AC honors Allen Durrett as Distinguished Alumnus


Amarillo College has announced that Allen Durrett, partner of Durrett Cattle Co., is this year’s recipient of the Amarillo College Distinguished Alumni Award.


“We are thrilled to be able to honor such a first-class individual as Allen Durrett,” said AC President Paul Matney. “Everybody knows Allen. He has humbly and generously contributed a great deal of resources, time and energy to our community and to this college. He is an excellent choice for this award.”

Durrett graduated from Tascosa High School before pursuing an associate of science degree in pre-law. A love for skiing initially drew him to Amarillo College.

“I didn’t think I was ready to go away to college, and I loved to snow ski,” he said. “I wanted to go to Austin eventually, which was 400 miles away from snow skiing, but in my own backyard, I had a skiing class, club and like-minded individuals.”

Students in the skiing class trained in the Polk Street campus, where there was 20-foot ramp tricked out with carpet covered with Styrofoam balls.

“It was silly, but fun,” Durrett said. “We started going almost every weekend to Taos. Our mothers would make us casseroles, and they had lift tickets that were $30, and we could ski the entire weekend.”

Durrett described his experience as fantastic, but it was not without a few harrowing experiences. He initially wanted to study medicine, and during a comparative anatomy course, attempted with his lab partner to make the odor of formaldehyde more bearable by combining it with vanilla extract and Old Spice, the combined effects of which were even worse. He attributes the experience and his lowest grade at AC with steering him in a different direction academically.

“I made a C in comparative anatomy, and while I respected my teacher, it convinced me maybe law school was a better place for me,” Durrett said.

In 1975, Durrett graduated from AC in just a year, which he attributes to a combination of taking advanced placement tests and buckling down for course loads of more than 20 hours both semesters.

“My classes were really good, and it was a great experience, with great teachers,” he said.

After AC, Durrett transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in psychology with an English minor and earned his law degree. He practiced law briefly before becoming a full-time farmer and rancher.

Durrett has returned to the AC campus over the years for continuing education courses, including bird watching and a handful of foreign language courses.

He also served on the AC Foundation Board of Directors and as co-chair of the Amarillo Area Foundation’s ACE program, which provides college tuition to students from several area schools. Durrett also has served on the boards of the Harrington Cancer Center, St. Andrews Episcopal School, Amarillo Symphony Orchestra and Amarillo Area Foundation.

Durrett will speak as Distinguished Alumnus at the AC Honors Convocation on April 21 at Amarillo Civic Center.


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