, nation and world,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “This group includes incredible leaders and influencers in the fields of engineering, construction, real estate, international and national defense, law, finance, education and philanthropy. Their stories truly display the power of a Texas A&M University education.”

The recipients learned of their honor when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and Association representatives, including Young, The Association of Former Students’ 2017 Chair of the Board of Directors Phil Miner ’80, Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79, Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel ’96, and a Ross Volunteer, along with university mascot Reveille IX and her handler.

Miner said, “Our 2017 Distinguished Alumni have achieved the highest levels of success in their professions and have made a lasting impact on their communities and Texas A&M through their service. They bring our Texas A&M core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service to life.”
 
Garner echoed the sentiments of Young and Miner and offered his congratulations on behalf of The Association of Former Students. “Less than one-tenth of one percent of Texas A&M’s former students have been recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award,” Garner said. “It is, indeed, the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M, and our 2017 recipients have earned this honor through their exemplary achievements and service to Texas A&M.”

The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Sept. 29. In addition, the 2017 recipients will be recognized during the Sept. 30 Texas A&M football game against South Carolina. Nominations for the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award will be accepted through Oct. 6 at tx.ag/DAnominations.

The Association of Former Students, established in 1879, is the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University. The Association connects hundreds of thousands of members of the worldwide Aggie Network with each other and the university, and provided $12.5 million in impact to university scholarships, awards, activities and enrichment for students, faculty, staff and former students in 2016. For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award or The Association, contact Scot Walker at SWalker90@AggieNetwork.com or visit www.AggieNetwork.com.

Maj. Gen. Raymond L. Murray ’35 led troops in three wars, from World War II to Vietnam, and was among the most highly decorated Aggies in school history, recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, two Navy Crosses, four Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit and two Purple Hearts. In 1945, he was part of the honor guard at President Franklin Roosevelt’s funeral. He became a legend in the U.S. Marine Corps for his leadership at the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. During World War II, he led Marines at Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Saipan. He served as deputy commander of all Marine forces in Vietnam. In the Leon Uris novel and film “Battle Cry,” he was the model for the character of Lt. Col. “High Pockets” Huxley. In 2003, Oceanside, Calif., named a bridge in his honor. In 2007, a high school named in his honor in Vista, Calif., was dedicated. Maj. Gen. Murray passed away in 2004.

William M. “Bill” Huffman ’53, a longtime lawyer and former chair of the city commission of Marshall, has rendered service to his fellow Aggies ranging from mentoring students and supporting programs and scholarships to compiling a directory of his Class of 1953 classmates. After service in the U.S. Army, he earned the highest grade on the March 1959 Texas bar exam and went into private practice. He and his wife, Barbara, have made gifts to A&M including support for the College of Medicine, Corps of Cadets, numerous scholarships including a President’s Endowed Scholarship, MSC, Kyle Field, Fish Camp, and the new band hall/music building. They have also given more than 600 individual students their first-year active memberships in The Association of Former Students. Since 2009, he has served on the board of Christus Good Shepherd Health System, and has chaired its board since 2015.

John M. Yantis ’53 founded in 1965 what is today the $70-million-per-year construction firm Yantis Co., of which he served as chairman. He was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 1988, and the company is a multiple-year honoree of the Aggie 100 list of fastest-growing businesses. He is deeply involved in philanthropy and service both in San Antonio, where he was on the board of directors for Boysville (1980-84), and at Texas A&M, where he created a Regents Scholars Student Assistance Endowment Fund through The Association of Former Students and has served on the Chancellor’s Century Council as well as the 12th Man Foundation’s board and Champions Council. He was chairman of the 2007 Valero Alamo Bowl and has served on the board of Associated General Contractors and as president of Oak Hills Country Club, former home of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament, in 1990 and 1999.

Ed Wulfe ’55 is the chairman, CEO and founder of the Wulfe & Co. commercial real estate brokerage, development and property-management firm. Among properties he has developed: BLVD Place won a 2015 Houston Business Journal Landmark Award; redeveloped Meyerland Place was honored among “Deals That Make a Difference” in 1995 and 1996; and Gulfgate Center won the Houston Chapter of the Urban Land Institute’s 2012 Development of Distinction Award and Best Rehabilitation Renovation Project in 2003. He serves as a guest on Texas A&M’s Master of Real Estate Advisory Board, has been a lecturer for MBA students and created an endowed scholarship in the Mays Business School, and contributed an auditorium in the Texas A&M Hillel Building. He has chaired Houston Mayor’s Main Street Coalition and chaired a referendum to expand Houston’s light rail and transit systems (2003) and $100 million parks bond issue campaign (2012).

