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Two alumni to receive UNT honorary doctorate, medal of honor

Two of the University of North Texas’ highest honors will be bestowed on alumni for their years of service to the university and for their continual support of UNT and higher education. Former UNT System Board of Regent member Don Buchholz will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree and radio personality George Dunham will receive the UNT Presidential Medal of Honor at the inaugural, University-wide Commencement ceremony at 8 p.m. May 16 at Apogee Stadium.

“Through their commitment to and pride in the university, Don Buchholz and George Dunham have epitomized what it means to live UNT’s spirit of excellence,” UNT President Neal Smatresk said. “Their contributions and support have elevated UNT and higher education in the state. We look forward to honoring the service of two proud alumni as we celebrate our newest alumni and launch our 125th anniversary celebrations.”

Don buchholzAbout Don Buchholz

Buchholz, left, a former member of the UNT System Board of Regents and a longtime supporter of the university, will receive an honorary doctorate for his extensive work and support for UNT. Honorary doctorates are awarded by the university to individuals who, by their extraordinary achievements, add substantial knowledge to or better society as a whole, whether through the professions, arts, humanities, science or service.

Buchholz earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the university in 1952 and went on to become a force in the securities and banking industry and to be a staunch supporter of UNT and higher education, serving the university in numerous capacities along the way.

He served on the UNT System Board of Regents from 2007 to 2013 and helped lead the system and its institutions during a time of record growth and progress.

Additionally, he served on the UNT Foundation Board of Directors, the College of Business Advisory Board and the Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. He’s also a member of UNT’s McConnell and 1890 donor societies. Buchholz received UNT’s Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 1999 and was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2001.

Buchholz and his wife, Ruth, provided a cornerstone gift to establish UNT’s Bill J. Priest Center for Community College Education, a research center studying critical community college issues. In addition, the couple has endowed chairs in community college education and educational administration.

The couple also established the Southwest Securities Superintendent Certification Scholarship, which has helped many school administrators, most of whom are in the North Texas region, pursue superintendent certification.

Co-founder of the investment banking and banking services provider Southwest Securities, which became the principal subsidiary of SWS Group Inc., Buchholz held several top leadership positions before retiring in 2011 as chairman emeritus. Additionally, he served as a governor of the New York Stock Exchange for a term; as a member of the board of directors of the Securities Industry Association; as a member of the board of directors for the National Association of Securities Dealers; as chairman of the Texas Stock and Bond Dealers Association; and as a member of the Dallas County Community College District Board of Trustees for 18 years and the Garland ISD Board of Trustees. 

George DunhamAbout George Dunham

Dunham, right, the longtime voice of UNT Athletics and co-host of The Ticket’s “Dunham and Miller” morning radio show, will receive the UNT Presidential Medal of Honor, the highest award given to an individual from the university. The medal is given by the UNT president to an individual whose contributions have elevated the status of the university.

An alumnus, Dunham was the voice of the Mean Green for 21 years and a part of the Mean Green Radio Network for nearly 30 years, and his insightful play-by-play sports commentary delighted audiences throughout that time. He spread Mean Green pride and galvanized support for UNT athletics throughout the years, especially with his signature phrase, “Do you believe in the Mean Green?”

Dunham was inducted into the 2014 UNT Athletic Hall of Fame as the recipient of the Fred McCain Award and was honored with the UNT Ulys Knight Spirit Award in 1996.

Dunham is a household name as co-host of the popular and award-winning KTCK morning radio show with Craig Miller and Gordon Keith. Dunham and Miller have been voted the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Radio Personalities of the Year by the DFW Chapter of American Women in Radio and Television and nominated four times for the Marconi Radio Award by the National Association of Broadcasters. 

In the show’s 20-plus year history – making it the longest running morning show with a single crew in the Dallas-Fort Worth area – the trio have hosted events benefiting several charity groups, including the Special Olympics, and they have raised more than $1 million dollars for charity organizations.

The veteran broadcaster got his start at UNT’s campus radio station KNTU before moving on to Texas State Network and KRLD. He graduated from UNT in 1988 with a degree in radio, television and film, which is now known as media arts.

—Monique Bird, news promotions

Posted on: Wed 13 May 2015

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