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Former U.S. Secretary of State to Kick Off UT Engineering’s New Distinguished Speaker Series

Rex Tillerson

As the inaugural speaker of the new Cockrell School of Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series, The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson — a Texas Engineering alumnus, former chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil and former U.S. Secretary of State — will visit The University of Texas at Austin campus this month to discuss the topic of leadership and ethics in an increasingly global society.

The series, which aims to bring influential technology, business and policy leaders from around the world to the Cockrell School, offers students an opportunity to hear and learn from successful individuals at the top of their fields. The event is led by the school’s Student Engineering Council and supported by the Texas Engineering Executive Education division.

The inaugural event will be held on Thursday, October 25, in the James J. and Miriam B. Mulva Auditorium in UT Austin’s Engineering Education and Research Center (EERC) and will include formal remarks by Tillerson followed by a moderated question-and-answer session with engineering student leaders.

“We are extremely excited about the launch of this distinguished lecture series — the first-ever event of its kind for our Texas Engineering community — and we are equally thrilled to have Rex Tillerson as the inaugural speaker,” said Sharon L. Wood, dean of the Cockrell School. “As an alumnus, Rex has been one of the Cockrell School’s most steadfast supporters, and as a global leader and an energy industry icon, he has a wealth of experience that will teach important lessons and offer critical advice to our students.”

Tillerson held the position of Secretary of State under the Trump administration until March 2018. Prior to that, he served as chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, where he began his career in 1975, after earning his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UT Austin the same year. He joined Exxon Co., U.S.A. as a production engineer and spent his entire professional career with ExxonMobil. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Tillerson has been a dedicated supporter of the Cockrell School and UT Austin for many years. He serves as a member of the school’s Engineering Advisory Board, the UT Development Board and the UT System Chancellor’s Council. He was named a Distinguished Engineering Graduate of the Cockrell School in 2006 and a UT Austin Distinguished Alumnus in 2007.

“This new lecture series offers engineering students an amazing opportunity to learn from and meet some of the most established leaders in their fields,” said Aashima Garg, President of the Student Engineering Council. “We are excited to collaborate with Cockrell School leadership to bring distinguished speakers to our campus, and we are looking forward to welcoming Rex Tillerson back to the Forty Acres.”