The Raymond L. Gardner Alumnus of the Year Award is made annually to the Phi Delt alumnus considered by the Gardner Award committee to have made the most significant contribution in three areas: Fraternity service, service to higher education, and community involvement. The award was originated by the Seattle Alumni Club in honor of Raymond L. Gardner, Washington 1918. For his enduring dedication and support of the Fraternity, higher education, and his community, it is with great pride and gratitude that the General Council of Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity recognizes Brother James B. Ewbank II, Southwestern ’77, with the Raymond L. Gardner Alumnus of the Year Award.
Jim Ewbank was initiated into Phi Delta Theta on September 23, 1974, at the Texas Gamma Chapter at Southwestern University. He graduated from Baylor Law School in 1980 and has practiced civil litigation in Austin, Texas ever since. Jim is board certified in civil trial law and personal injury law and has worked on over 125 jury cases. Besides his many years of courtroom experience working as an outstanding lawyer, Jim is also a respected author, speaker, and professor.
Brother Ewbank served as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Law School, where he taught trial tactics. He is also a frequent speaker at not only local Bar seminars but also seminars at the state and national level, where he speaks about civil trial techniques and substantive areas of civil litigation. Jim’s work in his field has been celebrated and acknowledged by professional institutions. The American Board of Trial Advocates appointed him as an advocate in 2000, and he was elected as a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. Furthermore, he was bestowed the Outstanding Law Review Award by the Texas Law Foundation and dubbed “Texas Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters in Texas Monthly.
His outstanding achievements in the courtroom speak for themselves. Jim has been involved in many well-known fraternity cases since 1992. Along with his firm, he established a nationwide niche in handling fraternity cases and helped formulate laws on fraternity liability in multiple states. He protects the rights of chapters, members, and national organizations to exist and participate on college campuses. He has consulted with more than thirty fraternities, sororities, and chapters nationwide, working on litigation and risk management issues.
Jim’s motivational speaking abilities and dynamic deliverance to captivate and mentor an audience make him a sought-after speaker at different Fraternal conferences and Greek leadership seminars.
Jim’s decades of commitment to the Greek Community exemplify his passion and mission to make a difference. He has been the recipient of multiple awards since 2014, including his most recent award, here in 2023, from the Forum: Lifetime Recognition for Decades of Change and Leadership in the Greek Community and other awards from various fraternities.
Jim is a proud Phi and philanthropical supporter of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation, and also a sponsor of a Harrison Presidents Scholarship for Texas Gamma. He and his wife Orlinda Naranjo and their family have also been great supporters of the First Generation Student Scholarship program through the Phi Delta Theta Foundation. He was a speaker at the 2018 Phi Delta Theta Biennial Convention in San Antonio, as well as a Texas province retreat in Austin.