An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

Meet the 2023 Daily Texan Hall of Fame and Rising Stars


A longtime Longhorn expert and sports writer (50+ years). A veteran of the early days of digital publishing. A photographer turned philanthropist who works on life-changing projects worldwide for those in need. One of the nation’s highest-ranking aviation experts, a regular adviser to the Secretary of Transportation and the White House. A  long-time Dallas TV news journalist now an award-winning independent filmmaker.

And, a political advisor, reform advocate, media columnist and television producer who is creator, executive producer and co-host of Showtime’s Emmy-nominated documentary series “The Circus”. A former member of the UT Board of Regents and glass-breaking female state senator. The former Managing Editor of BusinessWeek, which under his leadership won 19 key awards and launched its online site and a weekly television show.  A former Associated Press reporter, who later became a successful lawyer and now has published an oral history book of the stories of early Cuban American refugees.

These are the nine Daily Texan Hall of Fame honorees to be honored March 31 the 10th annual gathering of Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc. The Friends group is a non-profit organization which supports The Daily Texan in a variety of ways, including financial support, scholarships for students, covering costs of the Texan’s underlying website structure and in other ways as  requested.

In addition to these individuals, also to be honored March 31:

—  A veteran of Texas community journalism and former journalism professor at UT; she will receive the Griff Singer Award.

— The Rising Star Award, which is given to recent graduates who have already made a significant contribution in their field, will be given to three honorees: one covers higher education for the Houston Chronicle, another is senior audience growth and engagement producer for the Miami Herald and the third is a newsletter writer at The Texas Tribune, where she authors the publication’s flagship newsletter The Brief, and helps craft product strategy around the Tribune’s other newsletter offerings.

Register here to attend March 31:

Below are the biographies of all honorees.

Please read, even though this is a long article.

It will renew your faith in journalism, both today and for tomorrow. And this also illustrates the talent that comes from the ranks of Daily Texan staff members.


Daily Texan Hall of Fame 2023 honorees

Cliff Avery

Cliff Avery started work for The Daily Texan before he even registered for a class. As a freshman, he won an Outstanding Texan Worker award and over the next three years, he served as associate news editor, makeup editor, assistant managing editor, city editor, features editor and, in fall 1972, managing editor. And sometimes he went to class. With appropriate libation, he will admit that he was also the fashion editor and was elected to the Texas Student Publications board.

After graduation, he worked at The Corpus Christi Caller-Times, then returned to his native West Texas, where he worked for The West Texas Times/TimesWest magazine and The Hockley County Free Press. He also worked for the Lubbock ABC-TV affiliate as producer, executive producer and news director.

Answering an ad in Editor & Publisher, he was hired as a general editor for a Time Inc. electronic publishing project in New York City. He rose to assistant managing editor, then moved to Chicago where he served as vice president and editor for Keycom Electronic Publishing, a joint venture of The Chicago Sun-Times, Honeywell and Centel.

When that project became roadkill on the Information Superhighway, he returned to his first love, community newspapering, in an Austin suburb, where he won two Texas Press Association awards in column writing.

He later joined Reference Press, a business research organization. In 1990, he launched his own company. Now known as GCP Association Services, LLC, the successful enterprise provides services — conference planning and support, newsletter publishing, electronic media curating, back-office operations, and day-to-day management — to several statewide associations in Texas. He retired in 2022.

He organized a Daily Texan reunion in 2008. In 2013, he was the founding president of The Friends of The Daily Texan, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the student newspaper at UT Austin. He served on the board until 2017, when he was no longer eligible for reappointment.


Kirk Bohls

Kirk Bohls, currently marking his 50th year at the Austin American-Statesman, cut his teeth at The Daily Texan way back in 1971, but a career as a professional sportswriter didn’t seem quite a reality back in those early post-Watergate years.

In fact, had it not been for the excellent and inspiring mentorship of Griff Singer, Red Gibson and other professors, that career might have taken a drastic detour for this political science major from Taylor, Texas.

I had come to the University of Texas — same as my older brother Kent and my father Leon, who actually was on the football team as a player whose best work came in practice in the 1930s — in the fall of 1969. On a journalism scholarship, no less.

That said, I didn’t take a journalism class until my junior year. I took some basic J classes and signed up for an upper-grad course without having the required prerequisites. When I went to see Griff about the issue, he told me to bring some clippings of my past work. Thinking about my articles in the Taylor Daily Press where I wrote about pool openings and obituaries and was a part-time photographer, I left the Journalism building with little hope that I’d be approved for the course and almost decided not to return the next day.

However, I said what the hell, showed up at Griff’s office. He was busy on the phone but waved me in from the doorway, and I cringed as I lay my articles on his desk. He perused them quickly and gave me the thumbs up. I couldn’t believe it. I floated out of that room.

The next two years, I worked at the Daily Texan, covering everything from parking woes to professor workloads, and dealing with the UT administration and writing news stories better prepared me for the life of a writer. It sure wasn’t the $40 a month pay scale when I became sports editor my last two semesters that drew me into that world.

I learned so much under so many great professors. I soaked up every lesson. I once wrote an enterprise piece on air pollution — the good kind — perpetrated by the Butter Krust factory on Airport Boulevard.

