Part 11 in Dwight Kessel series

By Ralphine Major

With Dwight Kessel’s years in public service, many well-deserved awards and recognitions have come his way. Some of the awards include Distinguished Service Award for Fifty Years of Leadership and Commitment to Kiwanis Ideals, Kiwanis Club of West Knoxville, 2003; Great Smoky Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America, Silver Beaver Award, 1983; and Silver Lamp Award, Dwight & Gloria Kessel (Nursing Scholarship), Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee, 2019. Many awards are engineering-related from The University of Tennessee (UT): UT College of Engineering Outstanding Industrial Engineering Alumnus for 1992-93; Dwight and Gloria Kessel Auditorium, UT Science and Engineering Research Facility, 1997; Nathan W. Dougherty Award, UT School of Engineering, 2014; and Howard P. Emerson Award, UT Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering, 2018. Other recognitions include UT County Technical Assistance Service Evening Benefit Honoring Gloria and Dwight Kessel for establishing a Special Project Consultants Endowment, 1996; Volunteer of the Year Award, UT Chancellor’s Associates, 1998; and UT Alumni Service Award, UT Alumni Association, 2013.

The West Virginia native has enjoyed some unique experiences like the time the air refueling group at the airport took him to South Carolina to do in-flight refueling of jets. He also got to ride in the new Humvee at the army base in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. The Navy flew him and some other guests to the Naval Base at Pensacola, Florida to spend the weekend on the Lexington Air Craft Carrier to observe flight maneuvers. He was a member of the Tennessee delegation to the christening of the USS Tennessee submarine and was treated to a ride on the USS City of Corpus Christi submarine out Long Island Sound to the ocean and back. In 1985, Dwight and Gloria attended a world conference of wholesale pharmaceutical companies in England; and the trip extended on to France, Germany, and Austria. During his political career, he met four United States Presidents: Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.

Among his fun projects was reading and visiting with second graders in some of the elementary schools. In 1993, celebrities Don Knotts and Barbara Eden performed at the Tennessee Theater, and the Kessels arranged to take them along with some others to Club LeConte for a late supper and conversation. When he was not working, traveling, or entertaining, Kessel found time to exercise at the YMCA by playing racquetball.


Words of Faith: “For I know that the Lord is great, And our Lord is above all gods.” Psalm 135:5 (NKJV)