The $3 million endowed deanship is a visible affirmation of the importance of Davis’s great leadership in the academic enterprise. Since becoming interim dean in 2008 and then dean in 2009, Davis has fostered College of Engineering growth in enrollment, rankings and resources during one of the worst economic downturns the United States has ever seen.
Endowments were given by Joe and Judy Cook, Chad and Ann Holliday, John and Ann Tickle, and Eric and Elaine Zeanah. The funds will be directed by the dean to advance the college’s mission and also supply a salary stipend.
“Wayne exemplifies integrity, service, and vision with warmth and humor,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “He is admired by his faculty, staff, colleagues and supervisors. This deanship recognizes his passion and commitment while enabling him to continue the momentum of the college and university.”
During Davis’s tenure the college’s undergraduate enrollment has grown by 37 percent and its number of doctoral candidates has increased by 62 percent. Undergraduate student quality has improved, with the current class having an average 4.0 high school grade point average.
Additionally, the college has climbed higher in national esteem. U.S. News and World Report ranks it thirty-sixth for undergraduate programs and thirty-seventh for graduate programs among public universities. The new John D. Tickle Engineering Building has been built, faculty salaries and fundraising amounts have increased, and eight UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chairs professors have been appointed. Davis also strengthened the college’s relationship with ORNL and established a recurring $3 million commitment from the state.
“The beauty of the endowment is that it provides ‘forever’ generating funds on an annual basis that can be used by me or a future dean to further the mission of the college and its programs,” said Davis. “I am also deeply appreciative and humbled that the dean’s chair was named in my honor and that I will be the first dean to hold the chair.”
Davis joined the UT faculty in 1974. He is an expert in air quality and a 2002 recipient of UT’s highest honor, the Macebearer award.
The amount given to the college under the deanship will be enhanced by roughly $135,000 annually under the Chancellor’s Faculty Challenge, which funds 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.
For more information, visit the College of Engineering.
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