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UT Tyler Announces 2016 ‘Alumni and Friends’ Gala

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December 11, 2015

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

The University of Texas at Tyler Alumni Association will recognize three graduates during the 2016 Alumni and Friends Gala, Brittany Childs, alumni relations director, announced.

The event will be 7 p.m. Saturday, April 2, 2016 at the UT Tyler Ornelas Activity Center.

The 2016 honorees are Dr. J. Blair Blackburn and Kathryn Murphy, distinguished alumni and Matthew Riccardi, distinguished young alumnus.

Awards are presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves in their professional achievements, contributions to society and support of UT Tyler.

Tables of eight are available for $1,000 for general admission, and sponsorship packages with preferred seating tables also are available for $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000.

For tickets, sponsorship opportunities or more information, visit the UT Tyler Alumni Gala homepage, call 903.566.7316 or email alumni@uttyler.edu.

Distinguished alumnus Blackburn earned a bachelor of science in political science from UT Tyler in 1991. He currently serves as president of East Texas Baptist University. Prior to his presidency, Blackburn served in various roles at Dallas Baptist University for 20 years. He has an extensive work history in higher education, including at UT Tyler, where he served as the coordinator for student activities during 1993 – 1994. While a UT Tyler student, Blackburn was involved in many activities including serving on the Student Foundation and being elected Student Government Association vice president, and he also held several honor society memberships.

Distinguished alumna Murphy earned a bachelor of arts in English from UT Tyler in 1986. She is a partner in the law firm of Goranson Bain, PLLC in Dallas and Plano, serving as a frequent writer and speaker on family law issues. Among many honors, Murphy was named the 2015 ‘Lawyer of the Year’ in Dallas by Best Lawyers© Family Law, Woodward and White Press. She also received the 2013 Annette Stewart Inn of Court’s ‘Serjeant of the Inn’ Award, which is presented to an attorney who has significantly contributed to the profession and the community throughout their career.

Distinguished young alumnus Riccardi earned a bachelor of business administration in management as well as a master of business administration from UT Tyler in 2007 and 2009, respectively. He is the senior manager of basketball operations and scout for the National Basketball Association’s Brooklyn Nets organization. He also has served as a head coach for the semi-professional basketball team, the North Jersey Pros, based in Passiac, NJ. As an undergraduate, Riccardi received numerous accolades as a member of the Patriots men’s basketball team.

One of the 14 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler features excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 8,500 high-ability students. UT Tyler offers courses at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine as well as a location in Houston.

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