The L. R. Hesler Award is named for a longtime head of the botany department who also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Hesler’s students, colleagues, and friends established this memorial award to recognize exceptional teaching and service.
A professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a collaborating scientist at UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lee Han has particular expertise in traffic safety, infrastructure, and laws.
In the past decade alone, his research has accounted for more than $10 million in funding. A key area is related to the use of red-light cameras, including whether they improve safety and how municipalities can misuse them to generate revenue. Media outlets around the country, from National Public Radio to the Oregonian newspaper, have cited his work.
Han is noted for his humor and upbeat demeanor and for his ability to attract and inspire students. He is also a valued mentor to undergraduates and graduate students.
“He is not content to have students simply give back to him facts that they learned in his class,” his nominator wrote. “He challenges them to think outside the boundaries of the prescribed material in a creative way. He somehow manages to make his classes fun as well as informative and challenging, a rare ability that has led to his becoming one of the most-liked and respected teachers.”