The Distinguished Engineering Service Award (DESA) is the highest honor bestowed by the University of Kansas School of Engineering. Awards are made on the basis of an individual's contribution to the theories and practices of research and development in new fields of engineering.

On Thursday May 4, 2017 at the Kansas Union in Lawrence, CEO/President L. William Zahner was awarded this honor for his contributions to the engineering industry. Zahner graduated from the University of Kansas in 1978 with a degree in civil engineering.

A man whose revolutionary approach to architectural design has influenced design thinking and metal fabrication techniques across the globe.

University of Kansas School of Engineering

Nominations for the Distinguished Engineering Service Award are solicited each year from alumni and friends of the School of Engineering and are considered by a subcommittee of the Advisory Board. Recipients receive a distinctive trophy and have their likeness and achievements added to the DESA wall of honor in Eaton Hall.

Zahner receives DESA award
Zahner receives DESA award
Zahner receives DESA award

The School of Engineering Advisory Board has given the Distinguished Engineering Service Award, the highest honor bestowed by the school, annually since 1980. The award honors KU engineering alumni or engineers who have maintained a close association with the university and for outstanding contributions to the profession of engineering and society.

The award is made on the basis of an individual’s contribution to the public good, governmental service or the educational system, or contributions to the theories and practices of engineering, research and development in new fields of engineering or direction of an organization that has made exceptional contributions in design, production and development.

Read more about the awards ceremony press release from the University of Kansas, or learn more about the DESA award from the School of Engineering.