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).

Communications entrepreneur and social engineer

Communications entrepreneur and social engineer

Kwesi Sipho Umoja, EE’67, says that Dr. Martin Luther King’s death had a profound effect on his perception of tomorrow….

So April. Very Fools. Many Smart. Amaze.

So April. Very Fools. Many Smart. Amaze.

We don’t always pull pranks on April Fool’s Day. But when we do, we win. So proclaimed WIRED on their…

Endurance was her middle name

Endurance was her middle name

The first woman to earn a degree from S&T, Eva Endurance Hirdler Greene, class of 1911, received the general science…

S&T’s first building: the Rolla Building

S&T’s first building: the Rolla Building

Missouri S&T’s first building still stands and is home to our mathematics and statistics department. Built for Rolla’s high school,…

Bringing back the wetlands

Bringing back the wetlands

Donald Hey, a 1963 graduate in civil engineering, is passionate about proving the economic efficiency and sustainability of using restored…

Making the perfect snacks

Making the perfect snacks

Frito-Lay’s Topeka, Kansas, plant operates 24 hours a day, so while most of us are sleeping, Catherine Swift, a 2010…