Matthew Mench in the UT Student Union

Dean’s Message

It’s been a busy spring on Rocky Top, and as the semester draws to a close, I feel fortunate to be surrounded by a talented collection of faculty, staff, and students. Add in our 29,000 alumni world-wide, and the Tickle College of Engineering is a special place working to build a better future for all of us.

The opening of the Zeanah Engineering Complex (ZEC) and a large investment from the campus have positioned the college for a surge in the quality of our programs and impact of our research. As an initial phase, we plan to strategically invest in specific research areas that will position our faculty and students to be on the cutting edge of discovery.

I am proud to announce that the college took a major step this spring in its commitment to accessible education thanks to a planned gift of more than $10 million dollars to support the Fred D. Brown Jr. Minority Engineering Scholarship. A 1986 chemical engineering graduate, Dwight Hutchins is giving back to the college that gave him his start. This transformational gift will boost the opportunity for countless future students. We also welcomed Jeremy Kirk to the newly created position of assistant dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Another sign of the TCE’s global impact, Distinguished Professor Jack Dongarra received the 2021 A.M. Turing Award from the Association of Computing Machinery. Referred to as the Nobel Prize of computer science, the award recognizes Dongarra for his pioneering contributions which have helped pave the way for the evolution of high-performance computing and artificial intelligence.

Our students are making an impact of their own from interdisciplinary senior design teams developing ways to recycle glass and use it as a source material for 3D printing to fulfilling life-long dreams with a semester internship at NASA’s Mitchell Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.. In this issue, you will also read about graduating senior Grant Kobes and the legacy he leaves behind for future engineering students.

The college remains committed to providing the tools, education, and environment that produce outcomes that positively impact lives. That’s what engineers do—we conceive of, design, build, and maintain things which improve people’s lives. What a fantastic profession to be a part of. I remain honored to represent such an amazing college and want to thank all the alumni that have chosen to support TCE.

If you have not been back to campus lately, I welcome a visit. From robot food delivery to the new ZEC, I am sure you will see and feel the positive momentum. If you are thinking of continuing your own education, I invite you to take a look at what the TCE is offering. This fall our new online MS in Computer Science is launching, with more new programs and upgrades to existing programs to come.

I am happy to hear your ideas and recommendations to continue the growth and success of TCE in providing a world-class educational experience for our students and research which improves lives.

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