Honoring graduates who make significant impacts professionally, personally, and civically.
Proud To Be A Bulldog
Presented at spring commencement, Distinguished and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards recognize the professional, personal, and community service achievements of TLU graduates.
This annual award is given to alumni who have excelled in their careers, as an individual, or through their commitment to community service. They exemplify what it means to be a TLU Bulldog, serving as role models for other alumni and current students.
Typically, recipients have graduated 20 years prior to receiving this honor. Current faculty and staff are eligible if they are a TLU graduate. A maximum of two awards are given each year.
Outstanding Young Alumni
This award is given to individuals who have graduated within the last 10 years or less, recognizing their outstanding civic engagement or accomplishments as a young alumnus. Their professional, personal, and service-related achievements are an inspiration to peers and current students. A maximum of one award is given each year.
Dr. Julie Kutac ‘01
Julie Kutac is the professional education and research specialist for the Alzheimer’s Association- Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter. Dr. Kutac received her B.S. in molecular biology with a minor in theology from Texas Lutheran University, her M.A. in religious studies from Rice University, and her Ph.D. in medical humanities from the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Building on her performance experience and education at Texas Lutheran, Dr. Kutac prepares and delivers engaging, evidence based education programs to health care providers across Texas. Dr. Kutac also liaises with the scientists studying Alzheimer’s disease in the Texas Medical Center and Southeast Texas, facilitating connections between the scientists and the community.
Dr. Kutac has presented her research at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities national conference, the Conference on Medicine and Religion, among others. Her writings are published in “The Journal of General Internal Medicine,” “The Journal of Medical Humanities,” and “The Journal of Religion and Health.”
In her free time, Dr. Kutac sings with the Houston Symphony Chorus and enjoys giving her Shi Tzu-Yorkie mix, Lulu, a happy old age.
Jim Lindemann ‘62
Lindemann is being recognized for his dedication to TLU, his longtime service as a member of the TLU Development Board, and for his support through endowed scholarships throughout the years. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Industry Bancshares, a billion-dollar company with six bank charters, 24 locations, and 400 employees in Central Texas.
Previously, he served in various financial positions at Tenneco Oil including assistant treasurer, manager of reports, manager of crude oil compliance, manager of regulatory compliance, manager of administration and compliance, treasurer and market development manager. Mr. Lindemann also holds the honor of being the first TLU graduate to receive a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He then went on to receive his M.B.A. from Baylor University.
Bruce Sommer ‘89
As a Lockheed Martin/NASA engineer, Bruce Sommer leads a team of Lockheed Martin engineers located across the country who are responsible for ensuring that NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle can withstand all loading environments from launch to splashdown.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor responsible for the design, analysis and manufacturing of the Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Deep Sppaec Exploration missions. He is responsible for the structural analysis as it pertains to multiple subsystems within the Orion Crew Module. He is also the Crew Module’s Landing Lead responsible for determining the vehicle’s overall landing impact performance.
Mr. Sommer received a B.A. in business management from TLU and a B.S. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.
Andrew Cage ‘10
Andrew has used his extensive background in Athletic Training to oversee the sports medicine care for more than 30 American Southwest Conference Championship teams and has sought to be an avid clinical researcher. In his career, Andrew has received many awards, has been published in several Athletic Training publications, and has served on many professional boards and committees.
He has also helped current students find potential internships and is active with the program, regularly serving as a guest lecturer at TLU. In his free time, Andrew volunteers with organizations such as the Northeast Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes and enjoys spending time with his wife Heidi and daughter Emilia River.
Mr. Cage received a B.S. in Athletic Training from TLU, has completed his Masters of Education in Kinesiology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and is a Licensed Athletic Trainer.
Mariah Kilbourne '10
Mariah Kilbourne graduated from TLU in 2010 with a major in communication studies and a minor in Spanish. She is the training coordinator for the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Small Business Development Center, as well as a published writer, successful advocate, and avid adaptive sports enthusiast. Born with cerebral palsy, she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair America 2013.
Through her advocacy efforts, she encourages everyone to be “Inclined for Inclusion” through accessibility. She wants to increase fair and equitable access to public facilities, especially in historic districts, which are currently inaccessible to people with disabilities.