Liberal Arts honors 3 Distinguished Alums for contributions to literature, public service, conservation

Alumni Impact

College of Liberal Arts | April 7, 2022

On April 2nd, 2022, the College of Liberal Arts hosted the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award Gala. The DAAA award recognizes exceptional contributions of Texas State University Liberal Arts graduates to society, the arts and humanities, and the environment. 

This year’s recipients include an award-winning author, a judge and Director of the White House Fellowships program, and a water conflict mediator responsible for protection of the Edwards Aquifer.

Ms. Diana López, the Honorable Rose Vela, and Dr. Todd Votteler are this year’s recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Honorees reflect the diversity of contributions the Liberal Arts provide to the world.

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Dr. Todd Votteler, President of Collaborative Water Resolution LLC and Water Opinions LLC, and Ms. Diana López, Award-Winning Author

Ms. Diana López, Award-Winning Author

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Ms. Diana López is currently the Vice-President of the Texas Institute of Letters. She earned her M.F.A. in English from Texas State University in 1999. Her books include the adult novella, Sofia’s Saints, and middle grade books Confetti Girl; Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel; Nothing Up My Sleeve, and Lucky Luna. Her novel Choke was adapted as The Choking Game for the Lifetime Movie Network in 2014. She also had the honor of writing COCO: A Story About Music, Shoes, and Family, a novel adaptation of the award-winning Disney/Pixar film. Ms. Lopez’s debut picture book Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla and simultaneous Spanish edition Canta Conmigo: La historia de Selena Quintanilla (Penguin/Dial, 2021) celebrates the life and legacy of the beloved Queen of Tejano music.

The Honorable Rose Vela, Director of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships

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Judge Rose Vela is a retired Texas State District Judge and Appellate Justice with a 32 year career in both law and politics.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Political Science in 1985 from Texas State University. She received her J.D. from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio in 1988. Judge Vela left the judiciary in 2012 to work on the successful congressional campaign of her husband, Filemon Vela, Jr.  During her career, she has been involved in numerous civic activities, serving on various boards including the Food Bank of Corpus Christi and the Nueces County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). In March 2021, Judge Vela was appointed by President Joseph R. Biden to be Director of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

Dr. Todd Votteler, President of Collaborative Water Resolution LLC and Water Opinions LLC

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Dr. Votteler has 30 years of experience in Texas water resources management, policy, dispute resolution, and science. Dr. Votteler has a B.S. in Natural Resources from The University of the South, an M.S. in Natural Resources from The University of Michigan, and he earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Geography from Texas State University in 2000. Votteler served as Special Master during the Edwards Aquifer Endangered Species Act litigation that resulted in federal environmental protection of the San Marcos River. Dr. Votteler is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of the Texas Water Journal and Texas+Water. He is a Fellow of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, a Mentor at the Austin Technology Incubator at The University of Texas at Austin, and a member of the Advisory Committee for the Permanent Forum of Binational Waters (Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte water issues).

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For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922