It was a wild adventure getting to interview coaches like Darrell Royal and Leon Black and a young Cliff Gustafson. I learned how to write all kinds of stories and columns — all of them overly verbose — how to write on deadline, how to work under pressure, how to juggle work and school demands and how to manage and work with my colleagues. It’s been a joyful ride.

I came within five minutes of accepting a job in Lubbock in May 1973 upon my graduation, but Statesman sports editor Lou Maysel called me just before a Friday noon deadline from the Avalanche Journal and offered me a position he said the paper created for me.

I immediately said yes and after wondering what I’d spend my millions on with my $125 weekly salary, the last 50 years have flown by. It’s been entirely a labor of love as my passion for newspapers only grew.

I’ve been fortunate enough to win a few awards at the Statesman and win Texas Sportswriter of the Year six times and have the most perfect career anyone could ever wish for.

But I trace it all back to those fulfilling days at the Daily Texan and can’t thank Griff and so many others enough. I am honored to be a Texan alumnus.

Beyond my column, I have published two books with co-writer John Maher: Bleeding Orange: Trouble and Triumph Deep in the Heart of Texas Football and Long Live the Longhorns! 100 Years of Texas Football.

I am the host and co-producer of the podcast “On Second Thought “with co-host Cedric Golden as well, discussing a variety of topics mostly centered around the Texas Longhorns.

What have I learned during those many years?

In a Texas Monthly interview in 2013, I talked about “On being a sportswriter”:
“Somebody told me a long time ago that, if you’re a columnist, you know you’re doing your job right if half the people that read you think you’re a homer, and the other half think you hate their favorite school. To me, the most important thing is credibility.”

And On being Sportswriter of the Year:
“You’re as good as your next day’s column. I look at it as I’m blessed and privileged that I have this job. I get as excited about it today as I did the day I came over from The Daily Texan and started covering high schools in 1973. I just love sports, and I love newspapers—that to me is the perfect marriage.


Lynne Dobson

Lynne Dobson discovered her passion and purpose when she became a Daily Texan staff photographer in 1978. Since then, she grew into the roles of philanthropist and business owner, built on the foundation of her education at UT. After graduating with her Bachelor of Journalism in 1979, she began a career as an award-winning photojournalist for newspapers in Ohio, California and Texas. It was at a small newspaper in the San Francisco East Bay area where she met her husband, Greg Wooldridge, a sportswriter, and began a collaboration that continues to this day.

“The Texan gave us real journalism work experience. I loved the varied assignments, making photographs of all kinds of fascinating people, the daily challenges and adventures, the physicality, emotion and empathy required in the work and collaborating with reporters and editors. Every day was unpredictable.”

Lynne joined the photo staff of The Austin American-Statesman in 1987, where her favorite assignment was long-term documentary feature stories. In 1995, she was part of a team that won The Dart Award, for excellence in reporting on victims of violence, from Michigan State University. “The Test of Fire” was a story about Emmett Jackson who suffered the loss of his wife and baby girl in a horrific arson apartment fire. Lynne spent more than a year documenting his courage and determination after surviving life-threatening burns.

“Photojournalism is a career where you can connect with people and put your heart into the work, Lynne says. Sometimes, journalism can be altruistic and bring a measure of positive change to the subject’s lives. You are a trusted witness to a wide range human situations and tender moments of struggle and triumph; That’s where philanthropy fits in too.”

Committed to social justice causes, in 2000, she decided to move on from her news photography career to do more humanitarian work, while managing home life with Greg and their two children. She also began working for her family’s iconic business, Whataburger Restaurants, serving on the board, in a community relations role and writing and giving speeches.

In 2002, Lynne attended a concert by The African Children’s Choir from Uganda. She was so moved that she decided to sponsor a choir child in school. She traveled to Entebbe in 2008 and met that little girl, Brenda, and fell in love with the strong, faith-filled, friendly Ugandan people.

My first trip to Uganda was with a non-profit medical team to photograph doctors working in make-shift village clinics and performing surgeries in a rural hospital. It was a life-changing epiphany. I had never seen such injustice and poverty, but I had also never seen that depth of fortitude, grace and gratitude. I loved Uganda and I realized that my philanthropy and photography could merge to benefit both the non-profits and those they serve. By making empathic photographs and giving financially to organizations, I could play a small role to improve lives.“

She kept going to East Africa to check on projects, take photos and pursue solutions with non-profit colleagues. It began with the Choir’s Music for Life Primary School in 2009 and recently the Choir’s Empower Academy high school. For 15 years in her “second home”, she has supported construction and operations of a women’s hospital, led wheelchair missions, donated borehole water wells and sponsored many Ugandan students through university.

Lynne joined the board of Terrewode Women’s Fund in 2016, which partnered in the construction of Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital. Her work includes photography, writing, and documentary video production, providing content for their website and donors. It opened in 2019 and is the first hospital in Uganda dedicated to treating impoverished women and girls suffering from the traumatic birth injury of obstetric fistula.

Lynne and Greg believe in hands-on philanthropy and collaborating with organizations’ leaders and recipients. This led to the creation of Tejemos Foundation in early 2020, which first provided COVID and hunger relief, crisis healthcare and educational support.

Education and health equity is a main priority with their commitment to UT Dell Medical Global Health, Communities in Schools, Breakthrough, Lifeworks and The Ann Richards School. They are fierce advocates of civil rights and reproductive, maternal healthcare. They feel public radio and journalism non-profits, like KUT-KUTX, and publications like the 19th and Texas Observer are crucial to support.

