Brown, Prescott honored with endowment, lecture series

Posted by Karen Lykins - Thursday, January 20 2011
klykins@tntech.edu
Office of Communications & Marketing

thumb_brown_prescott_huddleTwo academic legends who served Tennessee Tech University for decades celebrate 91st birthdays this year, and their contributions to the College of Engineering will be recognized with an inaugural lecture series named in their honor.

Wallace S. Prescott and James Seay Brown invested decades of service to higher education and engineering education to bring regional and national recognition to Tennessee Tech University.

"The personal and professional lives of thousands of alumni from Tennessee Tech University and the College of Engineering have been molded from and impacted by the influence of these two men," said J. Mark Hutchins, vice president for University Advancement.

On Jan. 24, the university will launch the James Seay Brown and Wallace S. Prescott Distinguished Lecture Series in Engineering. Don P. Giddens will be the inaugural speaker. Giddens serves as dean of Georgia Tech University's College of Engineering. He is also the Lawrence L. Gellerstedt Jr. Chair in Bioengineering as well as a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.

Giddens recently chaired a National Academy of Engineering project that developed a report, "Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving the Public Understanding of Engineering."

Tracy Russell, development director for TTU's College of Engineering, says the university plans to celebrate the lives and legacies of Prescott and Brown by establishing an endowment that will serve as an ongoing investment in the future leadership and faculty development in TTU's College of Engineering.

"A strong engineering program benefits the community and industrial leaders in the area," said Russell. "Contributors to the endowment will be investing in the future of our college, our community and the area's economic health.

"The endowment carries the names of two men who made their marks on this community through touching the lives of students and faculty," said Russell. "Those who choose to support this endowment will allow the Brown/Prescott legacy to continually benefit future generations."

The Prescott/Brown Legacy Endowment for Engineering and Technology Professional Development has three prongs: it will support the lecture series to serve the faculty and students of the college of engineering and the broader community by furthering discussions of key topics in the fields of engineering and technology; it will support student design competition activities; and it will provide professional development for faculty and staff.

Prescott, who graduated from TTU in 1946 and joined the faculty that same year, served Tennessee Tech for nearly 40 years as an educator and administrator. From 1962 to 1983, he was TTU's provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. Two years after retiring, he returned to serve as interim president of Tennessee Tech from 1985 to 1987. Prescott received the Distinguished Alumnus Award of Tennessee Tech in 1977 and was selected as Tennessee Tech Engineer of Distinction in 1984.

Brown served Tennessee Tech for more than 38 years as an educator and administrator. Brown joined the TTU faculty in 1941 and served as chairperson of the mechanical engineering department from 1950 to 1961. In 1961 he became dean of the College of Engineering, a position he held until 1979. As dean, Brown led the College of Engineering in receiving initial accreditation for the undergraduate programs and he also initiated the engineering graduate programs at both the master's and doctorate levels. He was selected as the Outstanding Professional Engineer for Middle Tennessee in 1972 and as Tennessee Tech Engineer of Distinction in 1981.

The public is invited to the lecture held at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 in Derryberry Hall Auditorium. A reception will follow in the Cody Executive Suite, Roaden University Center, Room 246.

For more information about the lecture or support of the endowment, contact Russell at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 931-372-3055.