Southwestern University Board of Trustees Elects Christopher E. Cragg ’83 as Chair-Elect
July 12, 2021
Southwestern University, the first institution of higher learning in Texas, has named Christopher E. Cragg chair-elect of its Board of Trustees. Cragg, a 1983 graduate of the University, was unanimously elected by his peers to the board’s top leadership position. He will assume his new role on July 1, 2022.
“Chris Cragg is an ardent advocate for the distinctive liberal-arts education Southwestern University provides,” said President Laura E. Skandera Trombley. “His collaborative and communicative skills will serve our community well as we work toward a future focused on increasing the inclusiveness, affordability, and growth of Southwestern.”
Cragg will succeed Stephen Tipps, who will complete his second term as board chair on June 30, 2022.
“Under Stephen’s leadership, Southwestern University ushered in significant changes while thriving amid a global pandemic. The entire Southwestern community is grateful for Stephen’s devoted and steadfast leadership during one of the most tumultuous times in our history,” stated Trombley.
Cragg has served as a Southwestern trustee since 2015. He also served a two-year term from 1983 to 1985 as a recent-graduate trustee nominated by his classmates. Cragg currently chairs the trusteeship committee, which helps the board determine the desired composition of its members in terms of influence, diversity, and talents so that it reflects a representative cross section of the University community. Under Cragg’s leadership, the board grew its female representation over four years from 25% to 46%.
Cragg served as executive vice president of operations for Oil States International Inc., a leading oilfield services company, through early 2021, having previously served as the president of one of Oil States’ predecessor companies and in other roles for over 20 years. He also served in various executive and managerial roles with Ocean Energy, an independent exploration and production company; Cooper Industries, a diversified products manufacturer; and Price Waterhouse, a public accounting firm. He currently sits on the board of directors of Powell Industries, a supplier of distribution and control systems for electrical energy and other critical processes, where he is a member of the compensation and audit committees. Active in the oil and gas business throughout his career, Cragg is a past chair of the Energy Workforce & Technology Council (formerly the Petroleum Equipment and Services Association), a major trade association. He is a certified public accountant. Cragg is also an active member of Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston.
Cragg graduated cum laude from Southwestern in 1983 with a major in accounting and minor in economics. While at Southwestern, he held leadership roles in Pi Kappa Alpha and was a member of Student Foundation and the residence staff. He is a past member of Southwestern’s Alumni Council.
The Board of Trustees also elected Sylvia Kerrigan, a 1986 graduate of Southwestern, as its vice chair-elect; like Cragg, she will assume her new duties on July 1, 2022. Kerrigan has served on the board since 2015 and chairs the academic affairs committee. She is the executive director of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law and Business at the University of Texas at Austin. Kerrigan also currently serves on the board of directors for Team Industrial Services, where she chairs the corporate governance and nominating committee and sits on the audit committee. She is a past board member of various corporate and professional organizations, including Nine Point Energy, Alta Mesa Resources, the American Leadership Forum, and the State Bar of Texas International Law Section. Kerrigan retired as the executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Marathon Oil Corporation in 2017. During her 22-year career at Marathon, she was entrusted with a number of responsibilities in addition to the legal function, including information management and privacy, compliance and business integrity, public policy and corporate communications, and environmental, social, and governance matters. Kerrigan graduated cum laude with a degree in philosophy, political economy, and English from Southwestern, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta. She received her law degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990.
The election process included one-on-one interviews with virtually all of Southwestern’s trustees, who identified desirable characteristics of the chair-elect and vice-chair elect and suggested potential candidates.
These transitions come at pivotal time for Southwestern. Earlier this month, the University announced the launch of its ambitious 2021–2026 Tactical Plan. The plan embodies the vision of the institution’s priorities: offering an unparalleled, holistic, liberal-arts education while embracing and valuing all community members, and envisioning an exceptional living and learning environment.
About Southwestern University
Southwestern University is a selective undergraduate liberal-arts institution located in Georgetown, Texas, 28 miles north of downtown Austin. Established in 1840 as the first university in Texas and affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Southwestern enrolls approximately 1,500 students and maintains a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The University provides a highly interdisciplinary and holistic education while supporting high-impact learning experiences, such as internships and undergraduate research. Approximately 70% of students volunteer in the community, and the Pirates compete in 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports. A member of the recently formed Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, Southwestern is committed to fostering a diverse educational environment and encourages applications from members of groups traditionally underrepresented in academia. For more information, go to www.southwestern.edu.