They are passionate about African American history and heritage, and were early donors to Charleston’s new International African American Museum and Austin’s Black Fund. Devoted music lovers, Lynne and Greg support The Austin Symphony and Conspirare and creative projects, such as musical performances, films and books. In 2022, they created, co-edited and produced a photo, quote book, The One Ann Only, as part of the Ann Richards Legacy Project.

Lynne and Greg have been married 33 years and have two adult children, Luke and Claire, and a grandson. She loves her Methodist church and enjoys traveling, museums, music, nature, gardening, hiking, running, yoga and snow-skiing.


Cyndi Taylor Krier

Cyndi’s career started as news editor of The Daily Texan, but rapidly expanded to a career focused on public service, politics, higher education and government.

She received her undergraduate journalism degree from UT Austin in 1971, and she graduated in 1975 from UT Austin School of Law.

As a UT student, she was active on The Daily Texan newspaper staff, in student government, as a dorm resident assistant, and played on the UT Lady Longhorns basketball team before Title IX.

Krier was born in Beeville, Texas, and spent much of her childhood in Dinero, Texas.

Krier successfully ran for a San Antonio area seat in the Texas Senate in 1984. In the 69th Texas Legislature from 1985 to 1987, she was the only female senator. Krier was elected to a second term in 1988. Krier also worked for for U.S. Senator from Texas John Tower.

In 1992, Krier became the first woman and first Republican ever elected as Bexar County Judge where she represented 1.4 million people in the San Antonio metropolitan area. She was reelected as County Judge in 1994 and 1998 without opposition.

As Bexar County Judge, Krier worked to “Build a Better Bexar County” by focusing on youth and education programs, enacting a broad-based ethics measure, reforming the appointment process for County boards and commissions, telecasting Commissioner’s Court meetings on cable and the Internet, promoting recycling and energy conservation programs, promoting the use of competitive bids and proposals for all County contracts, and controlling government spending.

While serving in the Texas Senate, she received the Texas Bar Foundation award for her passage of the Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, which has led to the resolution of hundreds of thousands of lawsuits in less time and at less cost to both litigants and taxpayers through arbitration and mediation.

Krier served as a member of both the Senate Finance Committee and Education Committee and chaired the Higher Education Subcommittee for Senate Finance and an Interim Committee on Medical, Dental, and Allied Health Centers.

Krier was appointed to a six-year term on The University of Texas System Board of Regents by Governor Rick Perry in March 2001. She was Vice-Chairman of the Board and served as Chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee; as a member of the Audit, Compliance, and Management Review Committee; the Finance and Planning Committee; and the Health Affairs Committee and was a Regental representative to the Board for Lease of University Lands which oversees the terms of lease of University lands for oil and gas exploration and development.

She was also  Co-Chairman of the Task Force on Planning and also led the Accountability, Collaboration, and Deregulation Task Force.

She later became the Vice President of Texas Government Relations with USAA, a leading financial services company. As Vice President, she was responsible for leading USAA’s involvement in legislative and public policy issues in Texas at the State and local levels.

Krier has worked  closely with the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. For three years, she mentored a class at Ridgeview Elementary School in San Antonio.

Krier has served as Chairman of the UT Austin Ex-Students’ Association and as a member of the Supreme Court’s Commission on Judicial Efficiency.

She served on three important Statewide task forces helping to plan for the future of Texas: the Governor’s Task Force on Conservation, the Comptroller’s e-Texas Task Force and The Texas A&M University System Agriculture Program 21 Leaders Panel.


Lynn Lunsford

Lynn Lunsford, son of a Fort Worth Star-Telegram printer, knew he wanted to be a journalist from the time he was four after visiting the newsroom with his father.

He met that goal at the highest levels of journalism. At the same time, he has been a loyal supporter of The Daily Texan through the Friends of The Daily Texan and a mentor to young journalists, even as he has risen through the ranks of the federal government to become a senior communications and aviation safety advisor to the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Lunsford graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked for several semesters as a reporter on The Daily Texan.

He spent 25 years honing his skills as a reporter and editor and was considered one of the top aviation safety reporters in the world. His stops have been at the Star-Telegram, the Dallas Morning News and The Wall Street Journal. His reporting took him around the world, with bylines from Singapore, Indonesia, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, Paris, London, Iceland, Moscow and the Galapagos Islands.

Lunsford covered many high-profile disaster stories, including the crashes of the Space Shuttle Columbia, TWA Flight 800 and ValuJet Flight 592. His work covering the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995 was included in the book Best Newspaper Writing of 1996, published by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

He capped off his newspaper career as part of The Wall Street Journal team that won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news while reporting on 9/ 11, when terrorists crashed passenger jets into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York, as well as the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The Journal’s work was particularly notable because debris from one of the falling towers destroyed the newspaper’s main offices in Lower Manhattan.

During his career, Lunsford also won several Texas and national awards for writing and reporting, included the 2004 Gerald Loeb award for coverage of an ethics scandal at Boeing that led to the conviction and imprisonment of the company’s chief financial officer and a top Pentagon official.

In June 2009 he stepped away from daily journalism to become the manager of communications over 17 states for the Federal Aviation Administration. Over the years, Lunsford’s role at the agency expanded as top officials at the FAA learned the value of having an experienced crisis communicator as part of the team.

