Dirk Receives Some Ribbing—And The H. Neil Mallon Award—At World Affairs Council Dinner

The H. Neil Mallon Award, the signature annual honor bestowed by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, has had some pretty impressive recipients over the years, from Vice President Richard Cheney and President George H.W. Bush to Ray Hunt, Randall Stephenson and Rex Tillerson. But it’s safe to say it’s never had a taller—or a more gracious—recipient than it did Friday, September 22, when Dirk Nowitzki was presented with the WAC’s 34th annual award during a dinner event at the Hilton Anatole.

Dirk Nowitzki*

Guests including Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, Brent Christopher, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Keven Ann Willey and Georges Badoux, Christopher Durovich, Tanya Roberts, Carolina Beltran, Consul General Francisco De La Torre, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, James Waters, Maurizio La Noce, Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins, Kay and Rob Harrell and Mary and Bob Potter turned out to honor Dirk, the legendary, 7-feet-tall power forward for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Besides holding many league and team records, the German-born hoopster is a much-honored philanthropist, serving as a guidepost with his wife, Jessica, for The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation.

Marjorie Adams*

After being welcomed by Dinner Chair Marjorie A. Adams, who also chairs the WAC board, as well as WAC President and CEO Jim Falk, the guests enjoyed a dinner of baby spinach and frisee salad, peppercorn crusted beef filet and jumbo shrimp, and an apple streudel dessert. Then they  heard from His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States.

Bret Baier and Yousef Al Otaiba*

Otaiba had flown in from Abu Dhabi and New York to introduce the evening’s guest speaker, FOX News Channel anchor Bret Baier, but he couldn’t resist some gentle ribbing of Dirk. “Please keep working on that jump shot,” he advised the Mallon honoree, “because you only shot 38 percent last year. It’s not like anyone’s going to block your shot …”

Baier picked up the joke from there, branding Otaiba’s 38 percent statistic “fake news.” Corrected Bret, deadpan: “I think it’s at least 42 percent.” Baier recounted a little about his show, “Special Report with Bret Baier,” and said that in the D.C. news business this year, “every day is like drinking from a firehose.” The FOX star, who’s an accomplished golfer, recalled playing golf with President Trump—”he is all about winning, and he doesn’t really care how he does it”—before lauding Dirk for his under-the-radar visits to young patients at Children’s Health in Dallas.

Following a video tribute to Nowitzki featuring the likes of Mavs owner Mark Cuban, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took the stage, clad in a tuxedo, and said of Dirk, “He represents Dallas like no other, because he represents excellence.” The man of the hour then accepted the Mallon Award from Rawlings and Adams and, with characteristic good humor, leaned down into the mic to rebut Otaiba’s allegation about his poor jump shot: “Mr. Ambassador, I’m not sure where you’re lookin’ at your stats … but I’ll try to do better next year!”

With that, the 39-year-old star sat down for a casual, on-stage chat with Mark Followill, the Mavs’ TV play-by-play announcer. Here are a couple of Dirk’s observations from the talk on:

  • Coming from Germany to Dallas: “My parents watched the TV show ‘Dallas’ once in a while, but it was not my thing. I was into MTV and sports. [Once I got to] Dallas, it was almost like they wanted me to succeed here from Day One.”
  • What he’s been doing recently: “I’ve just been traveling for about six-and-a-half weeks with [the Nowitzkis’] three little kids. It was … what’s the word? … great! [Lots of laughter.] Challenging!”
  • His future plans: “When I retire from basketball, I’m sure Cubes will give me a job, hopefully. But hopefully I’ll do it another year or two, then let the young guys take over.”
* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

 

Nancy And Herbert Hunt Become Les Femmes Du Monde’s First Couple Of The Year With Tributes, Laughter And Saved Ribbons

Nancy and Herbert Hunt

Nancy and Herbert Hunt

It seemed like the local fundraisers were in overdrive on Tuesday, October 25, evening. Over at the Dallas Country Club, Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Brent Christopher was johnny-on-the-spot when the doors opened for Les Femmes du Monde’s 2016 Couple of the Year Awards Dinner. It was the first time that the organization had honored a couple, let alone a man. And that couple was Nancy and Herbert Hunt, who have been married 65 years resulting in six children, 16 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.  

