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J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

Ronald G. Steinhart

Ronald G. Steinhart's record of community involvement is legendary.  He is the founding chairman of the Diabetes Institute affiliated with Baylor Health Care System serving the Southern Sector, co-chairman of the DISD Superintendent’s Financial Advisory Group, and vice chairman of Dallas Medical Resource. He is a director of the State Fair of Texas, Dallas Museum of Art, and the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, and a trustee of Dallas Jewish Community Foundation. He is an active member of the Advisory Board of the Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts, the Board of Visitors of the UT Southwestern Health System and the National Council of the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles.

In the past, Ron has served as chairman of the Dallas Citizens Council, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, chairman of the Housing Authority of the City of Dallas, president of the Dallas Assembly, president of the 500, Inc., chairman of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, president of the Federal Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve System, vice chairman of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and regent of the Lamar University System. At SMU, he served as a director of the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series.

Ron has served on the campaign committee and as treasurer of the Trinity River referendum, and also the DISD, City of Dallas, and Parkland Hospital bond issues. He has been an active member of Temple Emanu-El, where he served as an officer, member of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, co-chairman of two fundraising campaigns, and president of the foundation.

Ron is the first American citizen in his family, his parents Werner and Marga having escaped the Holocaust in late 1938, though his paternal grandparents, uncle, aunt, and two cousins perished. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Ron to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council for a five year term.

In 2005, Governor Rick Perry created the Texas Tax Reform Commission to make recommendations for financing Texas’s public schools and appointed Ron to the bipartisan panel. Then in 2007, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst appointed Ron to the Select Committee on Public School Accountability to make recommendations to the Texas Legislature for the 2009 session.

Ron is a dedicated UT supporter and has been an effective advocate of higher education for many years. He has received UT’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and is past chairman of its development board and the University’s $1.3 billion “We’re Texas” campaign. He also sits on the McCombs Business School’s Advisory Council. As a student, Ron served as vice president of the Students’ Association and was a member of the Texas Cowboys and Friar Society. He earned a BBA in accounting in 1962, and a MBA in finance the following year.

Ron developed his entrepreneurial skills early, striking a deal with the Beaumont Coca-Cola distributor to sell Cokes door to door from his wagon at the young age of 8. After leaving the University, Ron learned the ropes of the financial world with Ray Torgerson traveling the Southwest for the Walter Heller Company. In 1965, he began work with a small Dallas bank, and married Phyllis Yonet, whom he first met while at UT. Between 1969 and 1980, Ron teamed with investors to charter or purchase six banks. In 1980, he joined InterFirst Corporation, the largest bank in Texas at the time, and became President a year later.

In 1988, at the height of the Texas real estate bust, Ron led a group of investors to establish Deposit Guaranty Bank, which became Team Bank after a number of acquisitions, eventually merging with Bank One. By 1996, Ron was CEO of Bank One Corporation’s Commercial Banking Group and a member of the corporation’s Management Committee until his retirement in 2000.

Ron is a Certified Public Accountant (retired) and presently serves as a director of Animal Health International, Texas Industries, Penske Automotive Group, and a trustee of MFS/Compass Group of mutual funds. He and his wife Phyllis have three sons and five grandchildren.