Distinguished Alumni Awards

Each year the faculty of the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics recognizes outstanding contributions to aerospace engineering and the nation's progress in air and space by electing a Distinguished Alum.

2018 Distinguished Alumna

Laura J. McGillLaura J. McGill; BS '83

Laura J. McGill is Engineering vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS). Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with 2017 sales of $25 billion and 64,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

A principal engineering fellow, McGill was formerly RMS Engineering deputy, after serving as deputy director for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles and Special Programs.

From 2009–2011, she was chief engineer for the Air Warfare Systems (AWS) product line, a $2 billion portfolio of programs including air-to-air missiles, precision-strike air-to-ground weapons and Tomahawk cruise missiles. She had previously been named chief engineer for the Strike Weapons product line in 2006, which expanded to include air-to-air programs in 2009 with the formation of AWS.

From 2004–2006, McGill was chief engineer for Tomahawk cruise missiles, leading all technical activities for development, production and operational support programs. She originally joined the Tomahawk Program Office in 1992 as the Avionics program manager, which led to assignments such as Block III Performance Team lead for the All-Up Round Systems Engineering

Integration Agent, Flight Test program manager, Block III chief engineer, SSGN DEMVAL program manager, Block IV Torpedo-Tube-Launch program manager, and manager of Development Programs.

McGill began her career at General Dynamics in San Diego as a test integration engineer. She supported establishment of a wind tunnel facility for the Taiwan Air Force, developed test-integration plans for the Atlas II Launch Vehicle, and led the Lean Operations Task Force to institute manufacturing process improvements on critical programs.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in aerospace systems through a General Dynamics engineering development program.

McGill is an adjunct lecturer for Raytheon’s onsite Master of Science in Systems Engineering program with Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering.

She is a lifetime fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and has held technical leadership and Board of Directors positions since 1996.

Previous Distinguished Alumni