Apple CEO accepts IISE Captains of Industry Award

Published: Nov 29, 2021 2:06 PM

By Alyssa Turner and Cassie Montgomery

Apple CEO Tim Cook accepted the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers’ (IISE) Captains of Industry Award on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Auburn University in a private ceremony before the annual Iron Bowl. Cook, a 1982 Auburn University graduate with a degree in industrial engineering, was nominated for the award by Alice Smith, an IISE Fellow and the Joe W. Forehand/Accenture Distinguished Professor of industrial and systems engineering with a joint appointment in computer science and software engineering at Auburn. The award is the Institute’s highest honor that is bestowed solely on business, industry and government leaders.

“It’s an honor to receive this award from IISE,” Cook said when he was announced as the recipient during the institute’s virtual conference in May. “My Auburn degree in industrial engineering helped to prepare me for everything my career had in store for me, and it is especially meaningful to be nominated by Auburn Professor Alice Smith.”

During the May event, Auburn industrial and systems engineering student Annie Dorsey had the opportunity to interview Cook about his industrial engineering background, the importance of ethical business practices, his role at Apple and more. Dorsey joined Smith to present Cook with the Captains of Industry Award Saturday.

“It was a pleasure to meet again with ISE alumnus Tim Cook to officially present him the IISE Captain of Industry Award. It was also great that the student, Annie Dorsey, who conducted the virtual interview forum with Tim in May, was able to be present as well. Although Tim has achieved iconic fame, he remains devoted to Auburn and is the epitome of the Auburn spirit – hard work, humbleness, kindness, empathy and the determination to always do the right thing. Our department is tremendously proud of him and very grateful for his past, current and future involvement with us,” Smith said after presenting Cook with the award.

The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers is the world’s largest professional society dedicated solely to the support of the industrial engineering profession and individuals involved with improving quality and productivity.

A distinguished alumnus of Auburn University, Cook received the Auburn Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. He is the founding chair of the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering’s Alumni Council, founded the department’s Endowed Fund for Excellence and the Tim Cook Leadership Scholarship and established the Tim Cook Endowed Professorship. Cook has been named as a Distinguished Auburn Engineer and Outstanding Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumnus in 2000.

Media Contact: Cassie Montgomery,, 334.844.3668
Alice Smith, Tim Cook and Annie Dorsey

Alice Smith, Tim Cook and Annie Dorsey

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