Texas Tech University

Excellence in Business Award

The Excellence in Business Award recognizes Texas Tech alumni whose contributions and accomplishments have made a significant impact on Rawls College and/or the business community as a whole. Throughout their careers, honorees have contributed significantly to Texas Tech and their industry and communities, while upholding the highest standards and values.

Nomination Form


Congratulations to the 2021 honorees, and thank you for the dedication you have shown to Rawls College and Texas Tech University. View photos from the 2021 Distinguished Alumni & Awards event.

Jerry S. Rawls

BS, Mechanical Engineering, 1967
Retired Chairman & CEO, Finisar Corporation
Los Altos, California

A Houston native, Rawls earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas Tech University in 1967. He was selected to two engineering honoraries and played freshman basketball, was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and Saddle Tramps, served as a member of the Student Senate and Interfraternity Council, and was elected Business Manager of the Texas Tech Student Body. Rawls then earned a M.S. in Industrial Administration from the Krannert Graduate School of Management at Purdue University.

From 1968 to 1988, he worked for Raychem Corporation, first in sales and marketing and then in national-level management positions. In 1988, Rawls and a partner formed Finisar Corporation to conduct fiber optic research. Four years later, they revolutionized the industry standards for gigabit fiber optic communication between computing devices.

full bio ≫

Regent Arcilia Acosta

BA, Political Science, 1989
CEO, Carcon Industries
Dallas, Texas

Arcilia Acosta is the CEO of CARCON Industries and Construction, a full- service construction firm, and she is also the Founder and CEO of Southwestern Testing Laboratories (STL Engineers), a geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing firm – both companies are based in Dallas, Texas. The oil & gas division is located in Midland, Texas.

In February 2020, Ms. Acosta was elected to the board of Vistra Energy Corporation (NYSE:VST), a retail and power generation company located in 12 states across the US. She also serves on the boards of Magnolia Oil and Gas Corporation (NYSE:MGY), Veritex Community Bank, the Dallas Citizens Council, the Communities Foundation of Texas, and is a member of the National Women Energy Directors Network. Prior board service includes ten years as a Board Director of Energy Future Holdings Corporation, six years as a Director of Legacy Texas Financial Group, N.A., and with ONE Gas, Incorporated (NYSE:OGS).

full bio ≫