Watch videos of each of this year's Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award winners to learn about their careers, service and why UNT is dear to their hearts.
Distinguished Alumni Award
First presented in 1965, this is the most prestigious award given by the UNT Alumni Association. It recognizes alumni for distinguished professional achievement that has merited the honor and praise of peers and colleagues. These individuals have made significant contributions to society, supported the university, and served their fellow man; thus reflecting extraordinary credit on UNT.
Don Millican ('74), received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for his service and dedication to the UNT community. Millican is a CPA and CFO for George B. Kaiser in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a retired partner with Ernst & Young. He spends as much time as he can championing UNT's accounting program. Millican and his wife established the Don and Donna Millican Endowed Chair in Accounting, which attracts nationally recognized scholars to UNT's accounting department, and he is a founding member of the Diamond Eagles Excellence Fund.
Gayle W. Strange ('67), received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for her outspoken support and tireless efforts on the behalf of UNT. Strange is general partner of Strange Holdings, a commercial property management company, and owner of Tremont Construction Corporation. Strange, former chairwoman of the UNT System Board of Regents, is a lifelong member of the UNT Alumni Association, Board Member of the UNT Foundation, founding member of the Diamond Eagle Excellence Fund and strong supporter of the Mean Green Club.
Distinguished Young Alumni Award
Created in 2011 in the image of the Distinguished Alumni Award, this award recognizes young alumni under the age of 40 for distinguished professional achievement that has merited the honor and praise of peers and colleagues. These individuals have made significant contributions to society, supported the university, and served their fellow man; thus reflecting extraordinary credit on UNT.
Emily Mauzy ('06, '06 M.S.), received the 2017 Distinguished Young Alumni Award for her outstanding UNT spirit and industry work. Mauzy is a CPA and assistant vice president of corporate taxes for General Motors Financial in Fort Worth. She established the Emily Mauzy Accounting Scholarship in 2010, hoping to help students like herself succeed at UNT. This pairs well with her volunteering as a mentor for Fort Worth ISD students and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care. Mauzy received the Outstanding Tax Student Award in 2006 and was selected as the Keynote Speaker for her College of Business graduation ceremony in 2006.
Outstanding Alumni Service Award
Originally presented in 1974, this award honors individuals who have provided outstanding service to the community as well as the university.
Elliotte Dunlap ('97), received the Outstanding Alumni Service Award. Dunlap spent 12 years in sales at IBM, and is currently a Senior Enterprise Partner Solution Sales Executive at Microsoft. As a student, he was involved in various organizations from student leadership to Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. One of his proudest accomplishments is leading the charge in developing UNT’s Multicultural Center to teach diversity through engagement and promote student success. Dunlap was the keynote speaker at the 20th Anniversary Celebration for the Multicultural Center in 2014 as well as presented with the Founders Award. Currently Dunlap is involved in various mentorship organizations for college students and professionals. One of his proudest accomplishments is the development of A Few Good Men, an alumni group designed to mentor minority men at UNT to promote graduation and success. He and his co-founders help diverse men and women get mentally prepared to compete in today’s business climate.
Ulys Knight Spirit Award
Presented since 1975, this award is named for alumnus Ulys Knight, also known as “Mr. North Texas.” It is given to an individual or group who has shown spirit, enthusiasm, and motivation through the contribution of time and energy to a program or activity, which is deemed to have benefited the university family.
Jim Fincher ('69), received the ULYS Knight Spirit Award for his enthusiastic spirit and contributions to UNT. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Texas and Louisiana. He retired in January 2013 as Vice-President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Burch, Fincher and Company, a Texas Professional Corporation of Certified Public Accountants after 38 years at that position. Fincher serves as the treasurer and chair of the budget committee for the UNT Foundation Board of Directors. He has been active in the UNT Alumni Association, serving on the Board for many years, including a term as president. He is a devoted fan of UNT Athletics. He is a Club Seat football season ticket holder at Apogee Stadium. He has attended all home games played at the stadium. He is a member of the Mean Green Scholarship Society and contributes annually to help fund a student-athlete’s scholarship. He encourages others to support all UNT athletic programs.
Generations of Excellence Award
Presented for the first time in 2009, this award celebrates a family that has had multiple members attend UNT. These families have supported the university through their giving, leadership, service, and advocacy.
The Waddell Family, composed of three generations of UNT alumni -- Freddy J. Waddell ('72 Ed.D.), his son, Stephen “Steve” F. Waddell ('75,'96 Ed.D.), and Steve’s daughter, Sarah ('05) -- received the 2017 Generations of Excellence Award. Freddy was a principal and superintendent in California, as well as executive director of Region V Education Service Center, passing his love as an educator down to his son and granddaughter. Steve’s career as a principal and superintendent has taken him all over Texas, most recently as superintendent of Lewisville ISD, where he retired in 2015. Steve serves on the College of Education Development Board, helping to move education-centered thinking and teaching forward at UNT. Sarah is developing her own career in education. In addition to their enthusiastic engagement and advocacy, the family has showed its appreciation for UNT by endowing a scholarship for future school superintendents.