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Hall of Fame

To be considered for inclusion in the Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering Department Hall of Fame, inductees  must have earned a degree from the UT Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, & Biomedical Engineering (MABE), or an engineering degree from another accredited engineering school or college with a sustained positive relationship with the MABE Department; have had at least ten years of engineering and/or other professional experience since earning their engineering degree; and be recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to the profession and to society by membership in honorary societies and receipt or special honors and awards from recognized national and international academic and/or industrial organizations.


Matthew Walker, III

Matthew Walker, III received his bachelor’s degree in engineering science from the University of Tennessee in 1987. He began his career with NASA as a mechanical/biomedical engineer. In 1999, he earned a PhD in cardiovascular biophysics and pharmacology from Tulane School of Medicine. Walker then spent three years as a United Negro College Fund Merck Medical Research Fellow in cardiovascular physiology and biophysics at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. From 2003–2010, he served as a senior cardiovascular researcher at Merck Research Laboratories where he led a team of pharmacology and biomarker development imaging specialists in cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, and obesity-related drug discovery efforts. At Merck, Walker also led the novel technologies adoption team and co-founded the Association of Underrepresented Minority Fellows. He co-developed the pharmaceuticals Vytorin, Januvia, and Candesartan using cardiovascular ultrasound imaging. Walker joined Vanderbilt University in 2011 and held dual appointments as professor of practice for biomedical engineering and professor of radiology and radiological sciences. He was also the associate director of VU’s Medical Innovators Development Program. The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering named him a Fellow in 2020. 


Danny D. Simmons

photo of danny simmonsDanny D. Simmons received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1973. After graduation, Simmons worked for Exxon in New Orleans as a drilling and reservoir engineer for over 3 years.

In 1976, Simmons began his career at Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc. (NSAI) as a petroleum consultant, a position he held for 26 years. He served as executive vice president of NSAI for 6 years before being named president and chief operating officer in 2008. In 1992, he opened NSAI’s Houston office where he leads a team of over 130 engineers, geologists, geophysicists, petro physicists, and analysts.

Simmons is an expert in conventional and unconventional reserves and has helped NSAI become a world leader of petroleum property analysis to industry and financial organizations and government agencies. He has worked in all the major producing basins of the US and the North Sea, as well as selected areas of Australia, Canada, China, the Middle East, Western Africa, South America, and onshore in the United Kingdom.


Thomas C. Noyes

Noyes received is BS in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1987. He is the founder and CEO of Commerce Signals and has over 20 years of experience in banking, payments, software development and product innovation. He has worked with leading banks, mobile operators, payment networks, and entrepreneurs globally to bring innovation to consumers. He has built high performance global teams that have created new products to serve both advanced markets and the rural poor. His passion is in connecting people, information and ideas in new ways to enable collaboration that benefits everyone.

After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Noyes worked for McDonnell Douglas Space Systems (NASA Houston) for 8 years where he was responsible for the space shuttle’s ascent and descent guidance. In this role he worked directly with astronauts in both evolving and testing flight software. Noyes has been a frequent guest on CNN, Fox News, and ABC as a space analyst. He has held positions at Oracle Corporation, Wachovia Corporation, and Citigroup.


Bennett Croswell

Photo of Bennett CroswellBennett Croswell received his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1979. He is the former president of Pratt & Whitney’s Military Engines—retiring in 2017 after a distinguished 38-year career with the company. As president, he oversaw development, production, and support of the company’s military offerings. He held other prominent leadership roles at Pratt & Whitney including vice president, F119 and F135 programs; vice president, Military Development Programs; and vice president, Advanced Programs & Technology. He was also a member of three Collier Trophy Award winning teams—in 2001 for the development of the Integrated Lift Fan Propulsion System for the JSF Program; 2006 for the successful fielding of the F-22 Raptor; and 2014 for the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstration.

He served on the Tickle College of Engineering Advisory Board and Board of Trustees for the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.

Katherine Van Hooser

Katherine Van Hooser received her BS in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1991. Van Hooser began her career at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1991 as a turbomachinery engineer and has held several positions during her tenure including Space Shuttle Main Engine Chief Engineer, Space Launch System Engines Chief Engineer, and Deputy Director of the Materials and Processes Laboratory. In 2016, she was promoted to Chief Engineer of Marshall Space Flight Center, where she provides technical leadership of human exploration, science, and technology programs assigned to the center.

Van Hooser has received several awards including the 2001 NASA Software of the Year Award for her role in developing user-friendly software to model turbomachinery fluid flow; 2008 NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal; 2010 Silver Snoopy Award, awarded by the astronaut corps for outstanding achievements contributing to flight safety and mission success; and 2011 NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA’s highest form of recognition awarded for contributions to NASA’s advancement of interests of the United States.


Michael C. Sawyers

Michael Sawyers received his BS in Engineering science and mechanics (biomedical engineering) from the University of Tennessee in 1979. He is the founder, president and CEO of 7Delta, Inc. He has over 35 years of diverse executive management and operational medical information technology experience in support of the Department of Defense Military Health System and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System. In 1999, Mr. Sawyers retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years of service as a Lieutenant Colonel, while serving as a Medical Information Systems Officer. He served in various levels of responsibility within the Medical Research and Development Command, Military Health Systems, and the Department of the Army’s Staff.

Sawyers was part of the University of Tennessee Minority Engineering Program (MEP) Year Group 2. He was named the 2012 Maryland Technology Entrepreneur of the Year; 2012 Minority Enterprise Advocate Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year; 2013 Small Business Administration Maryland Small Business Person of the Year; and 2013 CEO World Awards Customer-Focused CEO of the Year. He has also received several military awards.

