College of Liberal Arts

Pro Bene Meritis Award

PBM Award

The Pro Bene Meritis award is the highest honor bestowed by the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. The purpose of the award is to honor individuals who are committed to the liberal arts, who have made outstanding contributions in professional or philanthropic pursuits, or who have participated in service related to the College of Liberal Arts. In addition to expressing appreciation to those distinguished individuals so honored, the College of Liberal Arts, through this award, is seeking to heighten public awareness of the critical role played by the liberal arts in education and society today.

The award is presented annually at a dinner in the spring. The alumni, faculty, students and staff of the college take pride in these individuals and the legacy of their character and achievements.

The 2016 Recipients

Stephen Ballantyne, an economics and McCombs alum, is a practicing attorney and President of Ballantyne Oil & Gas and Verde Oil Company. A lifelong member of the Liberal Arts Advisory Council (on which he’s held leadership roles) and the Advisory Committee for the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas, he has strongly supported the liberal arts and The University, actively serving in various board positions and is a founding member of the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education. Mr. Ballantyne has dedicated his efforts to support students through numerous scholarships across campus, and his leadership in connecting San Antonio with the College continues to foster a robust relationship with The University and its alumni.

Elizabeth Cullingford, Ph.D., holds the Jane Weinert Blumberg Chair in English. Since arriving at The University in 1982, Dr. Cullingford has published widely in British literature and poetry, and has won several teaching awards, including membership of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. She has served for eight years as Chair of the Department of English, which ranks in the top 20 graduate programs, and is just beginning her last term in office. The department has flourished under her leadership: she has hired numerous wonderful young faculty members, overseen the creation of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has established the department’s first Visiting Committee.

Max Miller, Ph.D., and Sylvia Miller have made liberal arts and the Naval ROTC top priorities at The University of Texas. As director of the Navy League National Board and National Vice-President, and as the Chairman of the Midshipmans Foundation, Dr. Miller has dedicated his life to providing support and scholarships for Naval ROTC students. In addition, the Millers have been active leaders in establishing the Department of Religious Studies and the Institute for the Study of Antiquities and Christian Origins, comprising some of the foremost scholars in the country. They have served on the Liberal Arts Advisory Council and dedicated themselves to these two key programs within the college, actively raising support for our faculty and students.


The nomination period for the 2016 Pro Bene Meritis award is now closed. 

Click here for a list of all Past Recipients