No sooner did he congratulate Les Femmes on their selection, than he was off to the Crescent for another Children’s event. Luckily, Children’s Bill Braem and his bride Kathy Braem were on the scene representing Children’s, which one was of the evening’s beneficiaries.

Bill and Kathy Braem

Bill and Kathy Braem

Marj Waters

Marj Waters

Barbara Hunt Crow, Jan Ward, Mary Lee Cox and Therese Rourk

Barbara Hunt Crow, Jan Ward, Mary Lee Cox and Therese Rourk

Caroline Rose Hunt

Caroline Rose Hunt

Venise Stuart

Venise Stuart

Also on hand was the other beneficiary, World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth represented by President/CEO Jim Falk, Marj Waters, Venise Stuart, Ramona Jones and loads of Hunts.

At one point in the reception, Event Chair Mary Lee Cox recalled to Barbara Hunt Crow how she had also chaired the fundraiser when Herbert’s sister, Caroline Rose Hunt, was honored in 1988.

To get the program underway Mary Lee, who could hardly be seen behind the podium, introduced emcee Scott Murray. Despite protests from Scott, Mary Lee reeled off his numerous awards and accomplishments.  When Scott finally got hold of the mic, he asked, “Do you all know my agent — Mary Lee?”

Following the invocation by Highland Park Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Rev. Bryan Dunagan and dinner (Caesar salad, panko herb crusted chicken with garlic mashed potato, baby carrots, broccolini with boursin lemon cream and desserts of chocolate caramel cake or lemon meringue cake), Scott read a proclamation from Highland Park Mayor Joel Williams III making October 25 Nancy and Herbert Hunt Day.

Jim Falk

Jim Falk

Washington and Lee alumnus Jim Falk told the group how fellow Washington and Lee alumnus Herbert had offered to step in for a fraternity brother who was unable to drive to Hollins College for a blind date. Herbert volunteered because he had heard the date was cute and sharp. It turned out to be Nancy…”and the rest is history.”

Keeping on schedule, the award was presented to the Hunts, but opening it proved to be a challenge thanks to the gift wrap, ribbons and tape. At one point, Herbert told the audience, “My wife always saves the ribbons. We’re not going to save the paper tonight.”

Finally a piece of crystal was produced with the inscription, “Les Femmes du Monde to Nancy and Herbert Hunt, Couple of the Year 2016.”

Herbert then told the guests, “One of the great things about having children and family is you get a lot of advice. And on the way to the restroom, the advice from Bruce Hunt was, ‘Keep it short.’”

And that he did saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you and I appreciate all of your coming.”

He stressed that family was all important to Nancy and himself, but with a twinkle in his eye, he added, “Even though I can’t remember all those great-grandchildren’s names.”

Joe Barton

Joe Barton

Keynote speaker/Congressman Joe Barton started off by telling Herbert, “I can top what Bruce Hunt told you. Doug Hunt told me, ‘You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.’ So, this isn’t going to be long.”

Having known Herbert over the years, Joe admitted that he had to do a bit of research on Nancy, who prefers to stay out of the limelight. In asking her what she was most proud of, Nancy replied her family. He also discovered her love for dogs, especially Yorkshire Terriers.

Joe decided to delve a little deeper and checked with the kids, learning that she was known as “Grand Nana.” He also found out that years ago, she was having a rough time teaching her three-year-old daughter to read. After checking with medical experts, she discovered the youngster had dyslexia. That led her to find out that Herbert also had it.

As for Herbert, Joe had wondered why the son of oilman H.L. Hunt chose to go to Washington and Lee instead of Texas A&M, the University of Texas, or even the University of Arkansas. Herbert told him that his late mother, Lyda Hunt, had been on the board of Mary Baldwin and the girls there dated the Washington and Lee boys, “So that’s where you’re going to go.”

Following his mother’s orders, Herbert arrived at Washington and Lee prepared to major in geology. The only problem was that there were only two geology professors on staff, and they were strong on coal but not so regarding oil. That became evident when H.L. started questioning the professors, who were stumbling with their answers. Herbert interrupted with the right information, to which H.L told his son to “shut up,” because he wanted to find out what the professors knew.

