February 8, 2017
Pirkey Barber member Shannon Vale has assumed the duties of President of the Association of Rice Alumni (“Rice Alumni”), the organization representing that elite university’s more than 50,000 living alumni around the world. In this role, Shannon chairs the group’s 28-member Board of Directors, which reflects a broad cross-section of the university’s global alumni community. Shannon is the first Austin resident to serve as Rice Alumni president over the course of the organization’s 98-year history. Rice University, located in Houston, Texas, is currently ranked as #15 among National Universities by U.S. News and World Report.
“I had the opportunity to meet Shannon very early on during my time at Rice, and he has consistently been a wonderful advisor and friend in our work with Rice alumni,” said Marthe Druska Golden, Rice’s Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations and the Executive Director of the Association of Rice Alumni. “Shannon and his wife Jane are two of the warmest, most welcoming people I have encountered, and having Shannon lead our organization this year is having a very positive impact on the Rice Alumni Board and our work in engaging more alumni around the world.”
Shannon earned his B.A. in History and German Studies from Rice in 1977 before obtaining his J.D. at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law in 1981. From 2011-15 Shannon was president of Austin Rice Alumni, which is one of Rice’s largest and most active regional groups and supports the more than 2,000 Rice graduates, parents and students from the Greater Austin area. He joined Rice’s national alumni board in 2012 and has served on that board’s Executive Committee since that time. Prior to his involvement on the national alumni board, he also served as president of the Austin Chapter of the Rice Alliance for Technology & Entrepreneurship and as a founding member of the Austin Rice Parents Committee and Rice Attorneys in Austin.
Shannon has spent the past eight years as a partner in Pirkey Barber PLLC, one of the nation’s leading firms devoted entirely to the practice of trademark and copyright law. He is a former president of the Austin Intellectual Property Law Association and of Austin Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, and a former member of the City of Austin Music Commission. London-based World Trademark Review currently ranks him in its Gold band among Texas trademark attorneys, and he is one of 20 American trademark attorneys recognized by that global publication in the field of “Individuals-Prosecution and Strategy” (along with his fellow partners Lou Pirkey and Bill Barber).
Alumni involvement seems to run in the family; Jane is very active in the Baylor University alumni community and is past president of the Baylor University Women’s Council of Austin. Shannon and Jane are the proud parents of two outstanding young men: their oldest son Joshua has worked for Baylor’s Mayborn Museum since his graduation from that university in 2013, while their younger son Matthew graduated from Rice in 2014 and was recently awarded his Masters in Systematic Theology from Notre Dame University.