2019 Tillman Scholar

Eric Recker

University of Arizona

“It is my unmatched personal conviction to unlock the distinguished potential in others.”

From a young age, Eric had had a strong desire to serve his country. Following his high school graduation in 1998, eager with ambition, Eric enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Spending his first three years aboard the USS Kitty Hawk CV63 in Japan, Eric discovered this desire to serve his country more exceptionally, he wanted to try out for the elite Navy SEAL program.  

In 2002, Eric reported to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS/S) and graduated in 2003. After BUD/S Eric was stationed for 5 ½ years at a SEAL Team in Hawaii. Then, in 2009 Eric tried out for the illustrious Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG). Upon completion of this arduous task, Eric spent his remaining 10 years in the Navy at NSWDG. Throughout Eric’s career, he successfully completed 14 deployments overseas in austere environments to include Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen.

As a SEAL, Eric’s service overseas strengthened his desire and understanding of his passion for helping people meet their optimal potential by working together as a team toward a common goal. Eric worked with and taught manly local nationals on deployment. He would spend time learning their culture to bridge that gap and make a positive influence in their lives. Now, after 20 years of military service, he is pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Arizona to continue to give back to his community as he moves forward in his civilian life and a new career. Eric believes furthering his education will give him a better understanding to help build future leaders.