UTEP Announces 2013 Distinguished Alumni

Every year, The University of Texas at El Paso and the UTEP Alumni Association honor a group of distinguished men and women whose achievements stand out as monuments to dedication, integrity and hard work – they are the UTEP Distinguished Alumni.

“This year’s Distinguished Alumni and Gold Nugget recipients are living examples of how preparation at UTEP coupled with hard work and perseverance can result in significant professional contributions,” said Richard Daniel, Ph.D., associate vice president for university advancement and special projects, and executive director for alumni relations.

The Distinguished Alumni award is the highest recognition bestowed upon alumni of the University. The 2013 Distinguished Alumni will be officially recognized during UTEP’s 2013 Homecoming Week, Sept. 29-Oct. 5. They are:

Sally A. Hurt Deitch
CEO of Sierra Providence East Medical Center, El Paso

In less than 18 years, Sally Hurt Deitch worked her way up from a 22-year-old staff nurse in an endoscopy department to CEO of one of El Paso’s newest hospitals.

She earned a B.S. in Nursing in 1990 and an M.S. in Nursing in 1994 from UTEP. Her first job was at Sun Towers in 1990, now called Las Palmas Medical Center, as a staff nurse. She quickly worked her way up to chief nursing officer, chief operating officer at Del Sol Medical Center, and CEO at Edmond Medical Center in Edmond, Okla. Before her 40th birthday, she was recruited back to El Paso to preside over the $150 million project that became Sierra Providence East Medical Center, which opened in May 2008.

“[My professors at UTEP] took us to a whole other level and not only turned us into nurses, but really taught us what a professional was and what it meant to embrace the profession … and know that what you do every day impacts somebody’s life,” Deitch said. “I can never say thank you enough nor explain to them what they instilled in me.”

 

Kathy Patrick
Partner at litigation boutique Gibbs & Bruns LLP, Houston

Attorney Kathy Patrick has been involved in some of the biggest cases of the last three decades and called “the woman Wall Street fears most” by Forbes magazine. Patrick, a partner at the Houston-based litigation boutique Gibbs & Bruns LLP, enrolled at UTEP just four years after her father was killed in a fire that burned the family’s house in Canutillo to the ground. Not ready to leave home, she accepted UTEP’s offer of a full scholarship, earning a B.A. in history in 1982. Her memories of UTEP are “of windows and doors opening,” she said.

“I remember every day thinking that there was so much more to the world than I had ever known,” she said. “When I got to UTEP, the amount of energy and insight and challenge was just staggering.”

Patrick earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1985 and joined Gibbs & Bruns in 1986 after a one year law clerkship. She works on high-dollar, high-stakes commercial litigation, including a number of pending mortgage-backed securities cases. So far, she and her firm have negotiated settlements with Residential Capital, or ResCap, a large mortgage originator that went bankrupt, and one with Bank of America for $8.5 billion – the second biggest legal settlement in American history.

 

Gary Wagner
Former president and chief operating officer of Ameron International Corp., Los Angeles

Gary Wagner, the former president and chief operating officer of Los Angeles-based Ameron International Corp., retired in 2011 after almost 27 years with the company. His 1973 bachelor’s degree in engineering from UTEP was the foundation that started him on a path to a successful career.

“Beyond enabling me to get a real job, my UTEP education was an achievement that proved that I could complete a difficult course of study and compete in a competitive marketplace,” he said.

He was recruited out of UTEP to a position at Hughes Aircraft Co. in Los Angeles as a field engineer. The position gave him the opportunity to spend time in Germany and the Middle East. He earned an M.S. in business administration in 1977 from Boston University and an M.B.A. in 1982 from the University of California, Los Angeles.

After a 3-year stint as an investment analyst for PruCapital, a subsidiary of Prudential Insturance Co., Wagner joined Ameron, an international company that manufactured concrete, steel and fiberglass piping and protective coatings at plants around the world. He worked his way up to president and chief operating officer before National Oilwell Varco acquired the company in 2011.

 

Robert V. Wingo
President and CEO of Sanders\Wingo Advertising Inc., El Paso

Despite his work with the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial Foundation board in Washington, D.C., job offers in New York and clients from major companies around the country, Wingo feels most at home in El Paso.

Now president and CEO of Sanders\Wingo Advertising Inc. in El Paso, he started as the first in his family to graduate from college when he earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from UTEP in 1973.

He joined the advertising firm as co-owner in 1984 after working up to vice president of advertising at Billy the Kid, a non-defunct El Paso boys apparel company. He has since helped expand Sanders\Wingo to Austin and New York, with satellite operations in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Sanders\Wingo has worked with national clients including AT&T, Burger King, Mini Cooper, State Farm Insurance and the United States Postal Service. His local clients include Peter Piper Pizza, GECU, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and El Paso Water Utilities.

Today, Wingo is focused on creating opportunities for young people by inviting students to visit the company’s offices and offering internships.

“The more people we can help and train to be better leaders for today and tomorrow, the better off we are,” he said.