Engineering honors past, present, future at annual Awards Banquet

Four men in suits pose with Dean Loboa.

Award winners Robert L. Reymond Jr., Donald P. Pallia, Jerry L. Jost and Stephen W. Searcy joined Dean Elizabeth Loboa at Thursday’s College of Engineering Awards Banquet. Photo by Michael Cali.

The past, present and future were on full display Thursday as Mizzou Engineering celebrated its alumni, faculty, students and staff at its annual College of Engineering Awards Banquet.

Robert L. Reymond, Jr. (BS ME ’87) and Stephen W. Searcy (BS AgE ’74, MS ’76) were given the 2019 Missouri Honor Awards for Distinguished Service in Engineering. Jerry L. Jost (BS ChE ’70)  was selected for the James E. “Bud” Moulder Distinguished Alumni Award, and Donald P. Pallia (BS EE ’61, MS ’63) was chosen to receive the Citation of Merit Award from the MU Engineering Alumni Organization.

The Honor Awards are given in recognition of exceptional efforts by an individual or an organization “to foster the professional development of young engineering college graduates; exceptional ability in the planning and direction of significant and important projects in technical engineering; exceptional contribution by an individual to technical engineering knowledge.”

The Citation of Merit honors a distinguished alumnus or alumna who has made a significant impact to MU or the engineering profession. The Moulder Award recognizes individuals who “distinguish themselves in service to the College.”

“These honors are a proud tradition for the College, and we list them to demonstrate our respect for the past as we strive for the future,” MU Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa said.

Reymond is the president and general manager of Burns & McDonnell’s Oil, Gas & Chemical Group (OGC), a member of the company’s board of directors and has been with the organization in a variety of capacities since 2001. During his tenure, he helped found the firm’s nuclear business and has doubled the portfolio of OGC projects while in charge of the group. Reymond previously worked on large-scale power projects around the world and is a former officer in the U.S. Navy.

Searcy is the head of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at Texas A&M University. He has written or co-written more than 140 publications, articles, book chapters, papers and presentations and is a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). He served as ASABE president in 2017 and 2018 and was treasurer from 2009-13.

Jost is the founder and president of Jost Chemical Company, which produces high-quality specialty chemicals for use in pharmaceuticals, food and additional specialty markets globally. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and has been on the MU Chemical Engineering Industrial Advisory Board for more than 10 years, among other volunteer ventures.

Pallia spent 37 years in the aerospace, space and missile industry before his retirement in 2000. He spent his last 20 years in the workforce with TRW’s Space and Missiles System Group, located at the Ballistic Missile Design Bureau at Norton Air Force Base in California. Pallia consulted on ballistic missiles in a variety of capacities, including advising members of the federal government.

The College also handed out its faculty and staff awards, which went to the following awardees for their outstanding work:

The various degree programs gave awards to their most outstanding students:



  • Junior: Abigail Beckerdite
  • Senior: Courtney Gooch
  • MS: Austin Davis
  • PhD: Keisha Avery

Biomedical Engineering

  • Junior: Muhammad Salim
  • Senior: Olivia Botonis

Chemical Engineering

  • Junior: Julie Nguyen
  • Senior: Gracen Seim
  • MS: Brett Rygelski
  • PhD: Josiah Smith

Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • Junior: Brittany Smith
  • Senior: Joseph Reneker
  • MS: Zakaria El-Tayash
  • PhD: Zhu Qing

Computer Science

  • Junior: Benjamin Frailey
  • Senior: Andrew Krall
  • MS: Pedro Carrion Castagnola and Yongfan Qin
  • PhD: Jie Hou

Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Senior: Hao Xi and Marshall Lindsay
  • PhD: Ibrahem Jasim and Feng Feng

Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

  • Junior: Lucas Cato
  • Senior: Bailey Washer
  • MS: Dustin Smith
  • PhD: Xiaonan Yang

Information Technology

  • Junior: Patrick Rottman
  • Senior: Scottie Murrell

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

  • Junior: Morgan Holecek
  • Senior: Thomas McClure and Melinda Groves
  • PhD: Heng Deng and Ghazwan Alwan

Congratulations to all award winners!

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