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Fun Fact: Distinguished alumnus star

An actor who is well-known for several iconic film roles, as well as a recent blockbuster movie is slated to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award April 11.

Peter WellerIn what recent movie did that UNT alumnus play a starring role?

  • A)   Star Trek Into Darkness
  • B)   Gravity
  • C)   To Rome with Love
  • D)   Monsters University

Answer: The answer is A, Star Trek Into Darkness, and that famed actor is Peter Weller, right, of the Class of 1969, who also starred in “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” and “Robocop.”

The UNT Alumni Awards showcase the caliber of the university’s alumni and celebrate the depth and breadth of their professional accomplishments and service to the community. This year’s honorees include business and industry leaders; a family whose support has spanned several generations; and the members of UNT’s first social fraternity, the Geezles, an organization founded in 1927 to promote school spirit among the student body.

 “The Alumni Awards are among the highest honors the university can bestow,” Monticino said. “This year’s recipients include a Hollywood actor, accomplished businessmen and women, a young advertising maverick and an innovative entrepreneur. The breadth and depth of accomplishments of this impressive group speaks directly to the quality of a UNT education.

“The Alumni Awards offer us an opportunity to celebrate the positive impact these honorees are making in their communities, across the nation and around the world.”

The other 2014 UNT Alumni Awards recipients are:

Ernie Kuehne Jr. (’66)Ernest W. Kuehne Jr. (’66), right, who also will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, is president and board chairman of Kuehne Oil Co., a member of the State Bar of Texas, the UNT McConnell Society and Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Alumni Advisory Board, and a lifetime member of the UNT Alumni Association and UNT Ex-Letterman’s Association. Kuehne is a 2014 UNT Athletics Hall of Fame inductee as the winner of Fred McCain Award for Outstanding Service. He established the UNT Kuehne Speaker Series on National Security in 2013. In August 2012, Kuehne chaired UNT’s Basketball Enhancement Committee, which raised more than $3 million in gifts for a new basketball training facility, a state-of-the-art scoreboard in the UNT Coliseum and additional funding for scholarships. As part of that campaign, Kuehne presented the athletic department with a cornerstone $1 million gift.

Terry Brewer (’65, ’70 Ph.D.),Terry Brewer (’65, ’70 Ph.D.), left, who will also receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in chemistry from UNT. He is the founder and CEO of Brewer Science, a global leader in the development and manufacturing of advanced materials and equipment for the microdevices used in tablet computers, smartphones, digital cameras, televisions and LED lighting.

Graham Graham DouglassDouglas (’05), right, who will receive the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, is a freelance advertising creative director who has worked on campaigns for many well-known brands, including Sony, BMW and Coca-Cola. His work has earned the Cannes Grand Prix for Good and the D&AD White Pencil, both prestigious awards in the advertising industry. As creative director for New York City-based agency Droga5, Douglas was named one of Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” in marketing and advertising. He was also named one of the “World’s 50 Most Creative People” by Creativity magazine.

Gabriella DraneyGabriella Draney (’02), left, who will also receive the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, is the co-founder and CEO of Tech Wildcatters, named one of the Forbes Top 10 seed accelerators for its work connecting technology startups to resources. She serves on the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory and Development Board.


C. Tait CruseC. Tait Cruse (’89), right, who will receive the Outstanding Alumni Service Award, is managing partner of Northwestern Mutual—Dallas. Cruse supports UNT’s Northwestern Mutual Integrated Business Case Competition, the anchor element of the College of Business’ capstone course, which provides graduating seniors the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to solve a complex business problem.

Melisa DenisMelisa Denis (’86, ’86 M.S.), left, who will also receive the Outstanding Alumni Service Award, is partner-in-charge of international executive services for KPMG—Dallas. She serves on the UNT Foundation Board of Directors and the College of Business Advisory Board. She and her husband, JF, were among those who lent philanthropic support to the construction of UNT’s Business Leadership Building.

C. Dan Smith GeezleThe Geezle fraternity, which will receive the Ulys Knight Spirit Award, counts among its members among their alumni business and civic leaders, professional athletes, UNT regents, university professors and scores of coaches, athletic trainers, administrators and teachers. The Geezles were instrumental in installing “Spiriki,” the bronze eagle statue at UNT’s Apogee Stadium. The name is an old fraternity greeting believed to be the combination of the words “spirit” and “kee,” the cry of an attacking eagle.

Joe GuerraThe Guerra family, who will receive the Generations of Excellence Award, owns and operates Rudy’s Tortillas and Food Products, one of the leading manufacturers of tortillas in the country. The family includes several UNT alumni: siblings Joe Guerra (’96), left, Rudy’s vice president of sales; Kathy Guerra Purser (’81), who works in accounting for the family business; and Linda Guerra Dyer (’90), a teacher in McKinney. Joe’s wife, Pauline Guerra (’05); the siblings’ aunt Esperanza Espinoza (’75); and Kathy Guerra Purser’s daughter Rachel Purser (’09) are also UNT graduates. The Guerra family established the Rudy’s Tortillas Foundation Scholarship in 1996 to support UNT students; collectively the family has contributed nearly $77,000 to the university.

The 2014 Alumni Awards program will include a reception at 6:30 p.m. and a dinner at 7 p.m. April 11 in the Gateway Center, Ballroom. Reservations are $65 per person.

Availability is extremely limited.

Posted on: Tue 01 April 2014

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