MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology President T. Dwayne McCay and First Lady Mary Helen McCay have been inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, becoming the first scientific couple to be enshrined in the Tampa-based institution that recognizes Florida inventors whose achievements have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, the state and the nation.
The McCays hold 15 joint U.S. patents in the area of metallurgical engineering. Their patented work involving laser-induced surface improvement has contributed to increased patient safety and improved medical outcomes in facilities nationwide.
In addition, they have authored approximately 200 technical publications and, in 1998, achieved the national honor from the U.S. Department of Energy’s American Museum of Science and Energy for their technological achievements.
Dwayne McCay holds a Ph.D. in engineering and mathematics from Auburn University. Prior to his distinguished career in higher education, he served in several organizations: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (senior engineer, branch chief, division chief), the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (senior research physical scientist) and ARO, Inc. (research engineer).
Mary Helen McCay attended Florida State University and the University of Florida, where she earned a Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering. During her NASA career she served as a Payload Specialist Astronaut, was Principal Investigator on the Microgravity Laboratory I flight experiment along with three others, and earned NASA’s exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. She is the former director of Florida Tech’s National Center for Hydrogen Research.
“Mary Helen and I are proud of our scientific and engineering achievements and even prouder of the the positive impact our work has had on the lives, workplaces and industries that are critical to the health and success of Florida and our nation,” McCay said. “To now be recognized by the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame and to be inducted as part of such a distinguished group is truly a high point for us. Our thanks to the advisory board and selection committee for granting us this honor.”
The McCays are among the eight inventors announced this week as 2017 inductees into the Hall of Fame, which is housed at the University of South Florida and supported, in part, by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. Collectively, the 2017 class holds more than 260 U.S. patents.
“The accomplishments of this year’s inductees have been recognized by national and international organizations with many other honors and awards,” said Paul R. Sanberg, chair of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board, senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development at the University of South Florida, and a 2015 inductee. “We are honored to be inducting them into the Hall of Fame.”
The group will be inducted at the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame 4th Annual Induction Ceremony & Gala on Sept. 8 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.
Inductees, who must have at least one U.S. patent and a connection to Florida, were nominated through an open nomination process and elected by a selection committee comprised of distinguished leaders in research and innovation from throughout Florida.
“We are delighted to be announcing this class of exceptional inventors whose work has greatly impacted Florida and our nation,” said Randy Berridge, chairman of the selection committee and a Hall of Fame advisory board member.
In addition to the McCays, 2017 inductees are:
- Issa Batarseh, director of the Florida Power Electronics Center and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
- Michael J. DeLuca, electrical engineer and intellectual property counsel for Florida Power & Light, NextEra Energy, in Juno Beach.
- Kenneth M. Ford, co-founder and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola and Ocala.
- Phillip Frost, physician, inventor, businessman and current CEO and chairman of OPKO Health in Miami.
- Richard D. Gitlin, State of Florida 21st Century World Class Scholar and Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
- Thomas H. Maren, (1918-1999), physician, graduate research professor at the University of Florida, and charter member of the UF College of Medicine faculty.