MSU’s Waggoner honored with Dept. of Energy’s Distinguished Career Service Award

Contact: James Carskadon

Julie Jordan and Nicole Nelson-Jean present Charlie Waggoner with a Department of Energy distinguished service award.
Charles Waggoner, center, former director of Mississippi State’s Institute for Clean Energy Technology, is being recognized with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Distinguished Career Service Award. MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan, left, and DoE Office of Environmental Management Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Nicole Nelson-Jean presented Waggoner with the award in a surprise ceremony. (Photo by Robby Lozano)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A former Mississippi State research center director is being recognized with a prestigious career honor from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Charles Waggoner, director emeritus of MSU’s Institute for Clean Energy Technology, received the Department of Energy’s Distinguished Career Service Award during a surprise presentation Monday [Oct. 4]. The award recognizes Waggoner for his work to evaluate and improve high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that are used to contain nuclear materials. He led ICET’s testing programs for 23 years before retiring at the beginning this year.

“Dr. Waggoner’s work led the industry and the accompanying codes down a path to withstand harsh conditions and accidents, to provide better protection for workers, the environment, and the public across the nuclear industry,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management William I. White in the award presentation. “The test program at MSU ICET is Dr. Waggoner’s crowning career achievement, and it will continue to be an asset to DOE and to the future of the nuclear industry.”

A three-time MSU graduate, Waggoner earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biochemistry before completing his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1985. He served as the university’s hazardous waste officer and an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry for five years before leaving to lead the Division of Environmental Science and Technology at Chattanooga State Technical Community College. He returned to MSU in 1997, where he soon began working on DOE-funded efforts related to HEPA filters that are used to remove radioactive material from the air.

The research and testing carried out by Waggoner and his colleagues has led to international recognition for MSU. At ICET, Waggoner has developed capabilities for testing filters under worst-case scenario conditions. The data gathered from HEPA filter testing at ICET is used to guide filtration standards at past and present nuclear facilities.

“Dr. Waggoner is incredibly deserving of this career honor,” said MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan. “His leadership and knowledge have been invaluable to the Department of Energy while cultivating and leading an outstanding team of researchers at MSU. His work will leave a lasting legacy at MSU and in the nuclear industry. We all wish him a happy retirement and congratulations on a job well done.”

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