On October 14, 2016, the UT Board of Trustees voted to name the Tickle College of Engineering after John D. Tickle in recognition of his most recent transformative gift to his alma mater.
Barely a year later, the impact of that gift has been felt in almost every corner of the college.
“Part of my giving is my goal of helping lift the profile of the college to one that that makes them say ‘Wow!’ and take notice,” said Tickle, a 1965 industrial engineering graduate. “To do that takes supporting and developing many different aspects, from structures to spaces to personnel.”
Part of Tickle’s support was used to establish named professorships to help the college recruit, retain, and support the work of leading faculty.
Joshua Fu, the John D. Tickle Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Lawrence Heilbronn, the John D. Tickle Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering, are the first two recipients.
Fu is a foremost expert in air quality and environmental research, serving as an expert advisor on the topic for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Since coming to UT in 2000, he has completed projects for several high-profile agencies, including NASA and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Heilbronn is an expert in nuclear measurements and heavy ions, having co-written a handbook on the second topic. He was twice named the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory outstanding performance award recipient, and has been named professor of the year in the department three times since coming to UT in 2008.
Tickle’s gift allowed the college to hire two new advisors to better serve the needs of its students.
It also created the the Tickle Fellows program, which will eventually fund 30 graduate students at any given time. The first class of 11 is enrolled this fall, with every department having at least one student selected.
“John has been a key partner for our college and for this university since the day he graduated,” said Wayne Davis, dean of the college. “He believes in us, our mission, and our students, and he wants those students to be well prepared to take on the world’s challenges.”
Along with his wife, Ann, Tickle has supported a number of ventures across UT’s campus, including previous support for professorships, athletics initiatives, and building projects such as the John D. Tickle Engineering Building, the John and Ann Tickle Small Animal Hospital, and the John and Ann Tickle Athletic Development Suite in the Brenda Lawson Athletic Center.
Tickle also has provided key funding for a new building for the college, approved by the state this year. The design of that building has yet to be revealed.