Michigan Tech News

Mechanical Engineering Alumni Endow Three Associate Professorships at Michigan Tech

Last Modified 12:17 PM on Fri Oct 1, 2010

By Jennifer Donovan

September 30, 2010—

Three faculty members in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics are recipients of new endowed associate professorships at Michigan Technological University.  ME-EM alumni John Calder and Ron Starr and their wives, Joan Calder and Elaine Starr, endowed the professorships. 

Recognized with the endowed positions are Jeff Allen, L. Brad King and Jeff Naber, all associate professors of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics.  They were honored at a ceremony today in the Student Success Center of the R.L. Smith ME-EM Building.

“This is very special for our department and for Michigan Tech,” said ME-EM Chair Bill Predebon.  He introduced the donors and the recipients of the professorships.

Calder and Starr, the alumni who endowed the professorships, were classmates, both graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from Michigan Tech in 1967.  Both are members of the ME-EM Phase II Campaign Committee Endowing Excellence, a committee that Calder chairs.

Allen’s research focuses on two-phase flow in capillary systems, such as those found in the gas flow channels and diffusion media of PEM fuel cells. He received the first Bhakta Rath Research Award this year with his PhD student Ezequiel Medici.  He was also inducted into the Michigan Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence during 2010. He is faculty advisor to the SAE Aero Design National Competition team.

King studies electric space propulsion systems, including Hall-effect thrusters, ion engines and arc jets. He is a fellow of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. He leads Michigan Tech’s collaborative work with the University of Michigan in a recently funded $6 million Air Force National Center of Excellence in Electric Propulsion.  He has won the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.  He is faculty advisor to the Aerospace Enterprise.

Naber led the development of an interdisciplinary course in advanced propulsion for hybrid electric vehicles. Aimed at displaced and working engineers, it has been offered three times, on campus and using distance-learning technologies.  This work led to a $3 million US Department of Energy grant in transportation electrification education, on which Naber is co-principal investigator. He received the 2010 SAE Forest R. McFarland Award and the 2010 Engineering Society of Detroit Distinguished Service Award.  Naber is director of Michigan Tech’s Advanced Power Systems Research Center and faculty advisor for the SAE Formula Car Enterprise.

Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.