Barry “Butch” E. Wilmore

Wilmore received his MS in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee Space Institute in 1994. He is a tenured fleet naval officer and pilot. He was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000, and has completed two missions to the International Space Station (ISS). He has logged 178 days in space and has made 4 spacewalks. In 2014, he served as commander of most of his mission aboard Expedition 41/42. He is the first person to use a 3D printer aboard the ISS, and assembled the first tool, a socket wrench, which he constructed entirely in space.

He has received numerous awards and honors including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and NASA Distinguished Service Medal. The United States Atlantic Fleet named him the “Light Attack Wing One-Pilot of the Year” in 1991 and “Strike Fighter Aviator of the Year” in 1999. He received his honorary doctorate from Tennessee Technological University in 2012, and received the Accomplished Alumni Award from the University of Tennessee in 2015.


Joel F. Bailey

joel_bailey2Bailey received mechanical engineering degrees from Purdue and Lehigh University and he joined the University of Tennessee faculty in 1949. From 1952-1973, he was head of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Program and, among many other achievements, helped establish the graduate study program at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma. His positive impact on the department and the students was immense and continues today. During his career, he also held academic positions at Lehigh University, Oregon State College, and Northwestern University. In 1967, Bailey was named an Alumni Distinguished Professor.

Howard E. Chambers

HowardChambers received his BS in mechanical engineering from UT in 1964. He retired from The Boeing Company in 2011 after holding several positions within the company including vice president and deputy program manager of the 787 Commercial Airplane Program and vice president and general manager of Space and Intelligence Systems for Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems. Chambers was Chairman of the Board of Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc., Chairman of the Board and CEO of Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Spectrolab, Inc. He received the 2002 Amelia Earhart Award for mentoring and was the 2009 recipient of the Nathan Dougherty Award. In 2015, he received the University of Tennessee Alumni Service Award partly for his service on the College of Engineering Board of Advisors.

Kimberly S. Greene

Kim2Greene received her BS in engineering science and mechanics from UT in 1988. She began her engineering career at Southern Company in 1991 where she ascended to many leadership roles including vice president of finance and treasurer. In 2007, she joined TVA where she served as chief financial officer, executive vice president of financial services, and chief risk officer. She returned to Southern Company in 2013 as president and CEO of Southern Company Services. In 2014, she was named chief operating officer and executive vice president of Southern Company.

Greene serves on the advisory boards of the University of Tennessee College of Engineering and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering. She is a member of the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame; a recipient of the University of Tennessee Distinguished Alumni Award; named Top 25 Power Women to Watch by Atlanta Woman Magazine; and named Power Gen’s 2015 Woman of the Year.

Inaugural Class-2015

Rinehart S. Bright

KMBT_C284e-20150318112914Rinehart Bright received his BS in mechanical engineering in 1936. He worked his way through college by shoveling coal to help heat residence halls on campus. Bright had a career that spanned more than 25 years at Chrysler Corporation. His profession had him designing and manufacturing automobiles in New Orleans, Indiana, and Detroit. According to a 1958 article in Fortune Magazine, he was called in to be the “Chief Cost Cutter” to help save Chrysler from the 1957 recession which resulted in losses of over 56% in sales. His efforts resulted in a tremendous rebound and a fundamental shift in how auto companies built their cars across platforms. He helped pioneer the practice of interchangeability in parts across makes and model lines, a practice that led to huge savings and continues with all major automakers today. He retired as vice president of Chrysler in 1977. Bright was the 1974 recipient of the Nathan W. Dougherty Award and served on the university’s Development Council. He passed away in 2006.

Henry W. Hartsfield

Henry-Hartsfield in spacesuitHenry “Hank” Hartsfield received his MS in engineering science in 1971. He was UT’s first astronaut, earning selection in 1969. He served as commander of space shuttle Discovery’s maiden mission and flew on three shuttle flights. After his final shuttle flight, Hartsfield served in a number of NASA administrative posts including director of the Technical Integration and Analysis Division at NASA headquarters. He won NASA Distinguished Service Medals in 1982 and 1988; NASA Space Flight Medals in 1982, 1984, and 1985; the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1988; and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2006 with more than 480 hours spent in space. Hartsfield passed away in 2014.

Interview: NASA Johnson Space Center Henry W. Hartsfield Oral History Interviews

Richard Rosenberg

RosenbergRichard “Dick” Rosenberg received his BS in mechanical engineering in 1954. He worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Westinghouse, and General Atomic in the course of his career and was a member of several mechanical engineering societies. Rosenberg was president of the national American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) from 1987-1988 and received both the Dedicated Service Award and Centennial Medallion from the group in 1988. He was named San Diego Engineer of the Year in 1988. In 2003, Rosenberg was named Honorary Member of ASME for his contributions to the engineering profession, an honor bestowed upon only 350 people since its inception in 1880. He passed away in 2017.

Video: Dick Rosenberg Hall of Fame acceptance speech

William T. Snyder

William SnyderWilliam “Bill” Snyder received his BS in mechanical engineering in 1954. After receiving his PhD from Northwestern, he joined the University of Tennessee Space Institute as a professor of aerospace engineering in 1964. He returned to Knoxville as head of the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department in 1970. He served as dean of the UT College of Engineering from 1983 to 1992 before becoming chancellor of the University, a role he held until 2001. Snyder was the 2001 recipient of the Nathan W. Dougherty Award and the 1989 recipient of the University of Tennessee National Alumni Association Public Service Award.