George and Ronya Kozmetsky Memorial Medal Award
The George and Ronya Kozmetsky Memorial Medal Award was established in 2012 as a special honor to the distinguished lecturer of the G&RK Memorial lecture.
George & Royna Kozmetsky were partners in life, who shared a passion for service to society through innovation and inspiring young men and women to face the future with confidence and to embrace leadership positions in business and society. As an example of their partnership, they co-authored a popular book “Making It Together: A Survival Manual for the Executive Family.” They also served on advisory boards at schools throughout the country, spoke to student groups, worked for curricular innovation, sponsored leadership conferences, and supported innovative faculty research through the family’s RGK Foundation. President of Teledyne, Inc.—the first major technology conglomerate in the US with more than 100 companies. At The University of Texas at Austin, where Dr. Kozmetsky was dean for sixteen years, he pioneered in educational technology and education about technology, revolutionizing the curriculum and the manner in which it was taught. His vision, his energized drive, his ability to call on the resources of major corporations throughout America, his concept of educating students by incorporating computers and technology in the classroom, and his far-reaching motivational leadership enabled him to lift the College and Graduate School of Business into the top rank in the nation. More than twenty thousand students graduated under his deanship. He also participated in the founding of the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Mellon University, and was a founding board member of the ATLAS.
In 1977, Dr. George Kozmetsky (1917-2003) founded the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and began his long march of helping to make Austin the 4th technopolis in the US (the other three being Boston, Silicon Valley, and North Carolina’s research triangle) in half the time, i.e. about 15 years.With his special capability to “connect the dots”, he was the key architect to facilitate a coordinated state, city, and academia drive in achieving this dream which was realized in the early 1990’s. Along the way, he created the Austin Technology Incubator at The University of Texas at Austin, which combines economic development and business education; and the Texas Capital Network, which promotes innovative financing for new ventures. His contributions have resulted in employment for tens of thousands of Americans and billions of dollars of exports. He has been intimately involved in facilitating technology transfer from the public, federal, and university sector, into private enterprise.
Dr. Kozmetsky has counseled, nurtured, and developed more than a hundred companies; he has helped to launch them, served on their boards, assisted in identifying key personnel and niche markets, and on occasion helped finance them. His accomplishments helped to bolster our nation's competitive position in world markets.
Dr. Kozmetsky was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1993 as an acknowledgement of his exceptional contributions in technology and education.
Mrs. Ronya Kozmetsky spent her life as a champion of children, women's issues and opportunities. She was instrumental in the establishment and success of several organizations – both non-profit and for profit – including SafePlace women's shelter and the First Women's Bank of California, a pioneering institution to provide women banking services including access to credit to enable them to start their own business. Additionally, she is a Co-Founder of Leadership Texas, Leadership California, and Leadership America – a network of accomplished women, dedicated to advancing the leadership role women play in impacting business, social issues and public policy.
Ronya was also involved in many organizations including: the Center for Child Protection, The Austin Project, Covenant House, the Austin Symphony and Symphony Square, and the CEDEN Family Resource Center. She was a Visiting Committee Member at the School of Social Work at the University of Washington, Advisory Committee Member of the Women's Resource Center in Waco, Member of the Governor's Task Force for Equal Opportunity in Employment for Women and Minorities, and on the Board of Directors of the Texas Foundation for Higher Education. She also served on the City of Austin Child Care Council and the Texas State Treasurer's Asset Management Advisory Committee.
Dr. Al Sacco Jr.
Dr. Al Sacco Jr. was awarded the first George and Ronya Kozmetsky Memorial Medal Award in 2012.
Al Sacco Jr. is Dean of the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas. Before coming to Texas Tech, he was the George A. Snell Distinguished Professor of Engineering and the director of the Center for Advanced Microgravity Materials Processing at Northeastern University.
He flew as the payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia on shuttle mission STS-73 in 1995. The 16-day mission aboard Columbia focused on materials science, biotechnology, combustion science and fluid mechanics contained within the pressurized Spacelab module. Born in Boston, Mass., Sacco completed a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northeastern University in Boston in 1973, and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977. He then joined the faculty of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, becoming a full professor and serving as the chair of the chemical engineering department from 1989 until 1997, when he joined the faculty at Northeastern. He has consulted for numerous companies in the fields of catalysis, solid/gas contacting, zeolite synthesis and applications, and equipment design for space applications.
Sacco has more than 192 publications (including book chapters) in the areas of carbon filament initiation and growth, transition metal and acid catalyst and their deactivation, and zeolite synthesis, and he has been the principal investigator on more than $24 million in research grants. Using his space flight experience, Sacco has given more than 300 presentations to approximately 27,000 K-12 teachers and their students as a means to motivate students to consider careers in science and engineering. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and in 2004 was elected to the International Academy of Astronautics.
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