WPI Emeritus Professor and Department Head Donald Zwiep Named Honorary Member of ASME

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WORCESTER, Mass. -- November 17, 2004 -- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) emeritus professor and head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, Donald N. Zwiep, has been recognized as an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Honorary Membership is the highest award that ASME can bestow on an individual, and it is conferred on those with distinguished service that contributes significantly to the attainment of the goals of the engineering profession.

Zwiep received the award yesterday at the ASME 2004 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and RD&D Expo in Anaheim, Calif. He was one of only four individuals chosen as the 2004 ASME Honorary Members, and he is the first person from WPI to receive this honor. Since the founding of the society in 1880, fewer than 400 members of ASME have been awarded Honorary Membership.

For more than fifty years, Zwiep has made significant and sustained contributions, and has been a leader in engineering education and professional technical organizations. His service to WPI, ASME, and numerous other universities and organizations demonstrates his lifelong contribution to the enrichment of engineering.

A member of ASME since 1947, Zwiep has held many local, regional, and national advisory and committee positions. He also served as the 98th president of ASME during the society's centennial year (1979-80). During his presidency, Zwiep helped make significant changes and was an active participant providing leadership and guidance in the restructuring of the society's governance. He also pioneered better lines of international technical communication, pioneering some of the first Agreements of Cooperation of ASME with other mechanical engineering professional societies in Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines.

In addition to his dedication to ASME, Zwiep was a key contributor to the development of engineering education. After serving in WWII as a B-24 pilot and crew commander in the Army Air Corps, he enrolled at Iowa State University and completed a B.S. in mechanical engineering. He later earned an M.S. from Iowa State in the same subject. This was followed an academic posting at Colorado State University where he became a tenured associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Zwiep joined WPI in 1957 as professor and head of the Mechanical Engineering Department. Through his direction and leadership, the department was expanded and developed to offer graduate programs with a strong emphasis on quality education and research. Zwiep was also instrumental in establishing the Management Engineering Department in 1964, and the university's project-based undergraduate curriculum, the WPI Plan, in the early 1970s. In 1977, he was the advisor to the WPI Project Center in Washington, D.C., and in 1982 he became the director and chairman of WPI's Manufacturing Engineering Applications Center. Subsequently, he served as acting provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Following retirement in 1990, Zwiep continued his service to WPI by becoming involved internationally with student projects in London, at the Technical University at Delft, The Netherlands, and most recently at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"Professor Zwiep's Mechanical Engineering Department flourishes today as WPI's largest academic department," says William W. Durgin, associate provost and vice president for research at WPI. "We are still enjoying his legacy of initiatives, outstanding faculty, and traditions. Whether it be aerospace engineering, materials, design, or thermo-fluid engineering, the undergraduate program, the graduate program, or the projects program; the seeds were all sown by Don."

Zwiep's contributions to engineering education are not restricted to his accomplishments at WPI; he has provided important consulting services both in the U.S. and abroad. He has reviewed technical education in Taiwan, at the invitation of high-ranking Tai leaders; and was the Invited Visitor for the Swedish National Education Board at Lulea, Chalmers University, and the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology. Former Massachusetts governor Michael S. Dukakis appointed him to the Board of Directors for the Center of Applied Technology for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a position held from 1987 to his retirement in 1990.

Zwiep has also dedicated himself to encouraging interest and careers in engineering. He is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation, a nonprofit organization that annually provides monetary awards to students and graduate professional engineers, produces and distributes several publications related to the field of arc welding, and provides support to libraries in vocational high schools and engineering colleges and universities.

A current resident of Orange City, Iowa, Zwiep has received many distinguished honors and awards, including the ASME Distinguished Service Medal, the ASME Centennial Medal, the William R. Grogan Award for Support of the Mission of WPI, the WPI Outstanding Professional Achievement Award, and the ASEE Centennial Medallion.

According to Durgin, as a testament to his outstanding service to many, his new Honorary Member status is an honor most deserved. "One of Don's greatest strengths is that of planting a seed and then letting events take their course. This ability stems, of course, from his fantastic ability to see opportunities and his unfailing belief in people, especially mechanical engineers. There is no one who exemplifies mechanical engineering education more than Don Zwiep."

About ASME

Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, today's ASME is a 120,000-member professional organization focused on technical, educational and research issues of the engineering and technology community. ASME conducts one of the world's largest technical publishing operations, holds numerous technical conferences worldwide, and offers hundreds of professional development courses each year. ASME sets internationally recognized industrial and manufacturing codes and standards that enhance public safety.