New Texas Exes president outlines organization's goals

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UT alumnus John Beckworth has walked down the burnt orange road for most of his life. He received two degrees at the University, and even married a fellow UT alumna. This month, Beckworth continues his burnt orange streak, becoming the 87th board president of Texas Exes, the UT alumni association.

Beckworth, a lifetime member of Texas Exes and partner at Houston law firm WattBeckworth, took over as Texas Exes president July 1. He is replacing former president Machree Gibson, the first black female president of the organization. He had previously served one year as president-elect. Beckworth will serve a one-year term and said he hopes to grow and strengthen the organization in several ways to better support the central goal of Texas Exes — to support the University, its students and alumni.

“Our goal is to enhance the University’s mission of being a university of the first class, both for its immediate constituency, students, as well as for the state of Texas and the exes,” he said.

Specifically, Beckworth said he plans to increase the openness of communication between Texas Exes and its constituencies, increase the focus of the organization’s volunteer efforts and expand the Forty Acres Scholars Program, a scholarship program run by Texas Exes that works to attract the most talented students to UT and support them.

“The Forty Acres Scholars Program has potential,” he said. “Indeed, it is undertaking a really transformational effort on our school to provide a comprehensive scholarship experience to very gifted students and to create such a textured experience that they will positively affect their fellow students and the community beyond them.”

Beckworth said UT has greatly affected the life of him and his family. He attended the UT School of Law along with his wife, Laura, and has two sons who are UT alumni and one that will be starting graduate school at UT. “Burnt orange is in their blood,” said Texas Exes spokesman Tim Taliaferro.

Taliaferro said by becoming president, Beckworth is taking on a very important responsibility, since the president serves as leader of a very large and historic organization of about 99,000 members.

Taliaferro said the board president is “sort of the honorary leader of the organization... he or she sets general priorities and oversees the staff operations.”

Armiya Humphrey, Business Honors Program junior and a Forty Acres Scholar, said she thinks the program is very successful in attracting the most gifted students to UT and would strongly advocate for its growth.

“When I was looking at colleges, my top school was Harvard,” she said. “I got in, and that was where I was planning on going before I went down to finals weekend of the scholars program and saw all the resources that UT has, how much they were going to put into this program and, basically, what it could help me do.”