Bethancourt '74 named Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus

Chosen for the 2011 honor were Clifton J. "Clif" Bolner, Class of 1949, of San Antonio; Dan A. Hughes, Class of 1951, of Beeville, Texas; Gerald L. Ray, Class of 1954, of Dallas; Dr. Joe E. West, Class of 1954, of College Station, Texas; Harold L. Adams, Class of 1961, of Baltimore, Md.; and Bethancourt, Class of 1974, of Alamo, Calif.

Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students also recognize one recipient posthumously: J. Wayne Stark, Class of 1939.

Established in 1962, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University.

Photo of BethancourtBethancourt graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering and later received his executive MBA from Duke University. While at Texas A&M, he was a student senator, vice president of the Student Engineering Council, and president of the Hughes Hall Student Council.

He went to work after graduation for Getty Oil Co., rising to area manager in the company's Bryan office by 1982. He then spent more than 15 years with Texaco, beginning as area manager in the Victoria, Texas, office and culminating as Texaco Corp. vice president and president of worldwide productions operations. He joined Chevron Corp. in 2001 as vice president of human resources. Since 2003, he has been an executive vice president at Chevron. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and a former member of its Board of Directors.

Bethancourt is a member of The Association of Former Students Endowed Century Club and is the chairman-elect of the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Debbie, Class of 1976, have endowed several scholarships and a professorship.  John has been a consistent supporter of the university's Department of Petroleum Engineering. He also supports the football and baseball programs and has been a major force behind planned renovations to Olsen Field. In 2007, he was named an Outstanding Alumnus of A&M's Dwight Look College of Engineering.

He has been a volunteer Little League coach in Victoria, Wharton and Midland, is former chairman of the Petroleum and Energy Committee of the Bryan Chamber of Commerce, is a former director of Midland Junior Achievement, and is a member of the Board of Governors of Miramont Country Club in Bryan.

Bethancourt and his wife have four children, all of whom graduated from Texas A&M, and nine grandchildren. All four children have spouses who also graduated from Texas A&M.

Since the award's inception, 204 individuals have been recognized for their significant contributions to their professions, Texas A&M University and their local communities.

"While alumni of other universities have certainly had a profound impact on their alma mater and on the greater society, we are very proud to recognize those former students that have stood out both within the Aggie family and in their communities, states, and nations," said A&M President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, Class of 1971. "They exemplify what makes Texas A&M University unique-a rich history and traditions and a culture that instills life-long values such as leadership and selfless service in our students. Through their actions, these Distinguished Alumni represent the very best of what it means to truly live the Aggie Spirit."

"Through my involvement over the years with The Association of Former Students, I have become more and more convinced that the true measure of a university's greatness is found in the achievements of its alumni," said Jorge Bermudez '73, The Association of Former Students' 2011 Chair of the Board of Directors. "This year's Distinguished Alumni, continue a long tradition exemplifying why Texas A&M is a world-class institution."

Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III '79 echoed the sentiments of Loftin and Bermudez and offered his congratulations on behalf of the Aggie Network. "Our 2011 Distinguished Alumni represent a group diverse in professional calling, yet each sharing the common characteristics of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service."

The recipients learned of their honor when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and Association representatives, including Loftin, Bermudez, Garner, Association Vice President Marty Holmes '87, a Ross Volunteer, along with Reveille and her handler, Cody Guffey '13.

The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 14. In addition, the 2011 recipients will be hosted for dinner by Loftin on Oct. 13 and recognized during the Texas A&M football game against Baylor on Oct. 15.

Brief biographical information on each of Texas A&M University's 2011 Distinguished Alumni is included below.

The Association of Former Students, established in 1879, is the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University. The Association connects the nearly 500,000 members of the worldwide Aggie Network with each other and the university, and provides more than $7 million a year in impact to university scholarships, awards, activities and enrichment for students, faculty, staff and former students. For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award, contact Brenda Lessor or visit