Austin College produces enlightened citizens and
problem solvers through a quality liberal arts education.
Consider these alumni who illustrate Austin College’s impact on the world through public service. They represent generations of alumni who work for the greater good.
Gifts to Austin College support the preparation of bright students ready to take on the challenges of today's world. Please consider the important work of Austin College and make your gift by June 30. If you have already made your gift, thank you!
Linus Wright '49
Former U.S. Under Secretary of Education
Linus Wright took a temporary teaching and coaching position while waiting for his “real” job to start. He never got back to the business career he’d planned. He spent the next 20 years, moving from school district to larger school district, taking on positions as assistant principal, dean, and assistant superintendent. Then he was named superintendent of Dallas ISD. From there to Washington, D.C., and back again, his advocacy for education improvements have touched millions.
Laura Shelton Mendenhall '69
President Emerita of Columbia Theological Seminary; Retired Presbyterian Pastor
After serving as president of Columbia Theological Seminary from 2000 to 2009, Laura Mendenhall served as senior philanthropy advisor at the Texas Presbyterian Foundation. An ordained Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, she also served as pastor of Lake Travis Presbyterian Church in Austin. Now retired, she continues to live in Austin and enjoy family life.
Abbas Ravjani '04
Attorney and Advisor at U.S. Department of State
Abbas Ravjani’s work with the U.S. State Department involves negotiation of information sharing agreements with foreign governments related to law enforcement cooperation, aviation and transportation security, terrorist watch listing, and biometrics. He previously served as counsel of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for the House of Representatives.
Sue Masica '83
Director of Intermountain Region at National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Sue Masica’s lifetime career in government service has been marked by collaboration and a strong work ethic. At the National Park Service, she has served in various executive positions overseeing administration, facilities, and lands. She currently has responsibility for 84 national park units and oversees 6,000 employees and $1 billion in funding annually.
Taylor Crouch '15
2017 Master’s Degree Graduate
Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Taylor Crouch is prepared for a civil service career in U.S. foreign security policy to promote human rights and social justice within the public and private sector by collaboratively developing solutions to complex issues of bias and inequity within our communities. He also works to promote and protect the civil rights of the citizens of Minneapolis through the Commission on Civil Rights.
Ummekulsoom “Umme” Lalani '13
Research Analyst, University of Cambridge
Umme’s World Bank-funded project identifies and develops solutions for Syrian health worker training and development, particularly in neighboring countries experiencing significant inward displacement of Syrians. “I am driven to be part of the community development process on an individual, local, and national level. The ethos of my religion and my education have taught me how servant leadership and active citizenship improve and strengthen public services and address issues of access.”
Christopher Melton '96
Health Communications Specialist at U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
Christopher Melton protects the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs. His work—which requires interaction with patients, doctors, health organizations, and industry professionals—includes providing public access to accurate, science-based information regarding medicines.
Carmen Tafolla '72
Author, poet, educator, and performer; 2015 Texas Poet Laureate
Carmen Tafolla is a celebrated author, keynote speaker, actor, playwright, and literacy volunteer. Associate professor of Transformative Children’s Literature at University of Texas – San Antonio, she also teaches courses in Latino cultural expressions, Mexican-American studies, and bicultural, bilingual education.
William O. Walker Jr. '53
Jennie Farris Railey King Professor Emeritus of Religion at Trinity University
Bill Walker enjoyed a celebrated teaching career in the Department of Religion at Trinity University, with more than 40 years in the classroom. During his career, he has served as dean of the Division of Humanities and Arts, chair of the Religion Department, and interim chair of the Psychology Department, along with his teaching assignments, community service, and writing projects.
Adani Sanchez '12
Client Services Coordinator for the health care access non-profit Champaign County Health Care Consumers
Adani Sanchez assists clients with applications for health insurance and accessing financial assistance for prescription medication, among other outreach. “The liberal arts perspective informs my view of the non-profit universe: my organization and the people we help are affected by outside factors. That’s why we encourage our clients to register to vote and be informed on local issues.”