April 4, 2012
Dr. Ruth David named Outstanding Tiger Alumnus
Working on problems that are important to our nation’s future, Dr. Ruth David, President and Chief Executive Officer of Analytic Services, Inc, has done great things as a national security professional. The 1973 graduate of Cowley College was recently recognized for her contributions to society by being named the school’s Outstanding Tiger Alumnus for 2012.
Dr. David grew up on a farm five miles outside of Dexter, KS where both of her parents were “locals” and were heavily involved in civic activities. They invested their time as leaders in 4-H, the local school board, their local church, and eventually with Cowley County Community College. Her father, Walter, served on the Board of Trustees from 1967-1976 and spent the 1971-1972 academic year as Chairman of the Board.
Adding to her family connections with the college, her two sisters, Jody (class of 1970) and Karen (class of 1977), also attended Cowley.
“It was a natural for my dad to then move on to the CCCC Board of Trustees,” Ruth said. “We used to joke that he did it to be sure his daughters made it through and stayed out of trouble.”
With a graduating class of 22 at Dexter High School, Dr. David found Cowley College to be a wonderful transition experience as it provided a solid foundation for subsequent studies at Wichita State University and ultimately Stanford University.
She started college with the intent to major in Math; however that was before she encountered Wayne Sievers, a Physics instructor at Cowley. Sievers connected her with a recruiter from WSU College of Engineering, and upon entering WSU in the fall of 1973, promptly switched majors to Engineering.
During her time at Cowley, Dr. David was a member of both the Lady Tiger basketball team and track and field squad. Dr. David helped the 1972-73 women’s basketball team to a record of 13-7. In addition to juggling her heavy academic schedule and athletics, she worked as a bookkeeper for Benson’s Lumber Yard.
Striving to attain academic success, after receiving an associate’s degree from Cowley College in 1973, Dr. David went on to receive a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Wichita State University in 1975, a master of science degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1976, and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1981.
Professionally, she accepted a position with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM after graduating from WSU in 1975.
Sandia is sponsored by the Department of Energy and is the lead lab for nuclear weapons engineering.
“That’s where I ‘grew up’ both as an engineer and as a national security professional,” Dr. David said.
Sandia sponsored her Master’s and Doctoral studies at Stanford University.
Sandia was large enough to provide a challenging and diverse array of growth opportunities. The labs also encouraged outside engagement so Dr. David taught graduate level courses at the University of New Mexico (at night) for a few years.
In 1995 the President of the lab nominated Dr. David for consideration as the Deputy Director for Science and Technology at the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), a position she was offered and held from 1995-1998.
In her new role, she represented the CIA on numerous national committees and advisory bodies, including the National Science and Technology Council and the Committee on National Security. Upon her departure from this position, she was awarded the CIA’s Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA Director’s Award, the Director of NSA Distinguished Service Medal, the National Reconnaissance Officer’s Award for Distinguished Service, and the Defense Intelligence Director’s Award.
When Dr. David left Sandia Laboratories for the CIA, she had every intention of returning to New Mexico once her appointment was complete, but life intervened and she now leads Analytic Services, Inc. In her role as CEO/President of Analytic Services, Inc. she runs a nonprofit corporation supporting national and homeland security by providing studies and analysis to the federal government.
In 1999, she initiated the corporation’s Homeland Defense Strategic Thrust to address the growing national concern of multidimensional, asymmetric threats from rogue nations, substate terrorist groups, and domestic terrorism; formally creating the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security in May 2001 to enhance public awareness and contribute to the dialogue on national, state, and local level.
In 2004, the corporation was selected by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish the legislatively-mandated Homeland Security Institute, later renamed the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute (Institute). Today, the corporation operates two business units—ANSER, which supports clients in the national security, homeland defense, and public safety sectors; and the Institute, a federally funded research and development center dedicated to homeland security—as well as the Applied Systems Thinking (ASysT) Institute, a collaborative endeavor initiated in 2007 to advance the application of systems thinking principles to critical national issues.
“My profession provides me with ample challenges and opportunities to keep learning,” Dr. David said. “I also appreciate the opportunity to work on problems that I believe are important to our Nation’s future. My career has also afforded me many opportunities to travel internationally, which has also been quite eye-opening.”
For Ben Schears, Cowley College’s vice president for institutional advancement, Dr. David’s prestigious and academic successes career made her the perfect choice as the school’s 2012 Outstanding Tiger Alumnus, among a group of several outstanding alumni.
“Dr. David has led a remarkable career and we are proud to have her as one of our graduates,” Schears said. “With the heights she has achieved both academically and professionally, she is very deserving of this award.”
Dr. David is a senior fellow of the Defense Science Board and a member of the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council, the National Security Agency Advisory Board, the Corporation for the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., and the Hertz Foundation Board. She was elected into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2002 and currently serves as a Councilor of the NAE, chairs the National Research Council Board on Global Science and Technology, chairs the NRC Standing Committee on Technology Insight–Gauge, Evaluate, and Review, and is a member of the Standing Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. She also serves on industrial advisory boards for the University of Southern California, the Stevens Institute of Technology, and Wichita State University.
Dr. David previously served on the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, the NRC Naval Studies Board, the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, the Department of Energy Nonproliferation and National Security Advisory Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Technical Advisory Group, and the Securities and Exchange Commission Technical Advisory Group. She is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Society.
In 2003, she received the Wichita State University Alumni Association Achievement Award. In 2010, she was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.
Dr. David is the co-author of three books on signal processing algorithms and has authored or co-authored numerous papers.
Dr. David and her husband, Stan Dains, currently live in Northern Virginia and work in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Her mother, Iris, lives in Arkansas City, so she makes it back to the area a couple of times a year. She also served as Cowley College’s Commencement Speaker in 1998.
She is looking forward to returning to campus this time as the school’s Outstanding Tiger Alumnus.
“It is sobering to realize that I attended CCCC four decades ago, but it is a very special honor as well,” Dr. David said. “It’s very special to receive such recognition. I have often observed that growing up in Kansas, attending CCCC and WSU, instilled in me a work ethic and values system that was the foundation for everything I have done since.”