WPI Names New Morgan, Searle Professors

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - Two WPI associate professors of mechanical engineering were recently honored for their teaching or advising skills. James C. Hermanson of Paxton, Mass., received the 2001-02 Russell Searle Instructorship in Mechanical Engineering, which recognizes quality teaching. The one-year appointment includes a stipend for professional development. Achsa Brown Searle established the instructorship in 1978 in memory of her husband, Russell Mitchell Searle, a member of WPI's Class of 1915.

Hermanson earned a B.S. at the University of Washington and an M.S. and Ph.D. at California Institute of Technology. A member of the faculty since 1995, he currently holds the George I. Alden Professorship in Mechanical Engineering. In 1998 he was one of three WPI professors to receive a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. Last year he was elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His research and teaching interests are in fluid mechanics, gas dynamics, multi-phase flow, microgravity science, combustion and heat transfer.

David J. Olinger of Northbridge, Mass., was honored for quality advising with the 2001-02 Morgan Distinguished Instructorship in Mechanical Engineering. The award was established in 1974 by Morgan Construction Co., an acknowledged world leader in rolling mill technology. As individuals and through the company, Morgan family members have been associated with WPI since the University's founding in 1865. Like the Searle award, the Morgan instructorship includes a professional development stipend.

A faculty member since 1990, Olinger holds a B.S. from Lafayette College, an M.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an M.S., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He was a recipient of a Summer Faculty Research Fellowship from the U.S. Navy and the American Society of Engineering Education in 1994. His research and teaching interests are in fluid mechanics, aero- and hydrodynamics, fluid-structure interaction, nonlinear dyanmics and fluid-flow control.

Founded in 1865, WPI was a pioneer in technological higher education. Early on, it developed an influential curriculum that balanced theory and practice. Since 1970, that philosophy has been embodied in an innovative outcomes-oriented undergraduate program. With a network of project centers that spans the globe, WPI is also the leader in globalizing technological education. WPI awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, most of WPI's academic departments offer master's and doctoral programs and support leading-edge research in a broad range of areas.