KNOXVILLE – When David Millhorn picked up the East Tennessee Economic Council’s 2017 “Muddy Boot Award” on Friday, it was the latest in a string of honors for the University of Tennessee senior vice president emeritus. Earlier this month, Millhorn was presented the UT Research Foundation’s highest honor for technology transfer and commercialization; and he was honored by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) at its annual UT-Battelle Awards in October.
In addition to his status as UT senior vice president emeritus, Millhorn also is the University’s national laboratory relations advisor, working closely with ORNL officials on behalf of UT.
“David Millhorn has brought visionary leadership that has enabled some of the most transformative accomplishments in the University’s history,” said UT President Joe DiPietro. “The incredible success of UT-Battelle’s management of ORNL, the multiple UT-ORNL joint institutes, our Governor’s Chairs program, and the momentum underway at Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus all are game-changers that have attracted national attention and raised the prestige of the entire statewide UT system.”
The Muddy Boot Award takes its name from the city of Oak Ridge’s Manhattan Project founders, once known as “muddy booters” who weathered adverse conditions to build the community that played a critical role in bringing an end to World War II. The award began in 1973 and as of Friday’s presentation, it has gone to a total of 90 recipients who include ORNL lab directors, scientists, and distinguished statesmen such as Howard Baker and Al Gore.
Millhorn won the award for his leadership with both UT and ORNL. He joined the University in 2005 as system-wide vice president for research and economic development, leading the growth of the UT-Oak Ridge partnership. From 2007 to 2017, he served dually as UT executive vice president and president of the UT Research Foundation. He was named to his current post in July 2017.
On December 5, the UT Research Foundation (UTRF) recognized University scientists and inventors at its annual Innovation Awards Ceremony. There, Millhorn was presented the 2017 B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. Each year, the Wheeley Award is given to a UT employee for extraordinary contributions to technology commercialization.
On Oct. 28, Millhorn was recognized by ORNL at its annual UT-Battelle Awards Night gala for sustained contributions of leadership, ingenuity, perseverance, and service through the UT-Oak Ridge partnership and for his role in innovative industry collaborations, pioneering scientific ventures, establishing new institutes and achieving nationally recognized success for both institutions.
UT-Battelle is a partnership between the University and Battelle Memorial Institute of Ohio, established to manage the national laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy. UT-Battelle has managed ORNL since 2000 and established the UT-Battelle Awards the same year. The program honors exceptional contributions to science and technology, laboratory operations, and community service.
Millhorn came to UT from the University of Cincinnati as the inaugural director of its Genome Research Institute and chairman of its Department of Genome Science. He is a member of the American Physiological Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society for Neuroscience, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Millhorn has a bachelor’s degree from UT Chattanooga and a doctoral degree from Ohio State University. He was a professor from 1980 to 1994 in the Department of Physiology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
UT system research encompasses programs on the flagship campus in Knoxville, at UT Chattanooga, UT Martin, the Health Science Center in Memphis, initiatives of the Institute of Agriculture, Institute for Public Service, and the Space Institute at Tullahoma.