Alumni Hall of Fame
The Materials Science & Engineering alumni hall of fame recognizes the accomplishments of our outstanding graduates who have used their education to excel in a profession, career, or service. This is one of the most inspirational awards for our current and future students. Only a select number will be chosen as MSE Hall of Fame members, making this a noteworthy distinction. We need your help to identify our most outstanding MSE graduates. Nominees should have demonstrated professional, entrepreneurial, and service achievements in their selected careers.
- Participation is limited to NC State MSE alumni.
- All nominees must have demonstrated exceptional professional, and entrepreneurial, contributions to professional societies and/or service achievements in their selected careers. Our alumni excel in many environments, therefore considerations are holistic, and may include any or all of the following criteria:
- Recognized by technical organizations at a high level (e.g. ASM Fellow)
- A significant number of influential technical publications or patents
- A successful faculty member at a university
- Recognized by a national community organization for their impact
- Participated at a leadership level in a nationally-recognized community service organization (e.g. United Way, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity)
- Founded a successful business or served at the senior management level in a large corporation
MSE Hall of Fame Inductees
Class of 2020
Karren More received her Ph.D. in 1992 from NC State MSE under the direction of Prof. Robert F. Davis. She joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a research staff member in 1988, and now focuses her research on high-resolution analytical electron microscopy of a variety of material systems, including structural ceramics, ceramic matrix composites, nanoparticle catalysts, and polymer electrolyte fuel cells. Karren’s successful research career at ORNL has resulted in nearly 300 publications, an h-index of 65, and more than 20K citations. She is a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics and is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and the Microscopy Society of America.
Karren served as Group Leader of the Electron & Atom Probe Microscopy Group in ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences for 10 years, and in 2019, she was named Division Director.
Rajiv Singh received his Ph.D. in 1989 from NC State MSE. Rajiv is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Florida and Vice President of Entegris—a global supplier of semiconductor materials and chemicals with >$2B annual global sales. In 1996, Rajiv was promoted to Professor at the University of Florida. In his tenure, he helped establish the NSF Engineering Research Center for Particle Science and Technology, authoring >500 publications, and filed/awarded over 50 patents. He is a fellow of 6 societies including MRS, IEEE, ASM, ECS, AAAS, and APS. Rajiv co-founded Nanotherapeutics and Sinmat to market his patents.
At Sinmat, Rajiv invented defect-free polishing processes for ultra-hard materials such as silicon carbide, gallium nitride, sapphire, and diamond. In 2020, Rajiv sold Sinmat to Entegris for $75M, and his processes are now used to manufacture smartwatches, smartphones, and silicon carbide chips.
Anand Tanikella received his Ph.D. in 1996 from NC State MSE. Anand is the Global Vice President of R&D for Saint-Gobain Abrasives. He manages large teams in over 30 locations worldwide. Previously, Anand was the founding Director of Saint-Gobain Research India, the 7th transversal R&D center in Chennai, India.
Anand joined Saint-Gobain in 1996 as a Senior Research Engineer in Saint-Gobain’s North American R&D Center. His responsibilities progressed over 25 years, by conducting breakthrough R&D in technologies related to ceramics, abrasives, plastics, and other materials.
Anand has overseen successful business growth, generating hundreds of millions of revenue. He has authored many publications and holds >18 patents. Active in technology education, Anand was previously adjunct faculty at Northeastern University.
Class of 2018
Edward C. Nixon
Ed grew up during the Great Depression in the small Quaker community of Whittier, California. He was the youngest of the five Nixon brothers. Richard Nixon, 17 years older than Ed, was like a second father to him, as well as a teacher and mentor. After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Duke and NC State, Ed served our country as a Naval Aviator, helicopter flight instructor, and Assistant Professor of Naval Science at the University of Washington. In 1957, he married Gay Lynne Woods, a teacher in Chemistry and Mathematics. Ed has spent the last six decades pursuing the responsible use of natural resources around the globe. During his travels and his visits to the White House, he met several world leaders. He embarked on a successful career working for and serving as an advisor to a number of cutting-edge companies in the field of earth science. In his book, The Nixons: A Family Portrait, by reflecting on heritage, education, extensive world travel, and the encouragement of his older brother, Ed tells the story of an ordinary family striving to make a positive difference in the world. He aims to inspire young Americans, as well as young people everywhere, to reach for new thresholds of greatness.
