Gator Engineering honors Distinguished Alumnus awardees

In Honors & Awards, News

Two Gator Engineering alumni are among four from the University of Florida to receive this year’s Distinguished Alumnus award. Dr. Anil K. Rajvanshi, a renewable energy pioneer, and George L. Kirkland, vice chairman of the board of directors for Chevron Corporation and executive vice president of its largest business segment Upstream, will be honored for their respective achievements in the University of Florida’s spring 2014 commencement ceremony on May 3rd.

To receive the award, nominees must have graduated from the university and have either excelled in their chosen field or performed outstanding service for UF.

Rajvanshi earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from UF in 1979, under the mentorship of solar energy pioneer Dr. Eric Farber. He joined UF’s faculty for two years before returning to India in 1981 to run his own rural nongovernmental organization, Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).

NARI has done groundbreaking work in agriculture, renewable energy and sustainable development. Rajvanshi has devoted the last 33 years to applying sophisticated science and technology to solve the problems faced by rural communities in areas of energy, water, pollution and income inequality. For his work, Rajvanshi has received prestigious national and international awards as well as induction into the Solar Hall of Fame.

Kirkland graduated from UF with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1972 and a Master of Engineering in 1974. He has devoted 40 years to Chevron Corporation, starting immediately after graduation as a design and construction engineer and working his way up to executive vice president in 2005 and vice chairman in 2010. Under his leadership, Chevron’s Upstream business segment has become a leader in safety and financial performance.

“As our graduates step out into the world, seeing their fellow alumni being recognized for a lifetime of achievement is a real inspiration,” says Cammy Abernathy, dean of UF’s College of Engineering. “These two men have traveled very different paths to success. With their vision, their leadership, and their dedication to the university, they both have set a high bar in defining what it means to be a Gator Engineer.”

Dean Abernathy will present the Distinguished Alumnus awards during the 2014 commencement ceremony on May 3rd at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at 7 p.m.