Texas State honors six as Distinguished Alumni for 2012

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
October 9, 2012

The Texas State Alumni Association has bestowed its highest honor upon six notable Texas State alumni for 2012. Linda Gregg Fields, Kathleen Fite, Darcy Hardy, Paul Phillips, Jill Pruetz and Steven "Blake" Ratcliff are this year’s recipients of the association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

The awards will be presented during a gala event Friday, October 12 during the Texas State Homecoming weekend.

First given to President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1959, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the Alumni Association’s most prestigious honor. Award recipients are Texas State graduates who have distinguished themselves in their chosen occupations and whose leadership serves as an example for the Texas State community.

This year’s honorees represent a range of degree fields, professions and accomplishments.

Linda Gregg Fields earned her bachelor's degree in education from Texas State in 1966 and was presented with an honorary doctorate this year. Her dedication to community service and philanthropic causes has benefitted numerous organizations, including the Texas State University Development Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House Houston Board of Directors, the American Cancer Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the American Red Cross.

Kathleen Fite earned her bachelor's degree in education in 1969 and her master's in 1970, both from Texas State. A professor of education at Texas State, Fite is an active scholar who frequently has been recognized by student groups as well as by her peers and colleagues with multiple awards for her mentorship, teaching, service and leadership. Fite was recently named Gesell International Ambassador and serves on the Advisory Council for the Gesell Institute of Child Development.

Darcy Hardy earned her bachelor's degree in industrial arts in 1982 and her master's in 1983, both from Texas State. She has been an advocate for quality distance and online learning in higher education since the late 1980s and served as an assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs and executive director of the University of Texas TeleCampus for 12 years. With her recent appointment to the U.S. Department of Labor, she has added the adult workforce to the populations she has served.

Dr. Paul Phillips earned his bachelor's degree in science from Texas State in 1977. After completing his doctorate of medicine, he entered the orthopedic surgery program at Martin Luther King, Jr./Charles Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles and later received a direct commission in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during his residency. Promoted to colonel in the Army Reserve in 2010, he has been mobilized to Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan in support of U.S. service members and has also supported humanitarian missions.

Jill Pruetz earned her bachelor's degree in anthropology from Texas State in 1989. She serves as an associate professor in the department of anthropology at Iowa State University, specializing in the behavior and ecology of primates. Her fieldwork, funded by such prestigious national and international agencies as the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation and the Leakey Foundation, has taken her on research expeditions in Peru, Costa Rica, Morocco, Panama, Nicaragua, Kenya and Senegal. Pruetz was one of only nine “Emerging Explorers” named by the National Geographic Society in 2008.

Steven “Blake” Ratcliff earned his B.B.A. in accounting in 1984 from Texas State. He joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Johnson Space Center in 1988. Since 2006, he has served as the manager for external integration within the International Space Station (ISS) Program. In this role, Ratcliff is responsible for negotiating and managing multi-billion dollar agreements for goods and services supporting the ISS with the partner governments of Russia, Japan, Canada and the 11 member states that comprise the European Space Agency.

To be considered for the Distinguished Alumni Award, an alumnus/alumna must be nominated by any member of the Texas State faculty, staff, student body or Alumni Association. An awards committee reviews each nomination and may confer the honor on no more than six individuals in any one year.

For more information, please visit the Texas State Alumni Association’s Web site at www.txstatealumni.org or contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (512) 245-2371.