Tarleton president, TAA present awards at 2022 Gala

TSU Newsroom

STEPHENVILLE — In a glittering night celebrating a momentous year, Tarleton State University President James Hurley and the Tarleton Alumni Association presented Legacy and Distinguished Alumni honors at the 2022 gala, An Evening in Purple.

Legacy Awards, presented by the Dr. Hurley, recognize individuals and supporters who exhibit the university’s core values of excellence, integrity and respect. Recipients are selected by the president.

Legacy Awards are given by the university President. From left, Dr. James Hurley, Tarleton State University President; Bob and Darla Doty, Legacy Award for Excellence; retired U.S. Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon, Legacy Award for Respect; First Lady Kindall Hurley; and (seated) Joe R. Long, Legacy Award for Integrity.

TAA awards honor individuals and supporters who bring distinction to the university through their career, community service or leadership. They are nominated by their peers and elected by the Tarleton Alumni Association Board of Directors.

This year’s Legacy Award recipients

Legacy Award for Excellence — Bob and Darla Doty

Bob and Darla Doty, Tarleton and rodeo. It’s hard to think of one without the other. Thanks to the Dotys’ leadership and generosity over the years, Tarleton’s talented cowboys and cowgirls are recognized worldwide.

When they joined Tarleton in 1994 — Bob as rodeo coach and Darla as a coordinator in Career Services — they wanted to inspire students, encourage volunteers and promote philanthropy while turning a good rodeo program into a great one.

Bob developed Tarleton rodeo into a perennial powerhouse. He and his student-athletes secured two national and 10 individual championships in his 14 years as coach, making him top pick for 2006 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach of the Year after both the men’s and women’s teams swept the 2005 competition.

Bob and Darla worked tirelessly to obtain funding for practice arenas, livestock and scholarships. They found time to foster academic excellence and mentor students. More than 90 percent of rodeo team members graduated during Bob’s tenure, and four were named outstanding graduates.

The couple endowed the Bob and Darla Doty Rodeo Scholarship. Darla, her brother, Jack, and sister, Debra, started the Mildred W. Buchanan Endowed Fund — in honor of their mother — to support students working in Tarleton’s Laboratory for Wellness and Motor Behavior.

Bob retired from coaching in 2008 and teaching in 2020, and Darla retired in 2015 as Interim Vice President for Student Affairs. Both were inducted into the Tarleton Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2014, and Bob into the Cowboy Capital Walk of Fame in 2000.

Legacy Award for Integrity — Joe R. Long

From lean beginnings in South Texas, Joe R. Long has become one of the most respected attorneys, entrepreneurs and philanthropists in the state. He earned his associate degree at what was then John Tarleton Agricultural College before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin for his bachelor’s and juris doctor.

Tarleton’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs is named in honor of Joe and his wife, Dr. Teresa Lozano Long, celebrating their legacy of generosity and service. Their list of philanthropic donations tops $200 million to Texas nonprofits and universities. Their commitment to educational opportunity is far reaching.

After completing his undergraduate work, Joe served in the Korean War and taught high school in Alice, Texas, where he met his beloved Terry. From the moment they married, they made a commitment to champion education, medicine and the performing fine arts. They knew the opportunities that education afforded, and they wanted to make sure that others would have access to achieve success.

Joe eventually organized his own legal firm and continued his specialized practice of banking, savings and loan, insurance and securities law until 1988. He was part of a group that organized two banks in Austin — First State Bank and Community National Bank. He later chaired and bought control of both. Those banks acquired seven more financial institutions and were combined in 1989 as First State Bank, with Joe as Chairman and CEO for the next nine years.

The Longs received honorary doctorates of humane letters during Tarleton’s spring 2012 commencement ceremonies. Dr. Terry Long passed away last year at 92.

Legacy Award for Respect — Col. Kenny Weldon

Following a 26-year military career, retired Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon played a significant role in re-establishing and growing the Texan Corps of Cadets. The corps, started in 1917 when Tarleton became a founding member of The Texas A&M University System, has more than doubled its enrollment in the past five years.

That rapid growth spurred creation of Tarleton’s Leadership and Military College in fall 2020.

A Stephenville native, Col. Weldon served as Commandant of the Texan Corps of Cadets and Dean of Tarleton’s Leadership and Military College until announcing his departure from the university last spring.

While on active duty, he led organizations at the installation, military department and Secretary of Defense levels. His military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and Legion of Merit.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s in civil engineering. He also holds master’s degrees in engineering, environmental engineering and national security strategy from the National Defense University’s National War College in Washington, D.C.

