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Celebrating Alumni and the Impact of the School of Engineering

Posted by on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 in Giving, Spring 2010.

More than 250 alumni, parents and friends turned out for the 2009 Engineering Celebration Dinner in October to commemorate the life-long impact of a Vanderbilt engineering education. Many of the attendees were Fred J. Lewis Society members or alumni returning to campus for Reunion Weekend.

Alumni in attendance covered a span of more than six decades (from 1941 to 2008), represented 12 reunion classes, and traveled from 22 states and as far away as Singapore.

The event was hosted by Dean Kenneth F. Galloway and the Engineering Alumni Council. It was a celebration of all engineering alumni, but particularly of Lewis Society donors (those who donate $1,000 or more each year to VUSE) and members of the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

Highlighting the evening was Dean Galloway’s presentation of the Distinguished Alumnus Award to three accomplished graduates of the School of Engineering: Carl E. Adams Jr., BE’65, MS’66; Charles E. Fields Jr., BE’68; and George E. Cook, BE’60, PhD’65, professor of electrical engineering, emeritus. As recipients of this award, all three became members of the school’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

Dean Galloway also surprised alumnus Ed Clark, BE’76, with a Dean’s Outstanding Service Award. Clark joined the school’s Committee of Visitors in 1997 and went on to serve as chair of the group. He stepped down from that role in October 2009 after serving as chair for eight years.

At the dinner, guests connected with former classmates and professors. They also interacted with current engineering students, including several scholarship recipients.

For more information on the dinner and awards, or to become a member of the Fred J. Lewis Society, contact the
Engineering Development and Alumni Relations office at (615) 322-4934.

To nominate alumni for the Distinguished Alumnus/a Award, visit


New Members of the Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Carl Adams (center) is congratulated by his daughter Kaitlin, wife Nan, Distinguished Professor of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Frank Parker and Elaine Parker.

Carl E. Adams Jr., BE’65, MS’66

Considered one of the leading international experts in industrial wastewater management, Carl Adams is a principal at Environ, an environmental consulting firm. Adams has consulted on more than 900 U.S. and foreign industrial wastewater management projects, authored more than 100 technical publications and presentations, and co-authored and edited four books and several engineering manuals. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and his master’s in environmental/water resource engineering. He later received his doctorate from the University of Texas, Austin, which has also honored him as a distinguished alumnus.

Mary Cook and Dean Galloway flank George Cook after his induction.
Mary Cook and Dean Galloway flank George Cook after his induction.

George E. Cook, BE’60, PhD’65

George Cook has had a long career with the School of Engineering. He currently serves as the associate dean for research and graduate studies and professor of electrical engineering, emeritus. Cook focused his teaching and research on robotics and industrial automation, and his work has resulted in a number of U.S. and foreign patents on robotic welding. Cook is a registered professional engineer in the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Wisconsin. He is also a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and of the American Welding Society. He was a member of the Engineering Alumni Council from 1990-1997.

 Friends and family join Charles Fields (second from left) at the induction  ceremonies.
Friends and family join Charles Fields (second from left) at the induction ceremonies.

Charles E. Fields Jr., BE’68

Charles Fields is a retired executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Co. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, he joined Exxon Co. USA in 1968 and rose through the ranks. In his 38 years with ExxonMobil—now recognized as the No.1 company on the Forbes 500 list—he held a variety of leadership positions both internationally and in the U.S. At ExxonMobil, Fields was a dedicated advocate of the Vanderbilt School of Engineering, and he remains a strong promoter of engineering education at Vanderbilt.


Enjoying the Celebration

(Top Left): Dean Galloway presents the outstanding service award to Ed Clark, BE’76, former chair of the school’s Committee of Visitors. (Top Right): Father and son alumni Tom Walters, BE’76, and Matt Walters, BE’08. (Bottom Left): Jane and Bill Coble, BE’55, with their scholarship recipient, junior Ashley Bekerman. (Bottom Right): Carolyn and Bill Featheringill, BE’64, distinguished alumnus and member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust.
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