The week leading up to Homecoming weekend at Austin College highlighted the success of several graduated Kangaroos with panel discussions, guest lectures and alumni awards.

The week leading up to Homecoming weekend at Austin College highlighted the success of several graduated Kangaroos with panel discussions, guest lectures and alumni awards.

One alumnus invited to speak at the school this week also received an award for "exemplifying leadership and ethical standards in their interactions," and for distinguished service in his career and community: Anthony Swift, a biology and political science major who was a student body president, is now an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

AC recognized Swift for his accomplishments as an attorney within a decade of his graduation in 2003. The school said that Swift has testified before the United States Congress on pipeline safety oversight, one of Swift’s areas of expertise. Swift also worked for the United States secretary of transportation on "alternative fuels, efficiency standards, and the National Environmental Policy Act review process."

Swift spoke during the annual Public Administration Symposium held by the college, where the environmental advocate gave his opinion on Texas’ economy from an environmental perspective. Swift, who was elected to academic honor and service societies and "named to the USA Today All-Star Academic Team," said his favorite building on campus was the library.

Swift said the kind of education he got at AC was indispensable to his success. "It has helped in a very significant way. I owe a large of amount of my success to opportunities AC afforded me," Swift said. "There was so much contact with professors on a one-on-one basis, that’s critical to education, and, when you’re looking for career advice and contacts, those relationships are incredibly valuable."

The attorney said he first learned the critical thinking he practices at work as a Kangaroo: "At AC, it’s not what you learn, but that you learn how to learn, and how to communicate complex problems through the spoken and written word."

The college also welcomed other distinguished alumni to speak during the symposium, including Adam Haynes, a former natural resources and environmental policy expert for Rep. Ralph Hall who "brings more than 20 years of experience working on local, state and federal issues, for elected officials, the oil and gas industry and trade associations."

Haynes said just before his presentation during the symposium, "I’m a little bit nervous; I do these all the time. I do this all across the state and across the country, but rarely am I in a setting with two people that were very influential in my life, and both of them are right here. First of all Dr. (Kenneth) Street and Dr. (Hugh) Garnett, thank you both for at least starting me out. I don’t know how I’m gonna finish, but at least the start that I had put me ahead of most of my peers, and for that I truly thank you."

Texas Economic Development Council President Carlton Schwab gave the keynote speech at the school’s symposium. Schwab also lauded the close relationships with professors he developed at AC.

Bill Warren, the CEO of a digital media company who double majored in business and political science at AC, was one of the panelists invited to discuss the Texas economy during the symposium. "This is kind of a weird thing," Warren said. "I can’t believe (Mike) Imhoff’s here; he’s been here forever. Dr. Street is here. Dr Hass is here. … They’re all afraid of what I’m about to say," he joked before beginning his "kind of contrarian" presentation on the Texas economy.

To the new generation of Kangaroos, Hayes said, "Life did exist on the campus before you had this beautiful building, trust me. The Wright Center was nothing like this in ‘84, ‘88."

Swift said, "Ten years (away) has reminded me how wonderful the campus is. It was wonderful to see familiar faces, and now, it’s going to be hard to leave again."