A three-term Mayor of Stephenville, Col. Weldon serves on several local and regional boards of directors, including the Brazos Region G Water Planning Group, Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas and the Cross Timbers Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is a deacon at the First Baptist Church in Stephenville.

He and his wife, Carrie, have twins Kyle and Kayla, both Texas A&M graduates.

Tarleton Alumni Association award recipients are selected by the TAA Board of Directors. From left, TAA Board President Greg Schoonmaker; Justin Haschke, Outstanding Young Alumnus; Hilary Stephans on behalf of Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Distinguished Friend; the Honorable DeWayne Burns, Distinguished Alumnus; and Dr. James Hurley, Tarleton State University President.

This year’s TAA honorees

Distinguished Alumnus — the Honorable DeWayne Burns

The Honorable DeWayne Burns was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2014. Growing up on a farm outside Cleburne, he had no idea that one day he’d have an opportunity to benefit families in Johnson and Bosque, and soon Somervell, counties (District 58) or to secure funding so his alma mater could construct and expand Tarletonʼs campus in Southwest Fort Worth.

It was an unpaid internship with the Texas Department of Agriculture that opened the door to a career in state government. The 1994 Tarleton graduate worked with then-Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry, researching proposals for the 74th Legislature.

Along the way, the Republican representative has served as Vice President for the Cleburne Independent School District Board of Trustees, a member of the Johnson County Economic Development Commission, President of the Farm Bureau, and Fire Commissioner for Emergency Services District No. 1. This is his fourth term in the Texas House of Representatives.

In 2015 he helped obtain nearly $40 million from the Legislature to construct Tarleton-Fort Worth’s Central Administration Building, establishing a foothold for the university’s success on 80 acres of donated land along Chisholm Trail Parkway. He circled back during the 87th Legislature to author the framework for an additional $90 million for Capital Construction Assistance Projects — $25 million to expand in Fort Worth and $65 million for a College of Health Sciences building in Stephenville.

He is a true champion for higher education and for Tarleton at the state Capitol in Austin. He is a member of the Tarleton Alumni Association and the Tarleton Association of Professionals.

Representative Burns is married to his high school sweetheart, Tarleton alumna Jennifer Ormsby, and they are the proud parents of Parker, a Tarleton alumnus; Austin, a current Tarleton student majoring in communication studies; and Emma, who will attend Tarleton this fall. The Burns family attends First Baptist Church in Cleburne and believes that service is a family affair inspired by faith and exemplified by Jesus Christ.

Outstanding Young Alumnus — Justin Haschke

Justin Haschke has a passion for helping people from all walks of life design a path to financial freedom. As president and owner of BMY Wealth Management Group in Stephenville, he believes financial independence is imperative to having the life you want.

Justin also is a big believer in giving back to the community he calls home, serving on several community boards and organizations that benefit the people of Stephenville and Erath County.

He is a member of the Stephenville Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors, Tarleton’s College of Business Dean’s Advisory Board, the Compassion Counseling Center and the Stephenville Optimist Club. He has been president and treasurer for the Stephenville Evening Lions Club and served on the Erath County Child Welfare Board of Directors and Stephenville City Council.

A member of Oakdale United Methodist Church, he serves on the finance committee. He is a member of both the Tarleton Alumni Association and the Tarleton Association of Professionals.

After graduating from Tarleton with degrees in interdisciplinary business and accounting, Justin started his career with Boucher, Morgan & Young and obtained his CPA in 2012. He earned his Certified Financial Planner certification in 2021.

Justin loves spending time with his wife, Mikah (a Tarleton alumna), and their children, Boston, Lennux and Emmerson.

Distinguished Friend — Saint-Gobain Abrasives

Longtime benefactor Saint-Gobain Abrasives has given liberally over the years to fund Tarleton fine arts performances, equine therapies, athletics and the Dick Smith Library. Saint-Gobain sponsors the university’s annual summer camp for aspiring engineers in sixth through ninth grades and has a long history of giving to the community.

Recently Saint-Gobain made a gift to name the Mechanical, Environmental and Civil Engineering/School of Engineering Conference Room.

A Fortune 500 company and the second largest industrial employer in Erath County, Saint-Gobain partners with Tarleton to graduate work-ready engineers, bolster innovative research and expand the regional economy.

A subsidiary of the Saint-Gobain Group, Saint-Gobain Abrasives provides a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for all abrasion processes. The company manufactures diamond blades, masonry saws, floor grinders, core drills, coated abrasives and cutting stone products for customers worldwide. Its Stephenville facility, launched in 1976, employs more than 425, many of them Tarleton graduates.