Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

Dan Williams

Dan C. Williams, Jr. was a distinguished engineer, a successful insurance executive, a respected educator, active civic leader and a corporate builder.

Born in Brenham, Texas, Dan earned a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering in 1935 from The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Dan met Carolyn Carpenter, who earned a B.A. in English in 1935, while both were there, and they married in 1936.

He started his career in the oil fields working for Magnolia Petroleum Co. and was promoted to assistant chief petroleum engineer before he left the Dallas oil company to become an independent oilman in 1947. He learned every facet of the industry including the construction needs for a successful operation as well as the engineering and geological needs.

In 1944, Dan began his long association with Southland Life Insurance, becoming President and Chairman of the Board (1953-1984). He also served as Southland Financial Corporation’s Chairman of the Board from 1971 to 1986. In the insurance industry, he served as Presidents of the Life Insurers Conference, American Life Convention and the Texas Life Convention.

Dan’s voluntarism ran the gamut, serving as Presidents of Dallas Central Business District Assn, Community Arts Fund, Dallas County United Fund, Dallas Zoological Society, Greater Dallas Planning Council, and Greater Dallas Council of Churches. He was awarded two of Dallas’ highest volunteer honors: the Linz Award in 1961 and the J. Erik Jonsson Award in 1986. He was Elder for both Highland Park and Park Cities Presbyterian Churches. On the Organizing Committee of the Cotton Bowl Council, he was also President and Chairman of the Board. He served as National Fund Chairman, National Board of Governors for The American Red Cross. He was Chairman of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, Presbyterian Medical Center, Dallas, and Presbyterian Healthcare System, serving for 28 years.

Dan was also committed to education. He served on The University of Texas Board of Regents from 1969-1981, and served as chair from 1979- 1981. He was a founding member of The Chancellor’s Council, serving as its first President. He was a long-time member of the University Development Board and the Board of Visitors of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, chairing both boards. He served on the Texas Commission on Higher Education, the advisory council for the Association of Graduate Education and Research in North Texas, and as trustee of the Schreiner Institute. He was named a Distinguished Graduate of the College of Engineering in 1962. In 1993, he was named Distinguished Alumnus of The University of Texas.

Dan shared his devotion to community service with his wife Carolyn, who recently passed away at the age of 96. Dan passed away in 2001 just before his 88th birthday. Dan and Carolyn’s legacy includes three Longhorn daughters, Carolyn Marks of Dallas (BS Home Economics ’60), Harriet Peavy of San Antonio (BA Mathematics ’63) and Suzanne Nash of Dallas (BA Mathematics ’67), seven grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren.


Contact Catherine Campbell at 512-471-3208