Lunsford played a key role in the agency’s strategic and crisis communications following the high-profile accidents of two Boeing 737 MAX jetliners that crashed in 2019. For 20 months, Lunsford was the FAA’s point person in responding to hundreds of domestic and international reporters as they covered the agency’s efforts to help identify the cause the accidents and ensure that Boeing completed the necessary design and software changes to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.

Following the 737 MAX crisis, Lunsford was tasked with managing the agency’s communications about the FAA’s efforts to ensure that 5G C-Band wireless signals do not interfere with sensitive aircraft electronics. As part of those efforts, Lunsford has facilitated numerous round-table discussions that brought stakeholders from the aviation and wireless industries together to reach a solution that will enable two industries that are critical to the U.S. economy to safely co-exist. During this process, Lunsford has prepared the materials and participated in numerous briefings for top government officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the White House.

Most recently, he was in the room when Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen ordered all U.S. flights to remain on the ground for two hours following a computer failure at the FAA’s Air Traffic Command Center. As part of his job, Lunsford routinely prepares top FAA officials for congressional hearings and outside speaking engagements.

He served as chief speechwriter for FAA Administrator Michael Huerta for three years, gradually expanding those duties into a position as a senior advisor.

Lunsford is quick to note that his career hasn’t been all crisis and mayhem. “One of the highlights of my career was getting the chance to meet almost all of my childhood heroes,” he said. “I’ve gotten to touch a piece of original fabric from the Wright Flyer, I’ve poked my head inside Alan Shepard’s space capsule and heard firsthand from the pilot of the Enola Gay what it was like to be at the controls of the airplane when the first atomic bomb was dropped.”

One of those heroes, astronaut Neil Armstrong, was so impressed with Lunsford’s work that he asked him to serve as a ghostwriter and speechwriter on several occasions.

You would think Lunsford get enough of his day involving air travel to do something different for pleasure.

Not so. He can be found most weekends maintaining and flying his vintage 1938 Piper Cub in the skies around the Dallas-Fort Worth area.


Quin Mathews

Quin Mathews counts his years on The Daily Texan as one of the most important formative experiences in his life.  After graduating from the University, he went on to a career in broadcast journalism in three Texas cities, as an independent filmmaker, and as an important figure in the cultural arts scene of North Texas. His achievements demonstrate again that work on the Texan enriches students’ lives in many ways, some unexpected, and prepares them for important life-long roles in their communities.

Quin was born and raised in Dallas. In 1963, he was among the well-wishers who greeted President Kennedy at Dallas Love Field.  At Hillcrest High School, he was co-editor of the student newspaper, the Hillcrest Hurricane, with future Daily Texan editor David Powell.  In 1969, like fellow freshman Cliff Avery (Hall of Fame), Quin went to work for the Texan before enrolling.

He says “I was not an enthusiastic student.  I was very lonely when I went to school, so before I enrolled I went to the Texan office and offered to work.  Editor Mark Morrison (Hall of Fame) immediately put me on the editorial page staff.  And Karen Elliott (House), who became publisher of the Wall Street Journal, enlisted me as a reporter.

“I spent many long nights in awe of the older colleagues, who, bitten by the journalism bug, looked older than most college students.  I was with very talented, ambitious people.  I loved finding things out and writing about them.”

In 1972-72 Quin managed the editorial page under Fellow Hall-of-Famer, editor David Powell,

Quin ran for editor and lost, which opened. exciting new avenues, first as a political press aide and then as a reporter and anchor at KTVV (now KXAN). Quin counts news director Doug Matthews, who took a chance on him, as a powerful mentor to this day.

From Austin, Quin moved to San Antonio’s KSAT as a news anchor and reporter.  He then returned to Dallas, working at KDFW (then the CBS affiliate), where in 1984, Texas Monthly reviewed the quality of broadcast journalism in Texas and called out “the presence of high-quality journalist-anchor Quin Mathews” at that station.  Quin helped start up an independent news operation for Metromedia in Dallas and then joined the market’s news leader, ABC affiliate WFAA-TV, as a news anchor, reporter, and producer. He also hosted WFAA’s early morning “Daybreak” program.

In 1993, after twenty-one years in broadcast news, Quin left to establish an independent film company, Quin Mathews Films. Of this transition to a new career after daily journalism, Quin says: “My time in the business sort of ran out and that was the end for me. I was very interested in having control over my life, which you don’t have when you’re working for someone else in the news business. I wanted that control, so I started my own business as a self-defense mechanism.”

Quin still tells how his interest in filmmaking was piqued by his UT experience. As a freshman, one night he joined older Texan staffers who went to see a film by Jean-Luc Godard at the Texas Union . “I followed the Daily Texan crowd across the street to watch a film I didn’t understand, still don’t, but which hammered me. … That night the power of film hit me for the second time in my life. The first was seeing D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look at the Festival Theater in Dallas. Films didn’t need logic. Their power was the blunt image, one at a time.”

Quin has focused on telling stories about business, culture, and the arts through film, television, and radio. He made documentaries on subjects as varied as folk churches in Mexico, emerging artists in Cuba and China, and solar power in Africa. His films have been shown in the US, Europe, and Asia.

