ABET Fellow Award

2020 ABET Fellow Award recipients, from left: Ronald J. Bennett, Patricia Brackin, Jeffrey W. Fergus and Donna S. Reese.

About the Award

Every ABET Expert promotes confidence in technical education. But those who truly embrace the power of our work and have a clear impact are named ABET Fellows.

The distinction of ABET Fellow is an honor that recognizes individuals that surpass normal expectation by dedicating notable time and effort to achieving our endeavors.

2020 Winners

Ronald J. Bennett

For contributions to training ABET evaluators and trainers, facilitating leadership development of ABET volunteers and serving as a member of the EAC Executive Committee.

Ronald J. Bennett is 3M Thwaits Fellow and Professor Emeritus for the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas. He holds a B.S. degree in math and physics from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in metallurgical engineering from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from the College of St. Thomas. He worked in electronics, medical device and knowledge industries for 25 years before joining academia. Bennett provided leadership in the development of the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas and became its Founding Dean. He has led the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Center for Education and the Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Wyoming.

Bennett’s academic focus has been on the development of engineers as leaders. He has conducted presentations, held workshops, published conference papers, written a text and produced a web site on this subject. He was Co-PI of an NSF-ATE sponsored three-year training program on leadership for faculty, particularly for Engineering Technology Programs. He is a founding member of the ASEE Engineering Leadership Development Division.

Bennett has volunteered with the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET since 2001, participating in 18 national and international evaluation teams, and served as editor for 33 institution reviews. He has served as a PEV, EAC commissioner, EAC executive committee member, member of the Engineering Area Delegation, and on the Board of Delegates, where he serves on the governance and strategic goal steering committees. Bennett has been a support facilitator for Program Evaluator Candidate (PEVC) training since 2014.


Patricia Brackin

For shepherding the development and approval of EAC criteria changes, training ABET volunteers and facilitating workshops for institutional representatives and serving on the AC Training Committee and EAC Executive Committee.

Reading The Manhattan Project prompted Patricia Brackin to select Nuclear Engineering as her undergraduate major — much to the surprise of her family. After receiving a B.S. and M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee, she joined Chicago Bridge and Iron. As a new engineer, she was required to learn about all aspects of the company, including learning to machine, weld, draft, work construction and design. She left Chicago Bridge and Iron to enter full-time teaching and later went back to Georgia Tech for her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. She became a Program Evaluator after encouragement from her mentor, Bill Wepfer, and has also served as Team Chair, a member of the EAC Executive Committee, a table facilitator at ABET PEVC training, Chair of the Criteria Committee and as Vice-Chair of Operations. She helped lead the development and approval of the new C3-C5 criteria and has given numerous presentations and workshops for ABET. She is a licensed professional engineer and a Fellow of ASME.

She currently is a Professor and Director of Engineering Design at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. In her free time, she loves playing with her granddaughters — especially pretending to be various animals for their amusement.


Jeffrey W. Fergus

For leadership ensuring high-quality training of Program Evaluators and Team Chairs, a smooth transition to the new engineering criteria and laying the foundation for virtual visits within the EAC.

Jeffrey W. Fergus is the associate dean for undergraduate studies and program assessment and a professor of materials engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University. He received a B.S. degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Alabama.

Fergus has more than 35 years of experience with research in high-temperature and electrochemical application of materials. This includes the degradation of materials in high-temperature systems, such as gas turbine engines and solid oxide fuel cells. He has also worked on materials for batteries, thermoelectric generators and chemical sensors.

Fergus began his service to ABET in 2003 as a Program Evaluator for The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS), which he represented on the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) beginning in 2008. He subsequently joined the EAC Executive Committee and served as Chair of the EAC for the 2019-20 cycle. Fergus also has served as a support and lead facilitator for face-to-face program evaluator training since 2011.

Fergus has served in leadership roles in other professional societies including serving on the board of directors for TMS and for the Electrochemical Society (ECS). He is a fellow of ECS and served as Editor of ECS Transactions from 2013-2020. He also has served as chair of the High Temperature Materials Division of ECS and the Graduate Studies Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).


Donna S. Reese

For sustained contributions to STEM education and gender diversity, and leadership in improving ABET accreditation processes and operations across all commissions.

Donna S. Reese holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Texas A&M University, all in computer science. She served on the faculty in the Computer Science & Engineering Department at Mississippi State University from 1989-2017. During her tenure at MSU, she served as System Software Thrust leader for MSU’s NSF Engineering Research Center for Computational Field Simulation, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the Bagley College of Engineering and Head of the Computer Science and Engineering Department. Reese was recognized by the National Association for Academic Advising for outstanding advising and as a John Grisham Master Teacher, MSU’s premier teaching award. Reese is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Reese has volunteered with the CAC of ABET since 2005 as a Program Evaluator for Computer Science and Software Engineering. She served on the Executive Committee of CAC, including serving as Chair of CAC for 2017-18. She has also served as a support and lead facilitator for Program Evaluator Training since 2015. Reese is currently vice-president for CSAB, which serves as the lead society for computing education within ABET.

