Widow of Lockheed Martin executive endows scholarship in his honor

Mc Quien Family (2)In 2009, Larry McQuien—a Fort Worth resident and executive at Lockheed Martin—died tragically after being struck by a car during a morning bike ride. Now, his wife Carol has established the Larry J. McQuien ’76 “Take Flight Award,” a scholarship for undergraduate students studying aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University. Because of her generosity, Larry McQuien’s legacy will live on at his alma mater.

The 55-year-old was a go-getter in every sense of the word.  If he didn’t know how to do something, he’d teach himself. He enjoyed participating in scouting with his two sons who, like their father, obtained the rank of Eagle Scout. And when he wasn’t busy working, he was enjoying the great outdoors—he was an avid water-skier, snow-skier and cyclist.

McQuien earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M in 1976 and 1977, and he graduated cum laude and summa cum laude, respectively. He then began a career in the engineering department at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. (then General Dynamics Fort Worth Division). With the realization that he wanted to balance his engineering background with stronger business acumen, McQuien headed back to school, this time to Texas Tech University for a law degree. While there, he met Carol, who had attended the University of Texas as an undergraduate. The pair married and moved back to Fort Worth. McQuien returned to Lockheed Martin where he eventually became vice president of business ventures.

“It’s comforting to know that Larry’s name will be attached to Texas A&M’s aerospace engineering program forever,” said Carol McQuien. “I don’t want him to just fade away.”

McQuien says her husband was a natural mentor to young people. She recalls a conversation with a young woman during a Texas A&M tailgate. “I asked her what she was studying, and she said she was a senior in aerospace engineering. I said, ‘This is your lucky day. That man standing over there is my husband, and he is a vice president at Lockheed!’ Well, I didn’t talk to her again the whole night. She went over to him and stuck to him like glue.” 

The McQuiens’ younger son Scott is working on a master’s degree in aerospace engineering at Texas A&M. The couple’s older son John graduated from Texas A&M in 2012 with a degree in economics and a minor in business administration. 

Carol McQuien hopes the recipient of the “Take Flight Award” will not only possess “book smarts,” but also will be easy to talk to and involved in the community. “If Larry was alive today, he’d tell these students to do well in school but also to be well-rounded, to have people skills,” she said. “He’d tell them to develop their relationships outside of work.”

Bridget Lauderdale, vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics business, also a Texas A&M alumna, worked with McQuien on multiple projects that are now core programs in the business.

“Larry’s attitude was an inspiration for many. He had a passion both for people and for the technical side of aerospace—a combination that made him a great leader at Lockheed Martin. He left a lasting impact on those fortunate to know him,” said Lauderdale. “His expertise as an engineer and businessman created opportunity for our business, for our employees and for those not yet in the workforce. The ‘Take Flight Award’ continues Larry’s legacy of opening doors for others and creating a path to tomorrow’s innovation.”

To be selected for the scholarship, students must be within the top 15 percent of their junior class and active in extracurricular activities. Applicants also must complete an essay addressing their aspirations in aerospace engineering as well as their thoughts on why Larry McQuien was a leader in the industry.

The first recipient of the scholarship will be announced this spring and will receive the award for the 2014-2015 school year.