photo of walton williamson

Professor Emeritus, Department of Engineering, Texas Christian University

B.S. ME 1966, Stanford University
M.S. ASE 1967, The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. ASE 1970, The University of Texas at Austin

Walt Williamson served as chair of the Department of Engineering at Texas Christian University (TCU) for 20 years before he retired in 2020. He started at TCU in 1999, and helped change the TCU engineering department, created in 1994, to its current level. When he arrived, the department had eight faculty/staff and 80 students, with offices and labs spread throughout several buildings. Williamson assisted with the planning of a new building that included lab space, along with new lab equipment, and grew the department to 20 faculty/staff and nearly 300 students. He continues to teach classes at TCU and consults with several organizations.  

Williamson received his B.S. in mechanical engineering at Stanford and both his M.S. and PhD. in aerospace engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

Williamson’s professional career began in 1970 at The University of Texas at Austin. After receiving his Ph.D., he remained at UT for four years teaching classes and continuing to work on reentry vehicle flight dynamics funded by the NASA Johnson Space Center. In 1974, he moved to Sandia National Laboratories and began working on high-speed flight testing. He initially provided technical support on about ten re-entry vehicle flight tests. In 1980, he moved to a program management position and began helping acquire funding from government organizations, developing one of a kind flight research vehicles, and conducting high speed flight tests of the vehicles. Williamson moved to Texas Christian University in 1999 where he began serving as the chair of a newly developed Engineering Department where he helped to develop plans for a new facility which included creating new engineering labs and growing the department.

While at Sandia, Williamson served as a member of UT Austin’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (ASE/EM) External Advisory Committee and funded several research programs for both faculty and graduate students. He was the Sandia employment representative for recruiting at UT and visited campus several times to recruit and interview students for employment, and funded summer employment at Sandia for two ASE/EM faculty members. Williamson has served on several AIAA technical committees and and as an associate editor of the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.  

Williamson lives in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife, Judy. They have two children and four grandchildren. Their son, Walton is an engineer and works at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and their daughter teaches in the Business School at West Texas A&M in Amarillo.