Hagler Institute Presents Malina Medallion Award To Ray Rothrock ’77
The Hagler Institute for Advanced Study at Texas A&M University has presented its second Dr. Frank J. Malina ’34 Renaissance Medallion Award to Ray Rothrock, Texas A&M Class of ’77 and nationally recognized venture capitalist, for his multi-disciplinary contributions to technology as well as to the arts, music and critical thinking.
Founding Director John L. Junkins gave the award to Rothrock during the institute’s 11th annual gala on Feb. 24 at the Memorial Student Center.
The annual award is named in honor of Frank Malina, the pioneering rocket scientist who co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech during the 1940s. Later in life, Malina became an influential kinetic artist and founded Leonardo, the International Society of Arts, Sciences and Technology, and its journal Leonardo.
Junkins endowed the award in 2021 as Texas A&M’s interim president.
“Few individuals view global challenges as personal quests,” Junkins said, “but Ray Rothrock is such an individual.”
Rothrock received a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M in 1977. He later earned a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s in business administration from Harvard University.
“While a graduate student, he became an avid student of history and philosophy,” Junkins said. “He became convinced how important the arts and critical thinking are for an educated populace.”
After his academic career, Rothrock joined the venture capital firm Venrock, where he invested in a broad suite of new technologies for more than two decades. He later founded FiftySix Investments, a seed investment fund that focuses on cyber, energy, satellites and sustainability. Rothrock has served as chair of the National Venture Capital Association, serves on numerous commercial boards to oversee business and product development, and serves on numerous NGO boards supporting basic science, nuclear security and climate sustainability.
In 2016, Rothrock was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M. He later joined the Hagler Institute’s External Advisory Board. In 2021, he helped to launch The Texas A&M Global Cyber Research Institute (GCRI) endowed by Ray Rothrock ’77 and Anthony Wood ’90, with a mission to elevate Texas A&M’s efforts in the broad information security area.
In parallel with his technical and venture capital career, Rothrock decided to promote the arts, music and critical thinking among America’s youth. He and his wife, Meredith, are staunch supporters of a broad range of liberal and performance arts in U.S. schools. A lifelong musician, Rothrock plays bass in a San Francisco Bay Area band.
About the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study: The Hagler Institute for Advanced Study was established in December 2010 by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents to build on the growing academic reputation of Texas A&M and to provide a framework to attract top scholars from throughout the nation and abroad for appointments of up to a year. The selection of Hagler Fellows initiates with faculty nominations of National Academies and Nobel Prize-caliber scholars who align with existing strengths and ambitions of the university. To learn more, visit hias.tamu.edu.