Mays graduate Charles L. Pence ’51 has been recognized as one of the 10 recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University. A full list of the recipients is available from the Association of Former Students. 

The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 5. For information about the gala, go to this page or contact Hannah Johnston ’11, Director of Events, at 979-845-7514 or In addition, the 2018 recipients will be recognized during the Oct. 6 Texas A&M football game against Kentucky.

Charles L. Pence ’51

Pence served in Korea and Japan in the Army, then began a 27-year career at ExxonMobil, becoming senior vice president of Exxon’s Friendswood Development Co. and developing Houston area’s first master-planned community, Clear Lake City. As president of Battlement Mesa Inc., he managed the construction of a new town, Battlement Mesa, near Grand Junction, Colo., to house employees of Exxon’s mining operation.  Upon retiring from Exxon in 1982, he co-founded Jefferson Development Co., serving as CEO for 12 years; was co-founder and chairman of Entouch Systems for five years; chairman of SiEnergy LLC for 10 years; and is co-founder and chairman of Si Environmental LLC. He has long supported Corps of Cadets scholarships, and his service to his communities includes chairing the transportation committee of the Houston Chamber of Commerce; serving as co-founder and president of the state’s nonprofit Grand Parkway Association developing an outer loop around Houston; and helping start University Baptist Church in Clear Lake City and Grace Fellowship Church in Lampasas.

About the award

Since the inception of the award in 1962, only 281 of Texas A&M’s 488,500 former students have been recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Awarded jointly by the university and The Association, this honor recognizes those Aggies who have achieved excellence in their chosen professions and made meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.

“The 2018 Distinguished Alumni are emblematic of the goals and missions of the university,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “We encourage our students to take the Aggie core values into the world and make it a better place through achievement, leadership, and service. This group of individuals includes leaders from different fields who have done just that, contributing to our state, nation, and world outstandingly in the military, business and industry, architecture, entertainment, public policy and higher education. Although they traveled different paths after graduation, what they all have in common is their enduring love and support of Texas A&M, and for that their fellow Aggies are grateful.”

The recipients learned of their honor when surprised in their places of business and other locations by university and Association representatives, including Young, The Association of Former Students’ 2018 Chair of the Board of Directors Jimmy Williams ’83, Ph.D., Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79, Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel ’96, and a Ross Volunteer, along with university mascot Reveille IX and her handler.

Williams said, “Our 2018 Distinguished Alumni are innovators, achievers, leaders and selfless servants. They exemplify our core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service, and I am inspired by the way they represent our Aggie Network.”

Garner echoed the sentiments of Young and Williams and offered his congratulations on behalf of The Association of Former Students.

“The Distinguished Alumnus award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M, and fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of our former students have been recognized as such,” Garner said. “Our 2018 recipients are most deserving of this honor and demonstrate the wide-ranging impacts of the Aggie Network on our society.”

 Nominations for the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award will be accepted through Oct. 7 at