Charley V. Wootan, former Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) agency director, was named a distinguished alumnus of Texas A&M University March 11 by the Association of Former Students.
Wootan joined TTI in 1956 as an associate research economist and served as the Institute’s associate director (1966–1976) and director (1976–1993). Under his leadership, TTI grew to become the largest university-based transportation research agency in the nation.
“I had the privilege of knowing and working with Charley Wootan for three decades,” says TTI Agency Director Dennis L. Christiansen. “He was a giant in the transportation field who tirelessly promoted the value of transportation research and made significant contributions to the growth and national reputation of TTI. He was a devoted Aggie who gave selflessly of his time to improve the world through research, education and service to others. This honor is well deserved.”
One of the founders of the Council of University Transportation Centers, Wootan was selected as its first president. He was actively involved in the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies for more than 40 years and was elected chair of TRB in 1979 and again in 1983. He also served on the executive committee of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
Wootan led the way for Texas to become a national model for how universities and state departments of transportation could work together to solve transportation problems. The path he forged remains the model that other states emulate today. He tirelessly contributed thousands of hours serving in state and national leadership roles on committees and task forces established to improve transportation throughout Texas and the United States. He won numerous awards for his contributions, including the TRB Distinguished Service Award, the George S. Bartlett Award for outstanding contributions to highway progress, and the Luther DeBerry award for significant accomplishments to Texas transportation from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Wootan actively mentored young people and promoted education as the path to professional success. More than 2,000 Texas A&M students studied in TTI laboratories and worked on TTI research projects during his tenure at TTI.