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).

Kirstin Rigger and Holden McComb

Kirstin Rigger and Holden McComb

Kirstin Rigger and Holden McComb were freshmen living in TJ Hall when they met in 2015. Holden, who lived on…

Andrea (Clements) and Zachary Weber

Andrea (Clements) and Zachary Weber

Andrea (Clements) Weber, a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, met her husband, Zachary, when one of her sorority sisters…

Taylor Husman and Tyler Recker

Taylor Husman and Tyler Recker

Taylor Husman and Tyler Recker met on the patio of Kappa Sigma fraternity on their second night at S&T in…

Leah (Rechner) and Matt Lenzner

Leah (Rechner) and Matt Lenzner

Leah (Rechner) and Matt Lenzner met during their first week on campus as freshmen in August 2001. Leah’s friend started…

Teresa (Schneider) and Samuel Vohsen

Teresa (Schneider) and Samuel Vohsen

Even though as students, Teresa (Schneider) and Samuel Vohsen spent many hours in McNutt Hall as ceramic engineering and geology…

Studying the past to improve the future

Studying the past to improve the future

Katy Bloomberg, who earned her bachelor’s degree in history in 2006, believes that her experience working in S&T’s Archives prepared…