Texas Tech University

Most Distinguished 2018

TTU Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni & Faculty Excellence Awardees 2018

Top Row Alumni: David W. Trice; A. Wess Mitchell, PhD; Holly Hunt; Charles R. Price. Bottom Row Faculty: Kendall Gerdes, PhD; Angela Peace, PhD; Paul Bjerk, PhD; Idoia Elola, PhD; Andrew Littlefield, PhD.

This Year's Distinguished Alumni & Faculty Excellence Awardees

Learn more about the College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni & Faculty Excellence program, and our 2018 award winners, through the videos, bios and images that follow. 

2018 Distinguished Alumni

Holly Hunt

TTU alumna Holly Hunt

Custom Interior Designer
BA, '65, English

Holly Hunt earned a bachelor's degree in English from Texas Tech in 1965. Following her time at Tech, the West Texas native moved to Houston and began her career in the executive training program at Foleys. After working as a buyer, she set her sights on becoming a designer and made the move to New York in the early 1970s where she worked as a design assistant in a costume jewelry firm. Eventually she moved to Chicago and founded her first showroom, Holly Hunt Ltd., that featured high-end interior furnishing collections sold exclusively to the Interior Design Trade. By the 1990's she had begun opening showrooms from coast-to-coast, including New York, Miami and Los Angeles and was producing her own Holly Hunt collection of interior furnishings for residential interiors. Today, a total of 11 Holly Hunt showrooms extend throughout the United States and London. In 2016, she acquired the Vladimir Kagan Company from the iconic American furniture designer, enriching her showroom offerings. She has received numerous industry awards including the IIDA Titan Award in 2010, the National IIDA Leadership Award for Excellence in 2013 and a Lifetime Achievement Award for Design Excellence in 2015 from the Society of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago.


A. Wess Mitchell, PhD

TTU alumnus Wess Mitchell

Assistant Secretary of State
BA, '01, History

A. Wess Mitchell, Ph.D., earned a bachelor's degree in History from Texas Tech in 2001, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Mitchell went on to earn a master's degree in German and European studies from Georgetown and a Ph.D. in Political Sciences from Otto Suhr Institut für Politikwissenschaft at Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. During his time at Texas Tech, he was part of the Honors College and earned one of the first Honors Fellowships. He also received a Presidential Scholarship for an internship with United States Congressman Gary Combest. In 2005, he co-founded the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), a think-tank dedicated to the study of Central Europe. Mitchell served CEPA as Director of Research from 2006-2009 and as President and CEO from 2009-2017. He also served on advisory boards for several U.S. and European institutes, including the Zbigniew Brzezinski Institute for Geostrategy, the Slovak Atlantic Commission, the Prague Center for Transatlantic Relations, Atlantic Initiative Berlin and the Alexander Hamilton Society. In October 2017, Mitchell took the oath of office as Assistant Secretary of State. As Assistant Secretary, he is responsible for diplomatic relations with 50 countries in Europe and Eurasia, and with NATO, the EU and the OSCE.


Charles R. Smith

TTU alumnus Charles Smith

Executive Commissioner, Texas Health & Human Services
BA, '88, Psychology

Charles R. Smith earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Texas Tech in 1988. Following graduation, he began his professional career as a child support officer with the Office of the Attorney General's Child Support Division Lubbock office. He was quickly promoted to manager of the Midland office and then moved over to Abilene where he served from 1993-2000. In 2000, Smith was promoted to Assistant Regional Administrator for the Dallas/Fort Worth region of the Child Support Division and later named Regional Administrator for DFW. In October 2003, he was named assistant Deputy Director of Field Operations and just a few short months later, he became Deputy Director of Child Support and Director of Field Operations. In October 2013, then Attorney General Greg Abbott appointed Smith to serve as one of the executive deputies for the agency. Under his leadership, the CSD received its first Outstanding Child Support Enforcement Program award from the National Child Support Enforcement Association. In 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott selected Smith to serve as the Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner for the Health and Human Services Commission. He oversees Texas' Health and Human Services system, consisting of a $40 billion annual budget with nearly 50,000 employees, that serves 7.5 million Texans annually.


David W. Trice

TTU alumnus David Trice

Executive Vice President, EOG Resources
BS, '92, Geology

David Trice earned a bachelor's degree in Geology from Texas Tech in 1992. After Texas Tech, he went on to Texas Christian University and earned a master's degree in Geology. Trice began his professional career with Samson Resources and Sonat Exploration. In 1999, he joined EOG Resources, one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas companies in the United States, as a Senior Geologist in Midland, Texas. From there, he began to rise through the ranks at EOG where he was named Manager, Division Exploration in 2005. In 2010, he was named Vice President and General Manager in Fort Worth. Since 2013, he has served EOG as Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production at the company's corporate headquarters in Houston. He is responsible for the company's operations in the Bakken, Powder River Basin, DJ Basin and Anadarko Basin assets as well as international operations. He shares responsibility for EOG's companywide exploration efforts leveraging his technical expertise in Geology and extensive experience exploring horizontal, tight rock oil and gas.


2018 Faculty Excellence Awardees

Paul Bjerk, PhD

Paul Bjerk, TTU History Professor

Excellence in Research Award
Paul Bjerk, Associate Professor of African History, Department of History


Andrew Littlefield, PhD

Andrew Littlefield, TTU Psychology Professor

Excellence in Research Award
Andrew Littlefield, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychological Sciences


Angela Peace, PhD

Angela Peace, TTU Math Professor

Excellence in Research Award
Angela Peace, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics & Statistics


Idoia Elola, PhD

Idoia Eloloa, TTU Spanish Professor

Excellence in Teaching Award
Idoia Elola, Professor of Spanish and Applied Lingusitics, Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures


Kendall Gerdes, PhD

Kendall Gerdes, TTU English Professor

Teaching Innovation Award
Kendall Gerdes, Assistant Professor and Rhetorical Theorist, Department of English

red line

red line