WPI, Fire Protection Engineering and Fellowship
Pearsall was named the Fire Protection Man of the Year by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers in 1980, and he was credited with saving more than 1,000 lives with the SmokeGard systems. The early warning battery-powered home smoke detector is now recognized as the most significant breakthrough in fire safety in over 80 years! [SPFE Bulletin, July 1980, Vol 80-3.]
Duane cherished the citation "Fire Protection Man of the Year" as the highest award he ever received. The award was "presented for his outstanding and lasting contributions to the protection of life and property from the ravages of fire." [p190]
Later that year, Pearsall became a charter member of Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Fire Safety Studies, and played a major role in the creation of the Fire Protection Engineering Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a donation of $10,000.
He began a donation matching program to help the Center grow and develop. Due to this funding commitment, the Center was able to sustain itself and grow into what is now known as the Fire Protection Engineering Program at WPI.
In 1980, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers recognized him as Fire Protection Man of the Year.
In 1983, WPI established a graduate fellowship honoring Duane D Pearsall for his contributions to the field of fire safety engineering.
In 1987, WPI named him the first recipient of the Center for Firesafety Studies Herrick Drake Commemorative Award.
In May 1996, Pearsall received an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from WPI.
In 2004, Pearsall was awarded the WPI Presidential Medal for Technological Humanist, for his visionary contributions as an engineer, entrepreneur.
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