Devoted husband, trusted friend, respected environmental engineer, professor and leader in the nation’s conservation community. Those are a few of the roles filled by the late Benjamin C. Dysart III. Dysart was a distinguished professor of environmental systems engineering at Clemson from 1968 until his retirement in 1990.
Originally hired to establish and lead a water resources engineering graduate program, Dysart introduced the study of water quality and broadened the process-engineering capability in the emerging environmental systems engineering graduate program. He advised and mentored many who went on to serve in government and the private and nonprofit sectors.
Dysart’s students benefited from the insights he gained from his extensive research and leadership positions in national environmental advocacy organizations. President and chair of the National Wildlife Federation from 1983-1985, Dysart lectured extensively and testified before Congress on critical environmental issues. He also served on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board.
In 2021, a group of his former graduate students established the Benjamin Clay Dysart III Environmental Engineering Fellowship endowment that will support the research of one graduate student each year.
At a ceremony announcing the endowment on July 9, 2021, with Dysart and his wife, Betty, in attendance, Chris Thompson M ’80 and Jim Hendricks ’68, M ’71 shared their memories of Dysart. Thompson summed up widely held sentiments: “Clearly, Ben has made an important and indelible impact on our lives. This endowment was an opportunity not only to honor him for his gift to us but to pay it forward with the hope that we’ll be supporting the next generation of students who will further the long-term greater public interest.” Dysart passed away exactly one year later at 82.
The 2021 inaugural Dysart Fellow was Gavin Gleasman, a doctoral student whose research investigated the impact of high-energy storm events on carbon storage in tidal wetlands of South Carolina. The 2022 Dysart Fellow, Connor Parker, specializes in uranium transport using geochemical and radiation detection methods.