In 2013, Quin made City of Hate: Dallas and the Assassination, a film about the political turbulence in Dallas before the assassination, the pride the city felt in Kennedy’s visit, and the aftermath of the murder. His wife Martha Pruitt Mathews calls it “a passion project.” Quin also has produced films for many commercial clients, museums, and non-profit institutions.  One example of Quin’s storytelling skills is The Portal and the Park, a 10-minute short film about the creation of Dallas’ Carpenter Park that was shown at the USA Film Festival last year. Visit: DOUllu5A-oPgpOEY

Throughout his career, Quin has been deeply involved in the arts.  1988, Quin and radio partner Sharon Benge began the program Art Matters on WRR- FM, Dallas’ city-owned classical music radio station. Quin drew heavily on his journalism experience in producing the program. He says: “It is my proudest work in broadcasting, with more than 2,500 interviews with artists around the world.”

Quin was deeply involved in the development of Klyde Warren Park, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the new Parkland Hospital, the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, the Dallas Contemporary, and the New Conservatory of Dallas.  He has worked with major museums in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe.

Quin has been recognized for his work in the arts. In 2008, he received the Legends Award from the Dallas Contemporary.  And in 2012, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Dallas’s Business Council for the Arts


Mark McKinnon

Mark McKinnon is a political advisor, reform advocate, media columnist and television producer. He is the creator, executive producer, and co-host of Showtime’s Emmy-nominated documentary series “The Circus” — the longest running, most watched unscripted show in the history of the network now entering its eighth season.

McKinnon has worked for many causes, companies, and candidates, including President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, late Governor Ann Richards, and Bono. He was the chief media advisor for five winning presidential primary and general election campaigns.

Dedicated to a bipartisanship, McKinnon cofounded No Labels (, an organization dedicated to bringing our parties together to problem solve and heal the partisan divide in our country. And long committed to electoral reforms, he founded and is a board member of Take Back Our Republic which promotes conservative solutions.

According to Broadcasting and Cable magazine, McKinnon is one of “a handful of players behind every big decision, consensus or roadblock in Washington . . . putting a unique, sometimes hidden stamp on the outcome of today’s debates.” Politics Daily writes: “He’s known for his originality in a field typified by copycats, a mellow personality in a world populated with high-strung brutes and ecumenical urges in a profession dominated by its unadulterated partisans.”

“McKinnon is evidence that principled centrism is not an oxymoron,” wrote John Avalon in a Daily Beast column about the 25 Best Centrist Pundits. “McKinnon piloted John McCain’s 2008 primary campaign to victory. But he announced in advance that if Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination; he would ride off into the sunset rather than participate in the negative attacks he knew would be required. This is unheard of in the world of modern politics, where partisanship trumps principle as a matter of course.”

President George W. Bush says of McKinnon, “I was really impressed by Mark’s creativity, and I was particularly impressed by his honesty.” Senator John McCain, in his typical straight-talk fashion, remarks, “He’s almost a genius.” And President Barack Obama calls McKinnon “a class act.”

President Bush appointed McKinnon to serve as a governor of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He has been a regular columnist for The Daily Beast, The London Daily Telegraph, and Vanity Fair, and was a consultant to Aaron Sorkin’s HBO show “The Newsroom” and Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

McKinnon attended the University of Texas at Austin and served as editor of the award-winning university newspaper, The Daily Texan; he was arrested and jailed during his tenure in 1980 for defending the first amendment. He spent several years in Nashville working as a songwriter with Kris Kristofferson (and was wildly unsuccessful). McKinnon also is a two-time Ironman finisher. His quality of life is exceptionally enhanced by the enduring love and patience of his wife, Annie — whom he started dating before he had a driver’s license — and his daughters, Brita and Kendall.


Mark Morrison

Room R-7 of Houston’s Memorial High School in 1965.  That is where Mark Morrison first developed a passion for journalism at the hands of Elaine Pritchett, an extraordinary teacher.   It is where Mark met Ellen Barton, a transfer from Abilene Cooper, who joined Mark as an editor of the Anvil, Memorial’s student paper.

Those high school experiences led Mark to a 50-year career in journalism and a loving marriage with Ellen that is 52 years and counting.

When Mark arrived at UT Austin for his freshman year in 1966, a month after the Whitman shootings, he interviewed for a job a The Daily Texan.  He started in the spring semester as a reporter covering speeches and other routine news.  Later he was news editor, makeup editor, and assistant managing editor. 

Mark was an unlikely candidate for Texan editor in 1969.  He was quiet, shy and a terrified public speaker.  Ellen, who had transferred to UT from Texas Tech that year, and two other Anvil veterans who were studying at UT, convinced him to run in a campus-wide race.  Their tireless campaigning and more than a hundred posters spread around campus won the job for Mark.

As Daily Texan editor-in-chief, Mark worked with an amazing group of student journalists who distinguished themselves covering a unique time.   In 1969-70 they reported on the first moon landing, a Darrell-Royal coached national championship, a nationally famous showdown of Chairman Frank Erwin with student protesters trying to save Waller Creek trees from a stadium expansion, a riot over the Student Union Chuckwagon grill, and an anti-war march of more than 10,000 students on the Capitol.

His editorials regularly lambasted Erwin, the UT Administration, LBJ’s Vietnam war, and supported greater representation of students in university decision-making including a student seat on the Board of Regents.

