Kenneth James Monty, founding head of the Department of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology, passed away May 23. He was 85.
A memorial service for him will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.
Monty came to UT in 1963 and brought a unique focus on research and teaching to the newly created department, which began with five faculty members and an emphasis on graduate education. Through his guidance and vision, the department evolved and today has twenty-seven faculty members, fifty-four graduate students, and over 400 undergraduates. He served as coordinator of the life sciences from 1973 to 1984 and oversaw the design and construction of the Walters Life Sciences Building on the UT campus.
In the early 1990’s, then-UT president Lamar Alexander appointed Monty to head the Governor’s School for the Sciences at UT and to also serve as the founder and head of the Academy for Teachers of Science and Mathematics. More than 600 administrators and teachers completed the Teacher’s Academy during his tenure as director. He was instrumental in creating the UT Office of Special Programs and served as the director of the Tennessee State Science Olympiad and the Academic Decathlon. He retired from UT in 2004.
Throughout his UT career, Monty was a dedicated advisor to students, teachers, and administrators and a champion for excellence in education. In 2014, he organized and established an annual Biochemistry Alumni Graduate Award recognizing a graduate student for combined excellence in both research scholarship and teaching.
Monty was preceded in death by Barbara H. Monty, his wife of sixty-one years, his parents Leo J. and Evelyn Monty, and brother Richard A. Monty. He is survived by daughter Melissa L. Monty and son Stuart J. Monty; granddaughters Lisa Adams, and Kristina Caldwell and her three children; sister-in-law Margaret Monty; brother-in-law Frederick Vesely, Sr.; nephews Frederick Vesely, Jr., and Michael Vesely, and other extended family.
In lieu of flowers, tax deductible contributions may be made to the UT Foundation. Please specify it is for the Biochemistry Alumni Graduate Assistant Endowment and send to Don Eisenberg, 137 Alumni Memorial Building, Knoxville, TN 37996 or give online. Donations also may be made to Mobile Meals of Knoxville by calling 865-524-2786 or by giving online.