DDCE@UT banner

Biographies of the 2010 Community

Leadership Award Winners




Reverend Freddie B. Dixon Sr. has served the Austin community for the past 33 years in the capacity of United Methodist minister and elder, and as a board member of several city and nonprofit agencies, including the Capitol Area United Way, Campfire USA Board of Directors and the Austin City Planning Commission. Rev. Dixon is credited with co-founding the Austin Area Urban League and providing leadership in the creation of the magnet school at Kealing Middle School. He has been an active voice for East Austin on many issues. As a diversity and community engagement officer in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Rev. Dixon has been instrumental in creating several strategic partnerships between the university and community organizations, including special relationships with the African American Men and Boys Harvest Foundation, the Texas Black History Preservation Project and the ProArts Collective.


Huston-Tillotson University – Dr. Larry L. Earvin
This year marks the 135th anniversary of Huston-Tillotson University—the oldest institution for higher education in Austin. The university's roots go back to the founding of Tillotson College, one of the original Historically Black Colleges and Universities established to educate freed slaves. The university now serves 901 students, making this academic year the 11th straight year that enrollment has increased.

Dr. Larry L. Earvin has served as the university's president since 2000. During his tenure, Dr. Earvin has facilitated the name change from Huston-Tillotson College to Huston-Tillotson University. He has upgraded science laboratories, renovated residence halls and established an honors program. He has also successfully raised millions of dollars for scholarships and building renovations. The university is undertaking its first new construction in 1974, building a new Health and Wellness Center.

Earlier this year the Board of Trustees extended Dr. Earvin's contract for another five years, allowing him more time to work on his personal goal of increasing the enrollment of Huston-Tillotson.

ProArts Collective – Lisa Byrd
ProArts Collective was co-founded in 1993 by well known local actor, producer and director Boyd Vance. ProArts was founded for the promotion, production and preservation of African American theatre arts. Several years later, the organization began providing African-American theater artists in Austin with much-needed services such as networking, administrative consultation, production and fiscal management, and referrals for theater and film production.

Currently, ProArts is dedicated to fostering artistic expression representing the African Diaspora and is dedicated to the production of works for the enrichment of the community. ProArts has a full calendar of art activities, including arts programs in local area schools and an annual African American dance festival. The collective and its sister organization, the African American Arts Technical Resource Center, have been led by Lisa Byrd since 2005. Ms. Byrd was formerly the production director at Ballet Austin. She has been an active leader and advocate for the Austin African American Cultural Heritage District and a board member for the Austin Revitalization Authority.

SANDE Youth Project – Toni Tipton-Martin
SANDE is a nonprofit mentoring and training program that seeks to enrich the lives of young people and their families through culture, cuisine and community. The organization focuses on combating childhood hunger, obesity and disease by teaching basic cooking skills and nutrition to at-risk young people and their families while instilling core values in the areas of Spirit, Attitude, Nutrition, Deeds and Emotions. Through a community partnership and pilot program at The University of Texas Elementary School, SANDE looks to expand the efforts of the school's Healthy Families Initiative with organic gardening, nutrition and cooking activities.

SANDE was founded by chef and journalist Toni Tipton-Martin, who is also dedicated to educating the community about the rich culinary and cultural heritage of African Americans. Ms. Tipton-Martin was one of the chefs invited to the White House last summer to join First Lady Michelle Obama's launch of the project Chefs Move to Schools, part of a larger initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids.


Dr. Charles Akins
Dr. Charles Akins is the product of Austin public schools. He attended Blackshear Elementary, Kealing Junior High and L. C. Anderson High School. He attended Huston-Tillotson College and began his teaching career in 1956. In 1964 he became the first African American teacher in newly desegregated Johnston High School. Dr. Akins was the first African American to serve as an official for the Texas relays, and in 1968 he became a sports newscaster for KLRN—now KLRU—in an effort to integrate broadcast television in Central Texas.

In 1973 he became the first principal of the new L.C. Anderson High School during one of the most turbulent social periods in Austin history—the implementation of federally-mandated school busing for racial integration. His leadership there until 1982 paved the way for all Austin schools to create communities in which diversity is valued, expectations are high for all children, and opportunities for students and staff to achieve at their fullest potential are offered. Because of his service and dedication to students in AISD, the Board of Trustees voted to name Austin's newest high school in his honor. W. Charles Akins High School opened in 2000.

