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Dean Matthew Mench presented alumnus and former faculty member Lee Martin with the 2022 Dougherty Award.

Lee Martin, Alumnus and Longtime Faculty Member, Honored with 2022 Dougherty Award

Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Emeritus Lee Martin first came to the University of Tennessee in 1974 to pursue his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, eventually earning the highest honor a student can receive by being named a Torchbearer.

Now, he has been recognized for the highest honor an alumni can receive by being selected as the 2022 Nathan W. Dougherty Award winner.

“I’m overwhelmed by this selection, and very honored and thankful,” said Martin. “There is a lot of amazing work being done by faculty, staff, and students, so to be chosen as a recipient of this award and thus to represent them and all of our alumni is very humbling.”

He went on to earn his master’s from Purdue in 1979 before returning to UT to earn his doctorate, which he accomplished in 1986, with both degrees also in mechanical engineering.

That same year, he founded TeleRobotics, combining his knowledge of image processing with robotics. The company eventually became iPix, which Martin left in 1999.

His next venture was the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation, run under then-Governor Don Sundquist. Through it, Martin travelled the state to drum up support for new ideas and innovations with an entrepreneurial touch.

Martin’s ideas have led to several patents, public offerings, and entrepreneurial opportunities.

His success in those areas led him back to UT, where he created the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program and taught students, among other things, how to recognize and seize chances to create their own ventures.

“It has been awesome to see the college grow and expand over the years, from something that impacted the state, then the region, then the nation and the world,” said Martin. “The Tickle College of Engineering’s reach is truly global.”

Martin has stayed busy since his retirement, founding the Pavilion of Pickleball to provide opportunities for people to enjoy that sport. It has proven so successful that there is now a wait list on new members.

Recognizing Dougherty’s success in engineering and education, the award singles out those who have “brought honor and distinction to the college through their achievements or who have made significant contributions to the engineering profession in Tennessee through their professional activities” and has been given annually since 1957.

Dougherty served as dean of the college from 1940–56, was a captain of UT’s football and basketball teams as a student athlete in the early 1900s, hired Robert Neyland as UT’s football coach, and served as acting SEC Commissioner in 1947. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1967.


Other award winners honored at the college’s spring banquet were:

Staff Awards

Pass the Torch Award: Gabrielle Richards, diversity

Supervisor of the Year Award: Samantha Allen, CEE

Sidekick Salute Award: Andy Gallaher, communications

Inspirational Leadership Award: Tammy Johnson, MABE

Commitment to Excellence Award: Carol Hatmaker, CTR

Commitment to Inclusive Community Award: Kerri Cline, advising

Emerging Leader Award: Rachel Duncan, advising

Circle of Excellence Teamwork Award: Materials Science and Engineering Machine Shop—Doug Fielden, Larry Smith, and Phil Lollar


Faculty Awards

Outstanding Service to the College: Amy Biegalski, EF

Moses E. and Mayme Brooks Award: Daniel Costinett, EECS

Leon and Nancy Cole Teaching Award: Sarah Hanrahan, MABE

Charles E. Ferris Faculty Award: Tony Schmitz, MABE

Teaching Fellow: Khalid Alshibli, CEE

Teaching Fellow: Scott Emrich, EECS

Teaching Fellow: Leon Tolbert, EECS

Professional Promise in Research Award: Nicholas Brown, NE

Professional Promise in Research Award: James Coder, MABE

Professional Promise in Research Award: Brett Compton, MABE

Professional Promise in Research Award: Anahita Khojandi, ISE

Research Achievement Award: Asad Khattak, CEE

Research Achievement Award: Ivan Maldonado, NE

Research Achievement Award: Michela Taufer, EECS

Research Achievement Award: Feng Yuan Zhang, UTSI

Translational Research Award: Jian Huang, EECS


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