The Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering at UT is welcoming its third hall of fame class with a look back and up—way up.
Michael Sawyers, a 1979 graduate in engineering science and mechanics (biomedical engineering), and astronaut Barry Wilmore, who earned his master’s degree in aviation systems in 1994, are the two newest inductees. With their addition, the total number of honored alumni is nine.
“Both Michael and Barry have made a tremendous impact on their fields, and we are pleased to be able to honor them,” said department head Matthew Mench.
Wilmore spent a total of 178 days in space, including a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station in 2014.
He became the first person to use a 3-D printer in space during that flight, using it to construct a socket wrench that was the first object ever built entirely in space.
Wilmore also gained fame during the mission for having the SEC Network installed on the space station so he wouldn’t miss Tennessee games.
Wilmore’s other prestigious honors have included the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. He was named Light Attack Wing One-Pilot of the Year in 1991 and Strike Fighter Aviator of the Year in 1999.
UT honored him with an Accomplished Alumni Award in 2015.
Sawyers was the founder, president, and CEO of 7Delta, which was a supplier of technological services to governmental and business contractors, particularly those related to veterans’ services.
His company worked with the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs for more than 35 years before being acquired by ManTech Health.
Sawyers retired from the US Army as a lieutenant colonel in 1999.
The two will be honored at Thursday’s awards banquet at the Foundry on the World’s Fair site, where Wilmore will deliver a keynote address.
Joshua Dobbs, an aerospace engineering major and former starting quarterback at UT during the last four seasons, will also receive an honor at the event
David Goddard (865-974-0683, firstname.lastname@example.org)