Larry Lawson, BSEE’80, has donated $100,000 to Lawrence Technological University and in appreciation the University has named the Larry A. Lawson Suite of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair in his honor. Lawson’s gift commemorates what he calls “the beginning of my journey, my foundational educational experience here at Lawrence Tech.”
As president and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., Lawson oversees one of the world’s largest independent producers of commercial aerostructures. Based in Wichita, Kansas, with sites in the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, and Malaysia, Spirit AeroSystems is the culmination of a stellar career in aviation for Lawson that also has included senior executive positions with Lockheed Martin Corporation and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.
From an early age, Lawson had his eyes on the skies. Airplanes were a singular passion. “I initially thought about going to the Air Force Academy to become a pilot; but I wore glasses and, at the time, that precluded you from the program. So, I said, well, if I can’t fly them, I’ll design them!”
After Lawrence Tech, Lawson earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri. Later, he went on to complete the advanced management program at Harvard and served as a senior fellow at MIT.
But at the beginning of it all was Lawrence Tech.“I am so grateful for the personal attention I received from wonderful professors like Dr. Richard Marburger, Richard Maslowski and the late Jerry Crist. I always say Lawrence Tech is the place where I learned how to learn.”
Lawson added, “Lawrence Tech is a unique educational community. Theory and practice is the key. It instills confidence in students because they can apply themselves and hone their skills even before they graduate.”
He believes education is the ladder to success.“Not everyone starts on the same rung,” he said, “but the ladder is there for everyone. We are all invited to climb.”
His advice to current students? “Don’t limit your vision of what’s possible.”
His message to potential donors? “Donate to Lawrence Tech where you will see your money at work!”
His reason for making such a generous gift? “I’m investing in Lawrence Tech, because Lawrence Tech invested in me.”
The Larry A. Lawson Suite of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair was dedicated in a special ceremony on Oct. 29 with his family and many University officials in attendance.