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.

2018 Recipients

Richard L. Harper, MD is a neurosurgeon in Houston, Texas. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas in 1967 with a BA in Plan II Honors, then went on to medical school at Baylor College of Medicine. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant in the Medical Corps stationed in San Diego and Balboa. Richard returned home to Houston in 1974 to finish his residency in neurosurgery. He built a distinguished career as a physician for Ben Taub General Hospital, The Methodist Hospital, Diagnostic Hospital, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, and Baylor College of Medicine. In addition to his professional achievements, Richard has served The University of Texas and University of Texas System as a member of the Chancellor’s Council, Littlefield Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and is a member of the Thomas Jefferson Center Advisory Council.

Bianna Golodryga--our Pro Bene Meritis Young Alumna Award winner--is a New York-based correspondent for CBS News and a regular CNN contributor. Bianna graduated from The University of Texas in 2000 with a BA in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. She started her television career in 2001 as a bureau producer from the New York Stock Exchange for CNBC, where she produced live coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2004, she worked as a segment producer for The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo, then as an on-air correspondent for CNBC. Bianna joined ABC in 2007 as a Business Correspondent, reporting extensively on the automobile, housing and financial crises and then co-anchored the weekend edition of Good Morning America for four years. After ABC, Bianna moved to Yahoo!, where she led the media company’s coverage of all major financial and news stories alongside Katie Couric. At The University of Texas, Bianna has served on the Chancellor’s Council, the President’s Associates, and is an active alumni volunteer for the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Jeremi Suri, PhD holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs and is a professor in both the Department of History and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. He graduated with a BA in History from Stanford in 1994, before attending Ohio University for his Master’s degree, and Yale for his Doctorate. Jeremi is the author and editor of nine books on contemporary politics and foreign policy. His most recent book, The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office, was widely reviewed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, and other major newspapers. Through his writings and lectures, he has made an immense contribution to the critical dialogue regarding the teaching of humanities and the importance of critical thought as vital factors in the evolution and future of American society and leadership. Jeremi is also the recipient of the 2017-18 President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award from UT. In addition to his distinguished teaching and mentoring duties, he has provided leadership and support to the College and supporting organizations, including the College’s Advisory Council and the Development Council.


The registration period is now closed and will not open until September 1, 2018. Click here for a list of all Past Recipients