Two Liberal Arts graduates will be among those honored Oct. 19 at the 48th annual Distinguished Alumni Gala.
Texas attorneys JoAnn Lee (’76) and Jeff Leuschel (’77) are two of seven alumni to be recognized in the annual university event.
Lee, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UT Arlington, is assistant general counsel, global litigation for ExxonMobil and a member of the Law Department Management Committee. Her responsibilities include management of 150 employees and oversight of a global litigation and arbitration portfolio to protect the interests of the company’s shareholders. Prior to joining ExxonMobil, where she has served in various management positions, she was a trial attorney for Union Pacific Railroad and chief prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
A graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, Lee serves on the Advisory Board of Corporate Counsel Women of Color and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, Chief Litigation Counsel Association, Houston Bar Foundation, and Texas Bar Foundation. She also serves on the board at Family Services of Greater Houston and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit organizations.
Lee credits her experience at UT Arlington as the foundation for her success in law school and as an attorney.
“UTA provided an excellent academic foundation,” she said. “The pre-law curriculum and the professors required me to think more critically. The focus on writing and analytical skills at UTA contributed to my overall development and has been the cornerstone of my strengths as an attorney.”
Leuschel is a partner in the Dallas office of McCall, Parkhurst & Horton L.L.P., representing clients in municipal finance transactions in Texas and Oklahoma. He has helped numerous Texas communities structure economic development public-private partnerships, including Alliance Airport, Texas Motor Speedway, the redevelopment of Dallas Love Field, and the construction of the Dallas Convention Center hotel. Texas Lawyer named him Public Finance Lawyer of the Year in Dallas in 2011, and he is an honorary member of the Government Treasurers Organization of Texas. He chairs the Video Association of Dallas Board of Directors and has served on the board of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Guild.
Leuschel earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UT Arlington and a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law. He said the listening skills he developed at UT Arlington enabled him to overcome challenges at law school and in his career. Leuschel often encourages the students he mentors to ask questions and seek advice from others.
“Seeking the advice of friends and professors is invaluable as you try to figure out what the next steps will be in continuing along the path toward making career decisions,” he said. “Don’t fail to seek advice; your friends are going to be experiencing the same types of doubts, fears and hopes, and your professors have a wealth of experience and resources to help you in developing your career path.”
Both Lee and Leuschel are members of the UT Arlington Development Board, and each has made generous donations that will benefit pre-law students: Leuschel’s gift helped start the Center for Pre-Law and Legal Studies and Lee’s gift will help further the center’s mission.
Established in 1965, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed by the University and the Alumni Association. The award recognizes outstanding alumni for the individual achievements, their contributions to their industry or profession and service to UT Arlington.
In 2012, Liberal Arts alumni Shirlee Gandy (’70) and Curtis Kayem (’66) were honored as distinguished alumni at the gala.
The gala will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, in the E.H. Hereford University Center. Tickets and sponsorship packages are available online.