SMU mourns loss of Lyle School University Distinguished Professor Jeff Kennington

Jeffery L. (Jeff) Kennington, Lyle EMIS facultyJeffery Lynn Kennington, P.E., devoted his entire career to SMU as a professor, researcher and department chair in Lyle School of Engineering. And he continued to teach in the Department of Engineering Management, Information and Systems until early Fall 2013, when cancer affected his ability to speak.

Dr. Kennington died Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 at his Dallas home. He was 68 years old.

“His wit, experience, and presence will be missed throughout the school and particularly in the classroom,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “Jeff was an accomplished scholar, Distinguished Professor, an award-winning teacher, great citizen of the university, and good friend and colleague to the SMU-Lyle family.”

The family requests memorials be made to the Jeff Kennington Tribute Fund, SMU Lyle School of Engineering, PO Box 750339, Dallas TX 75275-0339.

Dr. Kennington joined the SMU faculty in 1973 as an engineering professor and researcher with an expertise in operations research, which uses advanced mathematical modeling to help make decisions. His work focused on telecommunications design, network flows and integer programming. He became a full tenured professor in 1984 and served as chair of the Department of Operations Research and Engineering Management from 1980-89 and of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering from 1989-94.

He wrote (with fellow SMU professor Richard V. Helgason) Algorithms for Network Programming (John Wiley and Sons) and co-authored or edited more than 70 book chapters and journal articles. He supervised 29 Ph.D. and Doctor of Engineering students and served as the principal investigator for nearly $3.9 million in research grants, including 16 grants from the Office of Naval Research and six from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Dr. Kennington served as editor for Operations Research, Networks, and INFORMS Journal on Computing, as well as on the editorial boards of Computational Optimization and Applications and Telecommunications Systems. His professional activities included service as president of the Dallas chapter of Sigma XI and on committees of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and its predecessors, the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) and The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS).

In 2005, Dr. Kennington was named a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. In 2010, he received the title of University Distinguished Professor.

Dr. Kennington’s awards included SMU’s United Methodist Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award in 2003, the Distinguished University Citizen Award in 2008, and the “M” Award – the University’s highest honor for service – in 2012. In 2004, he was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor by SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence and received membership in its Academy of Distinguished Teachers. In 2012, he received the Mentor Supereminence Award from the SMU Faculty Club, recognizing a faculty member for exceptional mentoring of University faculty and students.

Born in New Boston, Arkansas, Dr. Kennington grew up in Malvern. He received his B.S. degree in industrial engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1968, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1970 and 1973.

Dr. Kennington is survived by his wife, Carolyn; his daughter, Catherine; his son, Charles; his mother, Frances Pickens Kennington; a brother, Richard Kennington; and one grandchild.

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