Remembering Professor Emeritus, Narl Davidson

Portrait of Narl Davidson, painted by his son

It is with sadness that I pass along that Professor Emeritus Narl Davidson passed away on Dec 12, 2019.  Narl came to Georgia Tech in 1973 from Texas A&M and spent the rest of his illustrious career with us, both in the Woodruff School and during a variety of stints in the College of Engineering Dean's office where he served as interim dean on three occasions and retired as an Associate Dean in 2006.

From 1973 to 1983, Narl served as an Associate Professor in our nuclear engineering program. In 1983 became an Associate Director in mechanical engineering and was elevated to Associate Dean in the College of Engineering in 1990. In recognition of his service to Georgia Tech he was bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus when he retired.

A respected educator and administrator, Narl served on many committees, including chairing the Technical Safety Review Committee for the decommissioning of the Neely Nuclear Reactor and the removal of C0-60 form the Neely Building and serving on the facilities program committees for MRDC I & II, ES&T, and several labs. Narl also generously gave of his time for student organizations, advising student organizations and serving on the advisory boards of both the Women's Leadership Conference and the Women's Center.

As an educator Narl was honored with outstanding teaching awards at Texas A&M (1973) and Georgia Tech (1977), along with the Engineer of the Year in Education Award from the Atlanta section of the ASME (1988), the Omicron Delta Kappa Friend of the Student Award (1992) and the Good Guy in Education Award from the Georgia and Atlanta Women's Political Caucuses in 1997.

Narl was a friend and mentor to many of us in the Woodruff School and our thoughts are with his family during this time as they celebrate his life and mourn his passing.

We would like to honor Narl's in the new year by sharing memories and stories from his time at Georgia Tech. If you have something you would like to share please send it to We will collect those stories for publication on our website, and pass it along to his family.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, please consider giving a gift to the Alzheimer's Association of Georgia, The Friendship Center at Holy Comforter in Atlanta, or a charity of your choice in order to honor Narl. A memorial service will be held in January and we will share more information about it when it becomes available.

Samuel Graham, Jr.
Eugene C. Gwaltney, Jr. Chair and Professor