Each year the Derryberry Award is given to a graduating senior who displays an overall achievement throughout his or her collegiate career at Tech. It’s the most prestigious award awarded by the University. Hunter McClelland, a mechanical engineering major from Kingsport, Tenn. is the most recent recipient of this award.
“To me, the Derryberry Award has a very special meaning,” McClelland said. “It’s an award given for overall accomplishment ranging across a wide variety of areas.
“Although I’m usually not the best in any one area, this award means that I’m overall outstanding. I can’t think of a more meaningful recognition.”
The award was established in honor of the late Tech President, Everett Derryberry. Upon his retirement he wanted an award to honor a graduating senior “who has exhibited scholastic attainment arising out of moral and intellectual integrity, successful campus activity where participation indicates a commitment to good citizenship, interest in one’s fellow person, and instincts for leadership and physical vigor as shown by fondness for and success in sports.”
According to Darrell Hoy, mechanical engineering department chairperson, McClelland is the most qualified student for the Derryberry Award he has ever personally known.
“Hunter is a truly outstanding student in every respect,” Hoy said.
McClelland’s accomplishments include maintaining a 4.0 QPA in the Honors Program while attending Tech, receiving seven scholarships (including the University Academic Service Scholarship), being a member in several honor societies, receiving the Outstanding Honors Freshman award, and being the Associated Scholars’ Guild Outstanding Committee Chair both Fall 2007 and Spring 2008.
Maintaining academic excellence with such a busy schedule doesn’t seem to faze McClelland.
“If I just work hard, make well-informed decisions and always plan for the next step, by the very nature of my personality, I’ll get those things which I really want out of life,” McClelland said. “Because I care as much about the process as the result, I’ll enjoy both travelling through the ups and downs of life as well as reaching each next step.”
According to McClelland, the thing that drives him to succeed is simple – he loves what he does. This includes work, hobbies, school, and just hanging out with friends. And although free time might look as though it would be scarce, that’s not so according to McClelland.
“I create free time for myself by doing as much work as I can ahead of time,” McClelland said. “Just by doing those little things that everyone knows he/she should do, like keeping a daily schedule or keeping your notebook organized, you can create free time in your schedule in the form of lots of small pieces.”
He is excited about what the future holds after graduation.
“I will be attending graduate school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in engineering,” McClelland said. “Beyond my master’s, I’m planning to move towards a Ph.D., but I don’t have to make that decision now.
“I’m just looking forward to working my butt off doing some of the coolest things in the world, at one of the best universities in the world.