The Innovation Award recognizes Rawls College alumni who have demonstrated the ability to establish a new business or turn around/significantly grow an established business. Honorees have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the next generation of entrepreneurs.Nominate a Deserving Individual
2022 Rawls Distinguished Alumni & Awards Event
Honorees for 2022 will be recognized on Friday, September 9, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. at the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center.
If you would like to make a donation to the Dean's Excellence Fund in honor of an awardee, you may do so online.
Congratulations to the 2022 honoree, and thank you for the dedication you have shown to Rawls College and Texas Tech University.
Owner & Chef, The Nicolett
Finn Walter is the owner and chef of The Nicolett, a fine-dining destination in the heart of Lubbock's downtown revitalization. A native of Lubbock, Walter earned a BA in History from Bates College in Maine before beginning his culinary career. From 2002-2016, he worked in top culinary cities around the world, cooking everywhere from tiny bistros to three-star Michelin restaurants. In 2017, Walter returned to Lubbock to pursue his MBA at Texas Tech with the goal of opening a modern West Texas restaurant. Walter successfully opened The Nicolett in fall 2020, during the height of the pandemic and historically the most challenging time for the restaurant industry, and introduced a new form of dining to the region. The Nicolett honors the heritage of the High Plains, while looking toward its future with an innovative approach to food, beverage, and hospitality. The restaurant attracts diners from across the region and the U.S. and has earned regional and national acclaim. In 2022, Walter was honored as a nominee for Best Chef: Texas by the prestigious James Beard Awards.