The University of Texas at Austin
  • Extraordinary Exes: Cat Osterman and C.R. Smith

    By Lynn Freehill
    Lynn Freehill
    Published: Aug. 20, 2010

    To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the Texas Exes asked its members to share their stories, showing that what starts here truly changes the world. During the past few weeks, Know has featured stories that show why these alums deserve the title “Extraordinary Exes.”

    Cat Osterman

    Cat Osterman, B.A. 2007

    Cat Osterman was already a softball phenomenon before playing for The University of Texas at Austin, but her years on the Forty Acres helped build her as a legend.

    The Houston native become the youngest member of U.S.A. Softball’s national team after high school, helping the U.S. win a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and later a silver at the 2008 games in Beijing.

    As a freshman Longhorn, she pitched the first perfect game in UT softball history. An unprecedented string of college records and honors followed, including six more career perfect games and 20 career no-hitters. Osterman broke nearly all the school and conference records, and was named U.S.A. Softball National Player of the Year three times during college.

    She also was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American four times, Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year three times (becoming the only athlete from any men’s or women’s sport team to be honored more than once) and was the first softball player to twice grace the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.

    C.R. Smith

    C.R. Smith, attended in early 1920s

    When air travel was new, C.R. Smith helped American Airlines as its president and CEO transform into one of the world’s largest airlines.

    A native of little Minerva, Texas, Smith was known as steadfast and honest. “You can close a $100 million deal on his word alone,” fellow executives have said.

    During WWII, Smith left American to serve his country, joining the Air Force and becoming major general in the Air Transport Command. Afterward, he returned to the airline where he was legendary for knowing the name of every employee. He took chances on ordering the Boeing 707 — which made American the first carrier to offer domestic jet service — and on becoming the first airline executive to discuss air safety openly with the public.

    After retiring from American in 1968, Smith served for a year as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

    View a full list of Extraordinary Exes on the Texas Exes Web site.

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