The University Library and Wittliff Collections are fortunate to have an Advisory Council comprising dedicated enthusiasts of the humanities, education, and lifelong learning. Members of the council serve as our chief ambassadors to the world, championing the mission of the University Library and The Wittliff Collections and promoting our priority projects among diverse audiences. The Advisory Council helps raise awareness via their personal and professional networks as well as through social media platforms. Council members also serve as influencers for fundraising projects – reaching out to potential supporters, opening doors, providing leads, and voicing support for key funding initiatives.
Council members serve a two-year term. The group meets once in the fall and once in the spring.
ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS:
Sam Pfiester, Chair
Sam Pfiester was born and raised in Fort Stockton, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Plan II. In 1968 he joined the U.S. Navy, serving two tours in the Vietnam War. During the second tour he was senior advisor to a river patrol group operating in the Ca Mau Peninsula along the Cambodian border, and was awarded a Bronze Star for his service. He was hired as a petroleum land man for independent oil operator Clayton W. Williams, Jr. in 1971. He worked for Williams for 10 years, eventually becoming exploration manager. Since 1982 he has operated his own exploration company, Pfiester Oil and Gas. Sam is the author of three books: The Perfect War, about his experiences in Vietnam; The Golden Lane: Faja de Oro; and Solomon’s Temple: Musjid-i-Suleiman & the Quest for Oil in the Middle East. He and his wife, Rebecca, have three children and seven grandchildren.
Susan Crews Bailey
A fifth-generation Texan, Susan Crews Bailey was born in Ennis, Texas, and has lived in Austin since 1978. Susan’s early careers included editing cancer research, researching and writing about Texas history, and teaching undergraduate literature and writing as a full-time lecturer in the English Department at Texas Tech University where she received her degrees in English. Susan previously served on the board of The Texas Book Festival and as chair of the Author Selection Committee. She also served in years past on the Wittliff Collections Advisory Board. Susan currently serves on the Molly National Journalism Prize Steering Committee. Her love of art, literature, photography, and music shaped her life and resulted in her patronage of each. Known as always having her camera at the ready, Susan enjoys capturing the moment in Austin life and history and on her many travels around the world. Susan has two grown daughters and two grandchildren.
Mary Lockwood Crouch
Mary Lockwood Crouch is a native Texan from Port Arthur. She has been a classroom teacher and a meeting planner for a trade association. Her love of The Wittliff stems from her degree in art history and her own experimentation with and love of photography. Mary actively supports Mobile Loaves and Fishes and Communities in Schools. Traveling at home and abroad is among her favorite pastimes. She has three children and three grandchildren.
Hilary Dominguez is co-owner of Farm to Family, LLC, and manages day-to-day operations for several other family-owned businesses. She has been involved in a variety of philanthropic organizations in the Austin area including Junior League of Austin, Rodeo Austin, Texas State Alumni Association, Raise ’Em Up Foundation, and Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity Alumni. She graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor of healthcare administration. Hilary and her husband have a vizslador named Lady.
Craig Hester, CFA, CIC, is a principal of Luther King Capital Management (LKCM). He joined the firm in 2012 and serves as a portfolio manager. Prior to joining LKCM, Craig was chairman, chief executive officer, chief investment officer, director, and portfolio manager of Hester Capital Management in Austin. He served as director of regional asset management for InterFirst Investment Management, chief investment officer of the Texas Municipal Retirement System, assistant vice president and trust officer for Republic National Bank Dallas, and senior analyst for the Teachers Retirement System of Texas. He is currently chairman of the board of Employees Retirement System of Texas. Craig graduated with a bachelor of business administration and a master of business administration in finance from The University of Texas at Austin. Craig and his wife, Felicia, live in Austin and enjoy spending time at their ranch. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Location: San Marcos
Michelle Higdon was born and raised in Falfurrias, Texas, and is a proud graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. She is a mortgage loan officer and has worked in the mortgage business since 2005. Michelle is passionate about being an honest, trusted mortgage advisor during the home buying process. She volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and her children’s school. She is married to Forrest Higdon, also a Bobcat, who owns Gumby’s Pizza in San Marcos. They stay busy with their three young children, Mara, Lacey, and Brooks.
