WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - An engineer, lawyer, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Cortlan J. Wickliff’s education speaking tour, Be Driven to Succeed, brought him to Wichita Falls where he spoke to members at the Eastside Faith Center on Nov. 10.
Wickliff graduated from Rice University at 19 as the youngest engineer in the country and he will be speaking to over 40,000 students during his tour.
“I saw that there was a real need in the community," Wickliff said. "A lot of times we don’t realize that as adults we’re constantly conveying to our children how the world is in a worse place and they’re actually legitimately scared about their prospects going forward. I wanted to ease some of that fear and give them some guidance from somebody that’s kind of close to their age but still far enough ahead to be able to give them some guidance.”
Wickliff graduated from Harvard Law School at 22 as one of the youngest African-Americans to do so.
“You can only hit what you’re aiming for so if you don’t dream big you’re not going to accomplish great things," Wickliff said. "You need to aim high and be confident in yourself and believe in your ability to accomplish your goals.”
Wickliff recently published a book called “Young and Driven: Overdrive” which details the step by step guide on how you can set a goal and then systematically accomplish it using some of the project management techniques Wickliff uses in his life to help him achieve his academic and professional goals.
“The big thing to remember is that college is not easy for anybody," Wickliff said. “As smart as people might look at me and think I am, I still struggled with classes. There were times where I prayed to get a C or just prayed to pass a class.”
Wickliff is giving a copy of his book to every student he speaks to during his tour.
“We all struggle,” Wickliff said. "Don’t compare your journey to somebody else’s because you might be struggling now but you’re going to figure it out and somebody else is going to be struggling later. Just focus on your journey and I assure you it gets easier.”
Wickliff said the right age to go to college depends on the individual.
“It’s when your maturity and ability to plan your own schedule and be responsible for yourself is at the right level,” Wickliff said. "Ultimately the greatest challenge in college is not the academics. It’s how well you personally manage your time and how well you’re able to adjust to the freedom that comes along with leaving the household and being on your own.”
Wickliff said his tour will take him around the entire state of Texas.
“We definitely wanted to make Wichita Falls a stop because I love this community,” Wickliff said. "I have quite a few friends here and I’m excited to be speaking with some of them today but we’re not going to stop here.”
Wickliff’s tour will continue with stops in Amarillo, El Paso, Brownsville and Austin.