• Carlos Barron

Her accomplishments and recognition as an attorney and judge are almost as numerous as her personal accomplishments. Southwestern University is far from the only organization to recognize this. Justice Bourland has been named a Profile in Power by the Austin Business Journal and a Super Lawyer by Law & Politics magazine. AW Media just awarded her the inaugural Woman’s Way Spirit Award. And, lest you think Justice Bourland’s recognition comes at the end of an august career—she also won the Austin Under 40 Award in Law.

Justice Bourland’s accomplishments don’t just come from being an expert at the judge’s bench. “Cindy is as comfortable around a horse or a cow as she is a courtroom,” says Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw. “Not only is she brilliant, but she has those small-town qualities that keep her grounded. That’s what makes her so genuine. My dad has been practicing law for well over 50 years and thinks she’s the smartest lawyer he’s ever encountered.”

A lifelong resident of Central Texas and member of a multi-generational Texas family, Justice Bourland was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the Third Court of Appeals in 2015. Prior to taking her seat on the bench, Justice Bourland started and ran a successful trial law firm, where she handled business and commercial law. Her clients benefited from her legal skills as well as her empathy and strength.

“Cindy is one of those people who contains multitudes. She can write a legal opinion, mend a fence, cook a gourmet meal, ride a horse, bathe a dog, tell a great story, dance at a black-tie gala—and she has probably done all of those things in the same day,” claims Anna Eby ’05, a longtime co-worker at Justice Bourland’s law firm. She sees Justice Bourland as her mentor and friend.

David Puryear, a fellow justice on the Third Court of Appeals, also testifies to Justice Bourland’s stellar character. “Cindy is an impressively powerful combination of integrity, intellect and compassion. She will not ever consider a course that might call her integrity into question. Her compassionate side continually reveals itself from her dealing with employees, who adore her, to her relationships with her many close friends, who treasure their friendship because of her goodness, her loyalty and her generosity.”

“Amazing friend.” “Someone you can count on.” “Cindy takes the high road.” “I strive to be a better person because of the example she sets.” These are the things people say about  Justice Bourland. These are the qualities of an outstanding Southwestern alumna. 

Justice Bourland relocated her law practice back to her hometown of Round Rock several years ago, much to the delight of the Mayor. “We were all thrilled… we knew that meant she was re-establishing her roots, as she was able to spend more time in the town she grew up in.”

Mayor McGraw agrees that Justice Bourland embodies the Southwestern core purpose of “fostering a liberal arts community whose values and actions encourage contributions toward the well-being of humanity.”

“She has been in service to others her entire life. Now, as an appellate judge, she continues that role in making good, sometimes tough, decisions that will benefit all of us.”

These are just some of the reasons that Cindy Olson Bourland is the 2016 recipient of the Southwestern University Alumni Association Distinguished Professional Award, which is presented annually to Southwestern alumni who have performed exceptional civic and professional services in a given geographic area or field of endeavor.