Lillian Williams Crouch

M.Ed. in Elementary Supervision Education, 1972

Lillian W. Crouch was a trailblazer who accomplished many firsts during a stellar 37-year career as a teacher and administrator. Crouch, who retired from the El Paso Independent School District in 2001 as executive director of human resources, was the district’s first African-American principal at a junior high school and the first to reach a director’s level. The 2012 recipient of the College of Education’s Gold Nugget Award praised the University for helping her develop her servant-leadership style, which she continues to use with organizations around the community and at UTEP, especially those that support economic and educational development, and physical and mental health. Her UTEP legacy includes an endowed memorial scholarship that she and her late husband set up in 1985 to honor their son, Frederick James Crouch.

“I am most grateful for this tremendous honor,” Crouch said. “I’m thrilled beyond words. I just try to make a difference."

Keelung Hong, Ph.D.

M.S. in Chemistry, 1970

Keelung Hong left his native Taiwan in 1968 for UTEP to be among the first cohort of chemistry graduate students. He praised his Miner mentors for making his experience successful. Hong said the research he conducted opened his eyes to future possibilities. From UTEP, Hong enrolled at UC Berkeley, where he earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1975. His subsequent studies resulted in breakthroughs and multiple patents tied to targeted drug delivery. Based on his technology, Hong founded Taiwan Liposome Company in 1997. Now he is chair and CEO of Privatized TLC, which has a portfolio of therapeutics that target unmet medical need in pain management, ophthalmology and oncology. Hong has stayed connected to UTEP through financial donations and frequent visits as a guest speaker and mentor to faculty and students.

“A decade ago, I was honored as a Gold Nugget awardee from the College of Science,” Hong said. “Now I’m ecstatic as one of UTEP’s Distinguished Alumni.”

William Franklin “Willie” Quinn

B.S. in Civil Engineering, 1954

William F. “Willie” Quinn was a professional civil engineer with El Paso Natural Gas (EPNG) for 41 years until he retired in 1997, after which he became a historian who focused his research on his alma mater, The University of Texas at El Paso. Quinn recalled how his instructors used their practical field knowledge to enhance the classroom experience. He said his Texas Western education made him a successful professional. After a respected and award-winning career with EPNG, Quinn became active in community and campus organizations such as UTEP’s Heritage Commission, where he took on several leadership roles. He is part of the APO (Alpha Phi Omega) Social Fraternity Alumni Group, which oversaw the annual distribution of numerous scholarships to engineering and geology students until 2016.

“I was surprised, proud and humbled to be considered for this honor,” said the 90-year-old Quinn, who earned the College of Engineering’s first Gold Nugget Award in 1984. “I realized to be selected was an even greater honor, after I picked myself off the floor.”