Baylor's Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Named

  • News Photo 3331
    Gale Pollock
  • News Photo 3332
    Gary Keller
  • News Photo 3330
    Bill McKinney
  • News Photo 3333
    Priscilla Owen
Jan. 13, 2006

by Judy Prather, Baylor Alumni Association, (254) 710-6431

On Jan. 20, the Baylor Alumni Association will bestow the Distinguished Alumni Award upon four Baylor graduates -- Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock, Dr. William T. McKinney Jr., Judge Priscilla Richman Owen and Gary Keller -- at a black-tie banquet in the Cashion Academic Center on the Baylor campus. Presented annually since 1965, the prestigious award has honored governors and scientists, artists and denominational leaders, and educators and entrepreneurs.

Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock is chief of the Army Nurse Corps. She graduated from Baylor in 1986 with a master's degree in healthcare administration from the Army-Baylor graduate program at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. She also has earned a bachelor of science in nursing in 1976 from the University of Maryland, a master of science in business administration in 1984 from Boston University, and a master's degree in national resource strategy in 1997 from the National Defense University.

As chief of the Army Nurse Corps, Pollock is responsible for the Army's entire nursing staff worldwide. She also is commander of the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, and commanding general of the Pacific Regional Medical Command.

Pollock started her professional career as a staff nurse in the coronary intensive care unit at Fort Dix, N.J., in 1976, gradually working her way up through a number of other positions -- including a senior policy analyst and commander of the Martin Army Community Hospital -- to eventually find herself leading the entire Army Nurse Corps. While she thrives on her responsibility as a leader, she does miss her days as an anesthesia nurse. "There's that immediate gratification that comes with laying your hands on and doing patient care one on one," she said.

That's the passion that Pollock's husband, Doug McAllaster, most admires about her. "She has a deep commitment to taking care of people who serve in the military," he said. "That's what motivates her."

Dr. William T. McKinney Jr. serves as professor of psychiatry and director of the Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. After graduating from Baylor cum laude with a bachelor's degree in psychology and chemistry in 1959, McKinney spent four years at Vanderbilt's medical school. He then interned at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and was a resident in the departments of psychiatry at both the University of North Carolina and Stanford University.

While at Stanford, McKinney met his wife, Carolyn, a native of Chicago who was an occupational therapist working at the university's hospital. His career has taken him from the National Institute of Mental Health to the University of Wisconsin to Northwestern University, where in 1993 he became the first permanent director of the Asher Depression Center.

McKinney's passion is to make life better for some of the more than 30 million American adults who suffer from depression at least once in their lives. "It's a very serious, complex illness," McKinney said. "Depression clearly has a major genetic and biological aspect, but that's not all. It's not just an illness that you give people pills for. Medication is often a very important part of the treatment, but you have to approach it more comprehensively. Finding the best match for them is a significant challenge. We're working on how to individualize treatment."

Early this year, McKinney will retire from his faculty position at Northwestern and as director of the Asher Center, but he will continue to work in the field, in a part-time position with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the national organization responsible for accrediting residency-training programs in all medical specialties.

Judge Priscilla Richman Owen, an Austin resident, is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, based in New Orleans. A 1976 Baylor graduate, she earned the JD degree from Baylor School of Law in 1977 and joined the Houston law firm of Andrews & Kurth LLP in 1978.

In 1993, she was encouraged by a group of fellow attorneys to challenge an incumbent on the Texas Supreme Court. After also receiving encouragement from the head of her section at the law firm, Owen sought the counsel of Chief Justice Tom Phillips, a fellow Republican and 1971 Baylor graduate. Phillips gave her advice on running in a statewide race and introduced her to his campaign consultant, whom she promptly hired.

Owen's determined approach led to her winning a seat on the Texas Supreme Court in 1994, as well as re-election in 2000. During her years on the Texas Supreme Court, from 1995 to 2005, Owen collaborated with the other eight justices to issue opinions in more than a thousand cases. "She was very thorough and incisive," said Phillips, remembering their years together on the court. "She dug into a case until she was satisfied that she had found the right answer."

Last May, Owen opened a new chapter in her career as a jurist when her nomination by President Bush to serve on the New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She took the oath of office for her new seat on June 6, 2005.

Gary Keller is co-founder and chairman of the board of Austin-based Keller Williams Realty Inc., which he began in 1983, only four years after his graduation from Baylor. After starting with 10 agents, Keller Williams Realty now has more than 58,000 agents in 475 offices across the United States and Canada.

In 2003, the company ranked fifty-fourth on Entrepreneur magazine's list of the 101 fastest-growing franchises. That same year, REALTOR Magazine listed Keller as the second most influential person in the real estate industry, and he was recognized as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Central Texas region. He also has written two best-selling books for the general public--The Millionaire Real Estate Agent and The Millionaire Real Estate Investor.

After earning a BBA in marketing in 1979 with real estate as his specialization, Keller began his career with an Austin real estate company. By the time he was 25, he was vice president of expansion for the company and its highest-paid employee. But he had philosophical differences with the owner, who he said treated everyone as if they worked for the company. Keller's belief was that the company worked for its people.

"He thinks five years ahead of his time," said Mo Anderson, CEO of Keller Williams since 1995. "He is one of the greatest students I've ever known. I think the day he turns 100, he'll still be a student."

It was at Baylor that Keller discovered his love of learning -- something he still can't get enough of. "Many nights at Baylor you'd find me on the second or third floor of Moody Library reading," he remembered. That passion for knowledge remains strong. Many years later, continuing his focus on education, Keller created Keller Williams University, which provides training and instruction in real estate and investing.

Keller has been married for 19 years to a 1977 Baylor graduate, Mary Pfluger, and they have a 14-year-old son, John.

All alumni and friends of the university are welcome to attend the Distinguished Alumni Award banquet. For more information about the event, contact the Baylor Alumni Association at 1-800-BAYLOR-U, opt. 6. To nominate someone for the Distinguished Alumni Award -- or for one of the eight other awards given annually by the Baylor Alumni Association -- go to

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