Charles H. Gregory ’64 served for 30 years as CEO of Rupley Holdings, purchasing its predecessor out of bankruptcy and building it into four separate businesses. After serving as a U.S. Army intelligence officer in Vietnam, he worked for a regional securities firm and became its vice president of venture capital operations. He has served Texas A&M for more than 20 years on the Liberal Arts Development Council as well as on the President’s Board of Visitors and the Texas A&M Foundation board. He has created an endowed chair in liberal arts and a graduate student fellowship and supported A&M’s Gardens project, the MSC renovation and the Texas A&M Foundation building fund. He served on the university’s Vision 2020 planning group and the committee for its early-2000s capital campaign. He also supports and serves Houston charities.

Arno W. Krebs, Jr. ’64, a retired partner with the Houston law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski, has served as president and a director of the Texas Aggie Bar Association and also represented Texas A&M legally. He was a partner in Fulbright & Jaworski’s litigation section 1975-2007 and head of the litigation department in the Dallas office 1997-2002. He has served as president and an executive committee member for the 12th Man Foundation and on the board of The Association of Former Students. An Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Education and Human Development, he created an endowed scholarship in the college and has served on development councils for the college and the Bush School. He serves on the operating committee of the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education and the board of Industry Bancshares community bank holding company. Through his pro bono activities, he helped establish hometown organizations including the Shelby Area Historical Society.

Jorge A. Bermúdez ʼ73, in a 33-year career with Citibank and Citigroup, was chief risk officer for Citigroup/Citibank, CEO and president of Citibank Commercial Banking Group and CEO of Citigroup Latin America. He is president and CEO of the Byebrook Group. He is an Outstanding International Alumnus of A&M, received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Alumnus Award, and is on the Department of Agricultural Economics’ Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry. He has served on the board and as chair for The Association of Former Students and is on the Texas A&M Foundation board as well as on the College of Agriculture Development Council, the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Mays Business School and A&M’s International Advisory Board. He is a board member and past chair of the Community Foundation of the Brazos Valley’s investment committee. He serves on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

General (Ret.) William M. Fraser III ’74 served as the commander of U.S. Transportation Command, the single manager responsible for global air, land, and maritime transport for the Department of Defense, from October 2011 to May 2014; commander of Air Combat Command from September 2009 to September 2011; vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force from October 2008 to September 2009; and assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from May 2006 to October 2008. His experience in wartime, contingency and humanitarian relief operations includes Operations Southern and Northern Watch, Desert Thunder, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He serves on boards of visitors for the Corps and Texas A&M-Galveston. He chairs the Military Child Education Coalition, serving all military-connected children, and is a member of Mission Readiness - Council for a Strong America, also serving U.S. youth.

Craig Brown ’75 co-founded Bray International, a global manufacturer of rotary valves and actuators; he is owner, CEO and chairman. Since 1989, he has been chairman and co-founder of the Craig and Galen Brown Foundation, which recruits top students to A&M, including National Merit Scholars. In the past 25 years, more than 300 students have come to A&M as Brown Foundation Scholars, including 200 engineers and 40 doctors and veterinarians. He has served on the College of Engineering Advisory Council for more than 25 years and has been on the Corps of Cadets Board of Visitors and a member of the executive cabinet for the Lead By Example capital campaign. He has been named an Outstanding Young Houstonian, an Outstanding Alumnus of A&M’s College of Engineering and an Outstanding Alumnus of the Mays Business School. He has worked with KIPP public charter schools and Bo's Place, a Houston-based nonprofit bereavement center.

Martín Torrijos ’87 served as the 42nd president of the Constitutional Republic of Panama, from Sept. 1, 2004, to June 30, 2009. His administration achieved sustainable economic growth of 8.5 percent, reduced the unemployment rate by half, increased social stability and reduced poverty, creating a range of social programs from education to health, including fiscal and social security reforms. Also during his presidency, Panama approved and began the Panama Canal expansion, a $6.3 billion project. For more than two decades, Torrijos has been an economic advisor to international companies and governments. Recently, he has earned recognition as a moderator in regional conflicts. From 1994 to 1998, he served as Panama’s undersecretary of government and justice. He is a Texas A&M Outstanding International Alumnus, as well as vice president of the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America, a director of the Inter-American Dialogue policy analysis center and board president for the Omar Torrijos Foundation.