Dr. Ron Bennett receives Community Champion Award at 2007 Tekne Awards

Dr. Ron Bennett, dean of University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, received the first Community Champion Award at the 2007 Tekne Awards on Nov. 1.

The Tekne Awards, presented by the Minnesota High Tech Association in partnership with LifeScience Alley and Minnesota Technology Inc., honor companies, innovations and individuals that positively impact Minnesota’s technology-based economy.

The Community Champion Award honors an outstanding individual who has helped further technology expansion in Minnesota and has contributed significantly the state’s community at large. Finalists for this year’s award were Bennett; Jim Bensen, president emeritus of Bemidji State University; and Dale Wahlstrom, CEO of BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota.

Bennett joined the faculty of St. Thomas’ graduate programs in engineering in 1993. Within a year he started an undergraduate engineering program and, a year later, was asked to lead the graduate programs as well. Under his leadership, the programs were combined to form the School of Engineering in 2004. Bennett was named founding dean in 2005.

Two University of St. Thomas students also were honored at the event, which drew more than 1,100 participants. Junior chemistry major Lanita Gaworski and senior electrical engineering and physics major Austin Nelson received scholarships from the Minnesota High Technology Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports math, science and technology education.

Friends and advisers to the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, from left to right: Larry Matthews, co-founder, Zytec (retired); Kerry Marusich, president and CEO, Third Wave Systems; Chip Emery, CEO, MTS Systems; Larry Jodsaas, chairman, PolarFab (retired); Dr. Ron Bennett; Cliff Anderson, president, Crown Iron Works; and Clint Larson, vice president, corporate operations, Honeywell (retired).