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.

2019 Recipients

Sara C. (Galvan) Bronin is our Pro Bene Meritis Young Alumna Award winner. She holds an Endowed Chair at the University of Connecticut School of Law and is an internationally-recognized expert on property and land use issues. She has written books on historic preservation law, co-authors a leading zoning treatise, and is breaking ground with an American Law Institute project to restate land use law. Beyond the classroom, she has chaired award-winning local efforts to overhaul an outdated zoning code, galvanized a community to adopt a Climate Action Plan, and championed protections for irreplaceable sites and landscapes. Professor Bronin received bachelor degrees in architecture and Plan II honors from the University of Texas, a master’s degree from the University of Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar), and a law degree from Yale Law School (as a Truman Scholar).  

Thomas “Tom” Ward is a retired foreign service officer formerly with the U.S. Agency for International Development, based in Washington, D.C. Tom grew up in Austin, excelling in both sports and academics before graduating from the University of Texas in 1954 with a B.A. in Government. He later received an M.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Southern California. Following U.S. Army service, he worked in the Office of the Registrar at UT before starting his career in the Foreign Service. Throughout his numerous global assignments and after retirement, Tom has remained a dedicated advocate for the University and the College of Liberal Arts. He enthusiastically serves as an esteemed member of the following organizations: the Liberal Arts Advisory Council, the Department of History Visiting Committee, the Chancellor’s Council, and the UT System Archer Fellows Program in Washington, D.C., where he is a Trustee and mentor to student interns from several UT campuses. Tom is also active with the Littlefield Society, the Texas Exes, and the Texas Leadership Society, among others. He has transformed the International Relations and Global Studies Program by establishing the J. Thomas Ward Chair in International Relations and Global Studies. Students and faculty in the College of Liberal Arts, together with the LBJ School, will be at the forefront of solving the world’s most pressing global issues.

Brian P. Levack, Ph.D., John E. Green Regents Professor Emeritus in History, grew up in a family of teachers in the New York metropolitan area and knew from an early age that he would become a historian. He received his B.A. from Fordham University in 1965 and his Ph.D. from Yale in 1970. In graduate school, he became fascinated by the history of the law and the interaction between law and politics, interests that he has maintained throughout his career. Brian joined the Department of History at the University of Texas in 1969, where he taught countless undergraduates, mentored graduate students, and collaborated with faculty for nearly 50 years. During his eight years as a department chair, he built one of the top history programs in the country, while earning distinguished teaching awards. Brian’s research focuses on the legal, political, and religious history of early modern Britain. His books include The Civil Lawyers in England, 1603-1641; The Formation of the British State: England, Scotland, and the Union;The Witch-hunt in Early Modern Europe; Witch-hunting in Scotland: Law, Politics, and Religion; and, most recently, The Devil Within: Possession and Exorcism in the Christian West.


The registration period is now closed and will not open until September 1, 2019. Click here for a list of all Past Recipients