The world headquarters of AT&T will now bear the name of the executive who transformed the company into the world leader in communications.
In recognition of his 44 years at the company, including 17 years as chairman and chief executive officer, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) board of directors today named AT&T's San Antonio headquarters building "Whitacre Tower."
In addition, the AT&T Foundation will provide a $5.35 million grant to Texas Tech University, Whitacre's alma mater, to broaden academic programs in engineering.
At his retirement on June 3, Whitacre was the longest-serving CEO in the telecommunications industry and one of the longest-serving among the Fortune 500 companies. During his tenure, Whitacre led a dramatic transformation of the company into the new AT&T, the world's largest communications company, and re-shaped the telecommunications landscape in the process.
Today, AT&T is the No. 1 wireless and broadband service provider in the U.S., and is rolling out groundbreaking Internet Protocol-based television service. AT&T also leads in serving small, medium and large business customers and offers service in 127 nations.
"Ed Whitacre transformed this company and this industry," said Randall Stephenson, who assumed the chairman and CEO positions from Whitacre. "It is very fitting that the building where so many industry-changing decisions were made should be named in his honor."
The $5.35 million grant to Texas Tech will enhance the College of Engineering while supporting the development of tomorrow's communications technologies. Grant funds will create two endowed chairs named for Whitacre, in electrical and computer engineering. The contribution also will create the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. Endowed Scholarship, to recruit outstanding undergraduate and graduate students to major in Engineering at Texas Tech University. Recipients will be chosen based on achievement in academics and leadership.
Finally, a portion of the funds will expand the engineering school's nanophotonics lab, supporting the purchase of equipment. Nanophotonics - the study of light at the sub-atomic scale - could be the foundation of future communications platforms.
"Through AT&T's support, Texas Tech will strengthen the breadth and scope of what students and faculty can accomplish at the College of Engineering," said Pamela Eibeck, dean of the College of Engineering. "We're very proud to count Ed Whitacre among our Distinguished Engineers and a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas Tech University. The contributions announced today extend his already impressive legacy."
AT&T and the AT&T Foundation, the company's philanthropy organization, annually provide millions of dollars to strengthen education and support projects that improve student achievement and success - from kindergarten through college. Since 1996, the AT&T Foundation has distributed more than $383 million in grants to support new classroom technology, after-school programs, teacher training and other educational initiatives.