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Zeanah Honored with Dougherty Award at Annual TCE Honors Banquet

Eric Zeanah

Eric Zeanah (ISE, ’84) has been a long-time supporter, advocate for, and member of the Tickle College of Engineering community.

As a testament to the spirit of giving back that he and his wife Elaine (Nursing, ’82) have had across the years, the Zeanah Engineering Complex, the Jessie Rogers Zeanah Faculty Fellow, the Zeanah Student Support Fund, and the Doulet-Zeanah Student Lounge in the John D. Tickle Building all bear their name, in addition to the American Accessories International Endowed Scholarship which was created through his company.

Now, he’s being recognized for that legacy of support by being selected as the 2023 Nathan W. Dougherty Award winner, the highest honor bestowed by the college.

“This is a tremendous honor, one that has been given to some of the most noted luminaries our college has produced over the years, and I am truly humbled to have been selected,” Zeanah said. “I am most proud of the direct interactions I have been afforded with students and so grateful to be a part of this college community, proud of our past successes, pleased with our current trajectory, and excited to see what we will achieve next.”

Additional signs of the Zeanahs’ legacy can be seen in the creation of the Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair and in WomEngineers Day, both of which he helped champion into existence.

Even outside of the college, VOLeaders Academy, which encourages student-athletes to use their roles to change society for the better, and the Beagle Boys Endowment at the UT Veterinary Medical Center, made in honor of their dogs to help pay for costs of those who need the services of the facility but can’t afford to pay, are lasting testaments to their love of UT.

“Eric Zeanah and his wife Elaine have both been ardent supporters of their alma mater, financially, through their actions, and through their voices,” said Dean Matthew Mench, the current Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair. “This is a richly deserved recognition of that and of the success that Eric has had through his company.”

American Accessories International works with Fortune 500 companies, including market and brand analysis, product development, material and cost analysis, and graphic design concepts.

The Dougherty 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.

It recognizes Dougherty’s success in engineering and education. Among other accolades, he was a captain of UT’s football, basketball, and track teams as a student athlete in the early 1900s, including helping start the first basketball team in school history.

Later, as a faculty member and chairman of the UT athletics board, he hired Robert Neyland as UT’s football coach, served as dean of the college from 1940–56, and served as acting SEC Commissioner in 1947. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1967.

Faculty and Staff Award Winners

Other award winners for 2022-23 include:

Pass the Torch Award

  • Ashley Nelkin

Supervisor of the Year Award

  • Tracey Mandrekas

Sidekick Salute Award

  • Carrie Zitzman

Inspirational Leadership Award

  • Amber White

Commitment to Excellence Award

  • Melanie Kelley

Commitment to Inclusive Community Award

  • Deborah Penchoff

Emerging Leader Award

  • Ashly Pearson

Circle of Excellence Teamwork Award

  • CEE Office Staff (Angela Long, Lindsi Whitaker, Lisa Smith, Dori Miller, JeNai Davis)

Outstanding Service to the College

  • Sarah Mobley

Outstanding Service in Outreach and Engagement

  • Betsy Chesnutt

Outstanding Contribution to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

  • Nicole McFarlane

Moses E. and Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professor Award

  • Caleb Rucker

Leon and Nancy Cole Teaching Award

  • Amy Biegalski

Charles E. Ferris Faculty Award

  • Xiaopeng Zhao

Teaching Fellow Awards

  • Eric Boder
  • John Schwartz
  • Laura Knight
  • Mark Barker
  • Dustin Gilbert

Professional Promise in Research Awards

  • Dustin Gilbert
  • Kate Page
  • Scott Ruoti
  • Nick Wierschem

Research Achievement Awards

  • Qiang He
  • Tony Schmitz
  • Gila Stein
  • Leon Tolbert

Translational Research Award

  • Kevin Bai