dick perkins photoEstablished in 1957, the Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award is the highest honor that the Cockrell School bestows on its alumni. Aerospace engineering alumnus Richard (Dick) Perkins, B.S. ASE 1964 and M.S. ASE 1966, is one of five alumni to receive the 2019 distinguished graduate award, which includes innovators, entrepreneurs and highly respected leaders in their industries and communities. 

Dick Perkins began his career with summer internships at Humble Oil & Refining Company in 1963 and NASA in 1965. His graduate research focused on the development of a light gas gun that could launch small projectiles at velocities up to 11,000 miles per hour for hypervelocity impact studies. 

In 1966, Dick married Judy Wason (B.S. Education 1966), and they have two grown children, Keith and Stephanie. After graduation, Dick was employed by General Motors Materials & Structures Lab, where he conducted high-strain-rate testing of materials including spacecraft ablators and rocks. He left GM in 1969 and joined Humble Oil, now ExxonMobil, as a reservoir engineer. In 1974, Dick left Exxon and formed a petroleum engineering consulting firm.

In 1977, Dick was a founding partner with Jerry Cox in Cox & Perkins Exploration Inc. Through 2013, Cox & Perkins located, drilled, completed and produced oil and gas prospects primarily along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Dick’s parents and all five of his siblings have attended The University of Texas.

Dick and Judy are on advisory boards for the Cockrell School of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education, the President’s Development Board and the UT System Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee. They have financially supported various scholarships, endowments and, especially, student project programs at UT, from aerospace engineering’s Design, Build, Fly to liberal arts’ Shakespeare at Winedale. Dick has been awarded honorary FFA degrees from both the Texas and National FFA Associations in recognition of the Perkins’ support of the Spring Branch School District FFA. He is a registered Professional Engineer and a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.