Texas Tech University

Most Distinguished 2024

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2024 Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni

George Asquith (1961)

George B. Asquith's journey in geology began at Texas Tech University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology. Prior to this, he had briefly attended Indiana University before deciding to serve with the Marine Corps, an experience he credits for instilling in him the discipline necessary to pursue higher education. Upon completing his service, a friend recommended he join him at Texas Tech, where he enrolled in the geosciences program.

Starting his freshman year in geology in 1959, Asquith's path intersected with Professor F. Alton Wade, known for his Antarctic exploration with Byrd's expedition. Under Wade's mentorship and through numerous field trips and international travels, Asquith's passion for geology flourished. Continuing his education in the 1960s, he earned his Master of Science and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

Following his academic pursuits, Asquith embarked on a career in petroleum geology, commencing at the research center of Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) in Dallas. His research focused on the correlation between petrophysical data and depositional models, as well as the application of key well log parameters to identify pore structure and reservoir fluids.

Transitioning into academia, Asquith taught at West Texas State University before assuming various roles within petroleum companies. In 1988, he returned to Texas Tech University as the Pevehouse Chair in petroleum geology, later spearheading the establishment of the Center for Applied Petrophysical and Reservoir Studies in collaboration with petroleum engineering.

Although officially retiring from Texas Tech in 2022, Asquith continues to contribute as a volunteer lecturer and thesis advisor. His illustrious 60-year career has earned him numerous accolades, including the AAPG's Harrison Schmitt Award, the President's Award for Best Book, and a Distinguished Educator Award from Texas Tech. Noteworthy publications include his renowned book "Basic Well Log Analysis," now in its second edition, and he holds the esteemed titles of Honorary Life Member of the WTGS and elected member of Texas Tech's Petroleum Engineering Academy. Additionally, a scholarship for petroleum geologists has been established in his honor at Texas Tech University.

He happily notes that his career has provided him with many memories and also many rocks.

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Jesse Pruitt (1969)

Jesse K. Pruitt graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1969. Contrary to his biology degree, he shortly began his start in the real estate industry in 1974 when he joined Vantage Companies as a marketing representative.

In 1976, he became senior vice president and subsequently executive vice president and general manager of the Dallas division of Vantage Development Company as well as executive vice president of Vantage Management Company. At Vantage, he was responsible for the development, management and leasing of more than 30 million square feet of office, warehouse, build-to-suits and design-build facilities in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and throughout the United States.

In 1988, Vantage sold its leasing and management operations to Bradford Companies, an owner representative firm providing full-service real estate transactions totaling more than $950 million. He also supervised day-to-day management, leasing and development operations of more than 20 million square feet of industrial and office space for institutional owners, pension fund advisors and real estate investment trusts. Pruitt joined Wilcox Realty Group in February 1992 as one of the founders and assumed the role of President of Wilcox Development Services, Inc. 

In 1994, Pruitt joined CMC-Commercial Realty Group as a partner/principal. While at CMC, Pruitt was responsible for over 10 million square feet of speculative and build-to-suit industrial, office, retail and tech/flex product. As principal of Somervell Commercial Realty, Pruitt has been involved as a project consultant, development manager and owner representative in more than five million square feet of office and industrial projects in DFW and other locations in Texas.

Pruitt was also a Texas Tech football letterman and remains to be an involved Texas Tech alumni. He has served as national president of the Texas Tech Alumni Association and board member of the Red Raider Club. In 2015, he was inducted into the College of Arts & Science Dean's Circle and is also a 30-year board member of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association.
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Kelly McFarland (1992)

Dr. Kelly McFarland, PT, DPT, attended Texas Tech from 1988 to 1992 earning a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise ands sports science in the teaching track for secondary education and a minor in speech communications.