Gleb Yushin is a Professor in the School of Materials & Engineering at the Georgia Institute of
Technology, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and a Member of the Board of Directors at Sila
Nanotechnologies, Inc., an engineered materials company he co-founded in 2011 to
dramatically improve energy storage technologies (now employing over a hundred engineers,
scientists and other specialists) and an Editor-in-Chief for Materials Today, the flagship journal
of the Materials Today family, dedicated to covering the most innovative, cutting edge and
influential work of broad interest to the materials science community. Dr. Yushin received a
Ph.D. degree in Materials Science from North Carolina State University in 2003.
Since graduation, Dr. Yushin has focused his research efforts on the synthesis and characterization of
nanostructured and nanocomposite materials for energy-related applications. For his
contributions to this field he received numerous awards and recognitions, including NASA
Nanotech Briefs ® Nano 50™ Award, Petroleum Research Fund Young Investigator Award,
Honda Initiation Award, Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program
The award, R&D 100 Award, National Science Foundation CAREER Award, NASA Inventions and
Contributions Board Tech Brief Award, Kavli Fellow Award, Sigma Xi Best Faculty Paper
The award, among others. Most recently, he was selected by the New York Academy of Sciences as
the Finalist and Honoree of the prestigious Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists (2017 and
2018), was recognized as one of the leading and most cited researchers in the sciences from around
the world by Clarivate Analytics and was distinguished as one of the 20 members of
Electrochemical Society (out of 8,000+) with the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.”
Dr. Yushin has co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications, over 40 US and International
Patents and Patent applications and over 120 invited & keynote presentations and seminars. His current H-index is 68 and his work has received over 20,000 citations according to Google
Scholar. The current research activities of his laboratory are focused on synthesis and
characterization of nanostructured and nanocomposite materials for use in
advanced lithium-ion, aqueous and solid-state batteries, supercapacitors, and lightweight
structural materials and composites.
Lisa Porter is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in materials science
engineering from Cornell University and N.C. State University, respectively. Her research,
which initially focused on metal contacts and oxide-SiC interfaces for high-temperature and
high-power device applications, broadened to include fabrication, processing, and
characterization of a wide range of electronic materials (e.g., transparent electrodes and organic
semiconductors), with recent focus on gallium oxide as a promising new wide bandgap
In 2011 she co-founded SenSevere LLC, a Carnegie Mellon spin-off that is
commercializing semiconductor-based chemical sensors for severe environments. Lisa holds
leadership positions in a number of professional organizations. She is President of the American
Vacuum Society (AVS), an international research society pertaining to the Science &
Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing; she previously served many roles within
AVS, including Program Chair of the AVS 63 rd International Symposium and Chair of the
Electronic Materials and Photonics Division.
Outside of AVS she completed two terms on the User Executive Committee for the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) at the
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) while also serving as Faculty Chair of the
College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. She currently serves as Secretary of the Electronic
Materials Conference and is also an ABET Program Evaluator for materials engineering
Some of her awards include an NSF Career Award, a Swedish Research Foundation
Professor Award, Women in Materials Award, and CMU’s Philbrook Prize in Engineering. Her
work has been recognized through more than 50 invited presentations and will be featured in her
Plenary Talk at the Taiwan Association for Coatings and Technology Annual Meeting in Taipei,
Taiwan in October.
