After a three and a half year stint in the Navy during WWII, Dwight Kessel came to UT, graduating in 1950 with a BS in industrial engineering. After working as an Engineer (1950-1963), he entered political office as a Knoxville City Councilman (1963-1966), as Knox County Clerk (1966-1980), and served as the first Knox County Executive (now County Mayor) from 1980-1994. His community involvement includes time with the Boy Scouts of America, the Greater Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, the Girls Club, Knox County Health Council, Development Corporation of Knox County, Juvenile Court Advisory Board, East Tennessee Foundation, and many more. He has been extensively involved with the UT National Alumni Association, serving as treasurer, secretary, vice president, and president as well as participating as a member of the scholarship committee. He also served on the UT College of Engineering Board of Advisors, and was a previous chairman of the UT Chancellor’s Associates and the UT Development Council.
The Howard P. Emerson Alumni Award recognizes alumni, friends, or former faculty of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering who exemplify the Volunteer spirit and have brought credit to the department through distinguished personal and professional accomplishments. The award honors Howard P. Emerson who served as the founding head of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, from 1947 to 1968 and is remembered for his years of unselfish and devoted service to his students and UT.