Ross Perot, Jr.
2020 Award Recipient
Explorer. Leader. Public servant.
From the first global circumnavigation by helicopter to countless campaigns of giving, Ross Perot, Jr. is known for his adventurous spirit and for leading by example. Ross was the youngest aviator to have his aircraft on permanent display in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum since Charles Lindbergh.
Ross’ commitment to the public good reaches across Texas and our nation, touching countless individuals and organizations. His quiet but profound leadership has been instrumental in addressing social challenges through the Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation. The family and Foundation provide support for education, arts and culture, patriotic philanthropy, and religious organizations that frequently go unnoticed. Their leadership has been instrumental in supporting the mission of St. Mark’s School of Texas, SMU, TCU, the Episcopal School of Dallas, and civic programs at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, North Texas Food Bank, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The family also invests in civic organizations including Austin Street Center, Boy Scouts of America, and The Gatehouse Shelter for Women and Children and human services organizations such as The Salvation Army.
As chairman of the Air Force Memorial Foundation, Ross led a 14-year effort to build the United States Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C. to honor the service of United States Air Force personnel and its heritage organizations. The Memorial was dedicated to the nation in October 2006.
Ross serves as Chairman of The Perot Group and Chairman of Hillwood, a leading Texas-based global real estate development company founded in 1988. Ross is a Founder of Perot Systems Corporation and served in various roles including CEO, Chairman of the Board, and as a member of the Board of Directors until the company was acquired by Dell Inc. in 2009. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of the EastWest Institute and on the boards of the Dallas Citizens Council, Vanderbilt University, and the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.
In recognition of his civic and philanthropic contributions to our city state and nation, in addition to his lifelong commitment to ethical leadership practices, the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility was honored to recognize Ross with the 2020 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award.
About the Award
The J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award is named in honor of the public-spirited former mayor of Dallas. It is given to individuals who epitomize the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue. The founders of our nation foresaw that the ideal of liberty alone would not sustain our country unless accompanied by the concept of "public virtue," a sacrifice of self and resources for the public good. The Maguire Center is proud to present this award to people whose careers should be recognized, honored, and modeled.
Past Award Recipients
Nancy Strauss Halbreich (2019)
Bobby Lyle (2018)
David Brown (2017)
Terry Flowers (2016)
Lyda Hill (2015)
Gail G. Thomas (2014)
Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt (2013)
Walter J. Humann (2012)
Ruth Altshuler (2011)
Bob Buford (2010)
Ronald G. Steinhart (2009)
Michael M. Boone (2008)
Zan W. Holmes Jr., M.Th (2007)
Roger Staubach (2006)
Caren Prothro (2005)
Tom Luce (2004)
Ron Anderson, M.D. (2003)
Jack Lowe, Jr. (2002)
William T. Solomon (2000)
Stanley H. Marcus (1999)
Charles C. Sprague, M.D. (1998)
Curtis W. Meadows, Jr. (1997)
Mayor J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson, a founder of Texas Instruments, was a selfless civic worker, former Dallas mayor, and committed philanthropist. He exemplified the highest ethical standards in his many business and civic endeavors. As a visionary, he sought to repay the debt that all businesses owe their community through selfless work as a civic leader and through his philanthropy in education.
Mr. Jonsson transformed Texas Instruments from a company offering geophysical services to one that pioneered the high-tech world of electronics and semiconductors. His accomplishments were recognized in 1975 when he was one of only four living Americans to be selected for the newly created National Business Hall of Fame, joining such historical luminaries as Henry Ford, J. Pierpont Morgan, Alfred P. Sloan, and Andrew Carnegie.
Mr. Jonsson insisted on the highest ethical standards for Texas Instruments. The company set an early example in formalizing a code of ethics for its executives and employees.
His own leadership in Dallas’s civic affairs culminated when he was selected to be mayor in the dark period following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Under his guidance from 1964-1971, the city built a new city hall, a new municipal library, and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. He founded and largely financed the Goals for Dallas program that, for the first time in the city’s history, involved people of all races in establishing long-range municipal goals.
A mechanical engineer educated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Mr. Jonsson was born in Brooklyn of Swedish immigrant parents, spent his early life in New Jersey, and moved to Dallas in 1934 to join the company that was a predecessor to Texas Instruments.