UT’s Integrated Business and Engineering Program (IBEP) will now carry the name of the man who played an instrumental role in its creation. The university’s Board of Trustees voted to approve the naming of the blended business and engineering program for Ralph Heath, a retired president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Heath, who holds two degrees at UT — a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA in aerospace and defense — is a member of the advisory boards of both colleges.
The Heath Integrated Business and Engineering Program welcomed its first cohort of students in fall 2017. Each group of students is selected from both the Haslam College of Business and the Tickle College of Engineering through a competitive admissions process. Students in the program spend three years taking classes in business leadership, communications and process thinking, in addition to other targeted classwork. They participate in site visits, hear guest lectures from industry professionals and are mentored by alumni. A capstone class, in which the group solves a real-world problem at the intersection of business and engineering, completes the program.
“IBEP graduates will have the necessary technical skills, systems thinking and business savvy to add real and sustaining value to organizations,” said Heath.
Heath, a longtime supporter of both colleges, saw the need for better communication and understanding between product developers and business leaders during his career. That need, coupled with his vision and generous support from the Heath endowments, led to the establishment of the interdisciplinary program at UT.
“The program provides a multifaceted learning opportunity for students who dream of careers in technology-related industries,” said Stephen L. Mangum, Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair and dean of the Haslam College of Business. “The program’s design benefited greatly from the vision of Ralph Heath. I am impressed with the quality of students drawn to the program. There is no limit to what these students may accomplish.”
Lynne E. Parker, interim dean of the Tickle College of Engineering, said the program provides students from both disciplines a better understanding of a natural intersection in the real world.
“These students will be able to better combine these skills as they work toward impactful careers in industry,” Parker said. “We are grateful to Ralph Heath for his vision and collaboration in the creation of this program and are highly appreciative of his generosity.”
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CUTLINE: Janet and Ralph Heath on the University of Tennessee's Pedestrian Bridge