Nathan Sam Dougherty (’62, ’70)

Category: Alumni Professional Achievement | Awards

2015 Alumni Professional Achievement Award Winner

During his more than 50 years in the aerospace profession, Nathan Sam Dougherty has profoundly influenced the development of both aeronautics and space systems.

The Dougherty name is one of the most respected at UT. Dougherty’s grandfather, Nathan W. Dougherty, was dean of the College of Engineering and played an important role in creating the Southeastern Conference, serving as its first secretary-treasurer, and the NCAA.

Dougherty graduated in 1962 from UT’s Tickle College of Engineering with a BS in mechanical engineering and in 1970 from the UT Space Institute with an MS in aerospace engineering. From the beginning of his career at the US Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center and through his 35 years at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center with Sverdrup, Rockwell International, Boeing, and now Jacobs/ERC, he has been dedicated to the advancement of space flight. He is presently on the team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center readying the space launch system for the Artemis Moon Program.

Widely recognized as a subject-matter expert in the testing and integration of rocket propulsion and vehicle systems, Dougherty is a Jacobs Technical Fellow for thermal and fluid dynamics and a technical fellow at ERC Inc., where he serves as a senior systems engineer. He is an associate fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Dougherty has lectured at UT on the future of human space flight, drawing large audiences to hear his inspirational insights. He has contributed greatly as a member of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Advisory Board in the Tickle College of Engineering. He leads the college’s Professional Mentoring Program Committee, which pairs students with alumni mentors.