Photos: Rebecca Miller
Ohio University's Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology recognized distinguished alumni and outstanding faculty and staff Friday at its annual spring awards celebration.
Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis and Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin inducted three alumni into the Russ College Academy of Distinguished Graduates, which recognizes the career accomplishments and life achievements of renowned Russ College graduates. It is the highest honor that the college can bestow on its alumni.
The class of 2014 inductees were 1984 electrical engineering bachelor’s degree graduate Helen Crawley-Austin, 1980 civil engineering bachelor’s degree graduate Richard “Dick” Dickerson, and 1978 electrical engineering bachelor’s degree graduate James “Jim” Grote.
Crawley-Austin, who has led a distinguished 25-year career in business management, founded an IT and engineering consulting company, Beyond Consulting Solutions, after leading a technical services firm for the food and consumer goods industry for five years. She is also a former vice president and division director at Bell Labs and Lucent Technologies.
“It's been 30 years since I walked the streets of this campus as a student,” she said. “What a remarkable change has happened. My degree at OU was the catalyst for an amazing career, so you see why OU holds a special place in my heart -- not just my heart but the heart of my family,” said Crawley-Austin, whose brother also attended OHIO and whose sister served as women’s basketball coach.
Dickerson has worked in pipeline construction and operations management for 35 years. He founded UTI Technologies, a pipeline construction firm, after working at Columbia Gas for 15 years. The care shown to him by faculty and administration during his education has been a memorable aspect of his Russ College experience.
“To be recognized among so many outstanding and worthy candidates is indeed a very humbling honor,” he said. “I have had the pleasure to meet many Ohio University engineering graduates. I find that when I meet a new engineering acquaintance that is bright, friendly and particularly socially adept, that they are often one of the thousands of great Russ College graduates,” said Dickerson,who serves on the Russ College Board of Visitors and Department of Civil Engineering Advisory Board.
Grote performs advanced materials and avionics research at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where he has worked for 35 years.
“When I graduated, I soon found out how well Ohio University’s electrical engineering program had prepared me for what has been a storybook career with the Air Force Research Laboratory,” Grote said. “In my mind, Ohio University IS one of our nation’s top-tiered, forward thinking, universities in engineering. Second to none.”
Established by Marvin, BSCE '47, and Ann White, the White Awards honor outstanding faculty members for recognition in teaching and research. The White Research Award recognizes continued and sustained achievements in research, scholarship, and the creation of new knowledge by a Russ College faculty member in each department. The gift carries a $500 reward and personalized plaque for each honoree.
Recipients for 2014 were: Bryan Branham, chair of the Department of Aviation; Srdjan Nesic, Russ Professor of Chemical Engineering; Tiao Chang, professor of civil engineering; Avinash Kodi, assistant professor of electrical engineering and Director of the Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology; Pat McCuistion, associate professor of engineering technology and management; Dale Masel, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering and advisor of the Karol and Jo Ondick Engineering Ambassadors Program; and David Bayless, Loehr Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Ohio Coal Research Institute and the Robe Leadership Institute.
The White Teaching Award recognizes dedicated teaching and student advising. Recipients for 2014 were: Bryan Branham, chair of the Department of Aviation; Darin Ridgway, Dinos Professor of Chemical Engineering; Byung-Cheol Kim, assistant professor of civil engineering; Razvan Bunescu, associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Zaki Kuruppalil, assistant professor of engineering technology and management; Dusan Sormaz, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering; and Timothy “T.J.” Cyders, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
“I was amazed, shocked and pleasantly surprised,” said Branham to winning both the research and teaching award.
Alumnus Fritz J. Russ, BSEE ‘42, HON ‘75, and his wife, Dolores, established the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Awards in 1981. Honoring the top research paper and top teaching accomplishments for the year, they carry a cash award of $1,500 along with a personalized plaque.
Tingyue Gu, professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, was awarded the Russ Research Award for his paper, “Laboratory Investigation of Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion of C1018 Carbon Steel by Nitrate Reducing Bacterium Bacillus.”
“I’d like to thank our department chair and corrosion institute director for their support, and I thank my hardworking students for their work,” he said. “I also would like to thank the journal editor who pushed for six revisions before the paper was published.”
Bayless received the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, which is decided by students.
“I’m flattered, I’m honored, and I’m really stunned,” he said. “I’m really truly touched, and the fact that it comes from the students means so much more.”
The Russ College’s Outstanding Administrative, Technical, and Classified Employee Awards honor employees with outstanding results-based performance and award the recipients with a $750 cash prize and personalized plaque. Nominations are accepted from current Russ College employees each year.
The administrative award was given to Research and Grants Coordinator Steve Riesbeck, the technical award to Engineering Technician Ron Porter, and the classified award to Records Management Associate and Chief Flight Dispatcher Theresa Meyer.
Meyer was shocked but happy to receive the honor.
“I never would have thought I was going to win,” she said.