SINCE TEXAS TECH'S FIRST GRADUATION in the spring of 1927, thousands of students have proudly completed undergraduate and graduate degrees and transitioned into positions of service and responsibility in the region, state, nation and world. Among these are former governors, astronauts, noted authors, Broadway stars, acclaimed teachers at all levels and highly successful entrepreneurs, agronomists, scientists, professional athletes, physicians, attorneys and other prominent professionals. Not all graduates achieve fame and fortune in equal measure, of course, but every one of them points with pride to the solid academic preparation they received and the personal connections they made as Red Raiders. From the very beginning, Texas Tech provided a foundation for success that is without parallel.
Former Chairman & CEO of AT&T and General Motors; Engineering; 1964
Ed Whitacre graduated from Texas Tech University in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. He has led two of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies (AT&T and GM).
Born in Ennis, Whitacre began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1963 as a facility engineer in Lubbock. Quickly working his way up in the company, Whitacre held various leadership positions which eventually led him to the top of the organization.... more»
NASA Flight Director; Physics; 1991
Ginger Kerrick, who earned her bachelor's degree in physics in 1991 and a master's degree in physics in 1993 from Texas Tech, is the first female Hispanic flight director at NASA. She pursued her dream of working at NASA since she was 5 years old.
"I don't believe I would be where I am today without Texas Tech," she said during a recent interview. "Along the way through my career here at Texas Tech, people have helped me come here, people have helped me stay here and have helped me graduate from here with two degrees. That set me apart from some of the candidates who were applying to NASA. So, without that opportunity, I don't know if I would be at NASA today... more»
Linda Francis Lee
Best-Selling Author; Advertising, 1981
Author Linda Francis Lee recalls her West Texas roots in latest novels.
For author and Texas Tech alumna Linda Francis Lee, letting her roots show doesn't mean an emergency appointment with the hairdresser.
Born in El Paso, Lee's family history is steeped in West Texas tradition. Her heritage and knowledge of Texas high society is evident in her latest round of books, "The Devil in the Junior League" and "The Ex-Debutante," which feature an elite, pearl-wearing crowd of sophisticates who are members of the fictitious Junior League of Willow Creek. ... more»
Trial Lawyer; School of Law, 1984
Mark Lanier's ninth grade career aptitude test launched him on a path to being one of the most influential attorneys in the country. On that test he topped out in law, politics and preaching.
Lanier said, "They all sounded good to me!"
Lanier, who graduated from the School of Law in 1984, is the founder of The Lanier Law Firm, where he is the lead litigation counselor and is widely recognized as one of the top trial lawyers in the United States.... more»
President and CEO, WellPoint, Inc.; Finance, 1982
If you believe Forbes magazine, Angela Braly is the 16th most powerful woman in the world, behind Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany at number one and ahead of Oprah, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Queen Elizabeth.
Braly is the president and CEO of WellPoint, Inc. the nation's largest health benefits company, so you can make a case for the ranking. But she's much more than a savvy businesswoman. She's a dedicated mom and wife and a proud Red Raider.... more»
Mission Control; NASA; Mathematics, 1980
When Sally Davis entered Texas Tech University in 1976 it was a huge, scary step for a girl from the small West Texas town of... more»
U.S. Air Force Colonel, Commander Space Shuttle Columbia; Mechanical Engineering, 1980
"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
It was July 20, 1969, when Commander Neil Armstrong uttered those now famous words as he took his first steps on the surface of the moon. The Apollo 11 space mission was a success, changing the future of space exploration and making an impression on millions of Americans who watched live on their television sets, including one boy in Amarillo.
U.S. Air Force Colonel and Texas Tech alumnus Rick Husband knew right away he wanted to be an astronaut. His dreams were molded by the adventure and excitement of space travel.... more»
Actor; Bachelor of Arts/Acting & Directing, 1980
When performers at Disneyland asked the audience for volunteers, a five-year-old Brad Leland was the first to jump up. He sang "Davy Crockett" and took a bow.
