Light the Tower: Presidential Citation Awards
The UT Tower will shine with burnt orange lights Friday, April 28 in honor of this year’s recipients of the Presidential Citation Awards.
Four University of Texas at Austin alumni, one of whom is also a current faculty member, have been recognized by President Jay Hartzell for their dedication and support of the University. Quan Cosby, Janet Mountain, S.V. Sreenivasan and Rex Tillerson have received the University’s Presidential Citation Award.
The Presidential Citation program was established to recognize the extraordinary contributions of individuals who personify the University’s commitment to the task of transforming lives. The University does not award honorary degrees, and these citations are designed to salute persons whose service exemplifies the values shared by the University community.
The Presidential Citation honors those who have brought great distinction to the University and helped the institution to achieve its mission. The first Presidential Citations were bestowed on Honors Day in 1979.
This year’s honorees are:
Quan Cosby grew up in Mart, Texas, east of Waco, and graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from UT Austin in 2009. At UT, Cosby played football as a wide receiver and return specialist, ranking No. 2, 3 and 4 on UT’s all-time lists for passing, yards and touchdowns. He was a two-time all-Big 12 honoree, played on the 2005 National Championship team, and ended his UT career with a Fiesta Bowl win in 2009. Cosby then spent four seasons in the NFL and seven years as a TV and radio announcer for Longhorn football and baseball. He has been president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, which advises the university on matters such as name, image and likeness policy and conference realignment. Today, Cosby serves UT as a liaison for external affairs in the Office of Governmental Affairs and Initiatives and is a partner with the Marsh & McLennan Agency.
Janet Mountain earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from UT Austin before beginning a 30-year career in technology and philanthropy. She is the executive director of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, leading its $2 billion commitment to expand high-quality public education, increase the access and quality of community health care, and improve the economic stability of families experiencing poverty across the U.S., India and South Africa. Before moving to the Dell Foundation, she had a distinguished career leading various business units as vice president and general manager for Dell Technologies.
S.V. Sreenivasan is a specialist in advanced design and manufacturing and holds the David Allen Cockrell Chair in Engineering, Cockrell Family Regents Endowed Chair No. 7 in Engineering. He is a nanotechnologist who creates nanofabrication techniques for the emerging electronics, displays and health care sectors. He holds more than 100 U.S. patents in the area of scalable nanotechnologies and is the director of the NASCENT Center, a National Science Foundation-funded Nanosystems Engineering Research Center.
Sreenivasan co-founded a nanopatterning spin-out from UT Austin, Molecular Imprints Inc., and currently serves as the chief technologist of Canon Nanotechnologies Inc. Sreenivasan has received numerous international awards including the Technology Pioneer Award by the World Economic Forum (2005) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Machine Design Award (2017). He was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in 2016, a fellow of ASME in 2020, and was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2021.
Rex W. Tillerson served as the 69th U.S. secretary of state after concluding a career of more than 41 years in the petroleum industry, retiring as chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. at the end of 2016. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of UT in 2007.
Tillerson is a former member of the American Petroleum Institute and the National Petroleum Council, having served as chairman of both. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013 and formerly served as a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was also a member of the Business Roundtable, serving on the Executive Committee, and a member of the Business Council. He served as an honorary trustee of the Business Council for International Understanding and a member of the Emergency Committee for American Trade. He is a former director of the United Negro College Fund and currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the National Medal of Honor Museum.