Dr. A. L. Mackey
Dr. Audrey L. Mackey has been a full-time member of the biology faculty at Austin Community College since August 1976. He received his bachelor's degree from Huston-Tillotson University and his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. Honored by the City of Austin for community service, Dr. Mackey has served as a long-term volunteer, officer or board member in numerous civic and educational organizations, including the Huston-Tillotson University International Alumni Association; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; Meals on Wheels; the Maggie Johnson Nursing Center; the NAACP and the Friends of Carver Volunteer Support Group. He is also involved in his church ministry, mentoring youth and serving as an advocate for services to the elderly.

Dr. General Marshall
Although Dr. General Marshall has had a distinguished career on the faculty of Huston-Tillotson University, his true love is golf. During the late 1940's and early 1950's, before African Americans were allowed to play local courses, he was a caddy at Lions Municipal. It was with the utmost pride.

Dr. Marshall witnessed the integration of that golf course in 1951. He played his first round of golf there in 1952 and was recently named one of the “Legends of Lions.” Dr. Marshall was not only a mathematics professor at Huston-Tillotson but was also the golf coach from 1971-1981. He served as chair of the Division of Natural Sciences from 1981 until his retirement in 2001, and received Huston Tillotson's Teaching Excellence Award in 1992 and 2000. He is a member of the Austin Revitalization Authority, which has been instrumental in helping to draw businesses to the 11th Street corridor in East Austin.

Dr. Bertha Means
Dr. Bertha Means has been recognized as a dedicated leader in the fields of education, the civil rights movement, civic involvement and historic preservation. She has held several positions with the Austin Independent School District and has had faculty affiliations with Prairie View A&M University, Huston-Tillotson University and The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Means also had a direct role in the integration of athletics at The University of Texas at Austin when she conferred with Regent Frank Erwin on behalf of her son regarding the integration of athletics. In 1963, James Means Jr. became the first Black letterman at the university, which led to the integration of the Southwest Conference.

Dr. Means has received numerous honors including the first Arthur B. DeWitty Human Relations award presented by the Austin Branch of the NAACP in 1966, the Whitney M. Young Jr. Leadership Award from the Austin Area Urban League in 2008, and the Texas NAACP Heroes Award in 2010 for heroic deeds and service in advancing civil rights, liberty and justice.

Mr. Edward Roby
Mr. Edward Roby has been instrumental in securing the legacy of African American high school athletes in Texas prior to 1970 through his work with the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association. He currently serves as the organization's executive director, working to honor the achievements of coaches and athletes from Texas' historically African American high schools and educate the public about their contributions. Mr. Roby was a teacher, coach, coordinator, supervisor, manager and assistant director of athletics for 36 years in the Moody and Austin Independent School Districts. He was inducted into the Prairie View Interscholastic League Hall of Fame in 2005, Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and L. C. Anderson High School Hall of Fame in 2009.


Coach Beverly Kearney
One of the most successful and decorated coaches across all of collegiate athletics, Beverly Kearney is in her 18th season as the women's track and field and cross country head coach at The University of Texas at Austin. She has a passion and a gift for coaching and mentoring that has inspired some of the finest athletes, including 12 Olympians. Coach Kearney has orchestrated seven NCAA National Championships in her 23 years as a head coach, six at Texas and one at the University of Florida. During her head coaching career, her teams have captured 22 league titles (11 Big 12 Conference, eight Southwest Conference and three Southeastern Conference titles) and recorded an undefeated mark in four years of competition in the Southwest Conference from1993-1996. In 2004 Coach Kearney was inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. In 2007 she was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame, becoming the sixth Longhorn to enter the Hall of Fame. During her tenure at The University of Texas at Austin, Coach Kearney has been honored with five National Coach of the Year honors, nine District Coach of the Year accolades and 15 Conference Coach of the Year honors. Beyond her work as a coach, she founded a nonprofit called Pursuit of Dreams which provides resources, motivation and guidance to organizations and to individuals, especially youth and those in transition.

Return to DDCE@UT Home Page

What Starts Here Changes the World: The University of Texas at Austin  

Editor: Leslie Blair
Layout: Jennifer Wang
Contributors: Ron Bowdoin, Steven Ditto, Deb Duval, Meg Halpin, Jill Hokanson, Sherry Reddick, Janell Ross

You have received this email because you have either signed up on our Web site to receive more information and news from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, you have attended one of our programs or events, or you have previously donated to the Division. Unsubscribe or update your email preferences

The University of Texas at Austin is committed to protecting your privacy. Please read our privacy policy to learn more. The University of Texas at Austin. All rights reserved.

The University of Texas at Austin
No. 1 University Station
Austin, Texas 78713