Khalid A. Al-Falih chosen Outstanding International Alumnus To Kahlid A. Al-Falih of the class of 1982, “once an Aggie, always an Aggie” is far more than a slogan. It is a way of life that develops students who come to know the strength of the Aggie bond. These are students who understand what it means to get a world-class education, get the ”other Aggie education” and become prepared to address the needs of an increasingly diverse population and global economy. Al-Falih received the 2010 Texas A&M University Outstanding International Alumnus Award presented on March 10 at the Clayton Williams, Jr. Alumni Center. Interim President R. Bowen Loftin said the selection of Khalid AlFalih for one of the university’s most prestigious awards serves as a recognition of the contributions of the tens of thousands of international former students around the world who represent A&M so well and as an inspiration for the more than 4,500 international students currently enrolled at Texas A&M. “Mr. Al-Falih is a great example of what is possible with a Texas A&M degree for all of our students, and especially our international students,” Loftin said. “Both his commitment and loyalty to Texas A&M is remarkable. We appreciate all that he has done for this university and for his ongoing legacy on behalf of our current and former students, as well as future generations of Aggies.” Al-Falih, his wife Dr. Najah Al-Garawi and his daughters Filwa and Sarah spent the day at Texas A&M meeting with faculty, students and just walking the campus. Honored during an evening reception and dinner Al-Falih said he was so honored just to be nominated for the award. Al-Falih said he came to Texas A&M to get a world-class education and later realized that becoming an Aggie brings with it fundamental, permanent shift of mind and heart and provides a lifetime identity. “Setting foot back in Aggieland is like slipping on a comfortable boot” Al-Falih said. “The generous welcome I received is every bit a homecoming.” Al-Falih graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1982. His professional path has led to leadership of the world’s largest petroleum company. As President and CEO of Saudi Aramco, he oversees the company’s management of the world’s largest proven conventional oil reserves and the fourth largest gas reserves. Al-Falih’s road to leadership began as an Aramco sponsored student at Texas A&M and resulted in a three-decade immersion in every operational arena of the company that sponsored him. Recently, Saudi Aramco was asked by, King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz to develop the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). For his leadership in this undertaking, Al-Falih was decorated with the “King Abdulaziz Order of Excellent Class” at the opening of the university in 2009. Texas A&M University is one of four international institutions selected to collaborate in developing solutions to global and domestic technological challenges. The Institute for Applied Mathematics and Computational Science (IAMCS) will stimulate collaborative research and graduate education between Texas A&M and KAUST where Mr. Al-Falih serves as a trustee. Al-Falih believes that KAUST will achieve the same objective that Texas A&M has already realized – that the evolution over the years to continually find and deliver the right solutions at the right time is a benefit both our nations and the broader world.
“Mr. Al-Falih is a wonderful example of an alumnus who remains in contact with his university and college,” said G. Kemble Bennett, Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Dwight Look College of Engineering. “We appreciate this quality in Khalid and are grateful for the many ways he has enhanced engineering education at Texas A&M.” Bennett extolled the accomplishments of Al-Falih’s successful career and his responsibilities in leading the world’s largest petroleum company saying the decisions he makes have the potential to impact billions of lives worldwide. “He places high value on self-initiative in knowledge, collaboration and networking in an increasingly interdependent world and has made social responsibility a personal initiative” Bennett said in his remarks. Al-Falih’s commitments at the local and regional levels to support education, professional development, entrepreneurship and empowerment of women in business, as well as philanthropic activities on behalf of the poor and victims of disaster has been noticed both in the U.S. and abroad. This past year the City of Houston proclaimed May 1 as Khalid Al-Falih Day, acknowledging him as “an outstanding global citizen with longstanding ties to the city of Houston and the state of Texas. Porter Garner the president and chief executive officer of The Association of Former Students said that since the award’s inception in 1995, the idea has always been to acknowledge the tradition that international students are a catalyst for Texas A&M’s global development and continued prosperity. “Khalid is an outstanding example of the impact that Aggies can have on Texas A&M University and our entire world, regardless of where they reside,” Porter said. “We are fortunate that he is a significant part of our worldwide Aggie Network.” A loyal Aggie, Al-Falih is quick to note the relevance of his Texas A&M experience to his professional and personal achievements on the global stage. . “My years at Texas A&M not only provided me with a firm technical foundation for my professional career, but also reinforced many of the values which guide me in my life to this day. Integrity and hard work is core to being an Aggie and the value of self-development and lifelong learning are all integral to A&M,” Al-Falih said. “Furthermore, my experiences as a young international student at the University helped to shape my attitudes and perspectives on collaboration and partnership within our global community.” In addition, Al-Falih generously supports the University’s educational mission through scholarships, chairs and other gifts and grants, including the Harold J. Haynes Dean’s Chair in Engineering. ### The Outstanding International Alumnus Award is jointly sponsored by Texas A&M University, The Association of Former Students and the College of the recipient. Created in 1994, this award honors Texas A&M graduates who were not U.S. citizens while attending the University, but who went on to achieve prominence in education, the sciences, technology, agriculture, the arts, business, humanities or government. Those who are chosen for this award must have a good record of accomplishments that favorably reflect on his or her educational experience at Texas A&M. Previous recipients of this award are Orlando Olcese ‘48 and ‘50 of Peru; Jung Uck Seo ‘63 of Korea; C.K. Wang ‘75 and ‘78 of Taiwan; Carlos E. Aquino Gonzalez ‘70 of the Dominican Republic; S. Shariq Yosufzai ‘74 of Pakistan; Keiyu Ueno ‘77 of Japan; Jorge F. Quiroga Ramirez ‘81, of Bolivia; Alberto Mariano Vázquez de la Cerda ‘75 of Mexico; Alberto Alemán Zubieta ‘73 of Panama; ChoaShing Lee ‘83 of Taiwan; Pablo D. Marvin ‘66 of Mexico; Martín Torrijos Espino‘87, of Panama; and Narit Paul Jivasantikarn ‘81 of Thailand.
Published on Apr 6, 2010