Paul R. Stewart
Paul, from Spruce Pine, NC attended two small liberal arts colleges for two years before entering the US Army and serving in the USA and Germany from 1954 to 1956. Armed with the G.I. Bill, he then enrolled at NC State and graduated with a BS in Geological Engineering in January 1959. He then enrolled at the University of Illinois and worked at the Illinois Geological Survey and earned an MS in Petroleum Engineering in June 1960. Paul then worked for Shell Oil Company in Houston and Corpus Christi, and then Denver as an Exploitation and Reservoir Engineer until he left Shell for Belco Petroleum Corporation in New York City in 1966. While working for Shell in south Texas, Paul was the Engineer in charge of the world’s largest Fracture –Treating job (on a deep gas well) at that time (1964). Current francs are now commonly 100 times larger. At Belco, he became Vice President and General Manager of North American Operations in Houston with offices in Houston, Midland, Denver, and Calgary.
In 1975, Paul became President and Chairman of King Resources Company in Denver, a company in Chapter X bankruptcy, and attempted to re-organize under a Chief Federal Judge, a Trustee, and Paul operating the company. KRC had been the most active oil company in drilling in the US in 1969 and was considered to be the largest oil company bankruptcy at that time. The company was successfully reorganized in January 1977 and had successful drilling in New Mexico, offshore Texas, Wyoming, Montana, the Dutch North Sea, and the Gulf of Suez (Egypt/Israel). Control of the company was acquired by another oil company in 1978 after a year on the board and formed Stewart Petroleum Corporation, a private company. He later merged the company with a public company and became active in drilling and production in Montana and North Dakota with oil prices increasing some 200% to $38 and then plummeting 75% to $10 per barrel.
He and his Geologist son, Daryl formed the new Stewart Petroleum and weathered the price crunch with acquisitions and careful exploration and development drilling and a significant shallow gas discovery in western Colorado. After 15 years, the company’s assets were sold to a Rocky Mountain electric utility and Paul has phased into semi-retirement while still investing in drilling with the company. With his wife, Tina, and family (11), they travel and enjoy seeing the world.
Dr. Mitchell Haller earned his MS in ’67 from NC State in Materials Science and Engineering and Metallurgical Engineering. He earned his Ph.D. in ’71 in Materials Science and Engineering from NC State. Dr. Haller developed Biobond CB: the first non-precious crown and bridge alloy introduced to the dental market. It was co-patented with Dr. Charles Richard Manning (Dental Alloy Patent #3,914,867). This widely used alloy was marketed by Dentsply International, Inc.Dr. Haller developed a non-precious alloy for producing school-class rings in the mid-1970s, (A time when gold prices soared). The alloy was patented and sold extensively to all the leading school ring manufacturers.
Dr. Haller developed a brazed friction grip dental bur that has been widely acclaimed and was awarded two patents (Robotic Dental Tool and Method of Manufacture – Patent # 8337204-2012 and
patent #8870571-2014). His company manufactured the burs until 2015. At that time the manufacturing rights were licensed to Brasseler USA. The burs are now being manufactured exclusively under license by Brasseler USA and being marketed under the trade names Durabraze and also Cleancut (sold by Henry Schien, Inc.). The burs were awarded the “Best New Product” by Clinical Research Associates – a prominent independent dental research organization and was declared the “Fastest cutting diamond instrument” in independent testing performed by Reality magazine – a renowned dental product evaluation and publication firm. Brasseler USA presently sells in excess of 75,000 instruments per year.
Additional accomplishments include:
- Conducted a number of plant tours demonstrating Bur manufacturing to local cub scouts and
- Presently managing member of Spectrum Systems, LLC
- Program Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program at Penn State Harrisburg –
acted as advisor for several hundred students over the years and also directed numerous senior
- Founded Spectrum Alloys, Inc in 1981
Co-founded Spectrum Systems, LLC in 2004 with James T. Lowder and Alan R. Lipp
- Presently serving on the executive committee of the local ASM Chapter. Have held that position
for at least ten years. Was a guest speaker at a number of monthly chapter meetings.
