Engineering Education: Pledge & People (September 2015)

The Miami Herald (FL) reports that Herbert A. Wertheim, Ph.D. (FL B ’62), has pledged $50 million to the University of Florida’s College of Engineering. Dr. Wertheim is an optometrist who invented the eyeglass tints that block UV rays. His gift will fund the largest expansion of the engineering school in UF’s history.

“This is going to change the way engineering is taught,” Dr. Wertheim said. “It’s where I got my start. I believe engineering is an important part of medicine.” Plans are for the engineering college to be named in his honor, the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Read the article for more information on plans for the use of the funds.

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James L. Flanagan, Ph.D. (MS A ’48), passed away in August one day shy of his 90th birthday. He is described in his obituary from IEEE as “a pioneer in the field of acoustics, envisioning and providing the technical foundation for speech recognition, teleconferencing, MP3 music files, and the more efficient digital transmission of human conversation.” Dr. Flanagan earned degrees in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University (bachelor’s) and MIT (master’s and Ph.D.).

He began working at the U.S. Air Force’s Cambridge Research Center and then joined Bell Laboratories where he became head of the Speech and Auditory Research Department (1961), head of the Acoustics Research Department (1967), and director of the Information Principles Research Laboratory (1985). In 1990, Dr. Flanagan joined Rutgers University and was named vice president for research and director of the Center for Advanced Information Processing. “There he led the development of global systems for speech-activated human-computer interfaces that incorporate sight and touch modalities.” Read the obituary for more details on his career and life.

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The Stony Brook University (NY) College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will have a new dean beginning October 15, 2015. Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., was appointed earlier this year. Previously, Dr. Sotiropoulos has been a professor of engineering and Director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. According to the article, he received a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s in engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

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