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A Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus gold medallion
Since the Distinguished Alumnus Award's inception in 1962, only 330 of Texas A&M's more than 574,000 former students have been recognized with the coveted accolade. | Image: The Association of Former Students

The late Kathryn J. Greenwade '88 of College Station and Hector Gutierrez Jr. '69 of El Paso are among 12 Aggies selected by Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students to receive the 2023 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Greenwade, who is being celebrated posthumously for her decades of selfless dedication to championing generations of Aggies and their families as the vice president of communications and human resources at The Association of Former Students, received her bachelor's degree in journalism in 1988 as well as a graduate certificate in Leadership Education Theory and Practice in 2019. 

Gutierrez, who spent nearly 20 years of his career at Southwestern Bell Telephone, rising to assistant vice president of government relations before leaving the company in 1993 to become a consultant, served as Texas A&M's first Hispanic Corps commander as a student at Texas A&M, where he received his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1969. 

Greenwade and Gutierrez are being honored along with Michael J. "Mike" Havel '76 of Dallas; T. Michael O'Connor '77 of Victoria; Henry B. "Hank" Paup '70 of Fort Worth; Albert G. "Bert" Pfaff Jr. '25 of Tyler, Texas; Michael J. Plank '83 of Houston; Jeff Potter '78 of Dallas; Joe R. Straus Jr. '50 of San Antonio; James D. "Jimmy" Tittle '49 of Abilene; P. William "Bill" Toler '76 of Bryan; and Anthony J. Wood '87 of Los Altos, Calif.

Established in 1962, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University. Since its inception, only 330 of Texas A&M’s more than 574,000 former students have been recognized for achieving excellence in their chosen professions and making meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.

1988 Texas A&M University journalism graduate Kathryn J. Greenwade
Kathryn J. Greenwade '88 | Image: The Association of Former Students

"This year’s Distinguished Alumni are shining examples of how our Aggie core values help shape the lives of former students long after graduation," said Texas A&M Interim President Mark A. Welsh III. "These former students have not only made incredible contributions to their chosen careers, but they have given back to their communities and to Texas A&M. I commend their selfless efforts to lift up the next generation of Aggies and set them on the path of success. On behalf of the faculty, staff and student body of their beloved alma mater, I am proud to congratulate each of them on earning this incredible recognition.”

As one of The Association's most visible and memorable faces, Greenwade supported and connected current, former and future students by leading with empathy and promoting community. Passionate about beginning a tradition of giving, she sponsored hundreds of students’ first year in the Century Club. She served with the Aggie Women Network, was an Endowed Century Club member, established an Aggie Ring Scholarship and supported programs across Texas A&M. On campus, Greenwade served 13 years as an academic advisor to Company C-2 in the Corps of Cadets, where she was honored twice as academic advisor of the year. She sponsored the Fish Camp attendance of many freshmen and purchased multiple students’ Aggie Rings over the years. In 2000, she was selected as a Fish Camp namesake. Her volunteer service also reached off campus as president of the board of the Bryan-College Station chapter of Habitat for Humanity and a Brazos Valley Figure Skating Club board member.

1969 Texas A&M University mathematics graduate Hector Gutierrez Jr.
Hector Gutierrez Jr. '69 | Image: The Association of Former Students

As a consultant specializing in public relations, communications and governmental affairs, Gutierrez served myriad clients, including the city of El Paso, AT&T, the El Paso Water Utility Public Service Board, HILLCO Partners and additional corporate entities. He also served as the first senior advisor for legislative affairs to then-lieutenant governor of Texas, Rick Perry ’72. Gutierrez has served on boards of The Association of Former Students, the Texas A&M University Press, the Bush School of Government and Public Service, the Texas A&M Health Science Center and the Corps of Cadets Board of Visitors. He is the founding chairman of the Texas A&M Hispanic Network, where his passion and vision directly supported Texas A&M’s recent designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, unlocking new levels of federal funding.

Gutierrez along with his fellow 2023 recipients learned of their honors via surprise announcements from university and Association representatives, including in Gutierrez' case The Association of Former Students President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp '72, Texas A&M System Board of Regents Chairman William "Bill" Mahomes Jr. '69, a Ross Volunteer and Reveille X.

"The 2023 Distinguished Alumni are exceptional Aggies who exemplify Texas A&M’s core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service," said Association of Former Students 2023 Chair of the Board Bob Jordan '85. "They represent diverse backgrounds and career paths, but all are servant leaders who have made remarkable impacts in their communities and on Texas A&M.”

Garner echoed Welsh’s and Jordan’s sentiments and offered his congratulations on behalf of The Association of Former Students.

“This group of esteemed former students represents the very best of our worldwide Aggie Network,” Garner said. “They join an elite and noble roster of Aggies who inspire us and bring honor to Texas A&M through their accomplishments and service.”

The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala set for Oct. 6. In addition, the 2023 recipients will be recognized during the Oct. 7 Texas A&M football game against Alabama.

Nominations for the 2024 Distinguished Alumnus Award and future years will be accepted through Aug. 31 at Once submitted, a nomination remains eligible for consideration for five years.

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 $11.2 million in impact to university scholarships, awards, traditions and student activities and recognition for students, faculty, staff and former students in 2022.

Read more about the members of this year’s class at

For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award or The Association, visit

1969 Texas A&M mathematics graduate Hector Gutierrez Jr. and his wife Debbie Gutierrez flash gig 'ems while posing with various Texas A&M administrators during a surprise announcement of his 2023 Texas A&M University Distinguished Alumnus Award honor
Gutierrez (center holding plaque), being surprised along with his wife Debbie (fourth from left) with the presentation of his framed Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus announcement and medallion. | Image: The Association of Former Students