Bennie Ward graduated from Dr. Austin’s group in 1959 with a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering. He was then employed by Reynolds Metals in Richmond, Virginia. He gravitated to the job of Supervisor of the Pilot Equipment Lab for Reynolds Research, where he could do everything Reynolds’ plants could do except extrude. Bennie has 20 Metallurgical patents, but his 20th is the most rewarding, U.S.P. 5,725,695, Method of Making Aluminum and Product therefrom. Reynolds had been making Reynolds Wrap since 1947 by ingot casting using another alloy. The problems that arose were the reroll and final anneal had to be higher than normal because the constituent size of the twin roller cast strip was too small and would not cause key dislocations to recrystallize at normal annealing temperatures. His patent of alloy 8111 overcame these problems and produces a foil that is soft (very good elongation) and tough. With his patent. Reynolds and the company that bought the foil division had 17 years of protection to make Reynolds Wrap from alloy 8111. To Bennie’s knowledge that company is still making the same product.
Class of 2017
Mike Rigsbee received his Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering in 1974 from NC State. Mike completed a Post Doctorate at Michigan Tech, Houghton, MI, worked for Republic Steel in Cleveland, OH, taught at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, IL, was Department Head at UAB in Birmingham, AL, and came back to NC State in 1998 as Department Head and Professor of Material Science and Engineering.
Mike passed away on January 8th, 2015.
Warren “Andy” Thomas graduated Summa Cum Laude from North Carolina State University in 1990 with a B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering. During his time at NC State, Andy was fortunate to work as an undergrad research assistant for Hayne Palmour III and Robert Davis and was named the recipient of the COE Faculty Senior Scholarship. These research opportunities stoked a passion for research and technology development. Andy earned M.S. (1992) and Ph.D. (1994) degrees from The University of Texas at Austin in Materials Science and Engineering. He has 10 years of aerospace experience at Bell Helicopter where he initially led new material development efforts and transitioned into an Engineering Management role as the Manager of Technology IRAD/CRAD Programs. In this Manager position, he oversaw all early-stage technology scouting and development for military and commercial rotorcraft.
Andy is currently serving as the Senior Director of Global R&D Operations at CoorsTek. Headquartered in Golden, CO, CoorsTek is a leading global engineered ceramics manufacturer with over 30 manufacturing facilities spread across four continents. In this role, he has responsibility for the coordination of research activities across multiple research centers in the US, Japan and Europe. Andy is married to his college sweetheart, Jennifer Cotten Thomas (BA in Business Administration, NC State 1988) and has two children. In addition to his love for technology development and travel, Andy enjoys mentoring young people to find their niche in STEM fields.
Richard Ricker entered North Carolina State University in the Fall of 1970 to study materials science and engineering where he earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees. While at NC State, he participated in the cooperative education program working with NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center on the Skylab and Shuttle programs. After graduation, he worked at the Babcock & Wilcox Company’s Lynchburg Research Center evaluating the performance of nuclear reactor components before attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At RPI he received a Ph.D. for his research into the mechanisms of corrosion fatigue in aluminum alloys in 1983. He then held a position at the University of Notre Dame before joining the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1986. At NIST, he held numerous positions including Corrosion Group Leader, Materials Performance Group Leader, Director of the NACE-NIST Corrosion Data Program, Program Analyst for the Director’s Office, Director of the National Rockwell Hardness Standards Program, and Senior Scientific Adviser for the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory.
He also performed numerous special assignments including NIST Representative to the technical advisory group for a presidential initiative and to NASA’s MaterialsLab strategic planning team for research on the International Space Station. He has been active in a number of professional societies including TMS, ASM, ASTM, MRS, NACE, and Sigma Xi, and was a member of the Board of Trustees for Alpha Sigma Mu the international academic and professional society for the field of materials science and engineering. He is currently the Manufacturing Program Director for the Material Measurement Laboratory of NIST where he is best known for conceiving and directing a research program into the materials science of additive manufacturing (aka 3D Printing). He has organized over 40 scientific meetings, edited two books, and published over 75 scientific papers and 60 technical reports. He has made over 55 invited presentations at technical meetings, sat on 28 special committees or review panels, and co-authored two chapters for the ASM Metals Handbook (Stress Corrosion Cracking and Corrosion of Intermetallics).”
