History Department
History Department

History Graduation Speakers

In 2001, the Department of History began conducting its own baccalaureate graduation ceremonies during the May commencement weekend. Our chair, Professor Alan Tully, realized that students might want to hear from someone who had been in their shoes, graduating from The University of Texas and wondering what direction their life would take.

We started the tradition of inviting a Texas Ex who had earned their bachelor’s degree with a major in history to speak each year. Here's a list of speakers — from all walks of life.

LeeAnn Stack, Class of ’08, J.D. ’12. BA in History and French
Program Manager, Intellectual Propery Operations at Facebook
Graduated with special honors in History. Read the transcript.

Tim Taliaferro, BA with High Honors, History and Plan II majors, 2005
Masters in Journalism, Northwestern University
Chief Innovative officer, Texas Monthly, former Editor in Chief The Alcalde

Brian P. Levack, BA History Fordham, Ph.D. History, Yale
Professor of History, UT Austin, 1969-2017
John E. Green Regents Professor in History and Distinguished Teaching Professor. Read the transcript.

Shaka Smart, B.A., History, 1999, Kenyon College  |  M.A. Social Studies, 2001, California Univ. of Pennsylvania
Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Texas at Austin. Watch the video.


Josiah M. Daniel, III, Class of '86 (M.A.), J.D. '78

Attorney, Philanthropist, Inaugural Chair of the History Visiting Committee (2008-2014)


The Honorable Pete Geren, Class of '75, J.D. '78

Attorney, Businessman, Philanthropist, Former U.S. Congressman, Department of Defense


Maidie Ryan, Class of '96, J.D. '01
Attorney, Philanthropist, community volunteer, Life Member, Texas Exes

Rob Thomas, Class of '87
Renowned screenwriter, television producer, and author

Joseph D. Jamail, Class of '50, J.D. '53

Lawyer and Philanthropist, Houston, Texas

Dr. Bryant "Tip" Ragan, Class of '81
Chair of the Department of History, Colorado College, Colorado Springs

Paul Bartholomew, Class of '94

Actor, 2008 Jeep Liberty Commercial

John Schwartz, Class of '79

Science Reporter, The New York Times
Since January 2009, Schwartz has been the national legal correspondent for the Times.

Dr. Nancy S. Footer, Class of '80

Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, University of North Texas System

Dr. Ricardo Romo, Class of ’67
President, University of Texas at San Antonio. B.A. with teaching field in History.
University of Texas track star. University of Texas History faculty & Vice Provost.

Lynda Johnson Robb, Class of '66

“Professional volunteer”. Philanthropist. First Lady of Virginia.
Graduated with special honors in History.

Sally Kleberg, Class of '66

Family Business Office Manager (King Ranch). Philanthropist, Writer, and Educator.

Doug English, Class of '76

Philanthropist, Lone Star Paralysis Foundation. Co-Owner, ProLine, Distributing, Austin. NFL & Longhorn football legend.

Jane Macon, Class of '67

Partner, Fulbright & Jaworski, San Antonio.
National Women's Political Caucus' Long Haul of Fame.

Adm. Bobby R. Inman, Class of '50

Faculty LBJ School of Public Relations. Businessman. Active in public service. United States Navy, retired.