Texas Exes to be led by its first black female president

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Attorney and lobbyist Machree Gibson will take over as the first black woman president of the Texas Exes on July 1.

This past year, she served as president-elect of the powerful and independent UT alumni organization. Current president Richard Leshin, who will serve as the chair of the organization when his term as president ends, said he thinks Gibson is a prime fit for the volunteer leadership role.

“I think she’ll do a great job. She has a great sense of humor and she will be able to use that sense of humor in leading us into the next year,” Leshin said.

The Daily Texan talked to Gibson about her connection to the University and her goals for the Texas Exes.

The Daily Texan: What do you want to say to UT students?
Machree Gibson: They are at one of the best schools in the country, and they need to appreciate the opportunity that has been bestowed on them. The friends they make now will probably be friends for a long, long time. I hope that when they graduate they become a part of the Texas Exes because that expands your UT family.

DT: What do you plan to focus on during your time as president?
MG: A lot of times, since the University is in our own backyard, we sort of take it for granted. We need to tout the accomplishments of the University of Texas such as what value research has upon the state of Texas as well as developing phenomenal minds that go out and change the world.

DT: How do you feel about being the first black woman to serve as president of the Texas Exes?
MG: Very proud. What that does is it shows minority students that they too can be a part of the University and fall in love with it and one day they too can lead an organization of the magnitude of the Texas Exes.

DT: Businesswoman Leslie Cedar will take over as the first female Texas Exes CEO and Executive Director at the end of this month. How do you think your combined female leadership will impact the organization?
MG: Leslie has so much energy, I am enamored with her. I think we are going to have a good time. I think women have a different way of looking at things. They see an issue and they look at it from many different sides. Women tend to want to solve a problem and not just fix it.

DT: You got an English degree in 1982 and a law degree in 1991 from the University. How does this connect you as president of Texas Exes to the University?
MG: When I was in college I worked at the capitol, and I used to park in the middle of Speedway. I’d wear my flip flops and my backpack. Depending on which direction I was going in, I’d switch to my pumps and grab my purse. So it’s kind of great having come full circle, to be working at the capitol and back on campus. But this time I keep my pumps on.

Printed on 6/23/2011 as: Black female readies to lead as president of Texas Exes