Commemorate and Celebrate

From left, Dean Kenneth F. Galloway with new Academy members Dr. André Churchwell (BS’75), Hibbett Neel (BE’63) and J. Roy Wauford Jr. (BE’52)

The 2010 Engineering Celebration Dinner attracted more than 250 alumni, parents and friends in October. Attendees included Fred J. Lewis Society members and alumni returning for Reunion festivities. Alumni in attendance covered seven decades (from 1941 to 2009), represented 12 classes reuniting during Reunion Weekend, and traveled from 22 states and as far away as Singapore.

Highlighting the evening was Dean Kenneth Galloway’s presentation of the Distinguished Alumnus Award to three accomplished graduates of the School of Engineering: André L. Churchwell (BS’75), W. Hibbett Neel Jr. (BE’63) and J. Roy Wauford Jr. (BE’52). The three became members of the school’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

Hosted by the Engineering Alumni Council and the dean, the dinner commemorated the lifelong impact of a Vanderbilt engineering education and celebrated engineering alumni, particularly Lewis Society donors and members of the Vanderbilt School of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

If you’d like to attend the 2011 dinner, join the Fred J. Lewis Society today. For more information, email alumniengineering@vanderbilt.edu or call (615) 322-4934.


Welcome New Members of the Academy of Distinguished Alumni


Dr. André L. Churchwell, BS’75

Dr. André L. Churchwell is associate professor of medicine, associate professor of radiology and radiological sciences, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and associate dean for diversity in graduate medical education and faculty affairs at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Churchwell graduated from the Vanderbilt School of Engineering magna cum laude in 1975. He won the Biomedical Engineering Student Program Award that same year. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and later completed his internship, residency and cardiology fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine and affiliated hospitals in Atlanta. In addition, he was the first African American chief medical resident at Grady Memorial Hospital (1984–1985).

Churchwell received Emory’s J. Willis Hurst Award for Best Clinical Teacher in 1991. In 2004, he was awarded the Emory University School of Medicine Resident Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. He has been named one of the nation’s top cardiologists in “The Best Doctors in America” for nine years.

Churchwell lives in Brentwood, Tenn., and is married to Doreatha Henderson Churchwell, a nurse educator at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They have two children, Crystal A. Churchwell and André L. Churchwell Jr.


Hibbett Neel, BE’63

A native of Rutherford County, Tenn., Hibbett Neel was the third generation of his family to attend Vanderbilt. After receiving his undergraduate degree in civil engineering in 1963, Neel earned a master’s degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology and served as a U.S. Army officer. In 1983, he founded Neel-Schaffer Inc., a multidisciplined engineering firm with more than 400 employees and offices throughout the Southeast and Texas.

Neel has been a member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers for more than four decades, and has received numerous awards. He was recognized in 2004 by the American Society of Civil Engineers for his work fostering diversity within the industry. In 2007, Neel received the American Council of Engi-neering Companies Community Service Award, and in 2009, the National American Public Works Association’s lifetime achievement award.

In 1992, Neel created scholarships for disadvantaged minorities at various universities and began a mentoring program for upcoming minority firms at Neel-Schaffer. He is active in community service organizations and has committed both time and resources to Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering as a member of Vanderbilt’s Engineering Alumni Council and the Lewis Society.

Neel and his wife, Susan, live in Jackson, Miss. Their six children, spouses and grandchildren live nearby.


J. Roy Wauford Jr., BE’52

J. Roy Wauford Jr. entered Tennessee Technological University in the fall of 1948. One year later, he made his only appearance on an electoral ballot after his father entered him as a candidate for the Cartmell Scholarship to Vanderbilt University. The scholarship’s recipient is decided by vote of the people of Lebanon, Tenn., and running unopposed, he won.

Wauford earned his bachelor of engineering degree, cum laude, from Vanderbilt in 1952, and began his career with D.A. Duplantier, Consulting Engineer, as a junior designer. In 1953, he joined the Tennessee Highway Department as a soils and research engineer. In 1956, Wauford formed J. R. Wauford & Co. Engineers, which specializes in environmental engineering and services related to water and wastewater projects. The company is considered among the top water supply and wastewater consulting firms in the Southeast.

Wauford is a member of Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers and served as president of the society’s Consulting Engineering Council. He is also a member of the Water Environment Federation and the American Water Works Association.

Wauford and his wife of 58 years, Lois Ann, live in Lebanon. They have four children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Academy Members in attendance at the 2010 Engineering Celebration Dinner. From left, standing: Fred Cassetty (BE’60), Don Orr (BE’56), Jim Johnson (BE’63, PhD’72), André Churchwell (BS’75), George Trabue (BE’55), Hibbett Neel (BE’63) and Ed Thackston (BE’61, PhD’66). Seated: Bill Akers (BE’47), George Cook (BE’60, PhD’65) and Roy Wauford (BE’52).

If we’d given prizes for seniority, Henry Tomlin (BE’41) and George Kalanzis (BE’41) would have won. They graduated from VUSE 69 years ago.




Ralph Jolly (BE’85) with Ron Schrimpf, Orrin Henry Ingram Chair in Engineering, and his wife, Kathy Schrimpf

Fellow members of the Class of 1963 attended to congratulate Hibbett Neel on his induction. From left, Jim Johnson (BE’63, PhD’72); Kent Shalibo (BE’63, MS’67); Neel; Wally Crow (BE’63); and Jim Zeigler (BE’63).


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