Engineering Excellence

MARIETTA, Ga. | Jan 22, 2020

Engineering administrator honored among state’s best

Kennesaw State University administrator Renee Butler has been named 2020 Engineer of the Year in Education by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers (GSPE), marking the fifth consecutive year a University student, faculty member or administrator has been recognized by the organization as the state’s best.

Butler, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of systems engineering in the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, was named among the 11 honored this month by the professional organization for their contributions to the state’s engineering community.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by my peers as a difference maker in our field,” Butler said. “I have long felt that our talented faculty and students represent the very best of what the future of engineering holds, and recognition from organizations like GSPE is what defines us as a leading institution of engineering education.”

Renee Butler

Butler joined the University in 2005 as an assistant professor of industrial engineering technology, eventually serving as director for the systems engineering degree program and as chair of the Department of Systems and Mechanical Engineering. She became assistant dean for operations in January 2015, a role she held until the retirement of longtime engineering dean Tom Currin. From July 2018 to August 2019, Butler served as interim dean of the engineering college, during which she successfully completed ABET accreditation visits for seven degree programs and increased research funding by more than $1 million. Last year, she was named among the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Who’s Who in Education.

She earned an bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, a master’s degree in operations research and a doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and is a licensed professional engineer.

“In the short time that I have known her, Dr. Butler has been a champion for student success within the engineering college and has been instrumental in expanding the resources made available to them,” said Ian Ferguson, dean of the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. “Throughout her career she has proven to be a true engineer and educator making a lasting impact on students, I look forward to her many contributions yet to come.”

Butler will be honored at the Georgia Engineering Awards on Saturday, March 14 in Atlanta.

Last year, KSU electrical engineering chair Lance Crimm was named 2019 Engineer of the Year, the highest honor bestowed by the organization. A year prior, civil engineering student Chloe Enix was recognized as the 2018 Student Engineer of the Year by the GSPE while her advisor, senior lecturer Nancy Turner, was awarded the 2017 Georgia Engineer of the Year in Education. In 2016, KSU completed a trifecta by landing three honorees: Currin, Engineer of the Year; Valerie Washington, Student Engineer of the Year; and Kurt Jacobson, Engineering Technology Student of the Year.

– Travis Highfield

Photos by Jason Getz

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit