The late Everett Derryberry, who served as Tennessee Tech's president for 34 years, established this annual award upon his retirement. Derryberry's criteria called for the award to be given "to a senior who has exhibited scholastic attainment arising out of moral and intellectual integrity; successful campus activity where participation indicates a commitment to good citizenship, interest in one's fellow persons, and instincts for leadership; and physical vigor as shown by fondness for and success in sports."
Channell, the son of Wesley and Connie Channell of Loudon, graduated from Loudon County High School. He has maintained a 4.0 grade point average at Tennessee Tech where he received several scholarships, including the TTU Academic Scholarship, the Sheila Milsapps Memorial Scholarship and Eastman Chemical Co.'s Co-op Scholarship.
Outstanding academic performance led to Channell's memberships in Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society; Pi Tau Sigma, a mechanical engineering honor society; Kappa Mu Epsilon, a mathematics honor society; and Phi Kappa Phi, a national interdisciplinary honor society.
While pursuing his degree, Channell contributed leadership to the university by serving on the TTU Residence Hall Association and holding membership in the TTU College Republicans and Campus Crusade for Christ.
In sports, Channell participated and refereed in intramural sports, including soccer and softball. He also volunteers as a soccer coach and referee for young boys and girls. He was a member of Kingsport's 1997 Fun Fest Silver Medal soccer team and placed second in the 1997 St. Thomas Aquinas 5K Road Race.
Working on his Eastman Chemical Co. co-op engineering assignments, Channell served as a plant engineer, a staff engineer and process engineer. After his graduation in August, 1998, he will accept his commission in the United States Navy in Pensacola, Fla., where he will begin flight school training. Following his Navy service, Channell hopes to enter NASA's astronaut training program.
The Derryberry Award selection process involves soliciting campus nominations from every department, school, college and administrative division as well as from Student Government Association Executive Officers. Of this year's 26 nominees, six finalists were interviewed.The other finalists were Jennifer D. Adams, a chemistry major from Lawrenceburg; Virginia R. Chaffin, an accounting major from Cleveland; Carmen D. Jennings, a multidisciplinary studies major from Decatur; William G. Worthington, a nursing major from Cookeville and Marc A. Via, a mechanical engineering major from Decherd.