Jul 26, 2012
By Colleen Carow
Kenneth Richard Halliday, recently retired associate professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio University's Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, died July 16 after a long illness.
Halliday retired in July 2011 after serving the Russ College for 29 years.
"Ken was a defining presence in the ME department as it grew from a handful of faculty to the large department that it is today," said Department of Mechanical Engineering Chair Greg Kremer. "I still hear alumni talk about how Dr. Halliday's real world, but no-nonsense approach helped them develop into good engineers."
Halliday, who developed the program's first-year Introduction to Mechanical Engineering" course, also co-created – along with Kremer and Professor of Mechanical Engineering Israel Urieli – the program's yearlong mechanical engineering senior design capstone experience. Student teams have won several national awards for their projects.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering Bob Williams, also an alumnus of the program, said that Halliday was one of the toughest professors he ever had.
"Many things he taught me, I am now passing on to the next generation of students as their professor. I often mention his name as a source of inspiration," Williams said.
Randy Ankrom, a 1987 mechanical engineering alumnus who joined the department's advisory board at Halliday's urging, said the thing he remembers most about Halliday's classes were the assignments.
"He never gave us enough information to complete the problem. We had to do a lot of hunting to get the information, and that always upset me," Ankrom said. "But when I started working in industry, I suddenly realized his classes prepared me for my job more than any other classes."
Honored with the Russ College's Russ Outstanding Teaching Award in 1984, Halliday also served as undergraduate chair for the department and was adviser for the Electric Bobcat Racing Team and the Society of Automotive Engineers Mini Baja team.
Halliday attended night school at Western New England College to earn his bachelor's degree while working at General Electric in western Massachusetts and then went on to obtain his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts. He taught at Rhode Island University and the University of Texas at Arlington before teaching at Ohio University. In his free time, he enjoyed photography and traveling the world.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Appalachian Visiting Nurses Association, 30 Herrold Ave., Athens, OH 45701.