WPI Honors Outstanding Faculty and Staff

Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. - June 21, 2005 - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) recognized six distinguished members of its academic community during the university's annual Faculty Honors Convocation. The awards honored five WPI professors and a graduate student for outstanding research, teaching, and contributions to the WPI community.

Holly K. Ault, associate professor of mechanical engineering received the Denise Nicoletti Trustees' Award for Service to the Community. The award is in recognition of passion and action in serving the needs of a community above and beyond the candidate's regular job description. The award was created in memory of Denise Nicoletti, a faculty member in electrical and computer engineering from 1991 to 2002, whose passion for life and humanity touched many lives. The award is intended to keep her spirit alive in the WPI community. Ault is a resident of Templeton, Mass.

Kristen L. Billiar, assistant professor of biomedical engineering from Worcester, Mass. received the Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award. This award recognizes innovation in undergraduate teaching in memory of the late Romeo L. Moruzzi, who came to teach at WPI in 1954 and, among other accomplishments, helped to establish the WPI Plan. Under the Plan, students integrate classroom studies with research projects conducted on campus and around the world.

Homer F. Walker, professor of mathematical sciences received the Trustees' Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship. This award is in recognition of his many significant contributions to the field of Computational and Applied Mathematics. He resides in Holden, Mass.

Robert L. Norton received the Trustees' Award for Outstanding Teaching. He is a WPI professor of mechanical engineering, head of the design group, and the author of various text books. This award is in recognition of Norton's tireless dedication to the lives and learning of his students, for his excellence in teaching and project advising, and his contributions to the mechanical engineering education worldwide.

Jeanine D. Plummer, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering received the Trustees' Award for Outstanding Academic Advising. This award is in recognition of the important role that academic advisors play in guiding and mentoring students through stages of professional and personal development. Plummer resides in Fiskdale, Mass.

Shruti Pai, a graduate student in biomedical engineering, received the Teaching Assistant of the Year Award. Pai resides in Worcester, Mass.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today, its first-rate research laboratories support master's and Ph.D. programs in more than 30 disciplines in engineering, science and the management of technology.