Legacy of Service

Ambassador Carrin F. Patman builds on her family’s legacy of public service with a historic investment in UT’s LBJ School for Public Affairs.
Student walking through exhibit.

Ambassador Carrin F. Patman, JD ’82, comes from a long line of what President Lyndon B. Johnson called “thinkers and doers: people who dream of progress and will try to turn those dreams into achievements.”

Her paternal grandfather, Wright Patman, served 24 consecutive terms as the representative for Texas’ 1st Congressional District, and her father, Bill Patman, BBA, LLB ’53, was a member of both the Texas Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Ambassador Patman’s mother, Carrin Mauritz Patman, BA ’54, began her political life as a little girl in Ganado, Texas, licking stamps and knocking on doors for her father’s successful Texas Senate campaign. She went on to manage her husband’s campaigns and serve as the Democratic National Committeewoman for Texas.

Today, Ambassador Patman is continuing her family’s long tradition of public service not only as the U.S.’ envoy to Iceland, but through a historic $10 million investment in The University of Texas at Austin and the next generation of civic leaders.

Earlier this year, she and her husband, Jim Derrick BA ’67, JD ’70, made the largest ever gift to UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs to establish the Patman Center for Civic and Political Engagement, which aims to strengthen democracy by training public service leaders and creating opportunities for civic participation through a big-tent approach to dialogue and debate.

Beginning this fall, the Patman Center will build on the LBJ School’s long tradition of preparing government leaders through new Patman Fellowships, mentorships, trips to Washington, D.C., and professional development for skills like public debate and testimony. And according to JR DeShazo, dean of the LBJ School, the Patman Center is launching not a moment too soon.

“We’re at a moment in history where there is increasing political acrimony and polarization,” DeShazo says. “Bipartisanship is something that we really want to inculcate into our Patman Fellows — the ability to connect with people who might not be of your political tribe. We also want them to understand how to get things done by using government more effectively.

That’s why the Patman Center is important now. Our goal is to give UT students the technical, communications, and organizational skills they need to be leaders, but also to help them recognize that in a democracy, you have to be connected enough to speak with one another.”

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