Clemson University’s largest college inducted four alumni into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists and celebrated two others as Outstanding Young Alumni.
Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, J. Richard Cottingham, Mike Mansuetti and Tony Mathis are the academy’s newest members. Matt Kelley and Elizabeth Sloan were honored as Outstanding Young Alumni.
The recognition comes from Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. A ceremony recognizing the honorees was held online Wednesday night to maintain safe social distancing due to COVID-19.
The academy was established to give special recognition to college alumni and friends who have made major contributions to their professions and have brought significant distinction to the college and University. It’s the college’s highest honor, one that goes to fewer than 0.2 percent of alumni.
The Outstanding Young Alumni award is reserved for graduates of the college who are 40 years old or younger and have made significant achievements to their profession or the welfare of society.
Anand Gramopadhye, the college’s dean, said all of the honorees are changing the world for the better in their own unique ways.
“The remarkable work they have done in their careers and in their communities is truly inspirational,” he said. “They are excellent ambassadors for the college, showing what is possible with a Clemson degree and a determined spirit. I congratulate each of our honorees on this well-deserved recognition.”
Below is a brief look at each honoree.
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Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists:
Blackwell-Thompson, NASA’s first female launch director, is an exceptional role model for females in STEM. She is currently leading the launch planning for NASA’s inaugural flight of the Artemis program which will return human exploration to the moon and one day on to Mars. She grew up in Gaffney and graduated from Clemson in 1988 with a degree in computer engineering. Blackwell-Thompson has received numerous awards in her distinguished career with NASA, including multiple Space Flight Awareness Team Awards, the Silver Snoopy for her work on the Hubble Space Telescope, the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Stellar Award.
Cottingham is a retired naval officer, former engineering firm president, and is still a practicing professional engineer. He is a 1966 Clemson civil engineering graduate and has a master’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has received numerous military decorations and other honors, including Clemson’s Distinguished Service Award and the DSA for service as president of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. In 2019, he was honored as Clemson’s “Hero of the Game” for his service with the Navy Seabees during the Vietnam Tet Offensive of 1968. He has supported Clemson in many areas, with a special current focus of promoting professional engineering licensure.
Mansuetti has served as president of Bosch in North America since 2012. He received his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Clemson in 1987 and joined Bosch the following year. He has held executive leadership roles in engineering, manufacturing and management in the United States and Germany. Mansuetti helps guide the college as a member of the Advisory Board and was instrumental in securing a $500,000 grant from the Bosch Community Fund to establish an endowment in perpetuity for automotive engineering fellowships aimed at diversifying the workforce.
Mathis serves as president and chief executive officer of GE Aviation’s Military Systems. He graduated from Clemson with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 1986 and later received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Fresno and an MBA from Xavier University. Mathis has been highly supportive of the University’s efforts to enhance diversity, and he has created new scholarship, research and job opportunities for students. Mathis serves on the Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors and manages the executive relationship between the University and GE. His impact is reflected in a previous honor, a 2018 Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award.
Outstanding Young Alumni:
Kelley is the president of Kelley Engineering in Piedmont. The company launched in a room above his garage in 2015 and now has over $5 million in annual sales. The company recently expanded to a second location and has a combined 26,000 square feet. Gov. Henry McMaster recognized Kelley Engineering as the Emerging Manufacturer of the Year. Anderson County Economic Development honored the firm with an Employer Impact Award. Greenville Business Magazine named Kelley among its 2020 Best & Brightest 35 and Under. Kelley received his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Clemson in 2007.
Sloan was diagnosed during her sophomore year at Clemson with rheumatoid arthritis. The experience sparked her curiosity, and she learned that the disorder can affect even children. Sloan graduated from Clemson with her Bachelor of Science in bioengineering in 2011 and then headed for UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. In 2015, she won the Eliot Goldings Award in Rheumatology, which honors UT Southwestern’s most outstanding medical student in rheumatology. She also received the Senior Resident Teaching Award during her residency, along with awards for abstracts submitted to an international and a national conference for research during her fellowship. As of summer 2020, Sloan was entering her last year of fellowship in pediatric rheumatology at UT Southwestern and was expecting to graduate next year.
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