University of Texas at Dallas: Distinguished UTD Alumni, Supporters Celebrated at Awards Gala

Ten individuals were recognized for their personal and professional achievements, service to the community and support for The University of Texas at Dallas’ mission during the 2022 UT Dallas Awards Gala. After a three-year hiatus, alumni and friends gathered Feb. 12 at the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center to celebrate the honorees.

Including graduates nominated by all eight of UT Dallas’ schools, the 2022 honorees have built distinguished careers in health care, real estate, technology, scientific research, entrepreneurship, education and philanthropy.

Kyle Edgington PhD’13, vice president for development and alumni relations, expressed pride in the honorees and recognized UT Dallas’ commitment to educating future alumni who will follow in their footsteps.

“Right now, our campus is home to nearly 30,000 students, all motivated to make a difference in the future,” Edgington said. “As a world-class public research university, UT Dallas has a responsibility to develop more individuals like tonight’s awardees. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s distinguished alumni.”

Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award


“[UT Dallas students] offer me optimism that our industry and community have a bright future. That’s why UT Dallas is so important and why I support this institution,” Herbert D. Weitzman said at the 2022 UT Dallas Awards Gala.
Herbert D. Weitzman received the Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award, the only award given to nongraduates. It recognizes individuals who have elevated the University’s efforts to increase the accessibility of higher education, promote research and provide the North Texas region with a talented workforce.

As executive chairman of Weitzman, a Dallas-based commercial real estate firm, Weitzman has worked for over 30 years to support commercial and residential expansion in North Texas. In recent years, Weitzman and his wife, Donna, took an interest in UT Dallas as an avenue to support the education of future leaders in the real estate industry.

The couple’s $3 million gift in 2018 created the Herbert D. Weitzman Institute for Real Estate in the Naveen Jindal School of Management. To date, the Weitzmans’ support has provided over 40 scholarships to real estate students and funded conference travel, competition participation and the activities of the Real Estate Club.


In addition to this philanthropic support, Weitzman has served as a mentor and advisor for current students by regularly engaging in workshops and networking events at the University.

During his acceptance speech, Weitzman reflected on UT Dallas’ capacity to develop industry leaders and the important qualities that students and young professionals bring to the real estate industry.

“They have shown me the power of vision and the belief in possibility,” Weitzman said. “UT Dallas students are educated to be resilient, so that they can handle tough-minded decisions. They offer me optimism that our industry and community have a bright future. That’s why UT Dallas is so important and why I support this institution.”

Green and Orange Award
Alicia Makaye PhD’12, co-founder and CEO of GXA, received the 2022 Green and Orange Award for her service to the University. A graduate of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, Makaye is a member of the UT Dallas Diversity Advisory Council and a mentor to current students. Outside the University, Makaye is a dedicated proponent of causes supporting veterans, children and families across the globe.

Reflecting on the end of her doctoral studies, Makaye said she felt drawn to stay involved at UT Dallas after graduation.

“I have more work to do here,” Makaye said. “I feel like the least I can do is to extend myself to my local university, my alma mater.”

Distinguished Alumni Awards


Dr. David Mittelman BS’01
Eight alumni were singled out at the gala this year. Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are renowned in their fields and have made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge and human living. Each honoree was recognized at the gala with a video chronicling their work and achievements. View each video by clicking on the awardee’s name below.


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