Bill began his career at Allvac, an aerospace metals company located in Monroe, NC, and worked primarily in the area of titanium melting technology. Responding to the needs of the commercial jet engine market, Allvac invested in a new titanium melting technique known as plasma cold hearth melting (PAM) in the late 1980s. Bill led the installation, development, and industry certification of this new technology. Later Bill partnered with two other NC State MSE graduates Hal Lindsay (’81) and John Hoffman (’82) to form AlloyWorks LLC in Salisbury NC. Through the use of a custom-designed PAM furnace, AlloyWorks simplified the manufacture of custom-sized ingots for the aerospace investment casting industry. Further, AlloyWorks commercialized the production of the new generation lightweight titanium aluminide (TiAl) alloys, gaining GE’s approval in 2009 for their GeNX engine application, powering Boeing’s 787. TiAl materials replaced heavier nickel alloys used in low-pressure turbine blades, contributing significantly to the increased fuel efficiency claimed by GE. Today Bill continues to assist companies worldwide with their design and operation of titanium PAM furnaces. Bill is widely recognized in the specialty metals industry for his knowledge of sophisticated melting techniques including VAR and especially PAM, where he is one of a few experts in this technology. Bill has published and presented technical papers at many of the industry’s national and world conferences.
Class of 2016
Paul R. Besser graduated Summa Cum Laude and was the Outstanding Senior in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at North Carolina State University in 1988. He attended Stanford University with a Fellowship from Semiconductor Research Corporation, earning his M.S. (1990) and Ph. D. (1993) in Materials Science and Engineering. Paul joined Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in 1993 as a Process Development Engineer and became a Fellow in the Technology Development and Research Group in 2001. In his 16 years at AMD, Paul had temporary assignments at IMEC (Belgium), Motorola (Texas), AMD (Germany) and IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center (New York). Upon leaving AMD, Paul has been the Director of Technology Development at InVisage Technologies, Unity Semiconductor, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Lam Research. Paul’s research interests include alloy and rare earth silicides, mechanical properties and reliability of metallization, packaging and non-volatile memories. Paul has co-authored over 100 research publications and holds > 200 U.S. patents. He is passionate about science, education, community and mentoring young people.
John J. Duplessis, Sr. is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. John completed his undergraduate work at State in 1958 with dual BS degrees, in Nuclear Engineering and Metallurgical Engineering. He was awarded a master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1960. His master’s program was under the direction of Dr. Hans Stadelmaier. While pursuing that degree, he worked for Hayne Palmour and Dr. W. Kriegel, the then Ceramic Engineering department head. In 1995, John was the recipient of the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. He spent more than thirty years in the development and manufacture of high-temperature alloys and permanent magnets with his employer, Crucible Materials Corporation. John has been an active volunteer within the community as he served the Boy Scouts, the Lions Club, missions, local churches, and Habitat for Humanity. John continues to be a loyal supporter of the MSE Department and College of Engineering. He served many years on the Department of Material Science and Engineering Advisory Committee. In 2010, he created the John and Kitty DuPlessis Scholarship Endowment in the MSE Department, and established a planned gift of $120,000, and made an outright pledge of $25,000. Additionally, John was the lead donor among his alumni peers for the Materials Science Engineering Leadership Scholarship Endowment. He also consistently gives annually to strengthen his endowment. In 2016 the Governor of Kentucky presented him with the Americorps-sponsored Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service Lifetime Achievement Award. John married Kitty S. Berger in 1959 and together they have five children.
