Alumna Jeannie Leavitt Named Cockrell Distinguished Engineering Graduate

September 12, 2022

portrait of maj. gen. jeannie leavittMaj. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt has been named a Distinguished Engineering Graduate of UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. Established in 1957, the Distinguished Engineering Graduate (DEG) Award represents the highest honor that the Cockrell School of Engineering bestows on its alumni. Including this year’s honorees, 291 alumni have been selected for this award, recognizing them as highly respected professionals, dedicated engineers and supporters of higher education.

Maj. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt is the Department of the Air Force Chief of Safety, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia, and Commander, Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. She develops, executes and evaluates all of the Air and Space Forces’ aviation, ground, weapons, space and system mishap prevention and nuclear surety programs to preserve combat capability. Additionally, she directs research to promote safety awareness and mishap prevention, oversees mishap investigations, evaluates corrective actions and ensures implementation. Finally, she manages, develops and directs all safety and risk management courses.

Maj. Gen. Leavitt entered the Air Force in 1992 after earning her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and her master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. She earned her commission as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program. She was the first female fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and she has served in a variety of flying, staff and command assignments, and has commanded at the flight, squadron and wing level. Maj. Gen. Leavitt is a graduate and former instructor of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and is a command pilot with more than 3,000 hours. Her operational experiences include operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Prior to her current assignment, the major general served as Director of Operations and Communications, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antionio-Randolph, Texas, where she was responsible for the world’s largest training organization, providing initial skills, undergraduate flying, post-graduate combat crew and supplemental training for ore than 300,000 Air Force, joint and international personnel at 65 Air Force and Department of Defense locations.

Maj. Gen. Leavitt was presented with the DEG award along with four other recipients at a celebration held on campus on Sep. 9, 2022. She is a member of UT Austin's Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Academy of Distinguished Alumni.