ALUMNI RECEIVE DISTINGUISHED HONORS
The Herff College of Engineering Alumni, Theopolis Holeman (BSET’ 71) and Bobby Wharton (BSET’ 75), were honored with the University of Memphis Alumni Association’s highest
Holeman (BSET’ 71), who was named Outstanding Alumnus in 2008 by the Herff College
of Engineering was honored with the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award. He is group vice
president of U.S. operations for Spectra Energy, one of North America’s leading natural
gas infrastructure companies serving three key links in the natural gas value chain:
gathering and processing, transmission and storage, and distribution.
Theopolis Holeman accepts the Herff College Distinguished Alumni Award.
Holeman formerly served as senior vice president of power delivery for Duke Energy,
one of the largest electrical power companies in the nation. Holeman has been recognized
as one of the “Top 75 Most Powerful Black Executives in the U.S.” by Black Enterprise magazine. He earned his bachelor’s degree in construction technology from the U of
M in 1971 and later a master’s degree in business administration from the University
of Houston. He has also completed the Stanford Executive Program.
Wharton (BSET’ 75) was the 2010 recipient of the J. Millard Smith Illustrious Service
to the Alumni Association Award. Wharton, president and owner of G & W Diesel Inc.
and co-owner of Pro-Fire Equipment, personifies what it means to a “True Blue Tiger.”
He has generously contributed to professorships in the Herff College of Engineering
for almost 10 years. His commitment provides foundational support annually for an
outstanding professor in that field.
Wharton is the former president of the University of Memphis National Alumni Association
and currently serves on the Herff College’s Alumni Board. Wharton also served as the
president of the Highland Hundred and TOM II's caretaker. In 2006, he was honored
with the True Blue Tradition Award, which is awarded annually by the Alumni Association
to those who have made significant contributions to creating and continuing the traditions
of the U of M. When asked why he does so much for the University of Memphis, Wharton
remarked, “ I would not be where I am today without my University education, and for
that I owe it a debt of gratitude.”
President Shirley Raines congratulates Wharton, the 2010 Milllard Smith Illustrious
Service to the Alumni Association Award.
OUTSTANDING ALUMNUS AWARD
The Herff College of Engineering Alumni Chapter proudly named Ron Driggers (BEE’ 84, MS’ 86, PhD’ 90) as this year’s Outstanding Engineering Alumnus. Dr. Driggers
was honored at the annual awards program held on March 16. Through his leadership
positions at NVESD, the Army Research Labs (ARL), and his current position at the
Office of Naval Research (ONR), Dr. Driggers has helped direct numerous projects worth
millions of research dollars for the Herff College of Engineering. He is a prolific
technical author with hundreds of journal publications and has served as an editor
for two premier journals in optical science. Over the past three years, he has co-authored
more than a dozen papers with professors at the University or graduates of the University
and, therefore, amplifies the value of the engineering program at the University of
LINDNER RECEIVES EMINENT FACULTY AWARD
Dr. Erno Lindner, a distinguished professor of biomedical engineering, received the $20,000 Willard
R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award.
The Sparks Eminent Faculty Award recognizes exceptional and sustained contributions
to scholarly-creative achievement, teaching and service, and for bringing recognition
to the University.
Lindner, a native of Hungary, is the R. Eugene Smith Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
He has assembled an outstanding laboratory research group and has compiled an impressive
record of achievements in the fields of chemical sensor and biomedical engineering.
His research is associated with such diverse aims as the early diagnosis of heart
attacks and the precise delivery of the potent anesthetic drug propofol.
His research is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, and he
works closely with research partners from the University, the city, the nation, and
the world. His colleagues describe him as the “model of the ideal academic. ” Lindner
has launched many of his students into prestigious careers in engineering and science.
His work is cited in scientific papers hundreds of times a year. Last year he was
honored with the U of M Alumni Association Distinguished Research Award for achievement
in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics.