Auburn Engineering’s Kingsley honored with Nuclear Statesman Award

AUBURN – Oliver D. Kingsley Jr., associate dean in Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, recently received the Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award for his contributions to public knowledge of nuclear energy. The award was established jointly by the American Nuclear Society and the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Kingsley received the award, which recognizes statesmanlike contributions to discussion of nuclear energy, at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s annual conference, an assembly of organizations representing businesses and professionals involved in commercial nuclear technologies. The Nuclear Energy Institute develops policy on key legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry.

“I am honored to receive the Henry DeWolf Smyth Statesman Award and am grateful to the American Nuclear Society and NEI for recognizing me,” Kingsley said. “Around a decade ago, I told a member of the media that the nuclear industry was about to experience a renaissance. This is now occurring worldwide.”

The Smyth Award is named for former chair of Princeton University’s physics department, Henry DeWolf Smyth. Smyth served on the Atomic Energy Commission from 1949-1954 and was appointed by President Kennedy as the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency with the rank of ambassador through 1970. Smyth also advocated an international partnership to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

“Oliver is more than deserving of this honor,” said Engineering Dean Larry Benefield. “His successful career in the nuclear industry has created a legacy of foresight and follow-through that others are sure to pursue.”

An Auburn alumnus and native of Ozark, Kingsley graduated with honors in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics. He served five years with the U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine Force and then joined Southern Company in 1971. His positions in the company’s nuclear division included managing the Farley Nuclear Plant. In 1985, he began a three-year tenure as vice president of nuclear operations for Middle South Utilities. After significantly improving the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant, he was named chief nuclear officer of the Nuclear Generation Group at the Tennessee Valley Authority and was credited with the turnaround of the agency’s nuclear program and the restart of all shutdown units.

In 1997 he joined Unicom as president and chief nuclear officer of its nuclear generation group. Under his leadership, the company’s nuclear program experienced marked improvement and growth. In 2000, Unicom merged with PECO Energy to create Exelon Corporation. Before his retirement in 2004, Kingsley served as president and chief operating officer of Exelon Corporation and as chief executive of Exelon Generation, which today is one of the largest power generators in the nation.

Kingsley is a former president of the World Association of Nuclear Operators and in 2003 he received the association’s Nuclear Excellence Award, the international industry’s highest civilian honor. In 2000 he received the Walter Zinn Award in from the American Nuclear Society in recognition of his leadership in the industry and in 2007 he received the William S. Lee Award from the Nuclear Energy Institute for his lifetime contributions to nuclear power excellence.

(Contributed by Sara Borchik.)

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