The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Annual Distinguished Lecture was established in 1990 to honor an engineer who has made a significant contribution to society and to provide a forum for that person to interact with the Georgia Tech community.

George W. Woodruff

Support for the lecture is made possible by the generosity of the late George W. Woodruff, an alumnus and influential Atlanta businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist. In September 1985, at the age of 90, Mr. Woodruff attended the ceremonies to rename the School of Mechanical Engineering in his honor. Today, the Woodruff benevolence continues to benefit Georgia Tech through the support of two major scholarships funds and a significant unrestricted endowment. The Woodruff bequest to the School of Mechanical Engineering underwrites two faculty chairs -- the George W. Woodruff Chair in Mechanical Systems and the George W. Woodruff Chair in Thermal Systems -- and activities such as the Woodruff Faculty Fellows Program, the Woodruff Graduate Fellowship Program, the Woodruff Teaching Intern Program, and research and teaching assistantships for graduate students.

Past Speakers

  • 2018: Blake Moret, Chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation
    Impact of the Factory of the Future - A Retrospective
  • 2017: Albert P. Pisano, Professor and Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego
    TSensors Technology: Research, Incubation, and Education
  • 2015: Arun Majumdar, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
    Options to Create a Sustainable Energy Future
  • 2013: James Truchard, Co-founder, President, and CEO of National Instruments
    Mechanical Engineering: Leading the Way to Intelligent System Design
  • 2012: Amy Alving, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President at Science Applications International Corp (SAIC)
    The Invention-to-Innovation Lifecycle
  • 2010: C. D. “Dan” Mote, Jr., President and Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park
    Innovation: What’s the Problem?
  • 2008: Bernard Armadei, Founder, Engineers Without Borders-USA, Director, Engineering for Developing Communities Program & Professor, University of Colorado
    The Role of Engineers in Poverty Reduction: Challenges and Opportunities
  • 2007: Steven Koonin, Chief Scientist, BP
    Energy Trends and Technologies for the Coming Decades
  • 2005: Thomas Christopher, President and CEO, Framatome ANP, Inc. and CEO and Vice Chairman, AREVA Enterprises, Inc.
    The Energy Highway - Where Does Your Road Lead?
  • 2003: John Brooks Slaughter, President and CEO, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)
    The Search for Excellence and Equity in Higher Education:A Perspective From An Engineer
  • 2002: John H. Sununu, Former Governor of New Hampshire and Former White House Chief of Staff
    The Engineer in the Public Policy Arena
  • 2001: Euan Baird, President and CEO, Schlumberger
    Diversity - Who Needs It?
  • 2000: William A. Wulf, National Academy of Engineering
    The Societal Responsibility of Engineers (And Its Implications for Engineering Education)
  • 1999: George Heilmeier, Chairman Emeritus, Telcordia Technologies
    From POTS to Transitions in the World of Telecommunications for the Late 1990s and Beyond
  • 1998: Robert Lutz, Vice Chairman, Chrysler Corporation
    Lutz's Laws: A Primer for the Business Side of Engineering
  • 1997: Charles M. Vest, President and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
    What We Don't Know: Challenges for the Next Generation
  • 1996: Norman R. Augustine, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed-Martin Corporation
    Yes, But Will It Work In Theory?
  • 1995: James J. Duderstadt, President, The University of Michigan
    The Government-University Research Partnership: Beyond the Endless Frontier
  • 1994: Roberto C. Goizueta, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
    Giving The World More Than Just a Soft Drink
  • 1993: Sheila E. Widnall, Associate Provost and Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
    Women in Engineering: Choices, Changes, and Contributions
  • 1992: Chang-Lin Tien, Chancellor, University of California at Berkeley
    Looking Ahead: Engineering Education for the Twenty-First Century
  • 1991: Samuel C. Florman, Author and Professional Engineer
  • 1990: Donald E. Petersen, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ford Motor Company