Tommy W. Ambrose
Tommy Ambrose spent his youth on a sheep ranch near Jerome, Idaho and at the age of 17 enlisted in the United States Navy. He served on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Theatre during World War II and then returned to Idaho to complete bachelor's (’50) and master's (’51) degrees in chemical engineering at the University of Idaho. Ambrose played as a center on the varsity football team for three years while studying chemical engineering. He then married his 50’s classmate Shirley Ann Ball, and they have three daughters, Pamela Lee, a professional cellist; Julie Lynn, a major gifts director for a symphony orchestra; and Leslie Ann, a principal software designer.
Ambrose completed his doctorate at Oregon State University in 1957 and subsequently was awarded an honorary doctorate by U of I. His first job was with the General Electric Company at the Hanford Atomic Works in Richland, Wash., where was engaged in reactor research and development followed by managerial responsibility for processes and nuclear safety. He worked for Battelle Memorial Institute from 1969 to 1990 in various capacities including director of the Seattle Research Center and then as vice president and director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. He also served as a liaison officer for Battelle’s four international laboratories.
Ambrose retired from Battelle to serve the University of California System as liaison between its president and three Department of Energy’s National Laboratories which they managed at Livermore, Los Alamos and Berkeley. Ambrose served on Washington’s Commerce and Economic Development Committee and its Council for Post-Secondary Education, and Idaho’s Science and Technology Council. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Idaho Foundation, engineering advisory boards for the U of I, University of Washington and Idaho State University and eight years on ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). He has also served on boards at Columbia Basin College, Northwest College and university Association for Science, Pacific Science Center Foundation, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and Ohio Wesleyan University. Ambrose received the U of I’s Hall of Fame award in 1980, the Oregon State University College of Engineering Hall of Fame award in 2001 and the Idaho State University College of Engineering’s Professional Achievement award in 2000.