Jea-gun Park has been a HYU distinguished professor (only 8 professors among 1,440 professors at Hanyang University) at the Department of Electronic Engineering, Hanyang University in Korea. He received a Ph.D. degree in 1994 from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University. He worked at the Semiconductor division, of Samsung Electronics Co, between 1985 and 2002. His interest in defect engineering continued during a 17-year career at the Samsung Electronics Co., Semiconductor division and broadened beyond defect engineering to the development of a “Pure Silicon Wafer” (free of agglomerated defects in CZ Si), used as a standard wafer for DRAM in the world, which was based on his Ph.D. thesis at NC State. Since coming to Hanyang University in 1999, his research interests have developed a “Super Silicon Wafer” (pure silicon wafer containing extreme proximity gettering effect) which has used a standard wafer for NAND flash memory in the world, receiving a royalty of $ 30 million to Samsung Electronics Co. and that of $ 6 million to Hanyang University. In addition, he has been the director of the National R&D Program for developing the Next Generation of Terabit Non-volatile Memories such as 3-D ReRAM, and perpendicular STT-MRAM sponsored by Korea MKE (Ministry of Knowledge Economy) between 2004 and 2012. He has published 301 science papers. In addition, he has submitted 300 patents, and 143 patents have been registered worldwide. He has also presented 590 talks at worldwide conferences.
Zlatko Sitar is a Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State. His research is concerned with bulk and thin film growth, characterization, and device development in wide bandgap semiconductors: GaN, AlN, and diamond. He has pioneered the nitride MBE process through the design of a unique ECR plasma source (later commercialized by Astex, Inc.). Developed, patented, and commercialized a process for the growth of AlN crystals, which is currently the only commercial high-quality AlN crystal growth process in the world. Developed, patented, and commercialized polishing and device layer growth processes on AlN wafers, which is the basis for high-efficiency deep-UV lasers and light-emitting diodes. Based on his research, he founded HexaTech, an NC State spin-out focusing on III-nitride technology, which currently employs 25 researchers and business professionals. He was awarded the Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award and the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Extension.
Haiyan Wang is the Turner Chair Professor of Engineering at Purdue University with a joint appointment in the School of Materials Engineering and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She obtained her Ph.D. in Materials Science from North Carolina State University in 2002 under the supervision of Dr. Jagdish Nararyan. From 2006 to 2016, she was on the faculty at Texas A&M University in the ranks of assistant, associate, and full professor. She also served as a Program Director in the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation (2013-2015). Prior to her professorship, she was on the staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory, first as a director-funded postdoc fellow and then as a permanent staff member from 2003 to 2006. She specializes in processing and characterizations of nanostructured functional ceramics for multifunctional hybrid materials, microelectronics, optoelectronics, high-temperature superconductors, solid oxide fuel cells, ferroelectric and ferromagnetic applications, and radiation tolerance materials. She has published over 360 journal articles with a total citation of over 9700 times and an H-index of 49. She is a fellow of APS (2016), AAAS (2016), ACerS (2015), and ASM (2014), and recipient of TAMES O’Donnell Award 2015, ASM Silver Metal 2011, PECASE 2008, NSF-CAREER 2009, ONR-YIP 2008 and AFOSR-YIP 2007.
Class of 2015
Reuben Arthur is a retired vice president of manufacturing at Resco Products, Inc., located in Greensboro, NC. He currently serves as a consultant for Resco given his history and knowledge of the company. In 1976, Resco acquired North State Prophyllite, a Greensboro manufacturer of refractory materials founded by R.B.’s uncle, John Boren, and Boren’s business partner Mace Harvey. As a teenager, Arthur worked in the laboratory at North State Prophyllite and rose from the laboratories to the VP position. Arthur stayed on after the acquisition and, over the years, worked in all facets of the company, including sales, manufacturing, research, and finance. When he was made vice president of manufacturing in the 1990s, Arthur found himself in charge of eight plants that stretched from California to England. Resco is headquartered in Pittsburgh, but Arthur was able to stay in Greensboro for the new position. Over the years, he has seen Resco hire NC State engineering graduates with great results. It takes a couple of years of in-house training for new employees to become productive, but the NC State engineers come in ready to get started.