Susan Longley is president and owner of The Longley Group. As a fundraiser, volunteer, and political activist in Texas politics, Susan has been a tireless worker for democratic causes and campaigns. She is on the advisory board for the Bob Bullock Archives Endowment at Baylor University and Texans for Stem Cell Research; is immediate past president of the Texas Democracy Foundation, which publishes the Texas Observer; and she served on the National Founding Board for Atticus Circle. For several years Susan co-chaired the MOLLY National Journalism Prize, now one of the preeminent honors available to the nation’s finest journalists. Susan previously served as president of Zachary Scott Theatre Center where she is currently an emeritus member, and the Texas Book Festival Board. Susan is known for her knowledge of the legislative process and skillful political instincts. She was chief fundraiser for Bob Bullock and directed his legislative agenda when he was both Comptroller and Lieutenant Governor. She was the legislative liaison for Bob Bullock both at the both offices. Susan served as statewide co-chair for Democrat Tom Schieffer’s 2009 campaign run for governor of Texas; finance co-chair for the Ann Richards/Bob Bullock Inaugural Committee, finance chair for Tony Sanchez’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, and campaign manager for Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s first campaign to the Texas Senate. She has also worked for former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes and former gubernatorial candidate Sissy Farenthold.
Will Meredith is co-founder and principal of MFI Real Estate, LLC, a community-oriented real estate development firm based in Austin. Will has dedicated over 11 years of service to advocating for social justice and equity through the built environment in Central Texas, with his real estate development work and his community service efforts. Will is married to Natalie Rose Meredith, a public elementary school educator in Austin. They welcomed a baby girl, Frances Rose, to their family in February 2017.
Barbara Morgan co-founded the Austin Film Festival in 1993 and has served as the sole executive director since 1999. Barbara developed and produced the film Natural Selection and co-produced the feature documentary Antone’s: Home of the Blues. Both films were released internationally. Most recently, she produced the documentary feature, Portrait of Wally, and the narrative feature, Spring Eddy. She developed and produces the TV and radio series “Austin Film Festival’s On Story,” currently airing on PBS stations across the country as well as on Public Radio International. Barbara co-edited the book series On Story: Screenwriters and Their Craft, published by UT Press. She has one daughter.
Tracy LaQuey Parker
Tracy LaQuey Parker is senior vice president of business development for Parker Solutions Group. She is active in the community and a member of several boards, including the Texas Tribune, the Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities, the Austin Film Society, and the Advisory Councils for UTeach and the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Tracy previously served as director of The UTeach Institute and worked in the Chief Technology Office of Cisco System. She is the author of two best-selling books, The User’s Directory of Computer Networks (Digital Press) and The Internet Companion: A Beginner’s Guide to Global Networking (Addison-Wesley), the first trade book on the Internet, published in 1992. Tracy attended The University of Texas at Austin where she received an undergraduate degree in computer science. She and her husband, Patrick, have two children.
Heather Wagner Reed
Heather Wagner Reed is the founder & CEO of Juice Consulting, an Austin-based agency created in 2007 that offers services ranging from PR and marketing to high level strategy and artist development. Juice works with Texas nonprofits, entertainment companies, and other creative sectors such as the arts and tech and innovation. Heather previously served as senior product manager for GRAMMY®-winning artist Beyoncé, handling her day-to-day management and global marketing coordination, as well as management for many other artists under the Sanctuary Records / Music World Entertainment umbrella. Heather also worked in Europe for companies such as Universal Music in The Netherlands, SoundArtist.com, Nyenrode University, and Disneyland Paris, as well as entertainment PR firm The Headline Group in Atlanta. She is an eleven-year board member of the Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy and serves as the vice president of the board of The Adderley School. She also sits on the advisory board of Black Fret and Grounded in Music. She served for six years as a director in The Texas Lyceum and four years on the Austin Music Commission.
Becky Duval Reese
Location: San Marcos
Becky Duval Reese as director of the El Paso Museum of Art (1991-2005) oversaw the completion of a new 104,000 square foot building located in downtown El Paso. During her tenure the museum’s collections grew by more than 1,000 objects. Her achievements resulted in a museum nationally recognized both for the strength of its collections and for its new building. Her museum career began at New Mexico State University where she was founding director/curator of the University Art Gallery. From 1976 to the spring of 1991 she was educational curator, assistant director, and interim director of the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery (now the Blanton Museum of Art) at The University of Texas at Austin. She has organized, curated and juried over 30 exhibitions and published numerous articles, essays, and exhibition catalogs dealing with the history of Texas art.
