Dr. Richard A. Box ’61 of Austin, Texas, is one of 10 Aggies selected by Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students to receive the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Box, a chairman emeritus of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents (2011-13) and commanding general of the Texas State Guard (2000-06) who helped lead the state’s response during hurricanes Katrina and Rita, received his bachelor’s in zoology in 1961 from Texas A&M.
Box is being honored along with Henry G. Cisneros ’68 of San Antonio; Phil Adams ’70 of Bryan; Joseph V. Tortorice, Jr. ’70 of Beaumont; Anthony J. “Tony” Best ’72 of College Station; Samuel “Ray” Huffines ’74 of Plano; David A. Heath ’76 of Bryan; Shelley Potter ’78 of Dallas; Dan Allen Hughes, Jr. ’80 of Alamo Heights; and T. Randall Cain ’82 of San Antonio.
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 291 of Texas A&M’s more than 506,000 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.
“Our 2019 Distinguished Alumni illustrate the vast influence Texas A&M graduates have on our world.” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “Their contributions to their industries, communities, our nation and world demonstrate the value of a Texas A&M education and the difference that our core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service can make on our society.”
As a student at Texas A&M, Box was a member of H-2 and served on the 2nd Brigade staff in the Corps of Cadets, lettered in varsity tennis and was a member of the Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Club and the Brush Country Hometown Club. After graduating from Texas A&M and the University of Texas Dental Branch-Houston, he served as an Army dentist during the Vietnam War. A Fellow of both the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists, he recently retired from dental practice in Austin.
Box’s service to the state of Texas includes as a member of the Texas Real Estate Commission and as chairman of the State of Texas Aircraft Pooling Board. He currently serves as a trustee of the Texas Higher Education Foundation and also has served on the Austin Symphony Board and the Boy Scouts Capitol Area Council. In addition to helping lead Texas A&M’s transition to the Southeastern Conference during his time as Texas A&M System Board of Regents chairman, Box is a member of the Texas A&M Lettermen’s Association board and has served on the President’s Council of Advisors. He is a Corps Hall of Honor inductee and a longtime member of the Corps of Cadets Association as well as a Silver-level member of The Association’s Century Club with 19 years of giving.
“Dr. Box will go down in history as one of our great leaders at Texas A&M, leading this great university through one of the most expansive periods in our history,” said Jim Schwertner, a member of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents from 2009-15. “His selfless service as chair of the Board of Regents has made a huge impact on our students and faculty across the university and the Texas A&M University System.”
Box and his fellow 2019 recipients learned of their honors when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and Association representatives, including President Young, The Association of Former Students’ 2019 Chair of the Board of Directors Mark Fischer ’72, Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79, Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel ’96, 12th Man Foundation President Travis Dabney ’96, and a Ross Volunteer, along with university mascot Reveille IX and her handler.
“Our core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service are evident in the achievements and service of our 2019 Distinguished Alumni,” Fischer said. “They well represent our worldwide Aggie Network and bring honor and distinction to Texas A&M.”
Garner echoed Young’s and Fischer’s sentiments and offered his congratulations on behalf of The Association of Former Students.
“The highest award bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M annually recognizes the very best of our Aggie Network,” Garner said. “With fewer than one-tenth of one percent of our 500,000 former students recognized as Distinguished Alumni, the 10 we honor in 2019 are in elite company.”
The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 25. In addition, the 2019 recipients will be recognized during the Oct. 26 Texas A&M football game against Mississippi State. Nominations for the 2020 Distinguished Alumnus Award will be accepted through Oct. 7 at http://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 $13.6 million in impact to university scholarships, awards, activities and enrichment for students, faculty, staff and former students in 2018.
For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award or The Association, visit www.AggieNetwork.com.
Contact: Kathryn Greenwade ’88, (979) 845-7514 or KGreenwade88@AggieNetwork.com