College of Engineering Launches Leadership Program

J-Michael-StoneThe College of Engineering recently took another step forward by creating the J. Michael Stone Engineering Professional Practice Leadership Program.

Named for Stone, a 1963 alumnus of the college, the program will be set up to facilitate growth in leadership skills for students participating in the engineering cooperative education program.

“We recognize that learning leadership skills is a major component for their future success,” said Wayne Davis, dean of the college. “By beginning that development their freshman year and expanding it when opportunities and challenges arise, we believe that we can help them be prepared professionally as well as scholastically.”

The program is not the first time that Stone has helped his alma mater.

Stone, owner of Blue Water Partners LLC, established the Prados Scholarship in honor of Professor Emeritus John W. Prados of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. It awards $12,500 annually to two students who are chemical engineering majors and business minors who have participated in the co-op program.

Stone’s latest way of giving back was announced at the college’s scholarship luncheon, where Davis presented him with an award to honor his commitment.

“The lessons I learned at UT, both in the classroom and on co-op work assignments, have guided my success and are still with me today,” said Stone. “The College of Engineering has always given students a good foundation, but being able to take that next step and introduce leadership skills will make it even stronger.”

The program is run through the Office of Engineering Professional Practice, which helps students find paid co-op and internship positions. The funding will provide tools and resources for students to use while they are out on co-op assignments in addition to leadership development activities that will be available once they return to campus.

Those opportunities have long been seen as vital to the development of engineering students by allowing them to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom.

Stone has long been a proponent of students continuing their learning experience in business, finance, and leadership after graduation to prepare them for advancement throughout their careers. Adding a leadership development program at the undergraduate level was the next logical step.

“Being able to provide leadership development tools to students on their co-op assignment can greatly enhance the practical skills they are learning,” according to Todd Reeves, director of UT’s Engineering Professional Practice program. “His generosity will allow us to instill this concept of lifelong learning at a critical point.”

Held annually to put the spotlight on scholarship winners in the college and give them the opportunity to meet the people who established their scholarships and endowments, this year’s event included several members of a freshman class with an average 4.0 GPA and 30 ACT score.

All told, there are 800 scholarship winners in the college, accounting for $1.4 million in awards.

C O N T A C T :

David Goddard (865-974-0683, david.goddard@utk.edu)