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1997-1998

WPI Announces Endowed Professorships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/Aug. 12, 1997
Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass.-The following WPI faculty members were recently appointed to endowed professorships:

Andreas N. Alexandrou of Worcester, Mass., is the newest recipient of the Russell M. Searle Instructorship in Mechanical Engineering. A native of Cyprus, Alexandrou, an associate professor, earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering at the American University of Beirut and master's degrees in mechanical and civil engineering and a doctorate in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty in 1987. Alexandrou's research and teaching interests are in microgravity fluid mechanics, magneto-hydrodynamic and wake flows, and theoretical and computational fluid mechanics.

The Searle instructorship was established in 1978 by Achsa Brown Searle in memory of her husband, who graduated in 1915. The one-year instructorship recognizes and supports a young member of the mechanical engineering faculty.

Russell Searle, who grew up in Providence, R.I., majored in mechanical engineering. After graduation he went to work on fire-control equipment for the Army and Navy during World War I. After the war he worked for several companies, including Corning Glass Works. He was executive secretary of the Washington-based National Advertising Specialty Association for 20 years before his retirement. He died in 1968.

Konstantin A. Lurie of Paxton, Mass., has been named the John E. Sinclair Professor of Mathematical Sciences. Lurie, who was born and raised in the former Soviet Union, holds an M.S. from Leningrad Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. and D.S. from the A.F. Ioffe Physical Technical Institute, Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. A faculty member since 1989, Lurie's research and teaching interests are in mathematical physics, control and optimization of distributed parameter systems, nonconvex variational calculus, and optimal design in continuum mechanics.

The Sinclair was WPI's first endowed professorship. It was established in 1915 by a gift of three life insurance policies from Professor John Sinclair and his children. At the time of the gift he noted that it was "to show affection for the Institute where in the early years Mrs. Sinclair and I taught together, and to show my gratitude for the opportunity which the Institute opened to me." Sinclair taught mathematics at WPI for 39 years; his second wife, Marietta, was an instructor in French and German; his son, Harry, graduated with the Class of 1893; and one of his daughters married an alumnus. Sinclair is also remembered as the inventor of the ratchet wrench. The Lowell Corp., which was built on this invention, is owned by his descendants.

Ryszard J. Pryputniewicz of Manchester, Conn., has been awarded this year's Morgan-Worcester Distinguished Professorship. Pryputniewicz received his bachelor's degree from the University of Hartford and his master's and doctorate from the University of Connecticut. A faculty member since 1978, he received the Board of Trustees' Award for Outstanding Creative Scholarship in 1991. His research and teaching interests are in thermodynamics, holography, fiber optics, laser applications, energy, computer modeling of dynamic systems and bioengineering.

The one-year instructorship was established in 1974 through a gift from Morgan Construction Co., manufacturers of rolling mills and steel-making equipment. Morgan family members have been associated with the university since its founding in 1865. Charles Hill Morgan, a WPI trustee from 1866 to 1911, was chosen by WPI to oversee the construction of the Washburn Shops, one of the university's two original buildings. Charles' son Paul B. Morgan (who graduated in 1890), his grandson Philip M. Morgan, and his great-grandson Paul S. Morgan also served as WPI trustees. Morgan Hall, built in 1958, was named for the family.

Karen M. McNamara Rutledge of Lexington, Mass., assistant professor of chemical engineering, has received the Leonard P. Kinnicutt Professorship-a two-year appointment. McNamara Rutledge received her bachelor's degree from The Johns Hopkins University and her master's and doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has been a member of the faculty since 1996. Her research and teaching interests are in chemical vapor disposition, inorganic materials, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance, vibrational spectroscopy, materials deposition and characterization, process/property relationships, and surface and interface studies.

The Kinnicutt professorship, awarded to encourage younger faculty in their professional development, honors a Worcester native who served on the faculty from 1882 to 1911. It was established in 1964 with part of a bequest from George C. Gordon of the Class of 1895. The $5 million gift also made possible the building of the George C. Gordon Library and a substantial increase in the university's endowment fund. Gordon said Kinnicutt was the professor who most influenced the course of his life.

Gordon was the youngest of three brothers to graduate from WPI. In 1911, after working at American Steel and Wire and Wyman-Gordon (founded by his brother, Lyman), George Gordon became vice president and general manager of the Park Drop Forge Co. in Cleveland. He later became president and chairman of the board of the company and was active in business and as an investor until his death in 1964 at the age of 91.

WPI is an independent technological university founded in 1865.