Failure is an elusive success. You can fail 1000 times, but the successful are those who try 1001 times.
On May 30, 2013, Cortlan Wickliff solidified his place in the Harvard Law School history books by graduating at 22 years old. It is a feat that is so daunting that in the history of Harvard Law School, only one other African American achieved it in 1947. Uniquely while in law school, Cortlan focused on Intellectual Property and Patent law. He also gained experience with business start ups which will benefit him as he plans to own a Medical Device company.
His amazing collegiate career includes his historic graduation from Rice University in Houston, Texas as the youngest African American to earn a BS in Bioengineering at the age of 19 making him the youngest African American engineer in the US at that time. In addition to his academic accomplishments, Cortlan has been a strong community advocate mentoring, tutoring and encouraging middle school, high school, and college students to excel in their academic and life pursuits with a special emphasis on careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). He is considered by many as a role model.
He is next headed to Texas A&M University to complete a PhD in Engineering focusing on Industrial Systems and areas of Law that are affecting the bio-medical field. While in College Station, Texas, Cortlan plans to play a significant role in the growth effort of the new Bio-Technology corridor being built in the area.
Admitted in to college at 14 yrs of age, Cortlan left home to began his college experience at the University of North Texas (UNT) only a few weeks after his 15th birthday. Two years after his early departure from Pflugerville High School, Cortlan completed the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at UNT and transferred to Rice University in Houston, Texas. He was often recognized as a President’s List and Dean’s List student.
While attending Rice University, Cortlan gained significant research experience in the biomedical and bio-fuels areas. His research exploration efforts have included an Apparatus for Testing Hearing in Severely Premature Infants and Enhanced Electronics for Cardiology Prototype Devices for which his presentation won his team a Commercialization Award. He also conducted Bio-fuel Catalysts research sponsored by the National Science Foundation while interning at the University of South Florida and completed research on lead modifications to detect heart motions & diagnose heart failures for next generation pace makers while working at a major medical company in the Minneapolis, MN area.
While at Harvard Law School, Cortlan has studied under notable professors and gained valuable work experiences from assignments at three major law firms. His goal is to make significant contributions by enhancing medical equipment, medical treatments and the FDA processes for approving medicines and their delivery methodologies.
Cortlan hopes that part of his legacy will include providing jobs and needed medical solutions for the masses. He is excited and blessed by the mentoring and coaching he receives from his family and close family friends which has spawn a growth in his passion for serving others.
Cortlan often reflects on the benefits he has gained from early exposure to professionals, their careers, and his travels. He is convinced that if youth and young adults are likewise exposed to more positive things at an early age, they will elect to achieve more and perform at a higher level. Recognized nationally as an outstanding young leader Cortlan’s accomplishments have been highlighted in the local and national media – print, radio and television.
Cortlan’s mother, Tanya Dugat Wickliff, a young teen mother who worked hard to defy the odds and achieve a PhD in engineering, served as a great inspiration for his career choices. His entrepreneurial spirit was birth while growing up shadowing his father in his automotive business, Anthony “Tony” Wickliff (deceased). Cortlan was born in Austin, Texas though his family is from a small town east of Houston – Liberty, Texas. Much of Cortlan’s positive work ethics he attributes to his grandfathers’ influences – James W. Dugat, Sr. a longshoreman for nearly 40 years and Raymond Wickliff, a farmer, rancher and community leader (both deceased). He has likewise been blessed by the love and positive life examples shown to him by his grandmothers Marva Wickliff and Velma Mitchell (deceased). Cortlan enjoys movies (writing and critiquing, having seen more than 2000) and spending quality time with his family and friends, especially his two brothers, Jamar Dugat and Raymond A. Wickliff.