Engineering alumnus Forehand offers wise advice to Auburn alumni during fall speech


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On the stage at Pat Dye Field at Jordan Hare Stadium, Auburn University alumnus and former Accenture Chairman and CEO Joe Forehand offered wise advice to the school’s newest group of graduates during the fall opening ceremony on Friday night.

Forehand encouraged graduates to expect more from themselves than anyone else, develop mental strength through hard work, learn from overcoming adversity, create opportunities for themselves and their colleagues, and enjoy the journey.

“You will find discoveries on your journey that will motivate you to set a higher goal or a higher standard for yourself,” said Forehand. “At some point you have to rely on your instincts and intuition when the right decision is not clear. If you want to create opportunities, you have to keep learning and constantly reinvent yourself in order to remain relevant in our economy and society. “

Friday evening’s address also included the official award of more than 2,000 degrees by Michael DeMaioribus, a member of the Auburn Board of Trustees, group recognition of students who graduate with academic honors and an official welcome from President Regenia Sanders to the Auburn Alumni Association.

Forehand, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Auburn and a Masters of Science degree in industrial administration from Purdue University in 1971, summarized his remarks for the newest group of Auburn University alumni.

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

“Be a disruptor, often reinvent yourself and, above all, enjoy the trip. And remember the last sentence of the Auburn Creed: ‘I believe in Auburn and love it.’ “

Forehand led Accenture to one of 50 global brand rankings during his tenure and orchestrated its initial public offering (IPO) in 2001. Forehand increased Accenture sales from $ 9.6 billion to $ 13.7 billion and employed nearly 40,000 people on.

He also served as a senior advisor at private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts and as chairman of the board of First Data Corporation and Aricent.

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

“Real leadership means creating an environment where everyone celebrates their colleagues’ successes and doesn’t undermine them in order to move forward,” said Forehand. “It means creating an environment where every team member reaches their full potential and takes pride in achieving common goals. Real leaders realize they need to be great teachers who understand the importance of sharing knowledge and wisdom in order for them to become a force multiplier and make a positive impact on the world. “

Forehand was 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 2020 Auburn University Lifetime Achievement Award and an Honorary Doctorate in Management from Purdue.

Forehand was named Consultant of the Year by Consulting Magazine, Information Week’s 15 Most Inspirational Information Technology Executives, Computerworld’s Smithsonian Honors Program, CRN’s Top 5 CEOs, and Institute of Industrial Engineers Industrial Engineer. He served on the Auburn University Board of Trustees and co-chaired Auburn’s $ 1.2 billion campaign, which concluded in 2018, and has endowed numerous scholarships and professorships in Auburn.

The university crowned the program with an exciting fireworks display on Friday evening, and all graduates were able to take photos of themselves on the stage of Pat Dye Field and have their names displayed on the jumbotron in Jordan Hare Stadium. The opening ceremony for students on Saturday has been moved to the Auburn Arena due to bad weather.

Walter “Walt” Woltosz – a two-time graduate from Auburn University – received an honorary doctorate from the College of Engineering on Friday evening. The honor, the 160th honorary doctorate in the history of Auburn, was unanimously approved by the Auburn Board of Trustees at its April meeting for Woltosz’s “Services to the University, the State and the Nation, and to the Service of Mankind”.

Woltosz earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn in 1969, a master’s degree in administrative science from the University of Alabama at Huntsville in 1976, and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn in 1977. He worked in the aerospace industry from 1971-83, developing simulation and modeling software for designing solid rocket motors and rocket systems.

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

He also founded Simulations Plus Inc., where, as Chairman and former CEO, he led the advancement of one of the country’s leading high-tech companies dedicated to providing cutting-edge pharmaceutical simulation and modeling software to the healthcare sector. As a leading authority in the field, 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 is widely recognized as being highly innovative and forward-looking.

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

“I’m very excited to receive this, and it’s a great honor,” said Woltosz, an accomplished aviator who holds an air traffic pilot certificate and helicopter rating. “Auburn is a magical place that goes into 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 made generous donations to numerous areas of Auburn University including the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the Gogue Performing Arts Center, Auburn Athletics, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, the Division of Student Affairs and War Eagle Motorsport. The Woltoszes are members of the 1856, Petrie and Foy Societies and Athletics’ Pat Dye Society of Auburn University, and the Eagles, Keystone and Ginn Societies of the College of Engineering.

A total of 2,021 graduates took part in the celebrations, including 406 master’s degrees, 105 doctoral degrees and 17 specialist degrees. The remaining 1,493 were undergraduate degrees.


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