For his class project, Herbert was to go to Louisiana and survey a site that his dad would drill. Following his legwork, he went to H.L. with the information and asked him about drilling. H.L. asked Herbert if he had the money for the operation and Herbert told his father that it would cost his entire life savings. H.L.’s response: “Welcome to the oil business.”

Joe said that of all the leaders and millionaires he had met during his 30 years in Congress, he had never met a more down-to-earth or self-effacing man than Herbert Hunt. The congressman concluded his remarks saying that neither Herbert, his late brother Bunker Hunt, nor any of the Hunt children had ever asked to do anything that wasn’t right for America.

World Affairs Council Gets An Early Christmas Gift From Les Femmes But Still Needs More To Prevent Forecasted Shortfall

As mentioned in an earlier post, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth brings in various speakers like Bob Woodward throughout the year to discuss issues facing today’s world. But that’s not done without funding.

So, World Affairs Council President/CEO Jim Falk sent a letter out recently appealing for a financial kick. According to the letter, “We need help closing a forecasted shortfall of approximately $65,000 by the end of our fiscal year (November 30).”

Jan Ward and Jim Falk

Jan Ward and Jim Falk

The good news is that last week, the Les Femmes du Monde President Jan Ward handed over to Jim a nice check for $38,500 earned through the ladies’ efforts during the past year. While it brought a big, old smile to Jim’s lips, he’s still in need of additional funding.

BTW, Les Femmes gals also presented Children’s with a similar check.

Award-Winning Journalist Bob Woodward Will Be Making Two Local Appearances This Week Discussing The National Election

While location is everything in real estate, timing holds the same importance in event planning. So, a couple of local nonprofits figured out that a week following the recent presidential election would be the perfect time to have a renowned journalist/author type in town for a fundraiser.

Bob Woodward*

Bob Woodward*

The catch was that both the Dallas Bar Foundation and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth picked the same fellow — Bob Woodward. But there were no hard feelings between the two groups. They probably were able to split Bob’s travel costs. You know, “You pick up his airfare coming and we’ll pick up his departure costs.”

First on his Dallas stop will be An Evening With Bob Woodward on Tuesday, November 15, at Belo Mansion for the Foundation’s Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholarship Program for law students. He’s going to be chatting it up with attorney/historian Talmage Boston.

On Wednesday, November 16, he’ll return to Belo Mansion to discuss “The 2016 Election and What It Means for America” for the World Affairs Council luncheon.    

Ah, but poor Bob. He probably had his theories on the presidential outcome all prepared. Then last Wednesday’s early-morning news may have resulted in his being thrown into rewrite mode for the past few days.

If you want to hear the former “All The President’s Men” scribe discuss why ice skates are being rented in Hades, you have two opportunities.

To attend the Dallas Bar event, you’ll need to call 214.220.7487 ASAP. On the other hand, you can still get a ticket online for the World Affairs Council lunch.

* Photo courtesy of World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

Internationalism On The Menu At H. Neil Mallon Award Dinner

2016 H. Neil Mallon Award*

2016 H. Neil Mallon Award*

In a presidential-election year that essentially has globalism on the ballot, there was no doubting the commitment of more than 800 people to the concept when the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth held its annual H. Neil Mallon Award fundraising dinner at the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, September 24.

The purpose of the event was to present the 33rd annual Mallon award to Doug Parker, chairman and CEO of Fort Worth-based American Airlines Group. But the evening was also a celebration of internationalism, with Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where American dominates, at its dynamic heart.

DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue was one of the dinner co-chairs, along with Robert L. Crandall, CEO of American from 1985 to 1998. The dinner chairs were CEO David T. Seaton of Fluor Corp., which depends heavily on international construction work, and Texas Capital Bancshares leader C. Keith Cargill, who’s also chairman of the World Affairs Council of DFW board. The honorary dinner chairs were Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who couldn’t attend, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Kay Bailey Hutchison*

Kay Bailey Hutchison*

Mike Rawlings*

Mike Rawlings*

During the pre-dinner receptions, old friends like Talmage Boston, Laura and Tom Leppert, Marvin Singleton and Richard Holt caught up with the latest news. Marvin, a bigwig with the local office of Hill & Knowlton Strategies, said that he’d just traveled 12,000 miles in the previous three weeks. Richard, the local Bank of America leader, said he’d been traveling a lot in the last month as well. Terrell Falk, wife of WAC/DFW President and CEO Jim Falk, revealed that she’d recently come out of retirement to be CEO/COO of a new arts incubator called The Cedars Union. (Seed money came from the Bowdon family foundation.)