While at Texas Tech, McFarland was a Kappa Delta and was very active in her sorority. In 1989, her active role was recognized and was awarded the Miss Congeniality award for her sorority. Along with studying, participating in sorority activities, and leadership roles, she worked on campus as a lifeguard, aerobic instructor, personal trainer and at the university T-shirt shop. After graduating inn 1992, McFarland took a job as a junior high speech teacher. In addition to teaching, she helped lead the offseason athletes, sponsored and lead students in the districts area speech competitions, casting, directing and producing the junior high school play, and participating as a co-sponsor to the junior high cheerleading team. After realizing she wanted to get back into health and wellness of the body, McFarland went back to school to earn an additional 36 hours of post baccalaureate classes required before applying to physical therapy school.

McFarland then attended physical therapy school at Texas Women's University Dallas campus to earn her Master of Science Physical Therapy degree in July 1999. This is when she started to practice as an outpatient physical therapist in the Fort Worth area. Three years after graduating, Kelly opened her own outpatient physical therapy practice in 2003, Premier Rehab Physical Therapy. This was a longtime dream McFarland had had from the start of physical therapy school.

From 2003 to 2019 McFarland and her team, continued to build her single location practice into seven locations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In December 2010, she completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman's University as the education level was moving to all doctoral programs and she wanted to be a part of the progressive positive moves in the profession. 

As her private practice grew to more than 80 employees in multiple locations, she had the privilege of partnering with a larger company in March of 2020, Empower Physical Therapy. As a continued private practice owner within the larger practice, McFarland continues to lead the Texas region as a Regional Vice President which includes 21 outpatient clinics, many clinicians and the responsibility of the world class care to many patients across the Texas state. Her passion can be seen and felt in all her interactions with her family, friends, colleagues, coworkers and patients alike.

Kelly continues to work alongside Texas Tech in speaking and mentoring the Kinesiology students who may or may not see physical therapy in their future but willing to be available to those who might consider this to be a part of their path. She is also the creator of the “Make an Impact Now” scholarship, funding Texas Tech students who are on track for physical therapy profession. In addition, McFarland and her company welcome physical therapy students to complete their clinical rotations within their facilities.

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2024 Arts & Sciences Rising Innovator Awardee

Madeline Lockhart (2020)

Madeline Lockhart graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Texas Tech in 2020. As a member of President's Select, she could be spotted leading prospective students through campus telling tales of Texas Tech, or sporting red and black on the sidelines at football games while hosting athletic recruits. She shared her love of math and science while working as a tutor in the Student Disability Services Center for two years. 

Lockhart was a proud member of the Texas Tech Honors College. As a freshman, she participated in undergraduate research in High Energy Physics and served as a mentor through the Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program. During her sophomore year, she was named the 36th Goldwater Scholar in TTU history. Upon graduation in 2020, she was selected as the 2020 Honors College Student of the Year.

In the fall of 2019, Lockhart represented Texas Tech in Washington D.C. as part of the Texas Tech Congressional Internship Program and earned a minor in political science. She secured an internship at the Department of State in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance and interfaced with government agencies and think tanks on issues related to arms control, nonproliferation, chemical/biological/nuclear weapons, and relevant international treaties.

Lockhart was born and raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico. After her junior year of high school, she worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Nuclear Engineering and Nonproliferation Division; first, as a high school co-op intern and later returning as an undergraduate research assistant during the summers while attending Texas Tech. Under the mentorship of Dr. Daniela Henzlova, she published her first peer-reviewed journal article in 2017. Over the years, her research activities have generally included radiation modeling, neutron detection, data analysis, and characterization of nuclear materials. In the summer of 2019, she participated in the Robert Keepin Nonproliferation Science Summer Program.

Currently, Lockhart is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University, advised by Dr. John Mattingly. She was awarded a Nuclear Nonproliferation and International Safeguards (NNIS) fellowship by the National Nuclear Security Administration in 2021. She is working with a multi-university, multi-laboratory team to develop new neutron multiplicity counting methods to assay uranium-233 and -235 in mixed oxide nuclear fuel materials. As an NNIS fellow, she recently spent six months performing research at the European Commission's Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy. She is an executive committee member for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy Division of the American Nuclear Society and an advisory board member for the Texas Tech College of Arts and Sciences.

Lockhart's other activities include traveling, cooking pink foods, CrossFit, and managing SKANZ, a digital business card and networking platform that she founded in 2021.

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