Cover of the Graduate School book

Purchase a copy of the Graduate School's commemorative book titled "Changing the World: Stories Celebrating 100 Years of Graduate Education at The University of Texas at Austin." Proceeds go directly to support graduate students at the university. Order yours today.

Graduate School Celebrates 100 Years, Commends Engineering Alums

The Graduate School featured 10 engineering alumni in its 100-year anniversary book.

As an undergraduate engineering student, Sheldon Bish, then attending the University of Connecticut, participated in the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates at The University of Texas at Austin. So when it came time to make the decision about where to attend graduate school, Bish was confident with his choice.

"I chose UT because they had an up-and-coming biomedical engineering program," he said. "They had some of the focuses that I was interested in, primarily optics."

Bish is one of more than 11,500 graduate students enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin.

Photos of the 10 engineering alumni featured in the Graduate School's commemorative book.

Ten alumni from the Cockrell School of Engineering are featured in the Graduate School's 100th anniversary book.

The Graduate School, which was established in 1910, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. In honor of the milestone, the school published a commemorative anniversary book titled "Changing the World: Stories Celebrating 100 Years of Graduate Education at The University of Texas at Austin" that profiles 100 alumni – including 10 from the Cockrell School of Engineering: Jennifer Barton, Ph.D. '98, B.S. '88; Felix Fenter, Ph.D. '60, M.S., '54, B.S. '53; Jeff Hildebrand, M.S. '85, B.S. '81; Satoshi Kashima, Ph.D. '74, M.S. '71; Chuck McQueary, Ph.D. '66, M.S. '64, B.S. 62; Ervin Perry, Ph. D. '64, M.S. '61; Amar Sawhney, Ph.D. '92, M.S. '89; Ben Streetman, Ph.D. '66, M.S. '63, B.S. '61; James Truchard, Ph.D. '74, M.A. '67, B.S. '64; and Stephanie Wilson, M.S. '92.

These featured alumni have distinguished themselves as pioneers of engineering – ranging from the founders of companies, such as James Truchard and Jeff Hildebrand, to being only the second African American woman to fly into space like Stephanie Wilson.

"The Graduate School is not a collection of dates, offices, buildings, numbers of graduates, or national rankings of its degree programs," wrote Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Victoria Rodriguez in the book's foreword. "Rather it is the story of its graduates – those men and women who pursued their dreams and earned master's and doctoral degrees from the university."

One of the key tenets of graduate education is the discovery of new knowledge and the contribution of original research. Along with faculty adviser James Tunnell, Bish is doing just that as they develop innovative ways to detect and treat skin cancer using biomedical optics.

Tunnell said it would be impossible to execute the necessary levels of research without help from his graduate students. Their commitment of time and energy is coupled with new approaches and fresh perspectives.

"From a practical sense they do all the work in the lab," Tunnell said. "The good thing on a more philosophical side is that they are fresh and new and eager so they have a lot of motivation. They are excited about what they are doing, so they are willing to spend lots of hours. They ask a lot of questions and end up finding their own ways and new ways of doing things.

"When we go out to a new area, hopefully I learn as much from them as they learn from me. When we go down a new path, they have to research it so they can teach me and the other students in the lab."

Bish is an example of the thousands of graduate students at the university driving its vast research engine and training to be the innovators of tomorrow. It is these students who are the amplifiers, connectors, discoverers and mentors of their departments; bridging together the realms of undergraduate student life and explorative, ground-breaking faculty research.

"Graduate students are integral to the core educational and research mission of the university," Rodriguez continued in the foreword, "… they design research projects and develop new ideas that, in time, go on to change the world. Graduate School alumni have, in large and small ways, left their marks on the university and far beyond."

It's alumni like these that the Cockrell School of Engineering look toward to help support the education of future generations of engineers. The world's brightest graduate students need financial help and the Cockrell School is responding with a vigorous campaign to raise $135 million for graduate fellowships.

By supplementing financial aid with fellowships, future engineers will be lessened of their financial burdens following graduation, and the Cockrell School can compete with other top-tier universities.

The next generation of technology creators, economy builders and society servers starts here at the Cockrell School of Engineering.

Fellowship funding options:

Dean's Graduate Fellow: Fully Endowed Graduate Fellowship – Minimum $750,000
Provide about $30,000 annually to fully support a graduate student. This will be part of a multi-year offer of which your fellowship will be part.

Foundation Graduate Fellow: Minimum $250,000
Provide approximately $10,000 annually to support graduate students. The endowment will grow over time supporting graduate students in perpetuity.

Featured Alumni

These alumni are profiled in the Graduate School's commemorative book titled "Changing the World: Stories Celebrating 100 Years of Graduate Education at The University of Texas at Austin."

Jennifer Barton

Jennifer Barton, Ph.D. '98, B.S. '88
Leads biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona where she is a professor and director of the BIO5 Institute.

Felix Fenter

Felix Fenter, Ph.D. '60, M.S., '54, B.S. '53
Awarded the first-ever aerospace Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.


Jeff Hildebrand

Jeff Hildebrand, M.S. '85, B.S. 81
Founder of Hilcorp Energy Co., the fourth largest U.S.-based privately-held E&P company.

Satoshi Kashima

Satoshi Kashima, Ph.D. '74, M.S. '71
Helped build the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan, linking together two major islands in the country.

Chuck McQueary

Chuck McQueary, Ph.D. '66, M.S. '64, B.S. '62
McQueary is the first-ever undersecretary for science and technology in the newly formed Department of Homeland Security.

Ervin Perry

Ervin Perry, Ph. D. '64, M.S. '61
First African American to be appointed to a professorship at The University of Texas at Austin.

Amar Sawhney

Amar Sawhney, Ph.D. '92, M.S. '89
Co-founder of a medical device incubator, and has started six successful companies.

Ben Streetman

Ben Streetman, Ph.D. '66, M.S. '63, B.S. '61
Served as dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering for 12 years.


James Truchard

James Truchard, Ph.D. '74, M.A. '67, B.S. '64
Founder of National Instruments, which has grown to more than 5,000 employees worldwide and named Fortune Magazine's 100 best companies to work for in America for the past 11 years.

Stephanie Wilson

Stephanie Wilson, M.S. '92
Second African American woman to have flown into space, and has since visited the International Space Station three times.