Department Head Chris Cox and Senior Lecturer Jenny Retherford made a surprise visit in May to the City of Maryville Department of Engineering and Public Works to present the Shirley Garside Award to Sharon Smith, a senior in civil and environmental engineering and a co-op intern at the City of Maryville. This prestigious student award recognizes unusual perseverance in pursuit of a civil and environmental engineering degree and is only awarded in years in which a worthy recipient is identified.
The award is named for Shirley Garside, who was diagnosed with cancer while enrolled as a cadet at the US Naval Academy. After receiving an honorable discharge from the Academy and with a prognosis of having just six months to live, Garside enrolled in the civil engineering program at the University of Tennessee.
While Garside excelled in the program, she succumbed to her illness shortly before graduation. The university awarded her degree posthumously following her death in 1983.