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Meet Dr. Cortlan J. Wickliff

Dr. Cortlan J. Wickliff, Esq. is a Motivational Speaker, Author, Lawyer, Engineer, and Entrepreneur. He has an impressive resume which includes graduating from Rice University as the youngest engineer in the nation (age 19). He then became one of the youngest African American graduates from Harvard Law School  in the university’s history (age 22), and was the youngest of more than 94,000 licensed attorneys in the state of Texas (age 23). He completed his education when he attained his Ph.D. in Engineering from Texas A & M University (age 25). His research focused on how to apply engineering principles to better manage and bolster organizational compliance with contractual and legal regulations. He is currently the Associate Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at Rice University.

Because of this unique journey, Dr. Wickliff has become an internationally known young leader who is quickly becoming a household name. He authored a book  titled Young and Driven, where he details the exercises, lessons, tools and life experiences from his journey that have allowed him to achieve such extraordinary milestones at such a young age. Following his interviews on PBS, Fox, ABC, & NBC, 

his features in the Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle & Austin American Statesman and his guest appearances on radio & television which include South Africa’s DJ Sbu Radio Show, the Tom Joyner Morning Show with Roland Martin, the Tavis Smiley Show, and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson’s Radio Show, he has become a highly sought-after motivational speaker at commencement exercises, leadership events, professional conferences, conventions, universities and corporations.

Dr. Wickliff’s meteoric academic journey has been accompanied by an exceptional professional journey as an entrepreneur, practicing attorney & consultant. He was Assistant General Counsel for a Texas-based pharmaceutical company, Kalon Biotherapeutics, LLC, where he spearheaded a public-private partnership to build, what will be, the largest concentration of pharmaceutical production in his region of the U.S.A. (Bryan/College Station’s Biomedical Corridor). After assisting Kalon in being acquired by Fujifilm, he then became the youngest member of Fujifilm’s North & South American legal team. This legal team was responsible for all legal matters for over 20 Fujifilm subsidiaries located in North & South America.

In addition to his legal work in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Wickliff has worked in intellectual property law, business & product development, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. He has also gained significant biomedical and alternative energy research & development experience. His biomedical research has included the development of an apparatus for testing hearing in severely premature infants, a cardiologic device prototype which earned a grant for its commercialization potential, and he completed modifications research in heart failure detection in next-generation pacemaker leads. He also conducted biofuel catalysts research sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Yet throughout this impressive academic and professional journey, he has managed to consistently give back in the form of mentoring, STEM outreach & education programs, assistance with academic admissions, and motivational speaking to church groups, youth, young adults, and communities.  He sincerely believes that “success can be achieved by anyone who is driven enough to apply unrelenting, consistent, and intentional effort to make their dreams a reality.”

One of his favorite quotes is, “be the change you want to see in the world.” He believes that we all have someone looking up to and emulating us, and, whether it is one or one million, it is our personal responsibility to provide them with a good example. Thus, on a daily basis, he strives to embody the core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, faith, respect and selfless service, in the hope that he may inspire others to do the same.

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