After graduating with a BJ degree and six months of National Guard duty, Mark was hired as a reporter by the Houston Post.  He covered labor, transportation, government, and general assignments.  Mark was a part-time stringer for Time magazine, which had closed its Houston bureau, and he started angling for a career in magazines.

He joined Business Week magazine in 1974 as Houston correspondent.  He was appointed bureau chief in Cleveland (1976) and Chicago (1978) and wrote more than a dozen cover stories.  In 1984, Morrison became a senior editor in New York, responsible for coverage of corporations, management, marketing and people, and was later appointed assistant managing editor.

He served as BusinessWeek’s managing editor from 1993 to 2005. As the No. 2 editor, he directed day-to-day operations of the magazine.  BusinessWeek was the leading business and financial magazine with a circulation of 1 million globally. It won four National Magazine Awards, four Gerald Loeb Awards for outstanding business journalism, and 11 Overseas Press Club Awards. During those years, BusinessWeek launched its online site, a weekly television show, and the SmallBiz magazine and online platforms.  After watching the World Center towers collapse from his office in Rockefeller Center, he helped lead coverage of the 9-11 attack.  BusinessWeek was the first national magazine out with its cover story on the tragic event.

He was a long-time member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Overseas Press Club. In 2004 he received BusinessWeek publisher McGraw-Hill Cos. Excellence in Leadership Award. He was a regular business and economic commentator on CNN and a frequent moderator of and contributor to BusinessWeek conferences and broadcasts. For more than a decade he was a final judge for the prestigious Loeb Awards that acknowledge the best in American business journalism.

In 2005, Mark stepped down as ME and became a senior writer based in Austin.  He left BusinessWeek in 2006 . For the next fiveyears he was an adjunct lecturer at UT’s School of Journalism, teaching news reporting, feature writing, media leadership, and business journalism. He has served as a member of the UT College of Communications Advisory Council and of the KLRU Community Advisory Council. He was a member of the Texas Student Media board of trustees and was one of the founding directors of Friends of the Daily Texan.

Mark is a past chair of the Headliners Foundation of Texas, an organization supported by members of Austin’s Headliners Club. The Foundation annually awards 20 college scholarships totaling more than $80,000 to promising future journalists and recognizes with cash prizes the best broadcast, print and online journalism produced by Texas media each year.   With legendary broadcaster Verne Lundquist, the Foundation four years ago launched the Lundquist Sports Media Institute.  Mark, as chair of the Lundquist initiative, has helped raise more than $100,000 to date for sports journalism scholarships, sports journalism camps for Texas high school students, and other sports media education projects.

The Morrisons endowed the Mark and Ellen Morrison Recruiting for Diversity fund in 2000 and the Ellen and Mark Morrison Headliners Foundation Scholarship for aspiring journalists in 2021.

Mark and Ellen live in Austin.   They have two married sons, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.


David Powell

David was born and raised in Dallas and graduated from Hillcrest High School, where he and classmate Quin Mathews were co-editors of the school newspaper, the Hillcrest Hurricane.

At the University, David majored in journalism and worked on the staff of the The Daily Texan, serving as editor in 1972-1973.

After graduation, he earned a masters’ degree from the Columbia Journalism School. He began his professional life as a reporter for the Associated Press in New York, Miami, and Tallahassee, where he served as correspondent in charge of the AP’s statehouse bureau.

In 1984, he entered law school at Florida State University, prompting one government official to call and congratulate him on finding the only line of work more disreputable than the one he was already in. At FSU, he served as editor-in-chief of the law review.

Starting in 1987, David practiced law for 30 years with a statewide real estate practice that was based in Tallahassee. In 1992 and 1993, he left law practice to work in the administration of Florida Governor Lawton Chiles.

His practice specialized in assisting landowners, developers, and local governments obtain state and local approvals for complex real estate projects.

His most notable work took five years and concluded in 2015 with final approval of the North Ranch Master Plan, a 133,000-acre plan for eventual development of Deseret Ranches between Orlando International Airport and Cape Canaveral. It’s the largest new-town plan ever approved in Florida with a projected population of 500,000 by 2080 and an urban core, walkable neighborhoods, fixed-rail transit, and college campus. Half the site was put into immediate permanent preservation.

His civic activities included serving as board chairman of Leadership Florida, an organization of leaders from business, the professions, government, nonprofits, and the arts. He was an adjunct professor at the FSU law school for 15 years. David served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Moody College of Communication from 2012 until last year.

In 2017, David wrapped up his law practice in order to report and write an oral history book about Cuban exiles who came to this country after Fidel Castro took power in 1959. The book was published last year by the University of Florida Press, and David’s interview recordings, transcripts, and workpapers have been acquired by the University of Miami for its Cuban Heritage Collection.

David has been married for 44 years to Vicki Weber. They have one daughter and two excellent grandchildren. David and Vicki reside in Tallahassee.


Griff Singer Award

Wanda Cash

Wanda Garner Cash did not spend much time as a student reporter on The Daily Texan. A run-in with an editor when she arrived as a journalism student in 1968 cut short her days at The Texan.

But after 25 years as a Texas community newspaper veteran and executive, she returned to UT as a journalism professor and quickly made up for lost time with The Texan.

She served two terms as a member of the Texas Student Media Board and was on its executive committee. It was then she led the fight for transparency, open government and public access at  the campus and state level.

