Texas State honors five as Distinguished Alumni for 2013

By Daniel Palomo III
University News Service
October 25, 2013

The Texas State University Alumni Association has granted its most prestigious honor to five Texas State alumni for 2013. Geoffrey S. Connor, Robert Thomas “Tom” Roddy Jr., Cleofas “Cleo” Rodriguez Jr., Virginia Ann Stevens and Kenneth J. Wilson have been chosen to receive the association’s Distinguished Alumni award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is bestowed upon Texas State graduates who have demonstrated leadership and received national or international recognition for their achievements. The first award was given to President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1959.

This year’s honorees represent a range of degree fields, professions and accomplishments.

In 1985, Geoffrey S. Connor earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas State in international studies. Connor is currently the director of strategy at the Clements Center for History, Strategy and Statecraft at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the founder of Warm Heart International, an Episcopal charity that performs relief work in Malawi. He was appointed Texas Secretary of State in 2003 and has led trade missions to numerous countries including Mexico, China, Brazil, Vietnam and Ethiopia.


Virginia Ann Stevens earned her bachelor’s from Texas State in 1972. She is the founding president of BioMed SA, a community-based nonprofit organization formed to promote San Antonio’s biomedical sector. She began her career working as a reporter in west Texas for two Harte-Hanks newspapers. She worked as corporate staff for Harte-Hanks and served as director of corporate communications. In 1997, she joined San Antonio-based biopharmaceutical company, ILEX Oncology, Inc., where she later became director of corporate communications.


Tom Roddy earned a bachelor of business administration degree at Texas State in 1966. Roddy is the president of Bensco, Inc., chairman of Lone Star Capital Bank, N.A., and has been a part of the San Antonio banking industry for 47 years. He is director of the National Football League's New Orleans Saints and the National Basketball Association's New Orleans Pelicans. He has also served in numerous charitable and nonprofit organizations such as Children’s Shelter of San Antonio, San Antonio Food Bank and the American Heart Association.


Cleo Rodriguez earned his bachelor’s from Texas State in 1991 where he worked with the College Assistance Migrant Program. Currently, he is the executive director of the National Migrant Seasonal Head Start Association in Washington, D.C. He previously served as the executive director for the Texas Head Start Association. While in Austin, he started Rodriguez and Associates, an Austin-based consulting firm specializing in early childhood education, local campaigns, public policy and advocacy and nonprofit management.


Kenneth Wilson received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State in 1964 and 1966. Since 2008, Wilson has taught at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia on numerous subjects such as molecular biology, biochemistry, toxic metals, fish genetics and inquiry-based learning. Wilson and his wife established the Kenneth J. and Verena Wilson Asian Faculty/Student Exchange Program in Texas State’s Center for International Studies. Wilson also taught and conducted research at the University of Zurich, Switzerland for 10 years.


A member of the Texas State faculty, staff, student body or Alumni Association must nominate distinguished Alumni. Each application is reviewed by an awards committee and can confer the honor to no more than six individuals per year.

For more information, please visit the Texas State Alumni Association’s Web site at www.txstatealumni.org or contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (512) 245-2371.