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Awards Gala to Honor Outstanding Alumni and Supporters

On March 24, the 16th annual UT Dallas Awards Gala will recognize five graduates and one University supporter for their remarkable accomplishments and loyal service. The celebration will include the inaugural presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Aziz Sancar PhD’77 and will honor recipients of the Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award, the Green and Orange Award for Alumni Service and three Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Lifetime Achievement Award

UT Dallas Awards

Dr. Aziz Sancar PhD’77 is the University’s first Nobel-winning alumnus. In 2015, Sancar was one of three scientists recognized with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work detailing how cells continuously monitor and repair damaged DNA on a molecular level. He is currently the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, where he continues to research DNA repair and the regulation of the circadian clock. Sancar was previously honored with a UT Dallas Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009.

Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award

UT Dallas Awards

The Honorable Helen Giddings is currently serving her 13th term in the Texas House of Representatives, where she is vice chair of the State Affairs Committee and a member of the Appropriations and Calendars committees. Her civic service on numerous public boards and commissions has earned special recognition from local organizations, and her love of the arts has been illustrated through board memberships with the African American Museum, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Summer Musicals, Dallas Historical Society and Dallas Theater Center. In her role as a state legislator, Giddings has been a champion for UT Dallas, most notably securing continual funding for the Academic Bridge Program.

Green and Orange Award for Alumni Service

UT Dallas Awards

Jerry L. Comer MS’77 retired in 2002 as a project manager and engineer for Comsat RSI Precision Controls in Richardson. Prior to his tenure at Comsat RSA, he worked as a design engineer for Texas Instruments and with Western Electric in Burlington, North Carolina. Comer, an avid amateur photographer who has won a number of local competitions including the Best of Show honor at the State Fair of Texas, founded the Comer Collection of Photography at UT Dallas with an initial gift of rare photographs and books capturing scenes of 20th century American life.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

UT Dallas Awards

Chuck Butler BS’91 is founder and managing partner of Palomino Capital LLC, where he leads management teams, lenders and investors through the private equity investment process from growth strategy to post-merger integration. Prior to founding Palomino Capital, he led Barrier Advisors’ investment bank practice, serving as vice president of integration for Convergent Communications, and spent eight years with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Corporate Finance and Transaction Service practice. Butler is active in a number of civic and charitable organizations including serving as an advisory board member to the Cattle Baron’s Ball, the nation’s single largest fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. At UT Dallas, he serves as a mentor to MBA students in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

UT Dallas Awards

Gabriel Dawe MFA’11 is a visual artist known for site-specific installations in the United States, Canada, Belgium and the United Kingdom. His work explores the connection between fashion and architecture, using textiles to examine the construction of gender and identity in his native Mexico. Dawe’s pieces have been featured in numerous exhibitions and publications around the globe, including Sculpture magazine, as cover art for the 12th edition of Art Fundamentals by McGraw-Hill and in the book Raw + Martial = Art.

UT Dallas Awards

Satyajit P. Doctor MS’91 is co-founder and president of Award Solutions Inc., a Richardson-based wireless and internet consulting and training company whose clients include seven of the nation’s 10 largest telecommunications manufacturers. During his more than 25 years of industry experience, he also served as senior manager of wireless systems engineering at Nortel.

Daniel Steele

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