Presidential Award winners

Each year the following Presidential Awards are presented:

Wings of Eagles Presidential Award

Awarded to an alumnus or friend who embodies what UNT represents: engagement, generosity and affinity. This is the most prestigious award presented by the president to someone who has made a transformative impact on the university.

Presidential Excellence Award

UNT’s most prestigious and coveted honor given to current faculty, staff or students. This award, presented by the president, honors individuals for significant and superb accomplishments that have been recognized nationally. Each year one award is presented to a faculty or staff member and one award is presented to a student or group of students.

2017 Presidential Award Winners

Wings of Eagles Presidential Award

G. Brint Ryan (’88, ’88 M.S.), CPA, is founder and chairman/CEO of Ryan, an award-winning global tax services firm, with the largest indirect and property tax practices in North America and the seventh largest corporate tax practice in the United States. In 2015, he was appointed by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to serve as chairman of the Lieutenant Governor’s Tax Policy Advisory Board, and he was re-appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve a second six-year term as chairman of the UNT System Board of Regents.

He serves on the UNT Dallas Foundation Board and UNT Pi Kappa Alpha Chapter Housing Corporation Board. He previously served on the UNT Accounting Advisory Board and UNT College of Business Advisory Board. He received the Judge Elbert P. Tuttle Distinguished Achievement Award from the Epsilon Delta Chapter, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at UNT in 2011. He has served on the Board of Trustees for Pi Kappa Alpha since 2012 and was elected vice president in 2015. He also was recognized with UNT’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009, the Outstanding Alumnus Service Award in 2003 and the College of Business Accounting Department Alumnus of the Year Award in 1997. Additionally, he has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pi Kappa Alpha and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Beta Pi Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi.

Presidential Excellence Award (Faculty)

Richard DeRosa, professor of jazz arranging and director of jazz composition and arranging studies, is a Grammy Award-nominated composer, arranger and musician who joined the UNT faculty in 2010. His big band composition “Neil,” dedicated to former One O’Clock Lab Band director Neil Slater, was nominated for the 2015 Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition. In 2015, he composed “Suite for an Anniversary” in honor of UNT’s 125th anniversary. Since 2001, he has arranged and conducted music for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to feature Toots Thielemans, Annie Ross, Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, Cassandra Wil­son and Roberta Gambarini among others

Presidential Excellence Award (Student)

UNT senior Marisa Nowicki is double majoring in applied behavior analysis and psychology. She is a Terry Foundation Scholar, has excelled as an Honors College student. Her desire to pursue a career in public service was cemented while attending the prestigious Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute at Princeton University in 2016. Her interests include diplomacy, emergency planning and management, international affairs and security. She plans to attend graduate school to earn a Master of International Affairs with a concentration in international conflict resolution.

2016 Presidential Award Winners

Wings of Eagles Presidential Award

Ernest W. Kuehne, Jr. (’66) is president and board chairman of Kuehne Oil Co., a member of the State Bar of Texas and owner of Kuehne Racing. He gives his time and money to many worthy organizations in the community. Ernie serves on the President’s Leadership Board and is a member of The McConnell Society at UNT. He also is a lifetime member of the UNT Alumni Association and the UNT Ex-Letterman’s Association.

He continues to give back to his social fraternity, serving on the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Alumni Advisory Board, which provides professional leadership, counsel and advice to chapter leaders. Additionally, he holds a position as trustee of the PIKE Foundation that provides direct financial assistance to PIKE members and monetary support for PIKE U, the PIKE leadership training program. UNT has benefited from Ernie’s unwavering commitment to his university, its athletes, its students and the community at large. His passionate leadership and influence has raised more than $15 million for athletics, the Kristin Farmer Autism Center, logistics and the UNT Kuehne Speaker Series.

Presidential Excellence Award (Faculty)

Dr. Richard “Rick” Dixon, Distinguished Research Professor of biology, is a world-renowned specialist in metabolic engineering of plants. His research interests center on the biochemistry, molecular biology and metabolic engineering of plant natural product pathways and their implications for agriculture and human health. He also studies the engineering of lignocellulosic biomass for the improvement of forage and bioenergy feedstocks. He has published more than 450 papers and chapters on these and related topics in international journals.

Presidential Excellence Award (Student)

UNT seniors Nichole Fallis, McKenzie Hibler and Katelyn Patrick and junior Ashley Nudge won first place in the National Retail Federation Student Challenge in 2016, clinching a first-ever win for students in UNT’s Department of Merchandising and Digital Retailing. They were each awarded a $5,000 scholarship during the NRF’s annual “BIG Show” in New York City for their pitch of a product worthy of a national retailer.