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UT Alumnus W. Dwight Kessel Receives Nathan W. Dougherty Award

2014 Faculty & Staff Awards Winners Named

Wayne Davis presents Dougherty Award to Dwight Kessel
College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis, left, presents the 2014 Nathan W. Dougherty Award to Dwight Kessel.

The University of Tennessee College of Engineering gave its most prestigious honor—the Nathan W. Dougherty Award—to industrial engineering graduate W. Dwight Kessel at the college’s annual Faculty and Staff Awards Dinner, held on Thursday, April 3, 2014, at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Knoxville.

The awards dinner was attended by Kessel and his family; UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek and wife, Ileen; UT Provost Susan Martin; members of the College of Engineering Board of Advisors; and, for the first time, Board of Advisors emeritus members—influential alumni who served formerly and who continue to be strong advocates for the college.

The Dougherty Award was established by the college in 1957 to pay tribute to Nathan Washington Dougherty, dean of the College of Engineering from 1940-1956. The award honors engineers whose accomplishments have brought acclaim to the university.

Wallace Dwight Kessel received his degree in industrial engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1950. He spent three and a half years in the US Navy during World War II. He has been married to Gloria Grubb Kessel for sixty-three years. Kessel, who also attended Duke University and the US Naval Academy, was working for Chapman Drugs when neighbors suggested he run for public office.

He was a member of the Knoxville City Council (1963-1966), Knox County Clerk (1966-1980), and was elected the first Knox County Executive in 1980–a position he held for fourteen years. His various business interests have included real estate investments; the conversion of the Farragut Hotel into office space; Chapman Drug Company, which he built into a multi-state chain; and the startup of one of the nation’s first local Internet companies–U.S. Internet.

His community involvement goes far beyond political positions, as he has served with Boy Scouts of America, the Greater Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, the Girls Club, Knox County Health Council, Development Corporation of Knox County, Juvenile Court Advisory Board, East Tennessee Foundation, and many more. He also has been a member of the West Knoxville Kiwanis Club for sixty years and was a board member of the Fairview Technology Center and the Tennessee Center for Research and Development. He was a member of the 1982 Knoxville Expo World’s Fair board of directors, an advisory board member of the Knoxville College President’s Roundtable, and a member of the East Tennessee Minority Purchasing Council, Inc. board.

Due to his commitment to the Knoxville community, several buildings have been named after Kessel, including the Wallace Dwight Kessel Girls Club Gymnasium, Dwight Kessel Pavilion, Dwight Kessel Metropolitan Parking Garage, and the Dwight and Gloria Kessel Auditorium in the Science and Engineering Research Facility at UT.

He and his wife have been loyal supporters of the university and have established scholarships, professorships, and fellowships in the College of Engineering, including establishing the Wallace Dwight Kessel Scholarship in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1989. He has been extensively involved with the UT National Alumni Association, serving as treasurer, secretary, vice president, and president as well as participating as a member of the scholarship committee. In 2013, he received the university’s prestigious Alumni Service Award.

Mr. and Mrs. Kessel also created an endowment for UT’s Institute for Public Service to assist county governments in the state. He has served on the UT College of Engineering Board of Advisors, and was a previous chairman of the UT Chancellor’s Associates and the UT Development Council.

Additional award recipients at the college’s Faculty and Staff Awards Dinner included:

Outstanding Support Staff Awards:
Samantha Allen, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Justin Forbes, Senior IT Technologist II
Rita Gray, Administrative Specialist II, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Outstanding Faculty Advisor:
Paul Frymier, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Leon and Nancy Cole Superior Teaching Award:
Lynne Parker, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Moses E. & Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professor Award:
Richard Bennett, Professor and Director, Jerry E. Stoneking Engage Engineering Fundamentals Division

Charles Edward Ferris Faculty Award:
David “Butch” Irick, Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering

College of Engineering Teaching Fellow Award:
Edwin Burdette, Fred N. Peebles Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Hahn Choo, Materials Science & Engineering

Research AwardsCOE Professional Promise in Research:
Christopher Cherry, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Jason Hayward, UCOR Faculty Fellow, Nuclear Engineering
Jeremy Holleman, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Jackie Johnson, Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering and UT Space Institute

Research Achievement Award:
Lee Han, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Baoshan Huang, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Bin Hu, Materials Science & Engineering
Belle Upadhyaya, Nuclear Engineering

Translational Research Award:
J. Douglas Birdwell