Calvin Carter is one of the founders of Cree, Inc. He is also a College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award recipient and a recipient of the 2002 National Medal of Technology presented by President George W. Bush. A native of Statesville, NC, he served as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State from 1984 to 1987. An expert in crystal growth, thin film deposition, impurity doping, and materials characterization, he has been instrumental in the perfecting and commercializing of silicon carbide semiconductor wafers for both the military and consumer markets. His innovative research opened the doors for the development of blue and green light-emitting diodes, energy-efficient white light generation, high-power solid-state microwave amplifiers, and high-quality manmade gemstones. Dr. Carter serves on the Board of Directors for the NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc. He created a scholarship endowment in the MSE Department at NC State.
Thomas Cunningham is a retired engineering manager for General Electric (GE). During his career, he served as a Lead Recruiter – at GE Energy for over 20 years – recruiting more than 50 NC State engineering students for GE management and engineering programs. Through his volunteerism, he has served NC State University for more than two decades and demonstrated his passion for the College of Engineering through his support, time and resources. Cunningham has been a leader on the University’s committee for the distinguished Park Scholarships since its inception. The Park Scholarships program was created in 1996 through a generous gift from the Park Foundation and scholars are selected on the basis of their outstanding accomplishments and potential in scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Cunningham has led the efforts of promoting this scholarship and recruiting students through innovative initiatives and annual events of which he has hosted many. He served as the Regional Selection Leader for the Sandhill Region and currently works closely with the committee to create a community atmosphere for the scholars so that their impact can be demonstrated in society – both nationally and abroad. Cunningham and his wife, Mimi, have been long-time supporters of the College of Engineering. Their annual contributions help meet the College’s and University’s greatest priorities with optimal flexibility. Additionally, they established a planned gift in the College of Engineering and the Tom and Mimi Cunningham Academic Leadership Endowment, which is a scholarship that supports their mission of empowering undergraduate students through higher education.
Robert Davis is the John and Clare Bertucci Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining CMU, he joined NC State in 1972 and was named the Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University from 1988 until his retirement from NC State in 2004. He received his B. S. degree in Ceramic Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1964, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and the University of California, Berkeley in 1966 and 1970, respectively. Professor Davis is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society, and a member of the Materials Research Society and The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS). He has won numerous awards including the ALCOA Distinguished Research Award, the NC State Alumni Research Award, the R.J. Reynolds and Alexander Q. Holladay Awards for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Outreach, Richard M. Fulrath Memorial Award, the Japan Fine Ceramics Association International Prize, the TMS John Bardeen Award, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Excellence in Publications Award. Teams of his student scholars have established several corporations including Cree, Inc. and the Nitronex Corporation as an outgrowth of the research they conducted under his direction. Dr. Davis has a named distinguished lecture series in the MSE Department at NC State University called the Robert F. Davis Distinguished Lecture where renowned scholars give lectures on various technical subjects.
John Edmond is one of the founders of Cree, Inc. He is also a College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. While a student, he teamed with a group of other graduate students and young faculty on some promising silicon carbide research, and upon graduation they co-founded what became Cree, Inc. He has worked on the development and production of blue and green LEDs, first in silicon carbide, then in Group III Nitrides on silicon carbide. In those fields, he holds 133 patents in the US, with 26 more pending, and 244 foreign patents, with 57 more pending. Dr. Edmond created an endowment named the Edmond Graduate Fellowship in the MSE Department at NC State that benefits graduate students, which is the first graduate fellowship endowment in the department’s history. Dr. Edmond also serves on the MSE Department’s External Advisory Board. Edmond has been the driving force behind more than $1 million in unrestricted research support that Cree has provided to NC State’s Analytical Instrumentation Facility.
