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February 23, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk will be named an honorary alumnus of Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law at a Distinguished Alumni Awards reception and dinner starting at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 24, in the Grand Ballroom of the Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce St.

Kirk, who is the city's first African-American mayor, is now in his second term. He has successfully passed six city budgets and the 1998 Capital Bond Program, which will lead to improvements in the Trinity River Corridor. Under Kirk's leadership, Dallas citizens voted to support and build a new downtown sports arena. He also worked to ensure that the Nasher Collection remains in the city in a soon-to-be built sculpture garden. His economic development efforts have helped secure 40,000 jobs and investment of more than $3 billion in Dallas.

Kirk is a partner with Gardere and Wynne L.L.P. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and sociology from Austin College, where he was named a Distinguished Alumnus. Kirk received his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. At SMU, he serves as chairman of the board of the Hart Global Leaders Forum.

Each year the law school recognizes graduates who have distinguished themselves in their professional achievements, philanthropy, public service or by rendering outstanding service to SMU's Dedman School of Law. Seven attorneys will be honored this year with the school's Distinguished Alumni Award:

  • Clark J. Matthews II ('61), who will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Corporate Service, is co-vice chairman of 7-Eleven Inc., headquartered in Dallas and the world's largest operator, franchiser and licenser of convenience stores;
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice James A. Baker ('58), who will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Judicial Service;
  • Helmut Sohmen ('66), who will receive the Robert G. Storey Award for Distinguished Achievement, is chairman and president of World-Wide Shipping Group Ltd., based in Hong Kong;
  • Texas Railroad Commissioner Tony Garza ('83), who will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Government Service;
  • Gordon R. Carpenter ('48), who will receive the Charles O. Galvin Award for Service to SMU's Dedman School of Law, is a trustee and former executive director of the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation;
  • Hector A. Mairal ('63), who will receive the Distinguished Global Alumni Award, is a partner in one of the largest law firms in Latin America, Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal; and
  • John R. Howie ('76), who will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Private Practice, is a personal injury trial law specialist with Howie & Sweeney, L.L.P. and an expert in aviation law.