16 Houstonians are among the '50 most influential Texans' in Texas Monthly's new book

President Jimmy Carter and George P. Mitchell at The Woodlands Conference in the late 1970s. Inspired by Dennis Meadows, author of “Limits to Growth,” the series of seven conferences over a 28-year period addressed the issues of sustainable societies. The conference awarded The Mitchell Prize—a $100,000 cash prize for the best white paper addressing solutions to transitioning to a sustainable society.

Sixteen Houstonians were listed in Texas Monthly's latest book, "Lone Stars Rising," which details 50 of the most influential Texans.

The book, which hits shelves June 6, highlights Texans "who have shaped the Lone Star State — and the nation — over the past half-century."

The cover features Houston's Simone Biles. The Olympian received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2022 and is the most decorated gymnast in history with a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals. Biles is also a prominent advocate for athletes' mental health and safety, children in the foster care system and victims of sexual assault.

Here are the other fifteen Houstonians featured in Texas Monthly's new book:

  • George H. W. Bush — Although born in Massachusetts, Bush considered Houston his home. He lived here on and off since the 1950s and spent his post-White House years in Houston. There is still an 8-foot-tall bronze statue of him at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport.
  • Barbara Jordan — From Houston's Fifth Ward, Jordan broke political barriers for women and Black Texans as a state senator. She served as acting governor — making her the first Black woman to serve as acting governor of Texas — and was the first Black woman elected to Congress from the South. Jordan was also a key figure in the televised impeachment hearings of President Richard Nixon.
  • Annise Parker — Parker was Houston's, and the nation's, first openly gay mayor of a large metropolis. Before becoming mayor in 2010, she won three city council races between 1997 and 2001 and was elected as city controller in 2003.
  • George Mitchell — This renowned Texas oil icon is best known for spearheading the fracking revolution that transformed the world's energy industry. Mitchell also founded The Woodlands in the early 1970s.
  • Bill Hobby — The Rice graduate worked at the Houston Post, which his family owned, and was president of the newspaper from 1963 to 1983 when it was sold to the Chronicle. Among other political positions, Hobby was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1972 and held the job for 18 years until retiring from politics in 1991. He went on to serve as chancellor of the University of Houston System, teach classes at Rice and write a book.
  • Michael DeBakey — Called one of the greatest surgeons of the 20th century, DeBakey pioneered new forms of surgery while acting as a catalyst for change at the Texas Medical Center.
  • Denton Cooley — Another famous Houston surgeon who was a pioneer in his field and brought international attention to the Texas Medical Center. He is the founder of the Texas Heart Institute and performed around 65,000 open-heart surgeries over four decades.
  • Renu Khator — President of the University of Houston since 2008, Khator is credited in "Lone Stars Rising" with turning UH from a commuter school to a Tier 1 public research institution. 
  • John Mackey — As the creator of Whole Foods, Mackey became a star in the business world and a coauthor of many bestselling books.
  • Beyoncé — No prominent list of Houstonians is complete without Beyoncé, the international pop sensation who graduated from Houston's High School for Performing and Visual Arts, was the leader of Destiny's Child and became a global icon with her solo career.
  • DJ Screw — DJ Screw, whose real name is Robert Earl Davis Jr., is credited with creating a new version of hip-hop known as chopped and screwed. Screw was a key figure in Houston's hip-hop scene.
  • Brené Brown — Brown is a New York Times best-selling author and University of Houston research professor. She also has a popular Netflix special, "The Call to Courage," which was released in 2019.
  • Dominique de Menil — Menil was born in Paris, France in 1908. She fled the Nazi occupation of France and settled in Houston in the early 1940s. Menil and her husband spent decades elevating Houston's modern art scene and helped create the Menil Collection museum and the neighboring Rothko Chapel.
  • Hugo Ortega — This celebrated chef has five Houston restaurants that have influenced the way Texans look at Mexican food.
  • Robert Del Grande  — Del Grande was a trailblazing chef at Houston's Cafe Annie and its successors from 1982 until his retirement in 2022

For additional information on George P. Mitchell, visit georgepmitchell.com. And for information on the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, visit cgmf.org.

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