Two Baylor Law School alumni will receive Meritorious Achievement Awards at a Board of Regents dinner on Oct. 21. Cary Gray has been named Alumnus of the Year while Sen. Kirk Watson will receive the Pro Texana Medal (for Civic Service). Gray, Watson and eight other members of the Baylor family will be honored for their contributions to the university and society and will be special guests at several Homecoming events on Oct. 23.
The Baylor Alumnus of the Year is awarded annually to a graduate of Baylor University who has demonstrated remarkable achievement in the previous year. While consideration for the award is not based solely upon the individual's contribution to the University, contributions to the prestige and betterment of Baylor University bear a fitting weight in the selection process.
Gray, BBA '79, BA '80, JD '83, was president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and a member of Baylor Law's 1983 National Quarterfinalist Mock Trial Competition team. He is president and managing director of the commercial law firm Looper, Reed & McGraw P.C. in Houston and has been recognized a "Texas Super Lawyer" by Texas Monthly and Law & Politics magazines.
Throughout the years, Gray has remained actively involved with Baylor as a member of the Old Main Society and Athletic Director's Club and by serving on the board of directors of the Baylor Bear Foundation and the Friends of Baylor Steering Committee. An avid sports fan, Gray has supported capital projects, excellence funds and student-athlete scholarships relating to baseball, football, men's golf and men's basketball. He has generously supported Hankamer School of Business, Baylor's Student Foundation and the Houston Women's Association Scholarship. Additionally, he has contributed to Baylor Law's faculty fund, alumni endowment and building campaign.
He and his wife, Amber, have three children.
"Cary is always there to help the university and the law school, often behind the scenes," said Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben. "He exemplifies superbly the Baylor Lawyer who serves in every venue in which he is found."
The Pro Texana Medal of Service is awarded to an individual whose contributions in furthering the mission of Baylor University in the public or non-profit sector have made an immeasurable impact.
Former Mayor of Austin and current Texas Senator Kirk Watson earned his BA in political science in 1980 and a law degree in 1981. While attending Baylor Law School, Watson was editor-in-chief of the Baylor Law Review and graduated first in his class. He clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
In 1991 Watson was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards to serve as chair of the Texas Air Control Board, the state agency that was charged with protecting air quality in Texas. In 1997, he was elected mayor of Austin. Watson was elected to the Texas Senate in 2006. In 2009, he was recognized by Texas Monthly magazine as one of the state's "10 Best Legislators," among other recognitions.
He has been named an outstanding young alumnus of Baylor, Young Baylor Lawyer of the Year, and the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas. He is currently a partner with the law firm Brown McCarroll, L.L.P., working as a lawyer, mediator, public affairs consultant.
Sen. Watson has been married to his wife, Liz, for more than 27 years. They have two sons.
"Kirk has achieved a commanding profit in every endeavor in which he has served - in the bar, in the profession and in the public sector. He never fails to impress all with whom he works," Toben said.
In addition to the Alumnus of the Year award and Pro Texana Medal of Service, Baylor University will bestow the following accolades: Baylor Legacy Award, Baylor Young Alumna of the Year and Pro Ecclesia Medal of Service, with the traditional Baylor University Founders medal to be presented in the spring of 2011.
"What an honor it is to have the opportunity to recognize these magnificent individuals and their exceptional contributions to the betterment of Baylor and society," said Baylor President Ken Starr, who also serves as the Louise L. Morrison Professor of Constitutional Law at Baylor Law School. "Each one is a fitting example of how and why Baylor University continues to be such a remarkable place."