Kingsley honored with nuclear statesman award

Published: Jun 4, 2009 4:40:00 PM
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Kingsley, Oliver

Oliver D. Kingsley

Oliver D. Kingsley Jr., associate dean in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, was honored on May 20 with the Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award. The award, announced at the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI) annual conference, is given in recognition of statesmanlike contributions by the organizations representing the businesses and professionals involved in commercial nuclear technologies.

"I am honored to receive the Henry DeWolf Smyth Statesman Award and am grateful to the American Nuclear Society and NEI for recognizing me," Kingsley said. "Around a decade ago, I told a member of the media that the nuclear industry was about to experience a renaissance. This is now occurring worldwide."

The Smyth Award was established in 1972 by the American Nuclear Society and NEI. The award is named for Henry DeWolf Smyth, who chaired Princeton University's physics department. He served on the Atomic Energy Commission from 1949-1954 and was appointed by President Kennedy as the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency with the rank of ambassador through 1970. Smyth also advocated an international partnership to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

"Oliver is more than deserving of this honor," said Engineering Dean Larry Benefield. "His successful career in the nuclear industry has created a legacy of foresight and follow-through that others are sure to pursue."

An Auburn alumnus and native of Ozark, Ala., Kingsley graduated with honors in 1966 with a bachelor's degree in engineering physics. He began his career with five years of service with the U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine Force, and joined Southern Company in 1971, where he held various positions in the nuclear division, including managing the Farley Nuclear Plant. In 1985, he began a three-year tenure as vice president of nuclear operations for Middle South Utilities. After significantly improving the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant, he was named chief nuclear officer of the Nuclear Generation Group at the Tennessee Valley Authority and was credited with the turnaround of the agency's nuclear program and the restart of all shutdown units.

In 1997, he joined Unicom as president and chief nuclear officer of its nuclear generation group. Under his leadership, the company's nuclear program experienced marked improvement and growth, and in 2000, Unicom merged with PECO to create Exelon Corporation. Before his retirement in 2004, Kingsley served as president and chief operating officer of Exelon Corporation and as chief executive of Exelon Generation, which today is one of the largest power generators in the nation.

A former president of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), in 2003 Kingsley received the WANO Nuclear Excellence Award, the international industry's highest civilian honor. He also received the Walter Zinn Award in 2000 from the American Nuclear Society as recognition of his leadership in nuclear power and the William S. Lee Award in 2007 from the Nuclear Energy Institute for his lifetime contributions to nuclear power excellence.