Mays Business School alumni David G. Eller ’59 and Cynthia B. Taylor ’84 were among the 2016 Distinguished Alumni, the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University.
Since the inception of the award in 1962, only 261 of Texas A&M’s 440,000 former students have been recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Awarded jointly by the university and The Association, this award recognizes those Aggies who have achieved excellence in their chosen professions and made meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.
“Texas A&M’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni demonstrate the broad reach and influence of Texas A&M,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “This group includes fearless leaders and influencers in the fields of engineering, technology, energy, medicine, veterinary medicine, national defense, finance, education and philanthropy. Their stories truly display the power of a Texas A&M University education.”
Eller is a longtime biotechnology leader. He is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Celltex Therapeutics Corp. Previous positions include president of DuPont Pharmaceuticals-Europe; CEO and president of Virbac Corp.; and founder, chairman and CEO of Granada BioSciences. He served on The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents from 1983 to 1989, chaired it from 1985 to 1989, and was the first in A&M’s history to be designated a chairman emeritus; for a time, he was simultaneously System chancellor. He established the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences & Technology in Houston and has served on boards for the Texas Chamber of Commerce, Greater Houston Partnership, Baylor College of Medicine, Hermann Hospital, Allied Bancshares, First Interstate Bank, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the Houston Ballet and the Rice University Energy & Environmental Systems Institute. He served eight years as an officer on active duty and reserves in the U.S. Army.
Cynthia B. Taylor ’84 is CEO of Oil States International, a diversified oilfield services company that she helped take public. She was among the first female CEOs in the energy industry, Houston’s first public company female CEO and one of only 50 female CEOs in the Fortune 1000. She is a board member for AT&Tand Tidewater Inc. Her business accolades include being ranked on the All-American Executive Team for Energy.
A former trustee of the 12th Man Foundation and member of Mays Business School’s Dean’s Development Council, she was named an Outstanding Alumna of Mays Business School in 2011. Recent awards include the McLane Leadership in Business Award; the Aggie 100 Summit Award; and the Women Former Students’ Network Legacy Award. She has served on the Board of Trustees for Texas Children’s Hospital and was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2014.
The recipients learned of their honor when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and Association representatives, including Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp ’72, Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young, The Association of Former Students’ 2016 Chair of the Board of Directors Dwain Mayfield ’59, Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79 and a Ross Volunteer, along with university mascot Reveille IX and her handler.
“Our 2016 Distinguished Alumni are an inspiration to Aggies everywhere,” Mayfield said. “Their varied professional pursuits and far-reaching influences across our Aggie Network are all strongly rooted in our core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service.”
The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 7. In addition, the 2016 recipients will be recognized during the Oct. 8 Texas A&M football game against Tennessee.