Two New Endowed Professorships Appointed

M&M Building from the air
M&M Building from the air
Michigan Tech's Department of Materials Science and Engineering announced the appointment of two new endowed professorships. Paul Sanders is the Patrick Horvath Endowed Professor Materials Science and Engineering and Joshua Pearce is the Richard Witte Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan Technological University announced the inaugural appointments of two endowed professorships.

Paul Sanders is the recipient of the Patrick Horvath Endowed Professorship of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) and Joshua Pearce has been named the Richard Witte Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

A distinguished record

Sanders is an associate professor of materials science and engineering and an affiliated associate professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics. According to MSE Department Chair Stephen Kampe, the selection recognizes Sanders’ distinguished record of accomplishment and productivity. “Paul has earned a renowned reputation in material design, simulation and processing. He has been particularly effective in bringing contemporary design methods into the classroom as project-based learning tools.”

The endowment was established by Patrick ’67 and Deborah Horvath through a series of gifts and donations spanning several years. After his graduation from Michigan Tech, Pat began his career with the Wyman Gordon Company, and later founded and led two companies, Accurate Metallurgical Services and H&H Heat Treating, to provide metallurgical and materials services to the aerospace, automotive, tool, and petroleum industries. He was inducted into the Academy of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Michigan Tech in 1998. “The Horvaths have also endowed a scholarship for the benefit of Michigan Tech students from Pat’s Upper Peninsula hometown of Stephenson,” Kampe said.

Sanders said he is thankful to receive the inaugural endowed professorship. “I appreciate the support from the Horvaths. Like Pat, I am a metallurgist and will use the funds to develop novel metallic alloys through expanded external collaboration with academia and industry.” He said this will reduce project start-up barriers, enable rapid proof of concepts and provide preliminary data for follow-on proposals.

An authoritative voice

Joshua Pearce has been appointed the inaugural Richard Witte Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Pearce is a professor of materials science and engineering and a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The Witte endowment was established by the late Richard ’50 and Nancy Witte. Richard served as vice president and chief patent counsel for Proctor and Gamble Worldwide from 1956 through his retirement in 1992. During and after his career, he served on numerous federal, state and local commissions, delegations and boards that addressed a variety of international diplomatic and intellectual property policies. In 2000, he was inducted into Michigan Tech's Academy of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. Following Richard’s passing in 2015, Nancy completed the endowment and continues as a close and supportive friend of Michigan Tech.

“Joshua is renowned as an authoritative voice on a variety of issues at the intersection of engineering and social well-being,” Kampe said. As an example, he notes that Pearce conducts research in the seemingly diverse areas of photovoltaic materials and additive manufacturing. “But when coupled, these technologies can provide underserved, rural regions of the world with means to inexpensively self-manufacture a variety of goods and services.”

Pearce said he is “deeply honored to be the inaugural recipient of the Richard Witte Endowed Professorship and extremely grateful to Mrs. Witte and her family for this opportunity.”

Pearce said the research-related innovations he is most proud of started as unfunded exploratory experiments. “I have a wide range of interdisciplinary interests, often outside of my formal training, which coupled with a collaborative open-source approach, allow me to innovate much faster than specialists in silos.”

“The Richard Witte Endowed Professorship will allow me to be even more aggressive in pursuing such high-impact experiments with my graduate and undergraduate student collaborators,” Pearce said.

Of the two new endowments, Kampe expressed his sincere gratitude to the alumni donors. “Endowed professorships represent a high-impact gift that has broad benefit to the University, department, faculty, and ultimately, to the students. They serve to not only recognize highly effective faculty members, but allow them to leverage their already high level of productivity into new areas, also enabling student participation in these efforts. MSE has such a great alumni base; we are fortunate that many have chosen to recognize the impact that Michigan Tech has had on their lives by giving back in this way.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.