Academy of Distinguished Alumni

william ratliff

William R. Ratliff

B.S., University of Texas at Austin, 1960

After graduating from public school in Sonora, Texas, Bill Ratliff earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was named a Distinguished Graduate of the UT School of Engineering in 1990.

He was first elected to the Texas Senate in 1989. During his tenure in the Senate, he served four years as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and four years as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. In December of 2000, Senator Ratliff was chosen by his colleagues in the Senate to serve as the 41st Lieutenant Governor of Texas as then Lieutenant Governor Perry moved into the Governor’s office vacated by George W. Bush when he became President.

Bill Ratliff returned to the Senate when David Dewhurst became Lieutenant Governor in 2003. He now serves as Chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee.

During his seven Legislative sessions, Senator Ratliff has been named one of Texas’ Best Legislators by Texas Monthly magazine an unprecedented five times.

"He is a gentlemanly, no-nonsense, solution-oriented, moderate-conservative policy man, known for delivery straightforward, honest judgments without frills or flourishes." - Member, Capitol Press Corps

"Bill Ratliff is the gray eminence of the Texas Senate. A calm, ramrod-straight, low-key Southern gentleman affectionately known to his colleagues as Obi-Wan Kenobi, after the wise advisor in Star Wars." - President George W. Bush

Inducted November 7, 2003