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March 15, 2004

A&M honors four as 2004's top alumni

Eagle Staff Writer

A high-ranking military officer, distinguished engineers and the only Heisman Trophy winner in Texas A&M University’s history have been honored by the Association of Former Students as its distinguished alumni for 2004.

Dionel E. Aviles, Joe B. Mattei, Carl F. Raba Jr. and John David Crow were honored over the past week for their professional successes and contributions to A&M. The Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest distinction bestowed by the Association of Former Students.

Each honoree was notified by a surprise visit where they work from representatives of the association, A&M President Robert Gates, members of the Corps of Cadets and Reveille.

Aviles, Class of 1953, served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and retired from the U.S. Army Reserves in 1993 at the rank of major general.

He founded Aviles Engineering Corp., which specializes in geotechnical engineering and exploration, in 1981. His company has played a key role in projects such as Houston’s Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium, Bush Intercontinental Airport and METRO Transit Authority.

In addition to numerous professional societies, Aviles has served on the A&M System’s Board of Regents. He and his wife, Barbara Ann, live in Houston.

Crow, A&M’s only Heisman Trophy winner, graduated from A&M in 1958 and was a first-round draft choice of the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals. He was elected to the Pro Bowl in 1960, ’61, ’63, and ’66 before retiring from pro football in 1969.

After coaching on both the professional and collegiate level, Crow returned to A&M as associate athletic director and later served as athletic director.

Crow and his wife, Carolyn, live in College Station.

Mattei, Class of 1953, worked for Exxon Corp. for 39 years in engineering, management and advisory positions before leaving to become a financial planner for Carter Financial Management.

He also served in the U.S. Army from 1954-56 as a first lieutenant.

Mattei, who is a member of several financial planning societies, is a class agent for the Class of 1953 and is on the boards for the Association of Former Students and the 12th Man Foundation, along with other university groups.

He and his wife, Eddie, live in Houston.

Raba, of San Antonio, served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before becoming chairman of Raba-Kistner Consultants Inc., where he has been chairman and chief executive officer since 1980.

Raba, Class of 1959, has been active in A&M organizations and other groups in the San Antonio area. The Dr. Carl and Bunny Jean Raba Elementary School in San Antonio’s Northside school district is named in honor of him and his late wife.

This year’s honorees will be recognized at events during the spring semester, including a dinner at Gates’ home and at commencement ceremonies in May.

All past Distinguished Alumni will be acknowledged during the association’s 125th Anniversary Gala in October. The award, which has been given annually since 1962, has honored 160 former students who have excelled in their professional lives and service to A&M and their communities.

• Christopher Ferrell’s e-mail address is cferrell@theeagle.com.

The Bryan - College Station Eagle

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