Louisiana Tech received a check for $960,000 from the Board of Regents on Tuesday to match donations for a $2 million eminent scholar chair and four $100,000 professorships.

The Herman A. ‘Dusty’ Rhodes Eminent Scholar Chair in engineering is Tech’s first $2 million chair. Laura Opal Wilkins Rhodes, the widow of Dusty Rhodes, donated the $800,000 for the chair. Dusty Rhodes was a 1934 electrical and mechanical engineering graduate who served in the oil and gas pipeline industry and pioneered the use of microwave communications in that industry. He died in 1999 in Houston.

The Board of Regents presented Louisiana Tech with a check to match donations for a $2 million eminent scholar chair and four $100,000 professorships. From left to right are Dr. Bobby Price, John O’Neal, Martha Jane “Me-J” O’Neal, Commissioner of Higher Education Sally Clausen, James Adams and Tech President Dan Reneau.

The four professorships are the James. W. and Jeanne H. Adams Professorship in electrical engineering, the Bobby E. Price Professorship in civil engineering, the Thomas O’Kelly Mitchiner Professorship in the College of Business and the Contractor’s Trust Professorship in engineering.

The James W. and Jeanne H. Adams Professorship is funded by James and Jeanne Adams, of Greenville, Texas. James is a 1951 electrical engineering graduate who is a former vice president of the Dallas-based E-Systems, which merged with Raytheon in 1997. Jeanne is a 1952 journalism graduate. James, with his siblings, Roy and Marjorie Adams, funded a professorship in English in memory of their mother, Mildred Saunders Adams.

The Bobby E. Price Professorship is funded by alumni and friends of the College of Engineering and Science to honor Price for his years of service to Tech and its students. Price is a retired civil engineering professor and life director of the board of directors of the Engineering and Science Foundation and also is a leader in area civic activities.

John and Martha Jane ‘Me-J’ O’Neal Jr., of Choudrant, funded the Thomas O’Kelly Mitchiner Professorship in honor of Me-J’s father, Tom Mitchiner. Mitchiner was an entrepreneur and civic activist in northeast Louisiana and particularly in West Carroll Parish. The O’Neals are strong university supporters, and their family business, O’Neal Gas, was recently honored as the Small Business of the Year in Lincoln Parish.

The Contractor’s Trust Professorship is funded by the Contractors Educational Trust Fund, whose mission is to promote programs used for contractor educational purposes. This is the second engineering professorship at Tech funded by the CETF.

Written by Judith Roberts