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Alumni Association honors four with Distinguished Alumni Award

By T.C. Sprencel
University News Service
October 25, 2010

The Texas State University-San Marcos Alumni Association has bestowed its highest honor upon four notable Texas State alumni for 2010. Maj. Gen. John Burris, the Rev. Gary Lillibridge, Vernon McDonald and Daymon Muehl are this year’s recipients of the association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

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.

Burris, a resident of Alice, received his bachelor’s degree in history from Texas State in 1956 and earned his Juris Doctor degree from St. Mary’s University in 1964. Burris entered active duty for the U.S. Air Force in 1957 and eventually attained the position of mobilization assistant to the chief of the Air Force Reserve. In his civilian capacity, Burris practiced law in Alice from 1964 to 2004. He currently devotes his time to farming and ranching and is involved in a number of community activities.

San Antonio resident Lillibridge received his undergraduate degree in sociology from Texas State in 1978 and earned his Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1982. Ordained a priest in 1983, Lillibridge has served at a number of churches, and in 2006, he was consecrated bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. He also participates in various community service activities and church-related organizations.

McDonald, of San Marcos, earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1952 and his master’s in education in 1954. He served as Texas State’s head basketball coach from 1961 to 1977 and eventually became assistant athletic director and assistant professor of physical education at Texas State. Although he retired in 1988, McDonald currently oversees the Vernon McDonald Endowment Fund, which provides financial assistance for summer school to members of the Texas State men’s basketball team. He is also a member of the Texas State “T” Association board of directors.

Muehl received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Texas State in 1961. While at the university, he was active in a number of organizations and served as Pi Sigma Chi fraternity president and treasurer of the student senate. Upon graduation, Muehl began a 34-year career with Humble Oil and Refining Company (now Exxon Mobil Corp.), during which he worked in a number of departments around the country and eventually became the company’s national advertising coordinator. Muehl continues to serve Texas State through financial contributions, volunteer efforts and an endowment that supports student organizations. He also takes part in the activities of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) at Texas State.

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