Farewell to Alumnus Robert “Skipp” Orr

Friday, Aug 20, 2021
skipp orr and president kelly

I recently learned the sad news that alumnus and former visiting professor Robert “Skipp” Orr passed away last week at the age of 68. Skipp graduated from FAU in 1976 and over the years, he consistently spoke about how his degree in history from FAU set the stage for his impressive career.

In 2010, Skipp was confirmed by the Senate as United States Executive Director with the rank of Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank, a position he held until 2016. From 2007-2010, Skipp was chairman of the board of the Panasonic Foundation and vice chair of the National Association of Japan-America Societies. From 2002 to 2007, he was president of Boeing Japan. Under Skipp’s leadership, the top-selling airplane in history, the 787 Dreamliner, was developed. Prior to his time at Boeing, Skipp held several international leadership positions with Motorola, where he successfully led the negotiations that opened up the cellular phone market in Japan.

In 2019, Skipp received the Order of the Rising Sun, an honor granted by the Imperial Palace of Japan to those who have made distinguished achievements in international relations involving Japan. He received the FAU Alumni Talon Award in 2016 and was inducted into the FAU Alumni Hall of Fame in 1994.

We are so very fortunate that our students and community were able to hear Skipp’s stories and words of wisdom during his time as a visiting professor in 2018, and as a guest lecturer on several occasions in recent years. He made us very proud with his commitment to international relations, education and the humanities; as well as his love for his alma mater. Our thoughts are with Skipp’s wife, Miko, and the rest of his family during this difficult time.