Ladislav H. "Laddie" Berka, Professor Emeritus, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Laddie Berka, professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008. He joined the WPI faculty in 1965 and retired from teaching in 1998. He remained active in retirement, supervising student projects and even doing experiments up through the fall of 2007, according to acting department head Kristin Wobbe.
Born in Bay Shore, N.Y., the youngest of nine children of Czech immigrants, he graduated in 1957 from Union College and received a master's degree in chemistry in 1960 from the University of California at Berkeley. After teaching chemistry at Mineola High School on Long Island, he earned a PhD in chemistry in 1965 from the University of Connecticut and joined the WPI faculty. He earned the rank of full professor in 1979.
An active researcher, he developed a particular interest in forensic science. He had edited the forensic science column for the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers Journal for the past eight years and was the organizer of the Forensic Science Colloquia at WPI for many years.
During a sabbatical in 1997, he spent six months at the Massachusetts State Police Crime Labs researching the chemistry of fingerprints. With a WPI student, he held a patent on a process of recovering evidence from rust covered fingerprints. He also collaborated with colleagues at WPI and the Worcester Police Department on a patented process to detect finger prints with the use of superglue. He had recently worked on techniques to recover fingerprints from soot-covered objects.
In 1971, he received the Gustav Ohaus Award for Innovations in Elementary and Secondary Science Teaching and was named an Honors Group Winner of the Westinghouse Talent Search. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society, and the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences.
He leaves his wife of 49 years, Barbara (Schemmel) Berka; daughters Janis Kallgren and Karen Bruewer; a sister; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial donations may be made to NEADS, Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, P.O. Box 213, West Boylston, 01583.
H. Peter D. Lanyon, Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering
H. Peter D. Lanyon, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering, died on August 7, 2008, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. An authority on heavily doped semiconductors, he joined the WPI faculty in 1967 and was named a full professor 10 years later. He retired in 1999.
A native of Halesowen, England, Lanyon received BA and MA degrees in physics from Christ's College, University of Cambridge, in England, and a PhD in physics from the University of Leicester, also in England. He was a visiting research associate in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois, a member of the technical staff at RCA Laboratories in Princeton, N.J., and an associate professor at Carnegie Institute of Technology before coming to WPI.
A senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a chapter president of Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society, he belonged to several scientific and professional societies, including the American Association of University Professors and the American Physical Society. Locally, he was a member of the Worcester Music Association (now Music Worcester Inc.) and the Greendale Retired Men's Club. At WPI, he chaired a number of committees in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.
He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Iris (Velez) Lanyon, five children, and eight grandchildren. Memorial donation may be made to Centro Las Americas, 11 Sycamore Street, Worcester, MA, 01608.
Kenneth E. Scott ’48, Professor Emeritus, Mechanical Engineering
Kenneth E. Scott, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and founder of the Instructional Media Center at WPI, died Jan. 3, 2008, at his home in Ft. Myers, Fla. He was 81.
Scott, a native of Webster, Mass., served with the 100th Infantry Division during World War II and, as a member of the 301st Signal Operating Battalion, was part of the Army of Occupation in Germany from 1944 to 1946. He returned home to study at WPI, receiving a BS in mechanical engineering in 1948.
He joined WPI’s mechanical engineering faculty after graduation while working toward an MS, which he received in 1954. An outstanding teacher, in 1971 he became only the fourth faculty member honored with the WPI Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Teaching. The same year he was chosen as the first recipient of the endowed George I. Alden Professorship in Engineering. The staff of the WPI yearbook, The Peddler, dedicated the 1970 edition to him.
Scott, who served as acting Mechanical Engineering Department head during the 1988-89 academic year, also received the Western Electric Fund Award for Excellence in Instruction of Engineering Students and the Excellence and Campus Leadership award from Sears-Roebuck Foundation. He was elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Education.
At WPI, Scott may be best remembered for his innovative contributions to instructional technology. In the early 1970s, he was appointed director of audiovisual development and director of instructional television. In those capacities, he was instrumental in the development of individually-paced instruction and self-paced laboratory modules. Strongly convinced of the potential for new technologies to improve learning, he created the Instructional Media Center (today known as the Academic Technology Center) and the Computer-aided Design Laboratory. He directed both facilities until his retirement in 1990.
An active member of the WPI Alumni Association, he served as the first faculty representative to the association’s Executive Committee and was a member and chair of its Citations Committee. He played an active role in planning reunions of the Class of 1948 and was a solicitor for his 40th Anniversary Gift Program. In 1998, the association recognized Scott’s long service to his alma mater by presenting him with the William R. Grogan Award for Support of the Mission of WPI, one of its highest honors.
Scott is survived by his wife of 55 years, Elizabeth (Oldham), sons Donald, Jeffrey, and Kenneth, daughter Cynthia, and six grandchildren.
George E. Stannard, Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering
George E. Stannard, 87, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering, died on Nov. 15, 2008. A native of Fitchburg, Mass., he graduated from WPI in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and then worked at the MIT Radiation Laboratory. After World War II, he earned a master’s degree on electrical engineering at MIT before joining the WPI faculty in 1946. He retired in 1986.
Stannard’s interests included amateur radio, astronomy, and investigations with the New England Antiquities Research Association. During his youth, he played several musical instruments, including the clarinet and saxophone, and was a member of a dance band. One of the highlights of his early life was meeting Glen Miller, his musical idol. He also enjoyed crossword puzzles, model railroads, photography, and coin collecting.
He was keenly interested in environmental issues. He installed solar panels, a green house, and a variety of fruit trees and gardens at his residence and supported many animal organizations. Vermont and Switzerland were two of his favorite places to visit.
He was an enthusiastic fund raiser for Camp Putnam in New Braintree, Mass., and served on the camp’s board. A lifelong Episcopalian, he was a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church since 1950. He sang tenor in the church choir and served on the vestry and many church committees.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dr. Katherine Stannard, two sons, a daughter, and two step grandsons.
Memorial donations may be made to Camp Putnam, 141 Rutherford Rd., New Braintree, Mass., 01531.
Lyle E. Wimmergren, Professor Emeritus, Management
Lyle E. Wimmergren, professor emeritus of management at WPI, died Tuesday, April 15, 2008, after a brief illness. He retired in 1994, having taught at WPI for 25 years.
Before joining the WPI faculty, he served as an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and at New England College in New Hampshire. His extensive management career included work as a financial planning supervisor at Sylvania Electric, supervisor of dealer financing at Ford Motor Company, assistant credit manager at Guaranty Bank, and management trainee for the Rock Island Railroad. He served in the Korean Conflict with the U.S. Army. He earned a BS from Northwestern University in 1953 and an M.B.A. with distinction from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1957.
Wimmergren spent a sabbatical year in 1993 working at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development in Mesa, Ariz. For the past 12 years, he and his wife, Marilyn, had worked as Volunteer National Rangers through the Volunteers in Parks Program of the National Parks Service. He enjoyed teaching Southwest history and culture to park visitors, most recently at Tumacacori National Historic Park in Tumacacori, Ariz.
He was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma and Delta Sigma Rho professional management societies, Phi Beta Kappa, Acacia Fraternity, the Worcester Torch Club, and the First Congregational Church of Paxton. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, including the Scottish Rite Bodies, and the Moses Webster Lodge 145 in Vinalhaven, Maine.
Memorial donations may be made to the First Congregational Church of Paxton, 1 Church St., Paxton, MA 01612; or the Humane Society of Knox County, P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841.