Shirley Bird Perry, Senior Vice President
The University of Texas at Austin
Shirley Bird Perry has been Senior Vice President at The University of Texas at Austin since April 1, 2004. In that capacity, she is responsible for overseeing the President's fund-raising efforts and maintaining momentum in contacts with potential donors, coordinating the President's program of community visits around the state, and working with the University's Center for American History to create a better historical record of the University. She is a member of the Vice President's Council and the University Leadership Council.
Mrs. Perry has served for more than 40 years with The University of Texas System and The University of Texas at Austin. She served as Vice Chancellor for Development and External Relations with the UT System from 1992 until 2004. In that position she directed fund-raising operations, public affairs activities, management of estates and trusts, event planning and special services, and other activities.
Before joining the UT System administration, she had been Vice President for Development and University Relations under UT Austin Presidents Peter T. Flawn and William H. Cunningham. In 1979, Dr. Flawn appointed her as Assistant to the President and Coordinator of the University's Centennial Observance, which culminated in 1983. Perry was promoted to Vice President and Coordinator of Centennial Programs in 1981.
Mrs. Perry holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. An active student leader during the 1950s, she was named the University's "Most Outstanding Woman Student" by the Dads' Association (now the Parents' Association) during her senior year. She joined the UT administration immediately after graduation in 1958, serving first as Program Director and then as Director of the Texas Union, the student center at the institution. Her service to UT has been interrupted only twice since then. She was a teacher in California in 1959-1960 and was with Association of College Union-International as Coordinator of Educational Programs and Services from 1976 to 1979.
In addition to membership on numerous University-related committees, she has served on the Public Affairs Committee of the Association of American Universities (AAU); the Executive Committee of the University Relations division of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC); and on a special Task Force on State Relations coordinated by NASULGC and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She received the Marvin D. (Swede) Johnson Award in State Relations for her contributions in the areas of public affairs and governmental relations presented by NASULGC and CASE.
During her years as a Texas Union administrator, she was active nationally as a volunteer leader with the Association of College Unions-International. Mrs. Perry was the first woman to be elected to the group's executive committee and the first woman to serve as president of the organization (1972-1973). She received the association's highest recognition, the Butts-Whiting Award, in 1976 and was the first woman to receive the award.
A Life Member of the Texas Exes, she received the organization's Top Hand Award in 1984. The Parents' Association presented its Award of Distinction to her in 1992. The Texas Union named a special student recognition award in her honor, the Shirley Bird Perry Leadership Award. In 2003, she was named a Woman of Power by the Austin Business Journal. And in 2005, she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Texas Exes.
Mrs. Perry serves as an Advisory Director of JPMorgan Chase Bank in Austin. Her past corporate board memberships include service on the boards of directors of Southwestern Public Service Company and Lomas and Nettleton Mortgage Investors.
A fifth generation Texan, she is married to Sam R. Perry, also a University of Texas graduate, who is an Austin attorney.