Distinguished Aggies to be Honored

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The highest honor a former student at Texas A&M can get will be given to four Aggies Friday.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award will be bestowed by Texas A&M and The Association of Former Students at a black-tie event at Duncan Dining Hall.

The recipients are:

- Raul B. Fernandez ’59
- Roderick D. Stepp ’59
- Preston M. Geren, Jr. ’45
- Dean Edwin J. Kyle, class of 1899

With the four honorees to be added Friday, there will be 280 Distinguished Alumni.

The following are the biographies of the alumni as provided by The Association of Former Students:

After graduating from Texas A&M, Raul B. Fernandez began work with H. B. Zachry Co. and Uptmore & Associates in San Antonio before starting his own building development and real estate investment company. Fernandez served 18 years as a public school trustee and on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. He also has served as the president of The Association of Former Students and the San Antonio A&M Club, as chairman of the Corps of Cadets Development Council and as vice chairman of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

After Roderick D. Stepp graduated from A&M, he purchased interest in a small family-owned metal shop in Fort Worth with six employees. Under his business expertise, M&M Manufacturing Co. has since grown to become a major manufacturer of construction-related products, with six plants and more than 700 employees. Stepp has served as vice president of The Association of Former Students, president of the 12th Man Foundation, member and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Texas A&M Foundation and member of the President’s Board of Visitors.

Preston M. Geren, Jr. began his career with his father at Geren Associates Architects and Engineers. After his father’s death, he became the sole owner of what would become under his leadership one of the 250 largest architectural firms in the nation. Among Geren’s most familiar designs is the Clayton W. Williams Jr. Alumni Center on the A&M campus. Geren has served as president of the Executive Committee of the 12th Man Foundation and was honored with the A&M College of Architecture’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 1998.

Dean Edwin J. Kyle brought national recognition to Texas A&M through his contributions to agriculture, education and athletics, but his most lasting impression would be the naming of Kyle Field in his honor. Kyle was the head of the Department of Horticulture and Mycology and horticulturist to the Experiment Station and became the first dean of the School of Agriculture in 1911. In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him U.S. ambassador to Guatemala, and he was later given that nation’s highest decoration, the Order of the Quetzal. Kyle served in 1905 as executive secretary of the Alumni Association, a forerunner of The Association of Former Students, and was president of the General Athletic Association, a precursor to the Texas A&M Athletic Council.