AUSTIN, Texas—Five alumni were elected Distinguished Engineering Graduates of The University of Texas at Austin and were honored at fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 9.
The selections were made by the Engineering Advisory Board of the College of Engineering based on outstanding professional records, public service, support of education and other significant activities.
This year’s Distinguished Engineering Graduates are:
- Joe Blandford, president of Blandford Partnership, LLC, who led Atlantia Offshore until 2003. Atlantia developed award-winning off-shore platforms that have improved offshore oil and gas recovery efforts. He serves as board president of the Petroleum Club of Houston and continues consulting in the oil business. Blandford has supported the College of Engineering as a former chairman of its advisory board. Blandford earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1972.
- Robert Hermes, director of Murphy Oil Corp., a leading consultant for the downstream petroleum industry for decades. He previously led consulting firm Purvin and Gertz, and remains active on the board for Murphy Oil Corp. He has been a leader of several major funding campaigns of the college and served on the college’s advisory board. Hermes earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in 1962.
- Hector de J. Ruiz, chairman and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices Inc., a driving force behind the company’s turnaround and its entry into the server market. As CEO of Advanced Micro Devices he has also promoted technology’s ability to address social issues nationally and internationally. At the university, Ruiz spearheads the company’s support of college initiatives as an advisory board member. Ruiz earned bachelor and master of science degrees in electrical engineering in 1968 and 1969 respectively.
- Don Sparks, chairman, Discovery Operating Inc., who heads the independent oil company in West Texas. He also runs a petroleum engineering consulting business with an Austin colleague. He has earned awards for involvement in his Midland community, and has supported college outreach to that area, through involvement with the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department, and through general scholarship support. Sparkes earned a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering in 1962.
- Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, who oversees the world’s largest non-government energy company. Through his 31-year career at Exxon and later ExxonMobil, he has influenced major oil and gas exploration and development projects globally. Tillerson is active professionally and as a civic leader, such as his position on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He supports the college as an advisory board member and in other ways. Tillerson earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1975.
For more information contact: Becky Rische, public affairs director, College of Engineering, 512-471-7272.