Gary M. Lavergne Retires From the University of Texas at Austin

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The University of Texas Honors Gary Lavergne Upon His Retirement

Gary M. Lavergne, a long time employee of UT Austin's Admissions Office retired from the University on March 31, 2019. On March 29th, friends, family, and colleagues gathered to honor Gary on his last day at work at the Alumni Center. Click here or on the image to see who was there to speak. It was a very special day for Gary and the University.

This entire program is available as a playlist. Click here to see it on YouTube.

Opening Remarks by Carlos Martinez, Chief of Staff of the UT President's Office

"I'm Carlos Martinez. Many of you know me, but for those who don't, I'm President Fenves' Chief of Staff. I've had the honor to know and work with Gary for most of the 20 years he's been at UT, and today, it's my privilege to help honor him for his service to this great university and the Great State of Texas. I see we have quite a few guests from outside of Austin. To Gary's family and non-UT friends, we hope you feel at home here. Gary has made Central Texas his home since he left Church Point nearly 30 years ago and made UT home for the past two decades. We hope you have a great time this afternoon celebrating with Gary and his family, as we bid him farewell and as he gases up his Jeep for the miles he'll travel away from Austin and goes wherever it takes him."

Remarks by Dr. Maurie McGinnis, Provost, The University of Texas at Austin.

"First, we have Maurie McGinnis. As Provost, Maurie oversees the academic enterprise at UT. One of the most important roles Maurie plays is to conduct the orchestra that is the faculty and to bring a talented audience for all of the teaching and discovery they do here."

Remarks by Richard Reddick, Associate Dean, College of Education, The University of Texas at Austin

"Dr. Richard Reddick often invites Gary to be a guest lecturer in his graduate and undergraduate courses on the history of higher education. Gary is a highlight to the students in Rich's courses as much as he is a highlight to UT. Gary's expertise and storytelling ability, which he often shares so givingly, is an ncredible asset to the university."

Remarks by David Furlow, Executive Editor, The Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Journal

"David Furlow is a retired lawyer, an alum of UT Law, and serves as the Executive Editor of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Journal. Mr. Furlow is here representing the Society because over the years Gary has written and spoken at so many of thier society-sponsored events. He is also one of Gary's dear friends."

Remarks by Assistant Chief of Police Don Verett, The University of Texas Police Department

"Don Verett is the Assistant Chief of Police and Chief of Staff of the University of Texas Police Department. It isn't any surpirse that one of Gary's best friends is a police officer, especially since his daddy, Nolan Lavergne, was a Chief of Police himself in Church Point, Louisiana."

Remarks by Neal Spelce, Retired Anchor of CBS Austin News

"Anyone who has been in Austin for any real amount of time knows Neal Spelce. He's a retired anchor of CBS Austin News, and one of UT Austin's College of Communication's most outstanding alumni. He knows Austin--and he knows Gary. When Gary finished one of his first manuscripts of A Sniper in the Tower, he sent it to Mr. Spelce who covered the story live, and they've been friends ever since."

Remarks by The Family of Heman Marion Sweatt

"Perhaps no one family struggled more to make UT a University of the First Class than Heman Marion Sweatt and his family. Without the tenacity and bravery of Heman Sweatt, our country and Texas might have stalled in its progress to equality much longer and the talent of generations that followed would have been lost. Gary chronicled this in his last book Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall and the Long Road to Justice. Here with us today are Hemella Sweatt, MD, a physician from Cincinnati and daughter of Heman Marion Sweatt; retired surgeon and nephew James Leonard Sweatt, MD from Dallas; and Heman Marion Sweatt, a Texas Ex and the great-nephew of Mr. Sweatt. The Sweatt family represented here exhibited the bravery and thirst for justice of Heman Sweatt when they supported the University during the Fisher case. It is always a real pleasure to welcome the Sweatt family back to our campus."

Remarks by Clarence Douglas, Retired Detective, Houston Police Department and District Deputy Grand Master-Prince Hall Affiliated Lodges

"Clarence Douglas, Jr. is a retired homicide detective from the Houston Police Department. Gary writes interesting stories that are always well researched. He paints the stories he writes vividly and with great detail. He does this by working closely with people like Detective Douglas. Sometimes, the stories are heartbreaking, like that of the 2001 case of 'Angel Doe' of Houston. Mr. Douglas will tell us about Gary's quest to bring closure to a victim's family, and how that led to years of involvement in the scholarship and charitable activities of the Prince Hall Lodges of Texas."

Closing Remarks by Gary M. Lavergne

After the remarks were completed, Gary said a few words to thank all who were involved in the week-long celebrations of his retirement. They included UT colleagues Suzi Deem, Sarah Wehner, Rachelle Hernandez and Miguel Wasielewski. He also thanked the speakers for the evening: Carlos Martinez, Provost Maurie McGinnis, Dr. Richard Reddick, Assistant Chief Don Verett, David Furlow of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, Neal Spelce, and Clarence Douglas. Gary paid a special tribute to Hemella, James and Heman Sweatt and spoke of the very special bond he has with that remarkable family. He also talked about his two best friends at UT Austin: Carlos Martinez and Leo Barnes.

Gary Lavergne Pays Tribute to Laura Lavergne, Bruce Walker and Other Friends

The party continued with words from Gary, who paid tribute to Dr. Bruce Walker, retired Vice Provost and Director of Admissions, who hired Gary in September of 2000. Also mentioned were Sheldon Eckland-Olson, former Provost, and others who helped to make Gary's career so memorable.

Mark Lavergne Reads Gary's Tribute to Laura and Amy Lavergne Stumbris Proposes a Toast

The party ended with final words from Gary, who paid tribute to Dr. Bruce Walker, retired Vice Provost and Director of Admissions, who hired Gary in September of 2000. Afterwards, Gary said, "Yesterday, I tried to say this but I started to cry, so I will ask my son, Mark, to read a tribute to my girlfriend." Mark then read Gary's expression of love an devotion to his wife, Laura. The evening ended with Amy Stumbris Lavergne paying a heartfelt and touching tribute to Gary as a husband and father.

Special Guests...

Laura C. Lavergne
Enrollment Management Communications
The University of Texas at Austin
and Charles Lavergne

The Enrollment Management Analytics Team
Nathan, Patty, Lauren, Gary, and Kye
The University of Texas at Austin

Paula, Suzi, Bruce, Sheldon and Sharon
Retirees and Friends

Rachelle Hernandez, Senior Vice Provost
Enrollment Management
The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Miguel Wasielewski, Executive Director
Office of Admissions
The University of Texas at Austin

Where has Gary appeared? Click here to see where he has been.

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