J. Thomas Walter ’55

Walter attended Auburn on a U.S. Navy ROTC scholarship and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics. Following graduation, he served in the Navy, initially aboard an Atlantic fleet destroyer and later with the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. After separating from the military in 1959, Walter worked as a circuit design engineer at Texas Instruments and later as a systems engineer at IBM. In 1962, he was licensed as a professional engineer and joined Electronic Data Systems, or EDS, a startup information service company founded by Ross Perot. During his tenure at EDS, Walter served in numerous managerial capacities, including senior vice president, chief financial officer and as a member of the board of directors. In 1989, Perot honored Walter with a gift to Auburn to establish the Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management, which also funds an eminent scholar chair in technology management. The Walter Center unites business people, engineers and faculty seeking the best balance of technological and managerial know-how to win in the global marketplace. A milestone in this area was reached with the inauguration of a joint program between the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the Harbert College of Business, leading to a minor in business-engineering-technology. Walter served on the Auburn University Foundation Board of Directors for 18 years. He was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2003.

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