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World-renowned orthopaedic surgeon and 1959 Texas A&M zoology graduate Dr. J. Richard Steadman '59 is one of 12 Aggies honored this year with the university's highest former student honor, the Distinguished Alumnus Award. (All photographs courtesy of The Association of Former Students.)

COLLEGE STATION --

Dr. J. Richard Steadman '59 of Vail, Colo., is one of 12 Aggies selected by Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students to receive the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Steadman, a world-leading orthopaedic surgeon and nine-time Winter Olympics U.S. team physician, received his bachelor of science in zoology in 1959 from Texas A&M, where he played football for legendary coach Bear Bryant. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and then served in the U.S. Army.

Steadman is being honored along with Col. Edward V. Adams '29 (posthumous); William M. Pena '42 of Houston; Stanton P. Bell '54 of San Antonio; Lupe Fraga '57 of Sugar Land; Dr. Charles H. Bowman '59 of College Station; Ray Hannigan '61 of Bryan; Richard Kardys '67 of San Antonio; Stephen F. Cooper '78 of El Campo; Frederick W. Heldenfels IV '79 of Austin; Lyle Lovett '79 of Spring; and Carri Baker Wells '84 of San Antonio.

Established in 1962, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University. Since its inception, only 249 of Texas A&M's 425,000 former students have been recognized for achieving excellence in their chosen professions and making meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.

"These honorees embody the core values that we seek to instill in each of our students," said Dr. Mark A. Hussey '79, who was Texas A&M's interim president during the recipients' selection. "They are all leaders in their professions and communities and are most deserving of this recognition."

Steadman, who now is retired, developed a revolutionary approach to knee surgery, including a microfracture procedure used to treat more than 500,000 patients a year that has been adapted to other joints, such as the shoulder and hip. He is the founder and chairman emeritus of The Steadman Clinic and founder and co-chairman of the nonprofit Steadman Philippon Research Institute, a world leader in orthopaedic research and education known for its clinical research database and study of orthopaedic injuries associated with the knee, shoulder, ankle, hip and spine. His success in returning many elite athletes to major athletic achievements following potentially career-ending injuries includes 26 athletes from professional soccer, 45 from the NFL, 23 from the MLB, eight in the NBA and 26 snow skiers.

Steadman and his fellow 2015 recipients learned of their honors when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and Association representatives, including The Association of Former Students' 2015 Chair of the Board of Directors Bo Bradbury '89, Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III '79, and a Ross Volunteer, along with Reveille VIII and her handler.

"Our 2015 Distinguished Alumni demonstrate the impact of Aggies on industry, science and the arts," Bradbury said. "While choosing diverse career paths, their lives are all marked by the same core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service."

Garner echoed the sentiments of Hussey and Bradbury and offered his congratulations on behalf of the Aggie Network.

"Since the Distinguished Alumnus Award was established in 1962, less than one-tenth of one percent of Texas A&M's former students have been recognized with the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of our university," Garner said. "Those selected represent the very best of our worldwide Aggie Network."

The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 2. In addition, the 2015 recipients will be recognized during the Oct. 3 Texas A&M football game against Mississippi State. Nominations for the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award will be accepted through Oct. 1.

The Association of Former Students, established in 1879, is the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University. The Association connects more than 678,000 members of the worldwide Aggie Network with each other and the university, and will provide $10.9 million in impact to university scholarships, awards, activities and enrichment for students, faculty, staff and former students in 2015.

For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award or The Association, visit www.AggieNetwork.com.

-aTm-

Contact: Kathryn Greenwade '88, (979) 845-7514 or KGreenwade88@AggieNetwork.com

Walker Scot

  • Dr. J. Richard Steadman

    Dr. Steadman, who played football for legendary coach Bear Bryant while at Texas A&M, earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. A nine-time Winter Olympics U.S. team physician, he developed a revolutionary approach to knee surgery used to treat more than 500,000 patients a year that since has been adapted for other joints.

  • Steadman was surprised in Vail by a member of the Ross Volunteers and Association of Former Students Vice President for Communications Kathryn Greenwade '88 at the nonprofit Steadman Philippon Research Institute he founded.

  • Since its 1962 inception, only 249 of Texas A&M's 425,000 former students -- less than one-tenth of one percent -- have been recognized with the coveted Distinguished Alumnus Award for achieving excellence in their chosen professions and making meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.

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