Distinguished Eagle Scout Rex Tillerson Named Secretary of State

Rex Tillerson swears into office as the 69th Secretary of State (Photo credit: NBC News)

Wednesday, Rex Tillerson was sworn into his new office as the nation’s 69th Secretary of State. However, his leadership skills stretch back far before his time as a member of the Presidential Cabinet.

The former CEO of Exxon Mobile has roots in Scouting that have underscored his journey to the White House, starting in the Cimarron Council more than 50 years ago.

Tillerson served as BSA’s national president—the organization’s top volunteer position— from 2010 to 2012, and has received multiple honors throughout his time in Scouting, such as the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, which recognizes Eagle Scouts who have made a significant impact in their field, and have demonstrated a solid record of serving their community.

The new Secretary of State has also received BSA’s Silver Buffalo Award—Scouting’s highest commendation for volunteers who have contributed extraordinary service to youth.

Tillerson’s involvement with Scouting spans more than half of a century. (Photo credit: Bryan on Scouting)

Even while running a company, Tillerson has always made time to give back to Scouting. During the 2015 Order of the Arrow conference, Tillerson shared words of wisdom and encouragement to what he called, “the largest group of Eagle Scouts that I’ve ever had the privilege to stand before,” according to Bryan on Scouting.


“People trust you. They count on you,” Tillerson beamed. “Your personal integrity, once established and earned, people don’t have to think about it. They know. They know you. They know you’ll do the right thing every time.”

Tillerson on the cover of Eagle’s Call magazine. (Photo credit: Bryan on Scouting)

When it comes to leadership in Scouting, this business-turned-government leader advocates for what he calls, “the Main Thing,” which is to serve more youth in Scouting.

“Our objective is to get them captured, get them into this structure that is Scouting,” Tillerson said in a recent interview with Eagles’ Call magazine. “If we can capture them for three or four years, we’ll change the adults they’ll become; I know that as sure as I live and breathe today.”

Watch the videos below to hear what the Secretary of State has to say about the role of Scouting in his life, then head to Bryan on Scouting to learn more about Tillerson’s Scouting journey.


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Rochelle Randles is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She enjoys sharing incredible adventure stories within the Scouting community and beyond. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at