Photo of William D. Manly

William D. Manly

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Manufacturing

For his outstanding success in the development and processing of advanced high-temperature and high-performance materials, and the transfer of this technology to a variety of American industries.

From humble beginnings pouring molten metal into molds at the family’s plow factory, William D. Manly forged a career as one of the world’s leading metallurgists.

Growing up in Malta-McConnelsville, Ohio, Manly worked summers at the family factory. The work was hard, but from it Manly developed an affinity for metallurgy. After a stint in the U.S. Marines during World War II, Manly enrolled in the University of Notre Dame, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering in 1949.

He joined the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory soon after graduating, working in a metallurgy program the lab had designed to support nuclear reactor development. During his tenure at Oak Ridge, Manly would go on to work on programs ranging from aircraft nuclear propulsion and gas-cooled reactors.

In addition to his remarkable work career at Oak Ridge and, later, Union Carbide, Manly is also remembered for his community and academic involvement. At Notre Dame, where he received an honorary doctorate of engineering degree in 2001, two endowments for materials research carry his name. A scholarship bearing his wife’s name, the Jane Manly scholarship, helps finance the dreams of women returning to college in their later years.

The Manlys’ generosity also benefitted the Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tenn., where lodging for the families of patients bears the name, the Manly House.

By Robert Warren