Engineering alumnus Forehand offers insightful advice to Auburn graduates during fall keynote address


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Standing on the stage at Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium, former Auburn University student and former Accenture CEO Joe Forehand offered wise advice to the new group of graduates from the school during the early fall ceremonies on Friday evening.

Forehand encouraged graduates to expect more of themselves than anyone else, to develop mental toughness through hard work, to learn by overcoming adversity, to create opportunity for themselves and their colleagues, and to take advantage of the trip.

“You will find discoveries throughout your journey that will give you the motivation to set yourself that goal or that higher standard,” Forehand said. “At some point, you’ll have to rely on your gut feelings and intuition when the right decision isn’t clear. If you want to create opportunities, you’re going to have to keep learning and constantly reinventing yourself to stay relevant in our economy and our society.

Friday night’s speech also included the official presentation of over 2,000 diplomas by Michael DeMaioribus, Auburn board member, as well as the group recognition of undergraduate students graduating with academic distinction and an official welcome to Auburn Alumni Association of President Regenia Sanders.

Forehand, who received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Auburn in 1971 and a Master of Science in Industrial Administration from Purdue University, summed up his remarks for the new group of Auburn University alumni.

“Remember, it’s not too late to set higher expectations for yourself,” he said. “Accept the mental strength to overcome any obstacles that stand in your way. Don’t just solve problems, use “rational optimism” to believe that we have yet to see the world’s greatest discoveries.

“Be a disruptor, reinvent yourself frequently and most importantly, enjoy the trip. And remember the last line of Auburn’s Creed: “I believe in Auburn and love him. “

Forehand led Accenture to the Top 50 Global Brands during his tenure, orchestrating its IPO, or IPO, in 2001. Forehand increased Accenture’s revenue by $ 9.6 billion to $ 13.7 billion and added nearly 40,000 employees to its workforce.

He was also a senior advisor to private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts and was chairman of the board of directors of First Data Corporation and Aricent.

Forehand also offered leadership advice to the more than 2,000 graduates gathered at the stadium.

“True leadership means creating an environment where everyone celebrates the successes of their peers, without compromising them to move forward,” said Forehand. “It means creating an environment where each team member gives the best of their potential and takes pride in achieving common goals. True leaders recognize that they must be great teachers, who know the importance of sharing knowledge and wisdom so that they become a force multiplier and a positive impact on the world.

Forehand has been inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame, and the Auburn University Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Auburn University in 2020 and received an honorary doctorate in management from Purdue.

Forehand was named Consultant of the Year by Consulting Magazine, Top 15 Inspirational Leaders of Information Technology Week, Computerworld’s Smithsonian Honors Program, CRN’s Top 5 CEOs and Captains of Industry Institute of Industrial Engineer. He served on the board of directors of the Auburn University Foundation and was co-chair of Auburn’s $ 1.2 billion campaign which ended in 2018 and endowed with numerous scholarships and chairs. in Auburn.

The college capped Friday night’s program with an exciting fireworks display, and all graduates had their photos taken on stage at Pat Dye Field with their names displayed on the jumbotron at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Saturday’s opening ceremonies for undergraduates have been moved to the Auburn Arena due to inclement weather.

Twice Auburn University graduate Walter “Walt” Woltosz received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the College of Engineering on Friday evening. The honor, the 160th honorary degree in Auburn history, was unanimously approved by the Auburn Board of Trustees at its April meeting for “service to the university, to the State and the nation, and at the service of humanity ”.

Woltosz received a BA in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn in 1969, an MA in Administrative Sciences from the University of Alabama at Huntsville in 1976, and an MA in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn in 1977. He worked in industry. aerospace industry from 1971 to 1983, developing simulation and modeling software to design solid rocket motors and missile systems.

Woltosz and his wife, Ginger, founded Words + Inc., a leader in the development of improved communication systems for people with severe disabilities, including Sir Stephen Hawking. Hawking used the Words + Equalizer and Words + EZ Keys programs to continue his groundbreaking work and write several books, including “A Brief History of Time”.

He also founded Simulations Plus Inc., where as President and former CEO, he oversaw the advancement of one of the country’s leading high-tech companies dedicated to providing pharmacy simulations and cutting-edge modeling software. in health care. As a leading authority in these fields, Woltosz has published dozens of articles in highly respected publications such as the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, or AAPS, Journal and the Journal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design, where his work has been widely recognized as being very innovative and pioneering.

Woltosz sits on the Board of Trustees of the Auburn University Foundation, the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, and the Auburn University Research Advisory Board. He was inducted into the Alabama State Engineering Hall of Fame in 2008 and, in 2016, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Auburn Alumni Association.

“I am very happy to receive this, and it is quite an honor,” said Woltosz, and an accomplished aviator who holds an airline pilot’s certificate as well as a helicopter rating. “Auburn is a magical place that enters your blood. My blood is red, but I swear it’s orange and blue if you put it in the right light.

Woltosz and Ginger have generously donated to many areas of Auburn University including Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, Gogue Performing Arts Center, Auburn Athletics, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Architecture, Design and Construction, the Division of Student Affairs and War Eagle. Motor sports. The Woltosze are members of the Pat Dye Societies of 1856, Petrie and Foy of Auburn University, and the Eagles, Keystone and Ginn Societies of the College of Engineering.

A total of 2,021 graduates participated in the opening celebrations, including 406 master’s degrees, 105 doctorates and 17 specialization degrees. The other 1,493 were bachelor’s degrees.


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