College of Liberal Arts

Plan II Honors, English Alumna to Receive Distinguished Alumnus Award

Tue, Sep 28, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas –The Honorable Diane P. Wood, federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, will be recognized by the Texas Exes at their Distinguished Alumnus Awards Friday, Oct. 22, in Austin.

The award, created in 1958, recognizes annually up to six graduates or former students of The University of Texas at Austin who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the university. The Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest award given by the Texas Exes.

Wood earned a bachelor’s degree in Plan II with highest honors and special honors in English from 1971 and a doctor of jurisprudence degree in 1975, both from The University of Texas at Austin. After finishing law school, Wood clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1976 term. She has spent 15 years on the federal bench, having been appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by President Bill Clinton in June 1995. She also has been a leading contender to fill the two most recent U.S. Supreme Court vacancies, meeting with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their top advisers on both occasions.

Previously, Wood was among the first women selected for the University of Chicago Law School faculty, and she served as the school’s associate dean from 1989 to 1992. In 1990, she became the first woman at the school to be honored with a named chair, the Harold J. and Marion F. Green Chair in the International Legal Studies. Since joining the Seventh Circuit, she has continued to teach at the university as a senior lecturer.

A distinguished legal scholar, Wood focuses on international trade and business, federal civil procedure and antitrust law. She has lectured in all three areas for audiences around the world, often in one of the several foreign languages she speaks fluently.

There will be five other recipients honored at the event in addition to Wood, including David Beck, attorney and founder of Beck, Redden & Secrest, L.L.P; Ernest Cockrell, chairman of Cockrell Interests Inc. and president and director of the Cockrell Foundation; Elizabeth (Libba) Shatto Massey, civic leader and philanthropist; Gary Kelly, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines; and Hector De Leon, founder of the law firm of De Leon & Washburn, P.C.

The Texas Exes was founded in 1885. The mission of the Texas Exes is to unite, inform and involve alumni and friends for the purpose of promoting, protecting and preserving The University of Texas at Austin. Today there are about 90,000 members whom the association strives to connect to each other and to the past, present and future of the university through career counseling, travel, reunions, continuing education, fellowship, legislative advocacy in support of higher education and The Alcalde magazine. For more information on the Texas Exes or to become a member, visit

Bookmark and Share