The UTC Faculty Senate and the entire campus community honors three retiring faculty members for their outstanding service to the University:
Dr. James R. Cunningham
Dr. James R. Cunningham, Professor of Engineering, joined the UTC faculty in 1973.
Cunningham’s extensive career includes his work with major fuel companies such as Texaco, Incorporated, where he specialized in natural gas production, and Shell Chemical Company where his focus was epichlorohydrin production. He was also a member of the United States Air Force’s Strategic-Air-Command (USAF SAC), serving under the 306 and 4133 Bomb Wings.
As a member of the UTC faculty, Cunningham has served the UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science as a professor for 36 years. He was named acting director of operations for two years and acting dean for one year. A research contract between the University and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) allowed Cunningham the opportunity to work with the TVA Solar Applications Branch.
He earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana State University. He then attended the University of Florida where he earned both his Master of Science in Engineering and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. A seven-time recipient of the Outstanding Engineering Faculty Award, Dr. Cunningham was honored in 1982, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2003, and 2006. He has also received the Cole Outstanding Engineering Teacher Award three times in 1994, 1997, and 2006. In 1982, Cunningham was presented with the Norbert Koch Faculty Service Award.
In addition to his many academic accomplishments, Cunningham holds certification as a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Tennessee. He is also a member of the Tennessee State Water Pollution Control Board, which has appointed him to two consecutive four-year terms.
Dr. Oralia Preble-Niemi
Foreign Languages and Literature
Dr. Oralia Preble-Niemi, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, joined the UTC faculty in 1995.
Preble-Niemi began her career in higher education in 1975 at St. Mary’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since that time she has taught at many universities throughout the southeast region of the United States, including: Virginia Tech, the College of Charleston, College of Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University, and Piedmont College. She also spent a year working at the American Career Training Corporation in Pompano Beach, Florida.
An alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Preble-Niemi earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1972 before completing her Master of Arts in 1974 and her Ph.D. in 1977.
A recipient of many prestigious awards throughout her collegiate career, Dr. Preble-Niemi received the Certificate for Teaching Excellence for two consecutive years from Virginia Tech. In 1993, she was appointed as an in-house consultant for humanities at Piedmont College.
Her alma mater bestowed two special distinctions upon her; in 2000, she was selected to Alpha Society and in 2003, she was selected as the recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Alumna award from the UNC-Graduate School.
In 2000, an anonymous donor established a scholarship for current Spanish majors in Preble-Niemi’s name. These scholarship recipients flourish in their field of study with financial support for study abroad opportunities.
William Prince, Reference and Instruction Librarian, joined the UTC faculty in 1981.
In his former position as tenured librarian at Virginia Tech from 1973-79, Prince worked in the Social Sciences Division and served as Head of General Reference. In 1979, Prince served a three-year term as head of the undergraduate library at State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNYAB).
His service at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga includes appointments as head of the department, reference and special collections librarian, head of reference and instruction, and reference and instruction librarian. While at UTC, Prince was among the first to earn the rank of full professor within the library.
Prince earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1965 from Lafayette College. He received his Master of Arts in Teaching from Indiana University in 1969, and later attended the University of Illinois, where he earned his Master of Library Science in 1973.
This two-time recipient of the Dr. Joseph A. Jackson Library Award (1994, 1997) also had an article selected by the ALA Library Instruction Round Table, designated as one of the top 20 articles in 1993. Prince was also elected to Beta Phi Mu, a national library honor society.
He currently serves as president of the Chattanooga Area Library Association. In addition, he holds two committee chairs within the Southeastern Library Association, three chairs within the Tennessee Library Association, and is the representative for Tennessee on the American Library Association Council.
Prince is an active and avid member of Chattanooga Sister Cities, and in 2004, he had the honor of serving as president of the organization. Because of his work with Chattanooga Sister Cities, especially his assistance in promoting city to city relations, he received an appreciation award from Mayor Shim Ki-Scob of Gangneung, South Korea.
He currently serves as president of the UTC University Club. His love for tennis has led him to two tournament victories at the annual Trisha Obear Memorial Tennis Tournament.