Award Benefits

Fellow award winners will be recognized at the 2020 ABET Awards program in the fall of 2021. Fellows will also be featured on our website and social media pages, as well as recognized in a press release.

The Nomination Kit

The ABET Fellow Award, like all other ABET Awards, is given to a nominee selected by his or her peers. To learn more about the process and criteria involved, or to nominate one of your peers, download and review the nomination kit below. The deadline for nominations is April 20, and only complete nominations with references will be accepted.

Download Nomination Kit

Past Recipients

Wayne R. Bergstrom, Scott C. Dunning, Jeffrey R. Keaton, Ann Lee Kenimer, Kenneth E. Martin
Walter W. Buchanan, Mohammad H. Hosni, Stan Thomas
David B. Beasley, Harold C. Grossman, John Andrew Orr, K.J. (Jamie) Rogers, John J. Sammarco
Peter J. Carrato, Bret M. Clausen, Allen Parrish, Sarah A. Rajala
Karan L. Watson, Winston F. Erevelles
Douglas R. Bowman, David P. Kelly
Barbara A. Price, Carol A. Richardson
Warren R. Hill, Patrick J. Walsh, William J. Wepfer
Henry R. Bauer, III, Gerald Engel, Michael S. Leonard, Gayle Yaverbaum
Daniel J. Bradley, Robert L. Cannon, William E. Kelly
Richard O. Anderson, Lawrence G. Jones, Arthur L. Price, Kay G. Schulze, Mary Leigh Wolfe
Mario J. Gonzalez, Daniel B. Hodge, Robert M. Laurenson, Carl J. McHargue, Mark A. Pagano
Della T. Bonnette, Phillip E. Borrowman, Daina M. Briedis, Susan O. Schall, A. Joseph Turner
Patricia D. Daniels, Robert A. Herrick, David K. Holger, Doris K. Lidtke
Susan E. Conry, Larry A. Kaye, Larry D. Nixon, Stuart H. Zweben
Theodore A. Bickart, David E. Hornbeck, C.R. “Chuck” Pennoni
E. Franklin Hart
W. David Baker, Joseph L. Sussman
Carl D. Avers, William G. Howard, James R. Welty
Donald K. Anderson, Fred W. Emshousen,Ira D. Jacobson, Stanley I. Proctor
M. Dayne Aldridge, Joseph A. Glad, Richard C. Seagrave
Robert English, Jay Goldman
Edward A. Parrish, Sam H. Wainwright, John A. Weese
William S. Clark, James D. McBrayer, Elinor S. Pape, Christian E. G. Przirembel
John T. Christian, Larry R. Foulke, Allen I. Ormsbee, Robert E. Schmidt, Richard F. Strickland
L. Bryce Andersen, Eleanor Baum, Francis J. Cashin, Demetrius T. Paris, Lee W. Saperstein
Jerrier A. Haddad, Raymond F. Neathery, Arnold M. Peskin, George D. Peterson, Winfred M. Phillips
Leslie F. Benmark, John W. Enell, Durward R. Huffman, Robert H. Page, V. Thomas Rhyne, Roland E. Thomas
Frank E. Cotton, Robert L. Echols, Sr., L.S. “Skip” Fletcher, Albert T. Kersich
Robert R. Furgason, Robert D. Kersten, Ralph A. Morgen, David R. Reyes-Guerra, Lawrence J. Wolf
George C. Beakley, Stephen R. Cheshier, C.B. Gambrell, Edwin C. Jones, J.B. Jones, Russel C. Jones, Harriet B. Rigas, Robert L. Seale, Leighton E. Sissom, David R. Wilder
Paul Allmendinger, Robert B. Beckmann, Stanley M. Brodsky, George Burnet, Richard G. Cunningham, Richard P. D’Onofrio, E. Leon Dunning, Edward W. Ernst, Richard Forberg, Lyman L. Francis, Gordon H. Geiger, Donald W. Gentry, Joseph J. Gershon, Richard Grace, Linton E. Grinter, Arnold J. Gully, Carl Hall, Newman A. Hall, Walter Hartung, Richard R. Hazen, W. Scott Hill, Charles V. Kirkpatrick, James G. Knudsen, Melvin R. Lohmann, Hugh E. McCallick, Gordon H. Millar, James H. Mulligan, Jr., Gene M. Nordby, Irene C. Peden, Kenneth G. Picha, John W. Prados, Robert L. Reid, Paul E. Russell, Leo W. Ruth, William M. Sangster, Robert M. Saunders, Walter E. Thomas, James P. Todd, Richard J. Ungrodt, David A. VanHorn, Leland J. Walker, Ernst Weber, Ronald J. Williams, Robert L. Young