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KU Aerospace Engineering Department Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Monday, May 12, 2014

On May 2nd and 3rd the KU Aerospace Engineering Department celebrated 70 years of history with alumni, faculty, and friends.  The reunion highlighted former faculty member, Dr. Jan Roskam and Korea Aerospace Research Institute Principal Researcher, Dr. SangYeop Han by inducting them into the AE Department Honor Roll.

The reunion kicked off Friday afternoon with Major General and retired NASA astronaut, Joe Engle presenting “From the X-15 to the Space Shuttle” to the AE 290 Colloquium students and alumni.  During the Colloquium, the standing room only crowd learned about the history of the X-15, what it was like to fly the X-15, the convergence of the Aircraft System and the Spacecraft System, and how it had a direct impact on the manned space program.  Later that evening alumni and guests gathered at the Dole Institute to recognize past design competition winners and reconnect with fellow alumni.

Saturday morning started off early with tours of Learned Hall, M2SEC, and KUAE’s airport facilities.  During the tours alumni had the opportunity to visit updated labs and learn about current student and faculty projects.  After the tours, everyone gathered at the KU Memorial Union for the 20th Annual Awards Luncheon.  The following students and faculty were recognized at the luncheon:

Outstanding GTA’s: Alex Karwas and Dhaval Mysore Krishna
Outstanding Sophomore: Zhenhao Jing
Outstanding Junior: Lauren Schumacher
Outstanding Senior: Julian McCafferty
Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher: Daniel Kennedy
Vince Muirhead Award for Leadership: Austin Abitz
Educator of the Year presented by the senior class: Dr. Richard Hale

In the afternoon reunion attendees gathered in the Spahr Auditorium for the Symposium.  AE Emeritus Professor, Dr. David Downing, started the Symposium off by presenting, “Excellence in Design by Design” with panelists and former faculty members, Jan Roskam and Vince Muirhead.  During their presentation they spoke about the history of the program and how it became a nationally recognized design program.  Next, graduate student, Samantha Schueler spoke about her first place win in the 2011-2012 AIAA Undergraduate Individual Aircraft Design competition.  After a short break, Professor Mark Ewing led a panel composed of AE alumni Charlie Guthrie, Vickie Johnson, and Perry Rea in a discussion about, “The Future of Aerospace Engineering Education.”  Panelists discussed how the department can improve the current core design curriculum and how it has changed throughout the years.  To conclude the Symposium, BS and MS AE graduate and CEO of Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally gave a brief presentation and answered audience questions about, “The Future of Transportation.” He discussed some of the business challenges of running an automobile company, and his “One Ford” philosophy, which rescued Ford from the brink of bankruptcy.

The highlight of the reunion was the 70th Reunion Banquet which took place in the Oread Hotel.  The two newest Honor Roll members were inducted: Dr. SangYeop Han and Emeritus Professor, Dr. Jan Roskam. Dr. Han is the Head of Supply System Team in Korea Aerospace Research Institute. He is the first international alum to be inducted into the Honor Roll. Dr. Han’s graduate advisor and AE Professor, Ray Taghavi spoke about Dr. Han’s impressive career.  Dr. Han has received numerous awards including the Medal of Honor in Science and Technology of Korea from the President of Korea for his development of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle – I.  Former AE Distinguished Professor, Dr. Jan Roskam, is a legendary figure in aircraft design His first graduate student, Alan Mulally, introduced Dr. Roskam by sharing stories about his experiences and time with him.  Dr. Roskam became a Professor of the AE department in 1968, and served as chairman from 1972-1976 and was recognized as the Ackers Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering from  1974 until his retirement in 2003.  In 2003, Dr. Roskam was awarded the highest teaching honor bestowed on KU faculty, the Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award.  Dr. Roskam started the KU Aerospace Short Course Program in 1977, which is now one of the best-known professional aerospace engineering short course providers in the world.  He has been appointed a Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Society of Automotive Engineers and the Royal Aeronautical Society in Britain.  The AIAA recognized Dr. Roskam’s career accomplishments by presenting him with the AIAA Aircraft Design Award in 2007.

In 5 years the department will be celebrating 75 years of tradition, history, and design wins with its next reunion.

Learn more about the Jan Roskam Faculty Opportunity Fund

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