U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Friday feted financier and philanthropist Willie T. Langston II, Palestine High School’s 2020 Distinguished Alumnus and president of the Class of 1977. About 200 members of the Palestine High School Alumni Association attended the banquet honoring Langston.
Cruz praised Langston’s work ethic, financial prowess,friendly demeanor, trustworthiness, humility, and faith. As national finance chair for Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, Langston raised $92 million – the most ever raised in a primary bid.
“He’s got a heart for others,” Cruz said at the Ben E. Keith Community Center. “He always gives credit to God.”
State Rep. Cody Harris, R-Palestine, congratulated Langston by reading a resolution passed by the Texas House in his honor: “Willie Langston has risen himself to the heights of professional success while dedicating himself to the service of others,” it states.
Langston heads Avalon Advisors, a Houston wealth management company. He serves as deacon at Second Baptist Church of Houston, as well as on the board of several nonprofit agencies.
After graduating fifth in the PHS class of 1977, Langston attended Texas A&M University, College Station and graduated in 1981 with highest honors. He later earned a master of business administration from Stanford University in 1985.
During high school, Langston was captain of the football team, the baseball team’s most valuable player, and class president. During the banquet, Langston reminisced about his high school years.
“The 70’s was a generation of music,” he said. “We were classic rock when it was just rock.”
Frank George Jr., a long-time friend and neighbor, said he’s impressed with Langston’s achievements since graduating high school.
“I’m really proud of him,” George said. “He always had great grades in school.”
Langston joins 16 other distinguished alumni on a wall inside PHS: Herbert Morton Bowden, Jr., MD (1972), Bascom W. Bentley III (1969), Elton Bomer (1953), Michael Yearger (1972), Todd Staples (1981), Elizabeth Swift Brown (1936), Naomi Brotherton (1937), Ronald B. George, MD (1949), Samuel C. Raines (1963), Elizabeth Stafford Hutchinson (1937), M. Lamar Muse (1937), William Bennett Boyd (1941), George Edward Pickett (1935), Virginia Carroll Crawford (1943), Harry Martin Meyer, Jr., MD (1945), Jared A. Anderson (1955), Lindsey Brazelton Pryor (1941), Robert Burton Turner (1952), and James E. Saxton (1958).
Palestine High School Alumni Association benefits students and teachers of Palestine Independent School District. A nonprofit organization, PHSAA has awarded more than $92,000 in scholarships to graduates and awards to outstanding educators.