TTU alumnus Alan Atkins endows research fund in professor's name

In college, Allen Atkins recognized the important role one key professor and mentor would play in preparing him for his career goals.
 Photo of Johnson, Atkins, Bell

Now that he has reached those goals, Atkins has created a way for his professor — and others — to continue helping students for decades to come. He and his wife, Natalie, created the Carl Ventrice Engineering Research Endowment at Tennessee Tech University in honor of his former mentor, teacher and friend. The endowment will promote research activities within TTU's College of Engineering.

"We created this program to recognize the outstanding dedication and perseverance in research and education that Dr. Ventrice demonstrated — and continues to demonstrate — to his students and the university throughout his career," Atkins said.

"His enthusiasm towards coupling research with teaching and showing genuine concern for the well being of his students played an instrumental role in developing young engineers capable of attaining any level of success," he added. "I'm just one example."

Ventrice, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, is renowned for his work and involving students in research. In December of 2001, TTU student Michael Davis Smith earned the prestigious international Myron Zucker Award for engineering research. Smith, with the support of Ventrice, his special research and design course sponsor, won the award for research on a device that could improve the public safety of watching high-definition television.

Atkins, who graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a bachelor's degree in 1971 and his Ph.D. in 1975, is now the general manager of technology for Boeing Corporation in St. Louis. He also serves on the TTU Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board.

With Atkins' gift and a 1-to-1 match from Boeing, the initial endowment will be funded at $20,000. Income from the endowment will support research activities throughout the college.

Tennessee Tech University is well known for its world-class engineering programs. The university was also ranked among the South's Top Public Schools for the second year in a row by U.S. News & World Report's 2003 America's Best Colleges publication.

Dr. Allen Atkins presents his gift to Tennessee Tech University President Bob Bell, right, and Glen Johnson, far left, dean of the TTU College of Engineering.

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