John Spong, a staff writer for Texas Monthly since 2002, was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2010 for his story celebrating Texas dance halls, “Step Right Up,” and has twice won the Texas Institute of Letters’ O. Henry Award for Magazine Journalism – in 2007 for “The Good Book and the Bad Book,” and in 2010 for “Holding Garmsir.” He is the author of A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove (UT Press), and his magazine stories have been collected in Best Food Writing 2012 (Da Capo Press), The Best American Sports Writing 2009 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Literary Austin (TCU Press), and Rio Grande (UT Press). He holds a bachelor of arts and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from The University of Texas at Austin. John and his wife, Julie Blakeslee, have two sons, Willie Mo and Leon.
Rhonda Summerbell has nearly 30 years experience in financial services and higher education communities establishing partnerships that enhance the academic and broader communities. Rhonda serves on multiple boards and committees within the higher education, credit union, and community/non-profit sectors. She is a strong advocate for community engagement and education pipeline programs that help facilitate college readiness and encourage youth to reach their full educational potential. She is a supporter of post-secondary education that puts Texas graduates in a position for future success. Rhonda has two children who attend Texas State University – a son who is an exercise and sports science major and a daughter who is a business/marketing major.
Location: San Marcos
Cathy Supple earned her bachelor of arts degree in political science at the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in English education at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, New York. She taught high school English in Willsboro, New York, and was a feature writer and photographer for the North Country Catholic newspaper. In her avocation as a singer and guitarist with her late husband, Jerry, Cathy organized Plattsburgh music festivals and country dances. She served on numerous San Marcos community boards until 2002. Her avocation now is duplicate bridge.
Bill Wittliff was born in Taft, Texas, and while growing up lived in Gregory, Edna, and Blanco. In 1964 he and his wife, Sally, founded Encino Press, a book publishing company specializing in regional material about Texas and the Southwest. In the mid-1970s, Bill began his long career in writing and producing films. As a screenwriter and producer, Bill’s credits include The Perfect Storm, The Black Stallion, Legends of the Fall, Raggedy Man, and Lonesome Dove. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Texas Philosophical Society, and he is a former board member of the Sundance Institute, past president and fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters, and recipient of the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award, among many other awards for writing, filmmaking, and book design. Bill and Sally founded The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in 1986.
Sally Wittliff is an Austin attorney with a general practice. Born in New York City, she spent most of her childhood in Washington, D.C. Sally moved to San Antonio during her high school years, and has been in Texas ever since. She is a member of Inns of Court and a fellow of the Texas State Bar and Austin Bar Foundations. She is a former secondary mathematics teacher, chair of the City of Austin Urban Transportation Commission, president of We Care Austin, and board member of many civic organizations, including KLRU Public Television, Safe Place, and the Contemporary Austin. Cofounder with her husband, Bill, of Austin’s Encino Press and The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, Sally is also the business manager of Pangaea, Inc., an Austin film production company, and of Wittliff Properties. Sally and Bill have two grown children and four grandchildren.
Susan Wittliff is Chief Operating Officer of Price Wealth Management, an independent investment advisory firm based in Austin. She is also involved with Texas State University through her service on the university’s Development Foundation Board, having served as chair of the Investment Committee and through her current role as the vice chair of the Development Foundation Board. Prior to her work in financial services, Susan served as a corporate securities attorney and advisor for multiple public and private companies. Susan received her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and her J.D. from Southern Methodist University School of Law. Susan is actively engaged in her community, having served in various leadership roles for Communities in Schools – Central Texas, the Heritage Society of Austin, the Nature Conservancy – Texas, the Seton Fund, and Elizabeth Ann Seton Board, as well as for her children’s schools. When given the chance, she loves to escape to the mountains, read a great book, and work at improving her tennis game. Susan is married to Reid Wittliff, and they live in Austin with their two children.
Elyse Yates is the founder and CEO of Influence Opinions. She offers more than two decades of expertise in arenas as diverse as politics, high-tech, public affairs, nonprofits, and entertainment – not to mention clear big picture vision, incredible insight, and strategies that work. She is driven by a natural inquisitiveness and genuine interest in people, media, and messaging. Elyse previously served as a managing director for Public Strategies, Inc. where she built an interactive business unit and a media relations division, managed the marketing and branding of the company, and led teams consulting for a broad spectrum of clients including Perot Systems, the San Antonio Spurs, Schering Plough, Seton Healthcare Family, and Southwest Airlines. Earlier in her career, Elyse was a media relations specialist for IBM, deputy spokesperson for former Governor Ann Richards, and associate director of the Texas Consumer Association. Elyse has volunteered in leadership positions for many years, including serving as past board president for Planned Parenthood of Central Texas. She currently serves on the board for Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) and for The University of Texas School of Natural Science.