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In Memoriam

Carl McHargue received the MSE Wall of Fame award, presented by Veerle Keppens and Roberto Benson.

Carl McHargue, center, receives the MSE Wall of Fame award. It was presented by Department Head Veerle Keppens, left, and Associate Department Head Roberto Benson.

By Director Claudia Rawn

Carl J. McHargue, 1926–2022

The Center for Materials Processing (CMP) lost its longtime advocate and champion when Carl J. McHargue passed away on February 27, 2022.

The initial response to Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) proposing the Center for Materials Processing is attributed to Joseph Sprueill in 1985, the same year he was appointed the UT Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) department head. Once established, Joseph C. Danko served as the first CMP director until the early 1990s. Although there is a gap in records, the CMP Annual report in 1995 lists Carl McHargue as the CMP Director, and he served in this capacity until 2012. When he accepted the appointment, he was retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and did not expect to remain the CMP director for the next seventeen years. In addition to serving as director of the CMP, he remained an active member of MSE by teaching classes, supervising graduate students, serving on countless committees, and participating in professional societies and their annual meetings. Carl’s outstanding scientific and service contributions were recognized by awards and being a fellow of several professional societies. Of special importance to his contributions to the college of engineering, Carl was active with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the organization that accredits college and university programs in various disciplines, including engineering programs at the bachelor’s degree levels, and was recognized as a Fellow of ABET in 2008. For his many significant contributions, Carl was recognized by MSE as the third recipient of the MSE Wall of Fame (2018), which is intended to honor those that have significantly contributed to the department.

As the director of the CMP immediately following Carl’s tenure, I often reflect on Carl’s impact on my career through his belief in me. Carl cared about the CMP and its future and continued on as the director well into his 80’s, at which point he found someone he felt would be as responsible as he had been over the years. I started as associate director on January 1, 2012, and became the director on July 1, 2012, with Carl staying on through October to produce the 2012 CMP Annual Report. After his retirement as the CMP director, he stayed active as an unpaid consultant, meeting with me periodically when I would seek advice and draw on his years of experience. He was an amazing person and scientist.

Roberto S. Benson, 1940–2022

Roberto Benson, born in Panama, earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Panama. In 1970, he received a scholarship to study in the United States, culminating in a PhD from Florida State University in Physical Chemistry of Polymeric Materials in 1978. Roberto and his family then spent eight years at the University of Utah before joining the polymer science and engineering effort at the University of Tennessee in 1986. The polymer science and engineering effort was distributed between faculty from several departments, including chemistry, mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering, and textile science, and it was supported by both the CMP and the Textiles and Nonwoven Development Center. Roberto was part of this early effort and conducted research in the area of biomedical materials, blends, and composites. Over his 32 years in MSE at UT, his contributions were countless. Roberto was especially known for his mentoring and care of students at all levels of their education. Roberto’s insight, advice, and collegiality will be greatly missed.