STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University this afternoon celebrated the naming of its College of Engineering in honor of longtime benefactor, Distinguished Alumnus and retired Lockheed Martin executive Dr. A. Dwain Mayfield.
This marks the first time Tarleton has named an academic college for an individual.
Dr. Mayfield played a major role in the success of the F-16 fighter jet as an engineer at Fort Worth’s General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin), advancing to Vice President for Program Development and leading worldwide marketing for the F-16 before his retirement.
“It’s rare to have a great engineer and a great mind inside a good ol’ boy — and that’s what Dwain Mayfield is,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “He’s a good ol’ boy who just happens to be brilliant. I think naming Tarleton’s College of Engineering after him is perfect.”
Dr. Mayfield earned an associate degree at Tarleton — long before there was an engineering degree program — and then his civil engineering bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and a master’s in business administration from Texas Christian University. Tarleton awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2017.
“Dr. Mayfield represents the very best of what can come from getting a solid education at Tarleton and at Texas A&M,” said Michael Plank, member of the A&M System Board of Regents. “We are proud of his accomplishments and honored to call him one of our own.”
The regents approved turning Tarleton’s School of Engineering into a stand-alone college last spring and naming it in honor of Dr. Mayfield.
Dr. James Hurley’s first event as Tarleton President-elect was the grand opening of the School of Engineering Building in 2019. “I had no doubt then that the school would become a stand-alone college,” he said. “And I have no doubt now that we’re naming it for the right person. The university is blessed to have such an enthusiastic and dedicated friend and supporter.”
Dr. Mayfield championed the $54 million state-of-the-art facility and future college from concept to bold mission as a pipeline for proficient engineering, computer science and construction graduates.
Today the Mayfield College of Engineering offers 14 programs with more on the way as enrollment tops 1,000. Internships and senior capstone projects provide students true-to-work opportunities to address real world challenges. Many have jobs before they graduate.
Dr. Rafael Landaeta, Dean of the college, said the Mayfield name brings an even greater credibility to an already top-tier engineering education and research program. “Our graduates can expect to be recognized worldwide. ‘Mayfield’ is synonymous with engineering excellence.”
Calling him a successful businessman with the greatest integrity, Congressman Roger Williams (District 25) applauded Dr. Mayfield’s love of country and dedication to transformational education. “He is a true patriot who has always believed in our American ideals and the importance of defending freedom. In baseball terms, he’s an ‘All-Star and Hall of Famer,’ but most importantly, he is my friend. I am confident his name on full display on the Tarleton campus will inspire the next generation of thought leaders, high-achievers and visionaries.”
Dr. Mayfield spent 44 years in aerospace, interacting with the staffs of U.S. presidents, key Department of State officials and world dignitaries to negotiate F-16 sales with dozens of nations. One trip took him and his wife, Lynda, completely around the world, leaving the Lone Star State going west and returning from the east.
Gordon England, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense and a past President of General Dynamics and Lockheed, said Dr. Mayfield was highly respected and admired throughout the defense industry and by militaries around the world.
“Dwain’s extraordinary knowledge of military aviation, coupled with an engaging leadership style and a determination to succeed, quickly gave rise to senior positions in the company,” England said. “He is responsible for so many nations selecting the F-16 and F-35 combat airplanes for their national defense. In so doing, he has defended and expanded freedom throughout the world.”
Recounting his journey from a West Texas dirt farm, Dr. Mayfield said his life would have taken a different path if not for a high school ag teacher who introduced him to Tarleton.
“Larry Dooley drove me and a buddy through the gates that are always open. That 1950s visit has taken me around the globe and brought me back for this incredible honor,” he said. “I can’t describe what a thrill it is when I call the college and they answer ‘Mayfield College of Engineering.’ I have a chill you can’t imagine.”
A member of the Texas A&M Engineering Advisory Council for many years, Dr. Mayfield saw the need for a robust engineering program at a second A&M System school to meet the growing need for highly skilled graduates. He worked with Tarleton leadership, faculty and staff to add a bachelor’s in engineering physics in 2000, followed soon by programs in computer science, environmental engineering and electrical engineering.
In 2015 Tarleton launched a construction science and management program, two more undergraduate degrees and a graduate program. A bachelor’s in mechanical engineering was added in fall 2017 and a master’s four years later.
“Engineering created limitless possibilities for Lynda and me, giving us the opportunity to see the top of the world,” Dr. Mayfield said. “There’s a bright future for students who choose an engineering degree at Tarleton. It is a great honor to be part of that.”
Discover more about the Mayfield College of Engineering at www.tarleton.edu/engineering.
Catch more of Dr. Mayfield’s story on YouTube.