Kenneth W. Starr passed away September 13, 2022. Mr. Starr served as president and chancellor of Baylor University from 2010 to 2016 and dean of the Pepperdine School of Law from 2004 to 2010. He argued 36 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including 25 during his service as U.S. Solicitor General from 1989 to 1993.  Starr also served as a United States Circuit Judge, was a partner at two national law firms, a law professor, and an author. He was inducted into the Philosophical Society of Texas in 2010 and served as its president in 2016-17. The topic of the Society’s Annual Meeting over which he presided was Law and Justice in Texas... and Beyond. Articles about Mr. Starr can be read in the Washington Post and PR Newswire

Randolph B. (Mike) Campbell passed away August 13, 2022. He was a graduate of the University of Virginia and was inducted into the Society in 2000. Dr. Campbell was Regents Professor of History at the University of North Texas where he taught since 1966. He was president of the Texas State Historical Association from 1993-94 and served as its chief historian from 2008-17. Campbell authored many books and articles, includingGone To Texas: A History of the Lone Star State (which won the Society's Book Prize that year) and An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-1865.Dr. Campbell's obituary can be read here.

Paul J. Burka passed away on August 15, 2022. He was a political writer, former senior executive editor of Texas Monthly, co-creator of the biennial Best and Worst Legislators feature, former attorney with the Texas Legislature, and former professor at The University of Texas Austin. A graduate of Rice University and The University of Texas Law School, Burka was a member of the Society since 2005. An article about Mr. Burka in The Texas Tribune can be read here.

Dr. Julieta V. García, former president of The University of Texas at Brownsville, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House on July 7th. Dr. Garcia has been a member of the Philosophical Society since 1999.  More information can be found on the White House's website

Inspired by the classic photo essays that once appeared in Life magazine, renowned photographer Laura Wilson presents dynamic portraits of thirty-eight internationally acclaimed writers in her forthcoming book, The Writers: Portraits by Laura Wilson (Yale University Press, 2022). Through her photos and accompanying texts, she gives us vivid, revealing glimpses into the everyday lives of such luminaries as Gabriel García Márquez, Zadie Smith, Seamus Heaney, and Haruki Murakami. Margaret Atwood works in her garden. Tim O’Brien performs magic tricks for his family. And Louise Erdrich speaks with customers in her Minneapolis bookstore. At once inviting and poignant, the book reflects on writing and photography’s shared concerns with invention, transformation, and memory. With 220 duotone images, The Writers: Portraits will appeal to fans of literature and photography alike.

The accompanying exhibition of her work at the Harry Ransom Center will be on view from August 27, 2022 through January 1, 2023. It features Wilson’s powerful portraits documenting these highly accomplished, award-winning writers. Immersing herself in each writer's own personal setting, Wilson reveals the details that have inspired their literary masterworks. The papers of many of the writers portrayed are also collected at the Ransom Center.

Laura Wilson's photographs have appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe New YorkerVanity Fair, and London's Sunday Times Magazine, among others. She has published six books of photographs including Avedon at WorkThat Day: Picture in the American WestHutterites of Montana, and From Rodin to Plensa: Modern Sculpture at the Meadows Museum.

Governor Abbott has appointed Philosophical Society member, Dr. Donald S. Frazier, Director of the Texas Center at Schreiner University, to the 1836 Project Advisory Committee. Frazier will serve as the Committee's presiding officer. More information about theCommittee can be read here

Philosophical Society member Charles Butt, chairman of H-E-B, is personally donating $1 million to Prairie View A&M University in honor of its president, also a Philosophical Society member, Ruth J. Simmons. A Houston Chronicle article about the award can be read here.

Nobel Prize-winning scientist and Philosophical Society member, Dr. James P. Allison, has been named a 2020 History-Making Texan by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.  Allison and other winners will be honored at the Texas Independence Day Dinner at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin on March 2.



The Art of Texas: 250 Years, based on the book of the same title by Ron Tyler, will close August 25, 2019. It is currently on view at The Witte Museum in San Antonio. The major and massive exhibition features artists ranging from 19th century Theodore Gentilz to 20th century Georgia O’Keeffe. The more than one hundred art pieces include a mural by John Biggers, a sculpture by Jesús Moroles, and a painting by Julian Onderdonk, “Chili Queens at the Alamo,” that once graced the Oval Office during President George W. Bush’s time in the White House. Art has travel ed from museums and collectors from throughout the United States for the exhibition.