Few have shared the ring with Muhammad Ali or been praised by the New York Times as “one of America’s top industrialists,” but Harry Kessler accomplished both.

As a teenager, Kessler heard “fabulous stories of mining adventures in far-flung corners of the work world” from his sister’s boyfriend who was an MSM student. The St. Louis native, who boxed in high school, started the university’s boxing program and became a referee after earning a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy in 1924.

Kessler co-invented an improved metal casting process and consulted for nearly 50 foundries around the country. According to a 1955 article in the New York Times, he emerged as “the No. 1 foundry trouble-shooter in the nation.” And in 1979, he received the Albert Einstein award for technical innovation.

Kessler was known by millions of boxing fans as a referee on the nationally televised “Friday Night Fights” from Madison Square Garden in New York.  Among his more than 150 televised boxing matches, Kessler refereed 15 world title bouts, including two of Muhammad Ali’s. He was the first non-boxer elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame.

Share This Story

Spark a Memory?

Share your story! Fill out the form below to share your fondest memory or anecdote of S&T. If you'd prefer not typing, you can also share by phone at 833-646-3715 (833-Miner150).

Y2K debugger

Y2K debugger

As the clock ticked down to the year 2000, computer scientists around the world were fretting about the so-called “Y2K…

Anika (Stuckenschneider) and Jacob (Wang) Careaga

Anika (Stuckenschneider) and Jacob (Wang) Careaga

Anika (Stuckenschneider) met Jacob (Wang) Careaga during the spring of 1996 when he came over to her Kappa Delta sorority…

All aboard! Ozzy comes to S&T

All aboard! Ozzy comes to S&T

Rocker and reality TV star Ozzy Osbourne visited S&T’s Experimental Mine in 2018 for an episode of Ozzy and Jack’s…

Laura Pirrone and Patrick Corcoran

Laura Pirrone and Patrick Corcoran

Laura Pirrone and Patrick Corcoran had two things in common when they met at S&T.  “We actually went to high…

Inventing the future at ‘the idea factory’

Inventing the future at ‘the idea factory’

In the 1950s, AT&T Bell Labs was a hotbed of innovation, a place where engineers and theorists came together to…

Amanda (Kay Hansen) and Chris Byrd

Amanda (Kay Hansen) and Chris Byrd

It was a fire drill at TJ Residence Hall in September 1999 that first brought Amanda (Kay Hansen) and Chris…