While a member of the Texas Student Media Board and a UT journalism professor, she led and won the fight with UT administrators that finally lifted the threat of prior restraint and censorship to The Daily Texan. Additionally, she conducted seminars for the Texan and served as a consultant when editors encountered stories requiring tough decisions.

For her dedication to The Texan, she is receiving the 2023 Griff Singer Award.

Cash, before retiring in 2016, also was associate director of the University of Texas School of Journalism and Media. She held the title of clinical professor and the first Fellow named to the S. Griffin Singer Professorship. That professorship was endowed by another Texan veteran and journalism graduate, Joe Phillips of McAllen.

In an interview with The Daily Texan on her retirement, Cash recalled getting an email in in 2005 from college friend, Rusty Todd, about an endowed professorship in honor of her college mentor, Griff Singer. The school looked to hire a professor with experience in Texas journalism.

“When I read that job description, I said, ‘Hey, they’re writing about me. This is who I am,’” Cash said.  She applied and was hired.

After graduating from UT, Cash’s career road led initially to advertising, not in journalism, in San Antonio as coordinator of radio and television advertising for the former Joske’s of Texas department stores.  She returned to UT-Austin and attended the UT Graduate School of Education where she was

certified as a secondary reading specialist in 1975. She then taught high school journalism for seven years at Burbank High School in San Antonio.

She then returned to journalism full-time, serving as editor and publisher of The Baytown Sun, executive editor of The Facts at Clute, assistant managing editor of The Galveston County Daily News and editor of the Kerrville Daily Times. Cash and her husband Richard also owned a weekly newspaper, The Ingram News, in rural West Central Texas for eight years in the mid-1980s.

Cash was among a generation of women journalists who led a wave that would change forever who would hold key executive positions with Texas newspapers and journalism organizations.

She is a past president of the Texan Press Association and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

She was the first woman president of the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors, which later honored her with its Jack Douglas Award for outstanding service to journalism.

Cash also led a media coalition in 2005 to push for a Texas reporter’s shield law. She traveled to Mexico and Cuba on delegations devoted to open records and a free press, and also served as the media member of the Texas Supreme Court’s Judicial Advisory Council’s Committee on Public Access to Court Records.

In 2016, she received the James Madison Award from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, which honors those who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to upholding the principles of the First Amendment and open government.

Four years earlier, she was inducted into the Texas Intercollegiate Press Hall of Fame, and in 2018 the Austin Chapter of Women in Communications honored Cash with its Liz Carpenter Lifetime Achievement Award. Carpenter was a Washington correspondent and press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson during LBJ’s time as vice president and president.

In an interview with Women in Communication related to her award, Cash was asked about her concerns as a journalist. Her answer reflected her ethics about being a journalist:

“In communications, there is always a risk of angering people. People get angry at what you write. They want to be heard, but there are always those who are going to take offense to what you have written.

“I was fired from my job at the Kerrville Daily Times when I reported on a near-drowning death in which the victim was taken off life support by the hospital without consulting the family. (The hospital was a major employer and advertiser in the community.)

“Although I was fired, that moment propelled me forward into a 16-year career in newspapers before joining the University of Texas at Austin.

“You take a bad incident, and in hindsight realize it was the best thing that could have happened. It certainly paid off,” Cash said.

She has not been idle in retirement to the family’s Hog Heaven Ranch near Ingram in the Texas Hill Country. Her first venture was to write a book about something dear to her heart.

Turns out she is from a family that owned and operated what would become a famous border town destination: The Cadillac Bar in Nuevo Laredo.

“Pancho Villa’s Saddle at The Cadillac Bar” has been a best seller. It recounts the development of what started in 1924 as a dirt-floor bar into the famous The Cadillac Bar by her grandfather Mayo Bessan and his 18-year-old bride. “Fluffy,” as she was affectionally known as a child, first learned Spanish and then English while visiting the bar. Her grandfather acquired a saddle that belonged to Pancho Villa, thus the name of the book.

Cash’s father, Porter Garner Jr., married the Bessan’s only daughter and was active in management of the Cadillac until handing over keys to the restaurant to its employees in 1979.

The book has received rave reviews for its detail and recipes for fancy food and cocktails.

Cash also was active in community and civic activities.



Rising Star Honorees


Samantha Ketterer

Samantha Ketterer covers higher education for the Houston Chronicle. She has been with the newspaper since 2018.

Ms. Ketterer graduated in 2016 from the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. After spending several semesters at The Daily Texan’s copy and opinion departments, she became a senior reporter on the “campus” beat and, later, news editor. Her writing on UT’s student groups and movements sometimes spurred national news coverage — including on a “joke” Student Government campaign that took everyone by surprise, promised to bring a Chili’s to campus and won. (There is still no Chili’s on the Forty Acres.)

Samantha, 28, is from Pearland, a Houston suburb. She is proud to report at the paper she grew up reading, where she has now covered many breaking news events, disasters and public accountability stories across a diverse metropolitan area. Those include the ITC chemical explosion and leak, which left a plume of smoke over Houston for days and led to the temporary closure of the Houston Ship Channel; the Santa Fe High School shooting that killed eight students and two teachers; and the deadly Astroworld Festival crowd crush. She co-led a project on the narrative account of the concert tragedy, winning first place in feature writing at the Texas APME awards.

