Baylor To Honor Distinguished Alumni Jan. 19

Jan. 18, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

The Baylor University Alumni Association will honor four Baylor graduates for their significant achievements during the annual Distinguished Alumni banquet at 7 p.m. Jan. 19 in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

Receiving the 2001 award are Howard E. Butt Jr., president of the H.E. Butt Foundation; Col. Maria Cribbs, executive secretary to U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen; Ruth Parker Graves, president emerita of Reading Is Fundamental; and Dr. Lee Howard, retired from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Butt is well known for his work in Christian ministry -- as a lay leader, conference and retreat organizer and author. The 1947 Baylor graduate, who also serves as vice chairman of the board for H.E. Butt Grocery Co., spent the years following college preaching at churches around the country while working for the H-E-B Food Stores chain. Although he no longer holds a full-time position with H-E-B, Butt has continued his lay ministry work by authoring several books, working with Billy Graham to sponsor the Layman's Leadership Institute, organizing the North America Congress of the Laity in 1978 and overseeing Laity Lodge, an adult ecumenical Christian retreat center in the Texas Hill Country built by his parents in 1961.

A native of Cleburne, Cribbs earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from Baylor in 1975 before joining the U.S. Air Force. During her military service, she has been director of personnel and deputy base commander of the electronic systems division at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, chief of executive services at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, deputy director of personnel and manpower at U.S. European Command headquarters in Germany, and commander of the Air Force Inspection Agency at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. She became Cohen's executive secretary in 1999 and is responsible for screening, reviewing and editing all the Secretary's correspondence, planning his travel schedule and acting as a sounding board.

Graves, from the class of 1956, participated in student government and community projects while a Baylor student. Upon graduation, she became more involved in politics, joining the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, where she directed the migrant workers section of the anti-poverty program. In 1976 the Port Arthur native joined Reading Is Fundamental, a fledgling

organization designed to provide children with access to books and one that has since grown to be the largest children's literacy organization in the world. As president of the charity, a post she held until 1997, Graves recruited corporations, foundations and service groups to become RIF partners. She also established the National Book Program in conjunction with the U.S. Congress and the Department of Education and worked to expand RIF to include literacy programs for adults, migrant workers and homeless children.

The child of Baptist missionaries, Howard put his medical training to use in the field of international public health. The 1943 Baylor graduate earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and moved to India in 1950 to serve as a hospital medical director and chief of staff. The Third World country experience led him to realize his vocation lay in preventive medicine. For 28 years, he worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development, a branch of the State Department. During the course of his career, he traveled to more than 60 countries. Howard served as USAID Office of Health director from 1967 to 1981 and has consulted for such groups as the World Bank and the Pan American Health Organization. In 1987 USAID awarded him the Administrator's Distinguished Career Service Award, its highest honor, and in 1990 he was elected to Johns Hopkins University's Society of Scholars. Howard, who is married to Maxwell Croft Howard, also a Baylor graduate, retired from USAID in 1994.

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni Banquet, contact the Alumni Association at (254) 710-1121.

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