Jim Falk*

Jim Falk*

A little later, as the dinner guests worked on their shrimp salads, braised short ribs, and caramel-and-chocolate truffle torts, Rawlings took the podium to congratulate Parker on “pulling our world together, and making DFW Airport your home.” The mayor then acknowledged that questions about globalism have arisen in the presidential campaign, adding, “Do you pull away, or do you lean in? Thank you for leaning in and supporting the World Affairs Council.”

After a video tribute to Parker—in it, Donohue called Parker the “dean” of airline CEOs, just as Crandall had been—Crandall himself helped Cargill present the Mallon Award to Parker. The 80-year-old retired executive, who now divides his time between Florida and his native New England, praised Parker for launching 18 new routes and adding 5,000 employees since American’s merger with US Airways in 2013.

Robert Crandall, Doug Parker and Keith Cargill*

Robert Crandall, Doug Parker and Keith Cargill*

During his remarks accepting the WAC award, Parker surprised the crowd by announcing that American would name its new Fort Worth headquarters campus—which should be ready for move-in by 2018—after Crandall. “I just told Bob about it an hour and a half ago,” Doug disclosed. Later, Crandall called the announcement “a great compliment, and a huge pleasure.”

The evening concluded with a keynote talk by David Ignatius, foreign affairs columnist for The Washington Post. Ignatius told the crowd that people everywhere are worried that America is becoming less willing to take a leadership role in the world. He then outlined three challenges that he sees: the threat posed by ISIS, the threat posed to the U.S. by Russia under Vladimir Putin, and the problem of China if America withdraws from its involvement in Asia.

David Ignatius*

David Ignatius*

“It really matters whether America remains persistent in the world and has the backs of our friends,” Ignatius said, adding: “Internationalism is strong in our country when it comes from the heartland—from Texas and Minnesota, from businesses and workers, not from the elites. Visiting with people here in Dallas makes me more hopeful that we’ll stay engaged in the world.”

You can bet that most everyone in the house agreed with the sentiment.

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

World Affairs Council Honors ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson With 2014 Mallon Award

As always, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth’s 2014 H. Neil Mallon Award Dinner, held October 24 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, attracted an all-star cast of the region’s power elite. That was evident right from the get-go at the Patrons’ Reception, which was sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.

There, Trammell S. Crow could be seen jawboning with Lee Jackson. WAC president and CEO Jim Falk, Ray Hunt, Tom Leppert, and Ron Natinsky moved easily through the big crowd, as did Debra von Storch, Holly Reed, Randall Stephenson, and Lucy Billingsley. Mary Poss spotted Ron Kirk and asked him, “How you doing?” “Busy!” Kirk boomed in reply. “Traveling.” Over in one corner, meantime, Mallon honoree Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., was posing for photos with Dr. Robert M. Gates, the former secretary of defense, who would deliver the evening’s keynote address.

Rex Tillerson and Robert Gates*

Rex Tillerson and Robert Gates*

Then it was time to move into one of the hotel’s magnificently decorated ballrooms. There, the crowd of about 900 would enjoy a meal of salad, filet mignon and flan and celebrate Tillerson, a fiercely proud supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, like keynoter Gates and Stephenson. The latter, who delivered a brief tribute to the ExxonMobil chief executive, called Tillerson direct, honest, a clear thinker, “and just a plain leader.”

Tillerson, for his part, accepted the Mallon award graciously and said we live in a time of great challenges, pointing out that a billion people on the planet are still without access to electricity.

Gates, a former Eagle Scout like the ExxonMobil CEO, was introduced by Hunt, who called him a “born-again Aggie” who is patriotism personified. During his remarks, Gates said today’s global turmoil resembles the international environment preceding World War I, when Americans had a “tendency to avert our eyes” from overseas threats.

However, he warned, “We cannot weary of our global responsibilities.” While the United States must always be prepared to use military force, he said, not every crisis should elicit a military response. Today’s biggest problem is Washington, D.C., he concluded, where gerrymandering, wave elections, the decline of Congressional power brokers and the 24/7 electronic media have combined to make moderation and compromise less feasible.

* Photo provided by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth