(Paletta, Dang, Strawser and Kelly)
Mays Business School recognized four of its most engaged and productive former students with the 2016 Outstanding Alumni Award on Nov. 10. The 2016 recipients are Louis Paletta ’78, T. Mark Kelly ’79, Jerry Strawser ’83 and Kimberly Allen Dang ’92. All are graduates of the accounting program.
Paletta is a founding partner, board member and chief operating officer of Kildare Partners. He has served Texas A&M
University as a member of the board of trustees of the 12th Man Foundation and as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays, where he currently serves as chairman of the fundraising and development committee. At the banquet, he shared his life philosophies: “You’re only as good as your word and you can never go wrong taking the high road.”
Kelly is chairman of Vinson & Elkins LLP, an international law firm with approximately 700 lawyers across the globe. His practice is concentrated on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and corporate governance. Under Kelly’s leadership, the firm has posted record revenues and net income and has nine domestic and seven international offices. Kelly serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays and is a member of the Champions Council and the Council of Athletic Ambassadors. He said he is impressed with the passion and desire to be the best he sees in the current students. “I hope through our work, we will continue to attract the best and the brightest to Mays Business School.”
Strawser holds the KPMG Chair in Accounting at Mays and serves as executive vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer of Texas A&M University. He oversees a budget of more than $1.6 billion and works with the university and Texas A&M System leadership to develop and identify funding for strategic university priorities. He was dean of Mays 2001-2007 and 2008-2014, and interim executive vice president and provost of Texas A&M 2007-2008. He commented on the character of the school’s current students. “They don’t just want to get a job, they want to make a difference. They have huge brains, and they also have huge, huge hearts.”
Dang is vice president, chief financial officer and a member of the Office of the Chairman of Kinder Morgan, the largest energy infrastructure company in North America. After graduating from Texas A&M, she earned an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She said she will always be grateful for the foundation Texas A&M provided for her life. “Many years ago my father told me the broader you build the base, the higher you can build the tower. Texas A&M provided a strong base on which I continue to build.”
The 2017 Mays Business School Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner was on April 6, 2017.