Skip to main content

A. Ray Abernathy

A. Ray Abernathy

May 30, 1930 - October 8, 1997
Acting Department Head & Professor Emeritus

Ph.D. Environmental Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1963
M.S. Sanitary Chemistry & Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1959
A.B. Chemistry & Education, Lenoir-Rhyne College, 1953

Career Overview | Accomplishments | Honors

Career Overview

  • Associate Professor, Professor, & Acting Department Head, Environmental Systems Engineering, Clemson 1966-1993
  • Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering, Clemson 1962-1966

Career Accomplishments & Highlights

  • Worked with Duke Energy in 1975 to study fish populations in lakes Keowee & Jocassee. Studies revealed the fish to contain unacceptable levels of mercury, leading to a public advisory to limit the consumption of fish caught in those lakes.  Dr. Abernathy’s work on mercury greatly influenced the recognition of this as a widespread problem for South Carolina.
  • More broadly, Dr. Abernathy was among the first researchers to conduct comprehensive studies of the water chemistry in reservoirs in the upstate of South Carolina. 
  • The first faculty member hired into the newly formed Environmental Systems Engineering Department by Dr. Gene Rich, who at that time was serving as the Dean of the College of Engineering.
  • An annual award for EEES graduate students is named in honor of Dr. Abernathy, endowed by contributions made through the SC Water Environment Association.
  • Served as an officer at the state and national levels of the Water Environment Federation. 

Awards & Honors

  • Arthur Sidney Bedell Award, Water Environment Federation, 1975