Former Prof Gives $1.5 M to Create Civil Eng. Chair

Endowed chair is first for School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Georgia Tech Emeritus Professor Stephen L. Dickerson and his wife, Jane, have provided $1.5 million to create the first endowed chair to reside in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) pending final approval from the Board of Regents, named the Frederick R. Dickerson Chair in honor of his late father.

The Frederick R. Dickerson Chair is intended to serve as the foundation for major CEE research and education efforts in urban transportation systems, particularly the application of advanced communications and computing to facilitate congestion reduction and energy efficiency. The Chair's research will help alleviate traffic and air pollution through real-time communications and data processing that enhances public transit, ride-sharing systems and car rentals.

"A great father and mother, the benefit I received from association with Georgia Tech and the desire to contribute to resolving a significant problem all motivated our gift to Tech," Dickerson said.

Although Dickerson's research as a professor in Tech's School of Mechanical Engineering was in manufacturing automation, he has experience in the field of transportation. He served a year with the office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation, started a successful bus and vanpool service in metro Atlanta in 1975 and once taught the graduate urban transportation course in civil engineering.

Dickerson's long history of philanthropy and service at Georgia Tech includes serving as an Alumni Association trustee. He is a member of the Phoenix Club, the Presidents' Council and the Hill Society, and also regularly contributes to the Machine Vision Fund within the School of Mechanical Engineering. In December 2004, he was awarded the Honorary Alumnus Award from the Georgia Tech Alumni Association for his work as a non-alumnus on behalf of the greater good of Georgia Tech. He holds several patents that have been the basis for Georgia Tech spin-off companies in robots and machine vision for manufacturing applications.

"The establishment of the Frederick R. Dickerson Chair is a significant step for the school," states Joseph B. Hughes, CEE chair. "To continue to compete at the highest levels and solve the world's largest infrastructure problems, we need to have endowments in place that allow innovative faculty to work with their students on asking new questions and creating new solutions. Steve Dickerson is a shining example of an academic who utilized creative thinking to create success through the formation of patents and companies. Whoever steps in as the Frederick R. Dickerson Chair can learn a lot from looking at Steve's experiences."