Texas Tech University

Most Distinguished 2022

2022 Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni

Richard Gaynor (1971)

Richard Gaynor is a 1971 graduate of Texas Tech, earning his biology degree with honors. He went on to receive his MD from UT Southwestern Medical School, followed by an internship and residency in internal medicine at Parkland Hospital in Dallas before completing a fellowship in hematology-oncology at UCLA medical school where he also went on to spend a decade as a faculty member.  
In 1991, he returned to UT Southwestern as the chief of molecular virology and was later promoted to the positions of professor of medicine and microbiology and later chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology. Next, came the appointment as director of the Simmons Cancer Center where he coordinated the cancer research and clinical programs at UT Southwestern. 
In 2002, he accepted a role as vice president of cancer research and clinical development at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis and later advanced to the role of senior vice president of oncology clinical and product development, where he led teams that developed drugs for various cancers. 
He retired from Eli Lilly in 2016 and became the president of research and development at the Boston-based company of Neon, which focused on developing new therapies for cancer based on novel immunotherapy approaches. Neon was acquired by BioNTech in 2020, where he is currently president and chief of research and development. His group has continued its focus on cancer research in addition to pursuing novel vaccine approaches for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.  

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Cindy Welch (1999, 2001)

Cindy Welch is a 1999 and 2001 graduate of Texas Tech, earning her bachelor's in geophysics, followed by her master's degree in geology. She is a co-founder at Tier 1 Resource Partners, where she draws upon her diverse background to lead the company's geoscience efforts. 
During her time as a professional geoscientist, she has accumulated more than 20 years of experience in a variety of depositional environments and basins. After starting her career at Texaco, she spent 10 years at Chevron and another large independent company during which time she was been involved in drilling more than 100 horizontal and vertical wells in multiple basins. This time spent also helped her develop expertise in multiple areas, including reservoir characterization, petrophysics, sequence stratigraphy and project management.   
From 2012 to 2016 she served as geoscience manager for two private equity-backed companies, AMB Exploration and Viola Oil & Gas. In 2016, she co-founded Resonance Resources and successfully built multiple organic leasehold positions in the Delaware Basin until 2019 when she went on to co-found Tier 1 Resource Partners. That same year, she was given the honor of being recognized as one of Oil & Gas Investor Magazine's 25 Influential Women in Energy.  

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