Commencement Speakers

Philip Uri Treisman

Spring 2019: Philip Uri Treisman

Philip ‘Uri’ Treisman is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor, professor of mathematics and professor of public affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He is the founder and executive director of the University’s Charles A. Dana Center whose mission is the equity-minded improvement of public education from kindergarten through graduate school.

Treisman is active in the leadership of organizations working to improve American mathematics education. He is a founding member of Transforming Postsecondary Education in Mathematics and serves as the representative of the American Mathematical Society to the American Association for the

Advancement of Science. He leads the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways, an initiative that works to modernize entry-level college mathematics instruction, and the Urban Mathematics Leadership Network, which supports mathematics leadership teams in America’s largest urban school districts.

Treisman serves as a distinguished senior fellow at the Education Commission of the States and as chair of the expert advisory board of Strong Start to Finish, a collaborative effort of foundations to support the dissemination of innovation in higher education. He has served on many commissions, working groups and task forces focused on improving education. These include the STEM working group of The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges of the American Association of Community Colleges.

For his work in nurturing minority student achievement in postsecondary mathematics, he was named a MacArthur Fellow (known popularly as the genius prize) in 1992. In 1996, Treisman was named Scientist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation for his contributions to mathematics. For his work in strengthening 2-year college mathematics instruction, he received the American Association of Two-Year Colleges’ Mathematics Excellence Award in 2016.

In 2016, Treisman also received the National Leadership Award from the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, was inducted into the University of Texas Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and was named a Piper Professor for superior teaching by the State of Texas. In 2019, he received the Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics, which is the most prestigious award for service offered by the Mathematical Association of America.

Treisman began his college education in 1965 in the Los Angeles Community College District, where he studied horticulture in preparation for a career in agriculture. His community college algebra instructor, Jack Stutesman, recognized his interest in mathematics and encouraged him to become a mathematician. With professor Stutesman’s support, Uri eventually earned a Baccalaureate degree in mathematics, summa cum laude, from UCLA in 1970 and a Ph.D in mathematics and mathematics education from U.C. Berkeley in 1995.


Past commencement speakers

  • 2018 (Fall): Dr. Thomas M. Hatfield, first President/CEO of the Austin Community College District
  • 2018 (Spring): Dr. Rufus Glasper, President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College
  • 2017 (Fall) Roy Spence, Co-founder and Chairman, GSD&M and Co-founder/CEO, The Purpose Institute
  • 2017 (Spring) Dr. Byron McClenney, former community college CEO. and Dr. Kay McClenney, founding partner of Achieving the Dream
  • 2016 (Fall) Gus Garcia, Former Austin Mayor, founding member, ACC Board of Trustees, and Marina Garcia, Educator and Community Volunteer
  • 2016 (Spring) Art Acevedo, Austin Chief of Police 
  • 2015 (Fall) Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D., President, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools
  • 2015 (Spring) Dr. Walter Bumphus, president/CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, and Dr. Aileen Bumphus, executive director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence Gateway Scholars Program
  • 2014 (Fall) Victor Hwang, Executive Director of the Global Innovation Summit
  • 2014 (Spring) Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director & Chief Executive of National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • 2013 (Fall) Ben Barnes, Former Lieutenant Governor of Texas
  • 2013 (Spring) Andres Alcantar, Texas Workforce Commission Chairman
  • 2012 (Fall) Wilhelmina Delco, Former Texas State Representative, founding member, ACC Board of Trustees, and Dr. Exalton Delco, Former ACC Vice-President, Academic Affairs
  • 2012 (Spring) Dr. John Roueche, UT-Austin Community College Leadership Program, and Dr. Suanne Roueche, Editor, NISOD Publications, Senior Lecturer, College of Education, UT-Austin
  • 2011 Kirk Watson, Texas State Senator
  • 2010 Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, President, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools
  • 2009 Wilhelmina Delco, Former Texas State Representative, founding member, ACC Board of Trustees
  • 2008 Donna Howard, Texas State Representative
  • 2007 Mark Strama, Texas State Representative
  • 2006 Richard Oppel, Editor, Austin American Statesman
  • 2005 Toby Hammett Futrell, City Manager, City of Austin
  • 2004 Gustavo Garcia Austin Mayor
  • 2003 Reynaldo Garcia, Executive Director, Texas Association of Community Colleges
  • 2002 Della May Moore, Outgoing Board of Trustees member
  • 2001 Carole Keeton Rylander, State Comptroller
  • 2000 Will Davis, Founding Member, ACC Board of Trustees
  • 1999 Kirk P. Watson, Mayor, City of Austin
  • 1998 Congressman Lloyd Doggett, U.S. House of Representatives, District 10
  • 1997 Dr. Richard Fonte, President, ACC
  • 1996 Barry Waite, Senior Vice-President Motorola
  • 1995 Dr. Donald G. Phelps, W.K. Kellogg Regents Professor, UT
  • 1994 Dr. Bill Segura, President, ACC
  • 1993 Dr. Charles A. Green, Chancellor, Houston Community College System
  • 1992 Dr. Manuel J. Justiz, A.M. Aikin Regents Chair in Education Leadership, UT
  • 1991 Rod A. Risley, Executive Director, Phi Theta Kappa
  • 1990 Lawrence Williford, Sr. VP Corporate Relations, Allstate Insurance Company
  • 1989 Hon. Parker McCollough, Texas House of Representatives
  • 1988 Larry Jenkins, VP, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company
  • 1987 Dr. William H. Pickens, Executive Director, California Postsecondary Higher Education Commission
  • 1986 Gonzalo Barrientos, State Senator, District 14
  • 1985 Dr. Dan Angell, President, ACC
  • 1984 Dr. Lorrin Kennamer, Dean, College of Education, UT
  • 1983 Raymond Bynum, Commissioner, Texas Education Agency
  • 1982 J. J. Pickle, Congressman, 10th Congressional District
  • 1981 Br. Stephen Wlash, President, St. Edward’s University
  • 1980 Dr. Kenneth Ashworth, Commissioner THECB
  • 1979 Wilhelmina Delco, State Representative District 37-D
  • 1978 Carole McClellan, Mayor, City of Austin
  • 1977 Lloyd Doggett, Member, Texas Senate
  • 1976 Jimmy Snell, Mayor Pro Tempore, City of Austin
  • 1975 Gonzalo Barrientos, Texas House of Representatives
  • 1974 C.C. Colvert, Professor Emeritus, Community College Education, UT