Hall of Fame

2013 Engineering Hall of Fame inductees Don Vaughn, Dale York, and Larry Benefield (not pictured: Jim Carroll)

In its 25th year, the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame honors the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of individuals, corporations, institutions and projects that bring significant recognition to the state. In February, seven new individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame – five of whom are Auburn Engineering alumni who have served as outstanding representatives for the college. They include Larry D. Benefield of Auburn; James H. Carroll Jr. of Tampa; James M. Hoskins of Reston, Va.; Donald W. Vaughn of Montgomery; and Dale York of Birmingham.

Larry D. Benefield earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn in 1966. He then spent four years as a civil engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Vietnam. Benefield obtained his master’s degree in environmental engineering in 1972 from Auburn, then earned his doctoral degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1975.

Benefield has an international reputation for his research and applications in biological treatment processes and, in particular, biological nutrient removal. He has served as the principal author of three highly regarded texts in the environmental engineering field and has published 41 refereed publications and 77 other publications and technical presentations. He holds professional engineering licenses in Virginia, Alabama and Colorado.

Benefield returned to Auburn as an associate professor of civil engineering in 1979 and later served as the college’s interim associate dean for research and associate dean for academics. In 1998, he was named interim dean of the college, and was appointed dean in 2000. As dean, he spearheaded a number of significant advances, attracting the attention of peer institutions and moving Auburn Engineering to the highest rankings in its history. In addition, the college successfully completed a $154 million facility enhancement program and launched the nation’s first undergraduate degree in wireless engineering.

Partnering with the College of Business, Benefield established the Business-Engineering-Technology Program, which integrates engineering, business and management practice for engineering and business undergraduates. He was also instrumental in establishing the Minority Engineering Program, now the Alabama Power Academic Excellence Program, to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities and women in engineering.

Under his leadership, the college saw its undergraduate program rise as high as 28th in the nation and graduate program rise to 40th among public institutions, as well as a ranking in the top 50 in research expenditures in each of the past six years. Benefield oversaw the opening of Auburn’s MRI Center and played a pivotal role in the launch of the Auburn University Huntsville Research Center. Benefield retired in 2012 after more than 30 years with Auburn Engineering.

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