KNOXVILLE, Tenn., April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Harry "Hap" McSween, a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, professor who is world-renowned for his research of meteorites and Mars, has been named the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Professor of the Year. McSween is a Chancellor's Professor and distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences. To view a video featuring McSween, visit https://tiny.utk.edu/wjMHD. The SEC Professor of the Year Award honors one SEC faculty member from the 14 conference universities whose record in research, scholarship and service places him or her among the elite in higher education. "We are honored that Hap won this top award in our conference," said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. "It is well deserved. He is a stellar representative of our university and what it means to be an extraordinary scientist, teacher and researcher." McSween first won the university's SEC Faculty Achievement Award, making him a finalist for the top award. He will be honored at the SEC Spring Banquet in Destin, Fla., in May and will receive a $20,000 honorarium. "Hap is beloved as a truly wonderful human being whose interactions with others are characterized by kindness and generosity," said Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "He is the epitome of a servant leader and we are indebted to him for responding to calls for his leadership and service at critical times in his department, the college, and the university. He is passionately committed to the success of this institution. We are a better community because Hap McSween is among us." McSween is the world's leading expert on the composition of Mars. He is co-investigator for NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft mission, the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Dawn spacecraft mission. He is a recipient of the National Academy of Sciences' J. Lawrence Smith Medal for his pioneering studies of the parent planets of meteorites and his work on the geological history of Mars, and he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1999, McSween led a team of researchers that discovered geologic evidence on a meteorite that water existed deep in Mars' crust. He also has an asteroid named for him by the International Astronomical Union, 5223 McSween.