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Pictured, left to right: UCOR's Bob Smith, Leo Sain, Cathy Hickey, Veronica O'Hearn and Ken Rueter with Jason Hayward in Hayward's lab.

A major gift from Department of Energy (DOE) contractor UCOR has established the UCOR faculty fellowship in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Engineering. This gift heeds Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek’s challenge to private supporters to help recruit and retain UT’s most talented faculty.

UCOR (URS |CH2M Oak Ridge LLC), the DOE’s cleanup contractor for the Oak Ridge Reservation, is donating $250,000 toward the fellowship. The first recipient of the faculty fellow award is Jason Hayward, an assistant professor in the college’s Department of Nuclear Engineering. Hayward is a top recipient of external research awards in the department, which is the ninth-ranked graduate program in the nation, according to US News and World Report.

Pictured, left to right: UCOR's Bob Smith, Leo Sain, Cathy Hickey, Veronica O'Hearn and Ken Rueter with Jason Hayward in Hayward's lab.

Leo Sain, UCOR’s president and project manager, announced the fellowship on Friday, June 29, at the East Tennessee Economic Council meeting in Oak Ridge.

“Faculty like Dr. Hayward make valuable contributions to the world with their research and provide an outstanding educational experience for our talented students,” Cheek said. “The generosity of friends, alumni and businesses like UCOR enable us to recognize outstanding young faculty and keep them at UT. The energy and enthusiasm of faculty like Dr. Hayward propel us toward becoming a Top 25 university.”

Funding to recruit and retain top faculty is part of the chancellor’s roadmap to achieve Top 25 status. Through the Chancellor’s Faculty Challenge, his office will fund interest income immediately on all new gifts and five-year pledges that donors intend to establish over a period of time in support of faculty. By providing immediate endowment income to be used for salary support, the chancellor is enabling academic units like the College of Engineering to have an immediate impact in recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty. The challenge officially began July 1, 2011, and so far $2.8 million has been raised.

“Dr. Hayward is one of our most successful young faculty members,” said Wayne Davis, dean of College of Engineering. “Not only has he received funding to support his research and students, he is also an excellent advisor and mentor. He is a perfect example of why the faculty challenge is such an important investment in the future of the university. We are fortunate that UCOR’s leaders understand the leveraging power of a named endowed faculty fellow in helping us to recognize outstanding faculty and increase our visibility.”

Since arriving in 2008, Hayward has been awarded more than $7 million in research funding. With these funds, his group has focused on research in areas of detector science and development of gamma ray and neutron imaging for applications in nuclear security, neutron scattering science, and medical imaging.

Because of his successful research related to the detection and identification of nuclear materials and its applications to nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards, the world will continue to become safer in a more economical way, Davis said.

Hayward holds a joint faculty position with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He received his PhD in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan in 2007.

UCOR established this fellowship because it is committed to doing its part to ensure continued excellence in education in the nuclear field.

“By establishing this endowed faculty award at UT, we hope to give students the opportunity to study under the best professors in nuclear education in the College of Engineering,” Sain said. “Quality education in the nuclear field is absolutely critical to the pipeline of future nuclear workers for UCOR and companies similar to ours.”

UCOR is a partnership between URS, a worldwide leader in environmental work, and CH2M HILL, the United States’ largest environmental company. UCOR is committed to the long-term success of cleanup operations at the DOE Oak Ridge Reservation and also performs work at other DOE Oak Ridge Reservation sites. For more information about UCOR, visit

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,