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Law Alumni Association announces 2010 distinguished alumni award recipients

The University of Texas Law Alumni Association announced the recipients of its 2010 distinguished alumni awards. Gary R. Gurwitz, ’59, received the Honorary Order of the Coif; Mark L. Hart Jr., ’68, received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Mike A. Myers, ’63, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service; and the Honorable Diane P. Wood, ’75, received the Outstanding Alumnus Award.

About the recipients

The Honorable Diane P. Wood
The Honorable Diane P. Wood

The Honorable Diane P. Wood

Outstanding Alumnus Award

The Outstanding Alumnus Award honors a graduate who has made outstanding contributions not only to the legal profession, but to society as a whole.

The Honorable Diane P. Wood, ’75, was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by President William J. Clinton on June 30, 1995. Judge Wood was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, on July 4, 1950. She lived in Westfield, New Jersey, until the age of sixteen, when she moved to Houston, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving her BA with highest honors and special honors in English in 1971, and the Law School, receiving her JD with high honors in 1975. Following her graduation from the Law School, Wood clerked for Judge Irving Goldberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court. After a brief period at the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. State Department, she was an associate at Covington & Burling LLP from 1978 to 1980, where she had a wide ranging litigation practice with particular emphasis on antitrust. From 1980 to 1981, she taught as an assistant professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. In 1981, she was appointed to the University of Chicago Law School faculty, where she served as associate dean from 1989 through 1992. In 1990, she was named to the Harold J. and Marion F. Green Chair in International Legal Studies, becoming the first woman at the University of Chicago Law School to be honored with a named chair. Immediately prior to joining the Court, Wood was deputy assistant attorney general in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from September 1993 through July 1995, where she was responsible for appellate matters, legal policy, and international enforcement.


Gary R. Gurwitz
Gary R. Gurwitz

Gary R. Gurwitz

Honorary Order of the Coif

This award is chosen and presented by the Dean, acknowledging an alumnus of exceptional merit and extraordinary achievement in his or her career.

Gary R. Gurwitz, ’59, is the managing partner of Atlas & Hall LLP in McAllen. He has over forty years of litigation experience representing corporations, banks, insurance companies, medical professionals, and individuals in cases involving a wide variety of legal issues, including commercial and business law, trusts, class actions, toxic tort, medical and legal malpractice, product liability, and personal injury.

Gurwitz received his BBA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1958 and his JD with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1959, where he was associate editor of the Texas Law Review. He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1959 and is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas; the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; the United States Supreme Court; and the Supreme Court of Texas.

In addition to his professional activities, Gary is active in numerous community affairs. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the South Texas Community College from 1993 to the present and is a former chairman of the Board of Trustees. He also is vice chairman of the University of Texas-Pan American School of Business Administration Business Advisory Council and a member of the Board of Directors of the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation. He was the recipient of the American Heart Association, Upper Valley Division, Heart of Gold Award in 1993 and the Muscular Dystrophy Association Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2004.


Mark L. Hart, Jr.
Mark L. Hart, Jr.

Mark L. Hart, Jr.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This award honors an alumnus who has had a distinguished legal career and who has brought honor to the University of Texas School of Law through his or her service to the legal profession and to society. With this award, the Law Alumni Association recognizes that alumnus who epitomizes the highest goals and traditions of the profession: diligence, discernment, integrity, and a commitment to the betterment of our civic life.

Mark L. Hart Jr., ’68, is a founder of Kelly Hart & Hallman, its former managing director, and past head of the Corporate and Securities practice group. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Texas at Austin and subsequently graduated with honors from the Law School, where he served as associate editor of the Texas Law Review. Hart has over thirty-eight years of experience in corporate and securities law, handling mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, leveraged acquisitions and recapitalization, securities offerings, financings and joint ventures, partnerships, and similar matters. He has worked on behalf of clients from a broad range of industries, as well as from nonprofit organizations.

In addition to his professional career, Hart’s civic involvement has included board and chairman positions for Fort Worth Country Day School, the American Cancer Society, and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. He also has served on the Board of the University of Texas Law School Foundation. Since 1989, Hart has been listed continuously in the publication The Best Lawyers in America under the corporate practice category. In 2001, the Law School announced the Mark L. Hart Jr. Endowed Chair in Corporate and Securities Law.


Mike A. Myers
Mike A. Myers

Mike A. Myers

Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service

Established by the Alumni Association in 1988, this award honors a graduate who brings conspicuous credit to the legal profession by exemplary service. The award recognizes superior educators, outstanding lawyers in government service, or those who have had a significant role as community volunteers.

Mike A. Myers, ’63, has been chairman of the board and owner of Myers Financial since 1969.  He is also president of Myers Development Corporation, which develops residential communities in Texas and Missouri.  He has also served as chairman of the board and CEO of Myers Bancshares, a Texas bank-holding company that operates six banks. Myers has served on the Board of Directors of NYSE, AMEX, and NASDAQ companies.  He also has an extensive background in developing, operating, and owning country clubs, and held numerous positions in various organizations including the Dallas Assembly (past president); the Dallas Citizens Council; the Young Presidents Organization (past treasurer); the University of Texas at Austin Development Board, Chancellor’s Council (chairman); the Foundation for Texas Excellence (cofounder); the Longhorn Education Foundation (past President); Commission 125 (in 1983 and 2005); the College of Business Administration Advisory Council; the Dallas Community College Foundation (chairman); the Parkland Hospital Foundation; and the Cotton Bowl Athletics Association. In 2008, Myers was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.