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The Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumni (ASDA) Awards are the highest alumni honor bestowed by the university's School of Medicine Alumni Association.  The award, recognizing outstanding service to the medical profession and to humanity, honors the memory of Dr. Ashbel Smith. 

Born in 1805 in Hartford, Connecticut, Smith moved to Texas in 1837 after graduating from Yale Medical School.  A prominent figure in Texas medicine, politics and education, Smith was considered the driving force behind establishing the University of Texas at Austin in 1881, and a medical department that would later be known as the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1891.

ASDA collage 2021 recipients

Click on recipient name below to read full biography:

Dr. Elizabeth Brunt  • Dr. Bradley Chipps  • Dr. James McCoy  • Dr. Stephen Ponder  Dr. James Wharton


2021 Event Program 2021 Event Video Recording
ASDA 2021 program ASDA 2021 program video link




Nominations are accepted in the fall of each year. The 2022 nomination process has closed. Winners will be announced at a special event on June 3, 2022.


View a historical list of School of Medicine alumni who have been honored with  the Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award dating back to 1965. 



ASDA criteria


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