Three receive 2018 Tarleton State University Legacy Awards

TSU Media Relations
From left, Tarleton State University President F. Dominic Dottavio with 2018 Legacy Award recipients Russell Leigon accepting the Civility with Integrity Award on behalf of his father, U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Leigon; Cressinda Hyatt, executive director, accepting the Tradition of Service Award for the Pevehouse Family Foundation Inc.; and Bill Casner, Excellence Through Leadership Award.

Tarleton State University President F. Dominic Dottavio presented 2018 Legacy Awards to three recipients during the school’s annual gala on Saturday.

Legacy Awards recognize individuals and supporters who exhibit Tarleton’s core values of tradition, integrity, civility, leadership, excellence and service. The university president selects recipients.

This year’s recipients are retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Leigon, Civility with Integrity Award; Tarleton alumnus and race horse trainer Bill Casner, Excellence through Leadership Award; and Pevehouse Family Foundation Inc., Tradition of Service Award.

Civility with Integrity

The Legacy Award for Civility with Integrity recognizes significant contributions to the betterment of society through character, forthrightness, honorable actions and commitment to the well-being of others.

This year’s recipient, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Leigon began his distinguished military career in 1941, receiving his commission as a second lieutenant in 1943 and serving two years in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater in World War II. Before service in Vietnam, he was base commander at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio and Air Force Missile Training Program commander at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, among other assignments.

In November 1968, he earned the Legion of Merit—the Air Force’s fifth highest honor—for exceptional, meritorious performance as commander of the 31st Combat Support Group in Vietnam. Leigon attended Tarleton in the 1930s and completed his undergraduate degree at Trinity University in San Antonio. He deeded the family farmland to Tarleton in November 2016 in concert with the Department of Nursing’s 40th anniversary, providing scholarships to nursing students and those enrolled in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.

Excellence through Leadership

The Legacy Award for Excellence through Leadership recognizes an individual’s significant career accomplishments that bring honor and credit to Tarleton.

This year’s recipient, Bill Casner, grew up in El Paso, always wanting to be a cowboy. After graduating from Tarleton State University in 1972, he embarked on a career training racehorses in the midwest. In 1988, he left the Thoroughbred industry and, with partner Kenny Troutt, founded Excel Communications.

After selling Excel Communications in 2002 for more than $3.5 billion, the two founded WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., taking it to the pinnacle of horse racing.

WinStar’s Colonel John won the 2008 Travers Stakes, and the farm’s Well Armed won the $6 million Dubai World Cup in 2009. The next year, Super Saver won the Kentucky Derby, and Drosselmeyer captured the Belmont Stakes—a win that happened again in 2016 by WinStar’s Creator.

These days, Casner and his wife, Susan, focus on their own racing operation—Casner Racing. He enjoys being the “header” in his team roping partnership.

Tradition of Service

The Legacy Award for Tradition of Service recognizes the selfless giving of an individual or corporation that exemplifies the philanthropic ideals of university founder John Tarleton.

This year’s recipient is the Pevehouse Family Foundation Inc.

Pillars in the West Texas philanthropic community, Beverly and Joe Pevehouse had a strong desire to help others as shown in their commitments to numerous charitable organizations. Their generosity and leadership earned them numerous accolades and awards spanning more than five decades.

In 2008, Beverly Pevehouse created Pevehouse Family Foundation Inc. with the help of her children—Melissa and Clay (’82)—and trusted advisors to sustain the couple’s philanthropic endeavors. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than $2 million across the Permian Basin and throughout Texas. In addition to higher education, the Pevehouse Family Foundation Inc. awards grants in the areas of health, performing and visual arts, and community and cultural endeavors.