Texas Tech University

Most Distinguished 2021

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2020 & 2021 Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumnii

Monica Marquez (1997, 2001)

Monica Marquez, Texas Tech alumna

Monica Marquez earned her bachelor's degree in biology in 1997. She went on to earn a master's degree in higher education from Texas Tech in 2001. Today, she is the co-founder and chief innovation officer for Beyond Barriers, a global digital platform that accelerates success for women with executive coaching, high-performance training and peer-advisory cohorts. Prior to founding Beyond Barriers, she worked in management and executive roles at some of the world's largest organizations, including Goldman Sachs, Ernst & Young, Google and Bank of America.  
 
During her eight years at Goldman Sachs, Marquez was central in creating, developing and implementing the New Directions and Returnship programs, which focus on the firm's initiatives for individuals re-entering the workforce. Today, she is active in a variety of diversity-focused nonprofit organizations and currently serves on the Corporate Advisory Board for Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Texas Tech's University Career Center Advisory Board and the NAFOA (formerly the Native American Finance Officers Association) Education Advisory Board.  

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Lindy Cook Severns (1972)

Lindy Cook Serverns, Texas Tech alumna

Lindy Cook Severns earned a dual degree in English and biology in 1972. Today, she is a preeminent Southwest landscape painter, who has showcased work across the globe. Severns is the artist-in-residence at the Old Spanish Gallery and Museum, an upscale space on a heritage Davis Mountains ranch near Fort Davis, where she and her husband, Jim, reside. Her unique painting style captures an affinity for the dramatic skies and infinite horizons of the high desert of Far West Texas and Big Bend country.  
 
Severns' creative spirit is born out of a lifetime spent across the diverse Texas landscape and her own heritage as a seventh-generation Texan. Throughout her career, Severns' work has been published and showcased across myriad prominent locations and galleries. In 2016, she was the featured artist on “Western Perspective,” a national PBS documentary featuring creatives. Her work also was published in “Texas Traditions, Contemporary Artists of the Lone Star State,” a definitive collection of 35 artists. 

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James Bull (1970)

James Bull, Texas Tech alumnus

James Bull is a 1970 graduate with a bachelor's degree in zoology. He went on to earn his doctorate from the University of Utah and completed post-doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin and University of Sussex. Today, he is a renowned evolutionary biologist and professor of biology at the University of Idaho. Additionally, he has served as the Johann Friedrich Miescher Regents Professor in Molecular Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. 
 
Bull is widely recognized for his work on evolution of sex determination and viral evolution. In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the country's most prestigious scientific organization and one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a scientist or engineer in the U.S. During his career, Bull has served on the Science board of reviewing editors for 13 years, chaired the National Institutes of Health's Genetic Variation and Evolution Study Section for two years and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has authored more than 180 journal articles, one book and has more than 25,000 citations

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Dr. Bob Salem (1950)

Dr. Bob Salem, Texas Tech alumnus

A native of Sudan, Texas, Dr. Bob Salem completed his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1950, before graduating from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He was drafted during the Korean conflict and commissioned as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps assigned to Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Denver. There, he was part of the medical team that attended to then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  
 
Dr. Salem went on to complete his residency in cardiovascular surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, under the tutelage of pioneering surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey. He returned to West Texas where he opened a general and vascular surgery practice in Lubbock and became a pioneer in the region. Dr. Salem and his practice performed the first open-heart surgery in West Texas in 1970 and have performed more than 30,000 total surgeries in Lubbock.  
 
He was vital in establishing the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), when it was purely a School of Medicine, and was the first professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery. Dr. Salem currently serves as Chief Medical Officer Emeritus of Covenant Health System in Lubbock and clinical professor of surgery at TTUHSC.

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Rick Merrill (1992)

Rick Merrill, Texas Tech alumnus

Rick Merrill is a 1992 graduate, earning his bachelor's degree in biology. He went on to complete a Master of Science degree in health care administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.  
 
Today, Merrill is the president and CEO of Cook Children's Health Care System in Dallas/Fort Worth – a role he has held since accepting the appointment in 2007. Under his watch, Cook Children's Medical Center has nearly doubled the size of its campus to meet evolving needs for its cutting-edge services. He also has ushered in a new era of health care by streamlining the organization's mission and vision into a “promise to improve the health of every child in the region through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury.” This promise has bolstered Cook Children's reputation as a national health care leader and one of the top companies to work for.  
 
His nearly 30-year career has spanned leadership roles in academic and university-based health care systems across the state of Texas. He is actively serving on numerous national, state and community advisory boards including Children's Hospital Association, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and, most recently, as chair of the Children's Hospital Association of Texas. 

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2020 & 2021 Faculty Excellence Awardees

Barbara Hahn, Ph.D.

TTU professor Barbara Hahn

Department of History 
2020 Excellence in Research, Humanities

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Anthony Cozzolino, Ph.D.

TTU professor Anthony Cozolino

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry 
2020 Excellence in Research, Natural & Physical Sciences

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Marc Lochbaum, Ph.D.

TTU professor Marc Lochbaum

Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management 
2020 Excellence in Research, Social Sciences

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Erin-Marie Legacey, Ph.D.

TTU professor Erin-Marie Legacey

Department of History 
2020 Teaching Innovation Award

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Jeremy Schwartz, Ph.D.

TTU professor Jeremy Schwartz

Department of Philosophy 
2020 Excellence in Teaching Award

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Carole Edwards, Ph.D.

TTU professor Carole Edwards

Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures   
2021 Excellence in Research, Humanities 

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Michael Latham, Ph.D.

TTU professor Michael Latham

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry 
2021 Excellence in Research, Natural & Physical Sciences

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Tyler Davis, Ph.D.

TTU professor Tyler Davis

Department of Psychological Sciences 
2021 Excellence in Research, Social Sciences

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Yanlin Wang, Ph.D.

TTU professor Yanlin Wang

Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures 
2021 Teaching Innovation Award

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Natasja van Gestel, Ph.D.

TTU professor Natasja van Gestel

Department of Biological Sciences  
2021 Excellence in Teaching Award

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