First covering breaking news at the Chronicle, Samantha later moved to the Harris County courthouse. While she reported on numerous trials and a turbulent district attorney’s office, Ms. Ketterer’s work also uncovered injustices and inconsistencies in the bail bonds system, resulting in a countywide policy change that increased oversight of bail bondsmen who have operated quietly for years.

Samantha’s latest reporting on higher education focuses on inequities and changing ideologies at Texas’ colleges and universities — in one case, shining a light on an unexpected battle for the soul of Texas A&M: a campus drag show.

Prior to the Chronicle, Samantha covered City Hall for the Galveston County Daily News. There, she reported on Hurricane Harvey and is especially proud of the stories the paper highlighted in the still devastated but less visible towns outside of Houston.



Forrest Milburn

Forrest Milburn is the director of audience at the Houston Landing, a new nonprofit digital newsroom serving the Houston region, where he oversees strategy around distribution, audience growth and community engagement. He started his role with the Landing in March 2023, but he was most recently the senior audience growth and engagement producer for the Miami Herald in South Florida.

At the Herald, he was a key member of the newspaper’s audience engagement team, where he led strategy for social media videos, Instagram/TikTok/Reddit, and reader callouts, while also having a hand in everything from newsletters to pitching to off-platform news aggregators. Forrest had been with the Herald since 2019 as an audience producer and was most recently promoted to senior producer in January 2022.

During his time at The Daily Texan, Forrest served in many roles across the newsroom, including senior reporter, news editor, associate social media editor, and, finally, managing editor. Despite originally wanting to pursue a career as a political reporter, Forrest’s time cutting his teeth in the Daily Texan’s social media department was the spark that led him to pursue a career in audience journalism.

Once he was in a leadership role, Forrest sought to build out the Texan’s digital infrastructure, from strengthening its social media team to building new avenues for reader engagement. As managing editor, he created the paper’s Newsletters department after redesigning and relaunching its daily newsletter and helped ideate the Texan’s Diversity and Inclusion Board and director of digital strategy position.

Forrest studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and was the 2019 Friends of the Texan Achievement award winner. He eventually said goodbye to the Texan in 2019.

During his tenure in the Texan basement, Forrest also interned at several news outlets around the state, including the Austin American-Statesman, the San Antonio Express-News, the Dallas Morning News and the Texas Tribune.

Through his internships, Forrest covered everything from the Texas Legislature to health care to the 2018 U.S. Senate race.

His work at the Texan and internship experience helped land him a summer internship at the Washington Post on the paper’s audience team immediately after college, as well as his first full-time job at the Pulitzer-prize-winning Miami Herald.

In his time off, Forrest enjoys tending to his balcony flowers and his indoor plant collection, as well as playing with his two cats, Artemis and Apollo, and attempting new recipes in the kitchen.


Allyson Waller

Allyson Waller is a newsletter writer at The Texas Tribune, where she authors the publication’s flagship newsletter The Brief, and helps craft product strategy around the Tribune’s other newsletter offerings. She studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated in 2020.

While in college, Allyson immersed herself in student media, with the 2016 presidential election heavily influencing her interests in covering topics like politics and race. Her freshman year, she joined the publication ORANGE Magazine as a writer and eventually became an editor for its ATX section. She then worked at The Daily Texan as a general assignment reporter and senior crime reporter — examining how crime at UT compared to other big-city universities as well as contributing to coverage of the one-year anniversary of a campus stabbing attack that left one dead.

During her time at UT, she also worked as a journalism writing coach at the Moody Writing Support Program and was a member of the UT chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and later went on to serve as chapter president.

Her work at the Texan contributed to her landing notable internships at The Bryan-College Station Eagle, The Texas Tribune and the Miami Herald. At the Eagle, she further honed her reporting skills in daily, community news. In fall 2018, she worked as an investigative fellow with the Tribune, where she wrote a three-part series on income inequality and also contributed to coverage of the 2018 midterm elections.

While at the Herald, she worked as a city and local government intern, chronicling various city commission meetings in Miami and Miami Beach, while also working to highlight local residents and stakeholders, particularly parts of Miami’s Black community. In 2020, Allyson became part of the 2020-2021 New York Times Fellowship class. She worked as a general assignment and breaking news reporter, contributing to daily news coverage and also crafting enterprise pieces — such as an article chronicling job loss among college students during the pandemic and another providing a deep dive into the history of Black American Sign Language. For the latter, she won the 2021 Linguistics Journalism Award from the Linguistic Society of America.

It is without a doubt,  The Daily Texan played a pivotal role in her journalism career and where she is today. While working there, she not only learned some of the integral foundations of journalism such as transparency and accuracy, but also learned how to craft her own voice and see the value in her own lived experience.

As a Black woman in media, Allyson strives to produce work that doesn’t shy away from authenticity and is easily accessible. Outside of the journalism profession, some of Allyson’s joys include stocking up on fiction books, listening to podcasts and playing with her dog, Theo.


About the Friends of The Daily Texan:  The Friends group was established 10 years ago to assist the Texan at a particularly critical time. We provide a variety of support to the staff and to The Texan and Texas Student Media, including funding 11 scholarship grants a year for Texan staffers, funding the digital infrastructure that underlies The Daily Texan website, purchase of video and photo equipment, training and many other needs. As we mark our 10th year, we are focusing in 2023 on raising $300,000 to supplement our existing endowment to both expand and insure long-term continuation of our scholarship program for staffers.