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College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis (left) presents the Dougherty Award to John D. Tickle (right).

The College of Engineering has awarded its most prestigious honor, the Nathan W. Dougherty Award, to the namesake of its new building, John D. Tickle.

The Dougherty Award, established in 1957, honors engineers whose accomplishments have enhanced the profession and alumni whose activities have brought acclaim to the university. Tickle is in the company of other award recipients such as IBM’s Mark Dean, who helped invent the first computer keyboard, and Howard Chambers, a vice president at Boeing.

“John’s amazing generosity, his continual support of and belief in the University of Tennessee and his firm commitment to higher education in this state have led to initiatives at the university that will benefit students for many generations to come,” said Wayne Davis, dean of the college.

A gift by Tickle and his wife, Ann, is supporting the college’s new John D. Tickle Engineering Building, currently under construction and set to open this fall. Another gift established the John and Ann Tickle Small Animal Hospital expansion within UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008. Tickle also has served on several UT boards, including the Athletic Board and College of Engineering’s Board of Advisors.

Tickle graduated from UT in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. He was president of Morrison Molded Fiber Glass Company in his hometown of Bristol, Virginia, before he purchased it and renamed it Strongwell in 1997. Today, Strongwell is a worldwide operation, with the Bristol division serving as its headquarters.

Tickle was recently honored with the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Composites Manufacturers Association, the composites industry’s largest trade group in the world. He was named a laureate in the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame in 2000, given the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Torchbearer Award for Western Virginia in 1999, and honored with the Heroism Award from the National Court of Honor by the Boys Scouts of America in 2012. In addition, the Mall at Bristol Regional Medical Center was named for him.

The John D. Tickle Building will house the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. A dedication ceremony will be held on Friday, Oct. 4.

The Nathan W. Dougherty Award was established by the College of Engineering to pay tribute to Nathan Washington Dougherty, dean of the college from 1940 to 1956. Dougherty’s leadership moved UT’s engineering program to national prominence. He initiated joint projects with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the US Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma, Tennessee—the location of the UT Space Institute. He also was an outstanding athlete who was named to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1967 and is credited with hiring Robert Reese Neyland as UT’s football coach in 1925.

For information about other award recipients at the college’s Faculty and staff Awards Dinner, visit the Collge of Engineering website.

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