2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards
Congratulating Dr. Toral Patel, Clay Phillips, Jacob Schick and Pete Wilson as the well-deserved recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2019!
DR. TORAL PATEL, '99
Dr. Patel is an Assistant Professor in UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Neurological Surgery where she specializes in brain tumor surgery. Her impressive credentials include an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, medical degree at UT Southwestern Medical School with an internship in general surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Chief Resident in neurological surgery. She received training in neurosurgical oncology through a fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before returning to UT Southwestern as a faculty member in 2014.
Although her resume, numerous awards, and skill rival any in her field, the reason she was nominated for the award is due to the kindness and genuine care she shows to her patients.
Dr. Patel takes time to get to know her patients and their families.
CLAY PHILLIPS, '78
Clay Phillips was the valedictorian and graduated from Coppell High School in 1978 where he was involved in many different organizations including musical theatre and basketball. Phillips began a career in public service in 1981 as an EMT/Firefighter, and later became Fire Chief in Addison. From there, he served as Fire Chief, Deputy City Manager and then City Manager of Coppell from 2008 to 2017.
Serving Coppell for 26 years, Phillips facilitated a number of cooperative regional efforts including the North Texas Emergency Communications Center. He led many projects over the years that resulted in major improvements to the city’s parks, facilities, and infrastructure.
JACOB SCHICK, '01
Jacob Schick is a retired US Marine Corporal, now Executive Director of the non-profit 22Kill Organization. He suffered life-threatening injuries including brain trauma and loss of one leg from being hit by an IED while serving in Iraq. His experience and the lengthy physical recovery led to deep depression and a reliance on painkillers. Schick now works to provide support for veterans like himself. The 22Kill organization is dedicated to suicide prevention and mental wellness among veterans. Having experienced it himself, Schick knows how veterans have suffered physically, mentally, and emotionally.
22Kill is named from suicide data in 2012, from the Department of Veteran Affairs, that reports 22 veterans take their own lives every day. Schick reports that 29 of his personal friends have taken their own lives, and his mission is to support and provide resources for the veteran community.
PETE WILSON, '65
Wheelice (Pete) Wilson Jr. was honored as the first Mr. CHS – the first valedictorian of Coppell High School – graduating in 1965. Born and raised in Coppell, Wilson dedicated his life to education and fine arts in Coppell ISD where he taught for 36 years and directed the theater department at Coppell High School.
At the same time, Wilson has been and continues to serve the City of Coppell. As a founding member of Theatre Coppell, he served as its Artistic Director for many years. In addition, Wilson has been heavily involved in the Coppell Arts Council and Coppell Historical Society. He has gathered and archived thousands of photos and written papers documenting the town’s history. He has helped to preserve Old Town Coppell and was instrumental in the creation of Heritage Park.