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Citadel News Service
8 Jun 2015

Citadel School of Engineering Dean named Fellow by two national organizations

Engineering faculty also recognized with industry-leading awards

The Citadel School of Engineering is celebrating a year of outstanding achievements, including the recognition of its dean by two national engineering organizations, as well as The Charleston Engineers’ Joint Council.

In June, The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) bestows the honor of Fellow to 11 engineering and engineering technology educators during the organization’s annual conference in Seattle. ASEE is a nonprofit organization founded more than a century ago to further education in all facets of engineering.

Among those receiving the honor will be the Dean of The Citadel School of Engineering, Ronald W. Welch, Ph.D., PE. An ASEE news release stated the following:

The Fellow designation is one of unusual professional distinction and conferred by the Board of Directors upon an ASEE member with outstanding and extraordinary qualifications, significant experience in engineering or engineering technology education or allied field, and contributions to ASEE.

Earlier in 2015, The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) conferred the designation of Fellow on Welch for providing dedicated and outstanding service to the organization and to military engineering. SAME has more than 30,000 members but fewer than 700 fellows. The March announcement stated the following:

He is a retired Colonel from the USA Corps of Engineers and currently serves as the Faculty Advisor for the reactivated Charleston SAME Student Chapter and current Vice-Chair (Faculty Advisor), SAME National College Outreach Committee. He is a Past Vice-President and Secretary of the West Point Post and active participant in society activities throughout the Charleston area. A 24-year member of SAME, Ron has served on numerous SAME committees. Ron is the Dean of Engineering at The Citadel where in the last four years they have nearly doubled the number of engineering students in civil and electrical engineering while increasing diversity and adding the Mechanical Engineering program and the Department of Engineering Leadership and Program Management with a focus on graduate level programs to include Program Management.

Ron’s 25-year active duty Army career included assignments as Academy Professor at The United States Military Academy and Operations and Engineering Officer for Nuevos Horizontes 1996 in El Salvador and Ecuador. His numerous contributions in leading and directing engineering education and construction activities have contributed to the strengthening of US and allied partnerships which are critical to our nation building around the world.

Additionally, Welch was named Engineer of the Year by the Charleston Engineers’ Joint Council (CEJC) in February. The annual award recognizes an engineer or scientist in the Lowcountry that demonstrated significant career development and professionalism, as well as local community leadership and outreach. The announcement stated the following:

As a 15 year member of ASCE, Dr. Welch has been a recognized leader in improving engineers teaching engineering. He has been involved in the Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd) Teaching Workshop since its inception in 1999. He is one of two non-ASCE staff personnel who have been involved each year to include 24 out of 31 of the week long workshops and over 90% of the mini-2-day ExCEEd workshops. These workshops have had over 700 faculty members from over 250 institutions attend. Dr. Welch has been a mentor, demonstration class provider, seminar presenter, and on multiple occasions the site coordinator for ExCEEd.

Welch was named dean in 2011, joining The Military College of South Carolina from leadership positions with the University of Texas at Tyler and his alma matter, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served as an engineer and educator with the U.S. Army for 25 years, retiring in 2007. Welch earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Mechanics at the academy. He received his master’s and Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois.

Faculty awards

Other engineering faculty also earned recognition for excellence during the 2014-15 academic year, including Johnston Peeples, Ph.D., PE, and head of the Department Electrical and Computer Engineering. Peeples was appointed to the South Carolina State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors by Governor Nikki Haley after being nominated by the South Carolina Council of Engineering and Surveying Societies (SCCESS) for the seat.

“I believe that the profession of public engineering must not only serve and advance society, but must also protect it. Engineering’s mandate to public welfare and safety is, in large part, the basis for licensure. I am proud to be an engineer and now to teach future engineers,” Peeples said.

Kevin Bower, Ph.D., P.E., and head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering received the D. Graham Copeland Professorship of Civil Engineering for his outstanding commitment to the industry. The professorship was started in 2014 by Paola Copeland Groverman, in memory of her father, D. Graham Copeland, who is credited for building a portion of the Florida Everglades road called the Tamiami Trail which is still in use today.

Timothy W. Mays, Ph.D., P.E., and associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering received three prestigious national awards. He was named the first recipient of the National Council of Structural Engineers Association’s Susan M. Frey Engineering Education Award. He also received the David L. Kelly Distinguished Engineer Award, a prestigious national honor given for “outstanding design contributions and leadership” in structural engineering by Tilt-Up Concrete. Mays also end place in the NCEES Engineering Award for connecting Professional Practice and Education for the incorporation of design activities into the classroom.

Additionally, Mary Katherine Watson, Ph.D. and assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was the 2015 recipient of the American Society of Engineering Education - Southeast Section's Outstanding New Teacher Award. The annual award is presented a faculty member who has less than four years of teaching experience and who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom.

“I am humbled by all of these recognitions and grateful for the attention they help bring to our programs,” said Welch. “The Citadel’s engineering program was one of the first to be founded in America. It has established a history of and commitment to excellence. That is why we have such an impressive roster of department chairs and faculty. That is also why cadets and students find extraordinary opportunities after graduating with a wealth of knowledge and capabilities.”


Welch says The Citadel School of Engineering 2015 graduates will all be employed in military or private sector engineering positions by August, or will beginning their doctoral programs, many of which are being fully-funded.

The Citadel School of Engineering is the fifth oldest in the nation and is ranked in the top 25 nationally by U.S. News and World Report. It offers undergraduate programs in civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering. A Master of Science in Project management is also available through The Citadel Graduate College, with technical electives in civil engineering, electrical engineering leadership, program management, technical project management and systems engineering management. Graduate certificates can be earned for systems engineering management, technical project management and technical program management. For more information, please call (843)-953-6499 or email

Achieving excellence in the education and development of principled leaders
Media Contact:
Kim Keelor-Parker
(843) 953-2155

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