"I feel like I've been living in Disneyland ever since," he said.... more»
Helen verDuin Palit
Founder of City Harvest, America Harvest, Angel Harvest, Aloha Harvest; Bachelor of Science/Sociology, 1978
There are angels in America, at least if you count Helen verDuin Palit, who pioneered the concept of harvesting good food from all components of the food industry to reduce the waste of good food while delivering this food directly to the local social service agencies feeding the hungry men, women and children for... more»
Wildlife Photographer; Bachelor of Science/Wildlife Management, 1974
From the endless horizons of Lubbock, Wyman Meinzer launched a career as a wildlife photographer after earning his bachelor's degree at Texas Tech. His photographs have appeared in Time, Newsweek, Field and Stream, National Geographic and many other national... more»
Dr. Wayne Isom
Chief Surgeon, Cornell Medical Center's Presbyterian-New York Hospital; Pre-Medicine, 1962
Dr. Wayne Isom grew up on a cotton farm in West Texas and says his father was a strong influence in inspiring him to attain an education. That's saying something for a man who has risen to the top of the fiercely competitive profession of cardiac surgery, performing bypass surgeries on celebrities like David Letterman, Larry King and Walter... more»
Three-time Grammy-nominated Singer/Songwriter; Bachelor of General Studies, 1997
Pat began his music career while attending Texas Tech where he practiced guitar with another notable alumnus, singer/songwriter Cory Morrow. While in Lubbock, he soon became a fixture in dancehalls and college bars, playing in local clubs and opening shows for other artists.... more»
Creative Director, Wired Magazine; Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1999
If a picture is worth a thousand words, there’s not enough room on this page to describe the success of Scott Dadich. At 24, he landed a job of Associate Art Director for Texas Monthly. By 2005 he was nominated for a National Magazine Award, named "Designer of the Year" by the City and Regional Magazine Association and named to Print magazine’s "20 under 30"... more»
Professor of Public Health & Family Medicine/Tufts University School of Medicine; Former U.S. Secretary of Education; Former Texas Tech President; Bachelor of Science/Zoology, 1949; Masters of Science/Zoology, 1951
Dr. Lauro Cavazos, a sixth-generation Texan, was born near the historic town of Kingsville Texas, on the famed King Ranch. A descendant of the distinguished line of Kineños, or King's people, who have worked on Texas' most famous ranch since its founding in 1853, he earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in Zoology at Texas... more»
Mary Jane Johnson
International Opera Diva; Bachelor of Arts/Music Education, 1972
Mary Jane Johnson was just a schoolgirl with a pretty voice when Texas Tech came into her life. She was recruited straight out of high school by the Texas Tech’s choir director and has now performed with Luciano Pavarotti, and in productions all over the world from Australia to Buenos Aires during her 35 years on the opera... more»
Composer and Sound Designer; Masters of Music/Music, 1982; Ph.D./Fine Arts, Vocal Performance, 1988
The theme music to David Kneupper’s life began with “Fight, Raiders, Fight!” Today, David is an award-winning composer of original music for museums, theme parks, film and the stage.... more»
Former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives; Bachelor of Science/Agriculture, 1965
When Pete Laney came to Texas Tech he was a farm boy from Hale Center, Texas who knew in his heart that he would always be a farmer. Little did he know that he would go on to be the five-term speaker of the Texas House of... more»
Governor of the State of Texas, 1968-1972; Bachelor of Business Arts, 1934
When Preston Smith came to Texas Tech as a freshman in 1930, he already knew he would one day be Governor of Texas. Born in 1912, Preston was one of 13 children of a poor tenant farmer, but had already announced his intention to hold the highest office in the state by the age of nine. Preston held office as State Representative, State Senator and Lieutenant Governor before winning the race for Texas Governor in... more»