2019 TCU Leadership Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni Award

First presented in 1954, this award is designated for an alumnus or alumna whose career and endeavors have achieved national prominence in a particular field, bringing credit to himself or herself and, in turn, bringing credit to TCU.

Brent K. Blackburn ’82
San Francisco, California

Dr. Brent Blackburn is an internationally recognized and respected scientist who has been influential in the field of biotechnology. He has had an illustrious career with top biotechnology companies, including CV Therapeutics, Inc., where he rose to the position of senior vice president of drug discovery and development, and helped raise more than $1 billion for various research and development activities, to founding RapidScan Pharma Solutions, Inc., where he was president and CEO. Dr. Blackburn founded and currently serves as chief development officer of Amygdala Neurosciences, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing first-in-class therapy for substance abuse disorders. The company has received research money from the National Institutes of Health to pursue phase II clinical trials.


Honorary Alumni Award

First presented in 1954, this award is given to a person who is NOT an alumnus or alumna of TCU but, through his or her loyalty, service and/or support of TCU, has earned this recognition and honor.

H. Paul Dorman
Fort Worth, Texas

Pharmaceutical executive, business investor and entrepreneur Paul Dorman provided a generous gift to help make the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine a reality for the Fort Worth community – and a dream-come-true for future students. The H. Paul Dorman Charter Scholarship Program will provide full first-year tuition to the inaugural class of M.D. students at the school of medicine. The 60 students, known as Dorman Scholars, will be the first to attend the new school, set to open in 2019. Mr. Dorman is chairman and CEO of DFB Pharmaceuticals, a Fort Worth-based holding company that during the last 20 years has successfully invested, developed and operated multiple pharmaceutical businesses. With his generous gift, Paul Dorman changed the lives of 60 future physicians and countless patients they will care for in the future.


Royal Purple Award

Established in 1967, this award is designated for an individual's extraordinary service and support of TCU and the greater community.

Mary Ralph Lowe ’68
Fort Worth, Texas

Mary Ralph Lowe attended both TCU and Briarcliff College. She is a member of TCU’s Board of Trustees, a Founder of the Addison & Randolph Clark Society and a KinderFrogs Ambassador. She also served on the Chancellors Advisory Council and the Trustee Campaign Planning Committee.

Ms. Lowe established the Erma and Ralph Lowe Chair of Texas History, the first of its kind in the state, in honor of her parents; renovated the building for TCU’s School for Classical & Contemporary Dance, Erma Lowe Hall, named for her mother; and created the Ralph Lowe Energy Management Program, named for her father. Ms. Lowe is also very active in the community, serving on the boards of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Bass Performance Hall and the Lowe Foundation.


Valuable Alumni Award

The recipient of this award is an alumnus or alumna who has rendered outstanding and continuing service to the University and/or to the Alumni Association. The contributions of the individual are also in terms of financial support.

Hunter Enis ’59, ’63 (MA)
Fort Worth, Texas

Hunter Enis completed his undergraduate degree in geology in 1959, followed by a master’s degree in 1963, and later was part of a small group of visionary alumni who helped to create TCU’s Energy Institute. He is currently a member of TCU’s Board of Trustees and is the chair of the Amon G. Carter Stadium Expansion Special Committee. He was also a committee member for the Daniel-Meyer Athletic Complex and stadium renovation projects. Additionally, he has been active with the TCU Alumni Association, serving as a Quinq Club board member and as 50-year gift committee chair for his class reunion. Mr. Enis is a Pillar of the Addison & Randolph Clark Society and a member of the Chancellor’s Council. He supported the Ross Matthews Professorship in Petroleum Engineering as well as the Hunter Enis Chair in Petroleum Geology, which was established in his honor by his friend and business associate Dr. Larry Brogdon in 2014. Mr. Enis has also contributed to several campus building projects, including the Amon G. Carter Stadium East Side Expansion project, the Charlie and Marie Lupton Baseball Stadium, and the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Basketball Complex.


Alumni Service Award

Established in the spring of 1992, the alumnus or alumna receiving this award has rendered continuing and outstanding service to the Alumni Association and to the University.

Jay M. Gardner ’76, ’78 (MBA)
Fort Worth, Texas

A two-time business graduate of TCU, with an undergraduate degree in 1976 and an MBA in 1978, Mr. Gardner is among TCU’s most loyal and involved alumni. He has given back to the Neeley School in many ways, including service on the Neeley International Board of Visitors as well as chairman of the advisory board for the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program, where he is also a leadership coach and an impact project judge for junior students who undertake important projects that have a meaningful impact on the community.

Mr. Gardner is also a judge for TCU’s annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition, where college students from around the world come to TCU to pitch business ideas that make a difference while making a profit. Additionally, Mr. Gardner is a Chancellor’s Advisory Council member and recently served as a member of the Chancellor’s Search Committee for TCU’s new Provost.


Outstanding Young Professional Award

This award recognizes an alumnus or alumna, 35 years of age or younger, who has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement or endeavors, bringing credit to himself or herself and, in turn, bringing credit to TCU.

Parker G. Handlin ’08 and Corey W. Leedy ’10
Fort Worth, Texas

Parker Handlin and Corey Leedy co-founded and serve as co-chief executive officers for RRIG LP, a collection of oil and gas operating companies and investment entities. In addition to the day-to-day responsibilities of managing RRIG’s operations across several oil and gas verticals, these two partners also hold real estate, tech and early stage generalist investments. They started RRIG with the goal of acquiring minerals and royalties in the SCOOP play of Oklahoma. Shortly thereafter, they shifted focus to the Permian Basin in order to capitalize on their West Texas connections and knowledge base. RRIG has evolved into a multifaceted oil and gas organization that acquires minerals and leaseholds, operates wells and develops water midstream assets. RRIG, LP was founded in 2014.


Distinguished Student Award

Presented to a senior student who has distinguished himself or herself as an undergraduate at TCU, both in academics and in service to the University.

Michelle Nguyen ’19
Windsor, Connecticut

In May 2019, Michelle Nguyen will earn a Bachelor of Science in youth advocacy and educational studies, with a minor in comparative race and ethnic studies, from TCU. She is part of the John V. Roach Honors College, and was selected as a Clark Society Endowed Scholar and a Mission Statement Scholar as well as being named Ms. TCU. She is a University Life peer guide, served as an orientation coordinator and leader, is executive director of the board of the Chancellor’s Leadership Program, and is a member of the programming board for the Intercultural and Inclusiveness Services gender resource office. Additionally, she served as a director of education for the Collaborative Greek Alliance of Fraternity and Sorority Life.