Mayor Glenn Jacobs declared April 25, 2019, “Dr. Mark Dean Day” in Knox County, celebrating the Tickle of College of Engineering interim dean’s groundbreaking work as an inventor, computer scientist, and educator.
“I am very humbled for this recognition and flattered to be chosen,” said Dean. “This came as a complete surprise to me, but I’m happy for the honor.”
Darris Upton, Knox County’s diversity development manager, made the surprise announcement at UT’s Tickle College of Engineering Senior Design Showcase at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, sharing a list of Dean’s accomplishments with students.
A pioneering computer scientist, Dean holds three of the nine patents in the earliest development of the personal computer. He received his bachelor’s degree from UT in 1979. He went on to earn his master’s degree at Florida Atlantic University and his doctorate from Stanford University, all in electrical engineering.
A native of Jefferson City, he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is an IBM Fellow, the company’s highest technical honor.
The National Society of Black Engineers, in which he is a Distinguished Engineer, has twice selected him Black Engineer of the Year. His other honors include the US Department of Commerce Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Award and the National Institute of Science’s Outstanding Scientist Award.
He has served as interim dean since August and is also the John Fisher Distinguished Professor in the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Jacobs is well known as a professional wrestler in WWE, going by the persona “Kane.” He continues to make appearances as Kane, including at a Knoxville speech on May 8.