Terry Douglass (’65, ’66, ’68)

Category: Awards | Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner

Terry Douglass has shaped an industry, transformed medical diagnostics internationally, and impacted hundreds of thousands of lives.

When Douglass entered UT as a freshman, the emerging field of nuclear engineering interested him deeply, but he had to work to put himself through school. With no nuclear engineering co-op possibilities in his hometown of Jackson, Tennessee, he chose electrical engineering instead, completing his bachelor’s (1965), master’s (1966), and PhD (1968) at UT.

After the remarkable achievement of earning his PhD just three years after his BS, Terry joined EG&G Ortec in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and worked his way up in 12 years to serve as president for his last three. He was instrumental in the development of PET (positron emission tomography) for medical imaging.

In 1983, he and several colleagues formed Computer Technology and Imaging Inc., later renamed CTI Molecular Imaging Inc., which was located in Knoxville. Douglass and his team led the worldwide transition of PET from experimental use to FDA approval. His team at CTI also revolutionized diagnostic medicine by combining PET with CT (computer-assisted tomography) scans to create a leading tool for early cancer detection and therapy management. In 2005, CTI was sold to Siemens for more than $1 billion. Today, there are more than 3,000 PET and PET/CT scanners around the world.

Douglass has served on numerous business and charitable boards. After the sale of CTI, Douglass founded the ProVision Foundation which provides servant leadership, relational support, and financial resources to encourage and enable Christian ministries around the world. He and three other CTI founders also established the CTI Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering in UT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the CTI Biomedical Research Fund at UT Medical Center. In 2011, he won the College of Engineering’s Nathan W. Dougherty Award—the college’s highest accolade recognizing alumni or other Tennessee engineers whose professional accomplishments have enhanced the prestige of the engineering profession and/or brought honor and distinction to the Tickle College of Engineering and the university. He has been featured as one of UT’s 100 Distinguished Alumni.

Douglass is currently the executive chairman of Provision Healthcare, a company he created that operates the Provision CARES Cancer Center and Proton Therapy Center, a world-class comprehensive clinical outpatient center for cancer care with a wellness focus and locations in both Knoxville and Nashville. The Proton Therapy Center uses an innovative form of radiation therapy that focuses beams on tumors and results in less damage to adjacent tissue. Along with this effort, Douglass’s firm ProNova is developing smaller, less expensive equipment to make proton therapy more accessible worldwide. Provision Healthcare is now using what it has developed and learned at its Provision CARES Cancer Centers and at ProNova to develop, own, and operate other ProVision Cares Cancer Centers in the United States and around the world.

He is particularly blessed by and thankful for his children—Deborah Robinson, Melissa Hill, and Dean Douglass; their spouses; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren—some of whom are also involved in the work and ministry of Provision Healthcare and ProVision Foundation.