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Texas Tech Alumni Association Names Distinguished Alumni

Meinzer, Johnson and Barnhart honored for distinguished careers and service.

Written by Jean Ann Cantore

Alumni Highlights

The Texas Tech Alumni Association will honor Wyman Meinzer, Larry D. Johnson and Douglas E. Barnhart as Distinguished Alumni during this year's Distinguished Alumni Dinner, Friday, Nov. 20, preceding the Texas Tech football game versus the University of Oklahoma on Saturday, Nov. 21.

The dinner and awards are designed to recognize and honor alumni who have made significant contributions toward furthering the excellence of Texas Tech University through outstanding accomplishments, careers and/or through extraordinary measures of service.

To make reservations, please contact the Alumni Association at (806) 742-3641.

Wyman Meinzer

Wyman Meinzer

The name Wyman Meinzer is synonymous with photography. For years, he has been delighting people with his depictions of the Texas landscape and the creatures that inhabit it, as well as other parts of the globe.

The Knox County native grew up on a ranch. He earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Texas Tech in 1974.

Since 1982, Meinzer has been a photographer and author. His work has appeared in more than 250 magazines worldwide, such as Smithsonian, Natural History and Time among others. He also has produced 22 books, with more underway. His career has been featured in Southern Living magazine as well as in the book “Texas Men: Big Guns, Rising Stars & Cowboys” by Martana.

Former Texas Governor George W. Bush and the 75th Texas Legislature designated Meinzer the Official State Photographer in 1997, the first and only time such an honor has been given. That year, he also received the National Literary Award for the book “Texas Lost: Vanishing Heritage,” in collaboration with Andrew Sansom.

Meinzer also shares his talents through teaching and public programs and exhibits throughout Texas. He has been an adjunct faculty member in the College of Mass Communications, teaching a senior-level photography course at the Lubbock campus and a senior-level photography course at the Texas Tech campus in Junction since 2000.

He and his wife, Sylinda, live in Benjamin. They have two sons, Hunter and Pate, and two daughters, Sara and Maggie.

Larry D. Johnson

Larry D. Johnson

Well-known Houston businessman Larry D. Johnson is the founder, president and chief executive officer of The Johnson Development Company.

A native of Kress, Johnson entered Texas Tech on a football scholarship. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in 1961. He then attended the University of Texas Law School and eventually relocated to Houston where he embarked on a career in real estate development. He began his career founding and serving as president of a Houston real estate investment and development firm for nine years until he merged it into a public company in 1970. For the next five years, he served as president of a subsidiary of First Realty Investors.

Today, he heads The Johnson Development Corporation, founded in 1975, an award-winning residential and commercial land development company. The company has developed numerous master-planned communities and has been named a top 10 developer by the Web site Tops in America.

In his more than 47 years of real estate development, Johnson has been involved in more than 100 projects on more than 43,000 acres. In addition to planning communities, he has been involved in developing retail shopping and entertainment districts, as well as mixed-use commercial centers. Johnson has served on several boards.

He has served on the Texas Tech Board of Regents. He and his wife, the former Suzanne “Suzie” Eastwood, a former Texas Tech student who was honored with a Lifetime Distinguished Leadership Award by the College of Human Sciences, have been co-chairs for The Houston Campaign in Houston. The campaign raised $40 million in Houston for Texas Tech University. He also is a member of the Matador Society, SPUR Society and Texas Tech Alumni Association.

A project close to Johnson’s heart is the Wounded Hero Home Program, which provides returning veterans with homes. His company already has donated land for two homes.

He and his wife have five children, Nick, Chad, Scott, Jennifer and Larry.

Douglas E. Barnhart

Douglas E. Barnhart

Douglas E. Barnhart is chief executive officer of Makena Consulting Inc., a consulting company for large construction, engineering and construction management firms and Chairman of J. Reese Construction, Inc. Both firms are based in San Diego, Calif.

The West Texas native graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas Tech in 1969. He served initially in the Republic of Vietnam and later as a U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer managing naval construction projects in San Diego. He then joined C.E. Wylie Construction Inc.

In 1983, he started Barnhart Inc., which eventually grew to a yearly sales volume of more than $532,000,000. He sold the company in 2008. At the time, Barnhart Inc. was ranked among the top 12 general contractors in California and among the top 100 in the country. Barnhart then founded Makena Consulting Inc. and J. Reese along with several real estate companies.

Among the many honors Barnhart has earned is the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship. He has been honored with the Small Business Award for Excellence, Who’s Who in U.S. Executives, Business/Industry Award for the Greater San Diego Industry-Education Council.

Barnhart has been named a Texas Tech University Distinguished Engineer and has been inducted into the Texas Tech Civil Engineering Academy.

He and his wife, Nancy, have two daughters, Tara and Tami.