Anna Fraker was the first woman to receive a doctorate in engineering from NC State University. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Furman University in 1957 and began her career at NC State’s Department of Engineering Research. When she received her master’s degree in metallurgical engineering in 1961, she became the first woman at NC State to receive an advanced degree in engineering. During 1962-63 she pursued studies at the Institut fur Allgemeine Metallkunde und Metallphysik, Technische Hochschule in Aachen, Germany. After receiving her Ph.D. in ceramic engineering in 1967, she worked at the National Bureau of Standards now the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) until 1996 as a research metallurgist. During her years with NIST, she actively promoted the careers of students and other scientists, especially women and minorities. A native of Greeneville, Tennessee, she is acknowledged as a leader in the field of biomaterials. Her honors include the US Department of Commerce Bronze Medal in 1984 and election as a Fellow of the American Society for Metals, ASM International, in 1993. She received the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award in 2003.
John Freeman is a registered professional engineer in North Carolina and the owner and president of Cer-Met, Inc. for more than 40 years. This family-based wholesale company is located in Charlotte, NC, and manufactures and installs refractories and other high-temperature materials. Freeman oversees all of the company’s projects, which include providing refractory and high-temperature insulating materials to a wide range of clients – typically any operation that uses furnaces for processing materials or boilers in utilities. Upon graduating from NC State, he chose employment in the largest and most advanced refractory company in the country. Harbison-Walker Refractories Company in Pittsburgh, at the time, was known for being among the nation’s largest producers of the most technically advanced refractories – heat-resistant materials that make up the linings of high-temperature structures such as furnaces and reactors. He worked for the company for about 12 years, ascending to the rank of applications engineer and gaining experience in refractory applications. Next, Freeman sought to satisfy his interest in installing refractories, as he had been visiting sites and supervising installation during his time with Harbison Walker. He particularly liked the idea of establishing a company in the south and in 1970 created Cer-Met, Inc., which has now been a flourishing business for a little more than four decades. Cer-Met, Inc. has shipped refractory materials to Mexico, Venezuela, Malaysia, India, Russia, and many of the Mideast countries. Freeman and his wife, Dolores, have been long-time supporters of NC State and the College of Engineering. To honor Freeman’s parents, they created the Walter and Ida Freeman Distinguished Professorship in the MSE Department at NC State. This professorship has enabled the department to meet one of its greatest needs the ability to recruit and retain outstanding faculty.
Robert Glass is the vice president of technology for Cree, Inc. In his role, he reports to the CEO, manages advanced technology groups, and works to drive strategic R&D of new technologies and products. He has been with Cree, Inc. for 20 years, and since joining the company he has held several positions including Executive Vice President, Vice President of Operations and Manufacturing, Vice President and General Manager of Materials, Materials Manufacturing Manager, and Manager of Crystal Growth. Prior to joining Cree, Dr. Glass was employed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation at their corporate R&D center, and before that, he conducted post-doctoral research at Linköping University in Sweden. He is a co-author of more than 30 publications and co-inventor on seven U.S. patents and nine foreign patents. Dr. Glass holds a BS in engineering from Virginia Tech and an M.S. in materials science and engineering from the University of Virginia.
Jacob Hooks is the former president of Eaton Corporation’s Automotive North America business and retired in March 2013. He began his career with Aeroquip as a product engineer in June 1978. When Eaton acquired the company in April 1999, he became the vice president and general manager for Eaton’s Global Hose Division. Eaton is a power management company that provides energy-efficient solutions to effectively manage electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power more efficiently, safely, and sustainably. Hooks also served as vice president of engineering and product development, vice president and general manager of the Industrial Division, president of Engine Air Management Operations, vice president and general manager for the Automotive Group’s Powertrain Controls Division, vice president of sales and marketing for the Automotive Group, and president of the Engine Air Management Business. Hooks is also a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Executive Program and completed the Global Leadership 2020 program at Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business. Hooks’ believes in providing holistic service to his alma mater by giving back his time, energy, and resources. In 2011, he was the keynote speaker for the College of Engineering’s Welcome Event in which he inspired an audience of 1,000+ entering engineering freshmen. He serves on the Board of Directors for the NC State Engineering Foundation, Inc., and currently serves as the Chair of the Development Committee. His work as Development Committee Chair involves advancing special fundraising plans, broadening the annual fund base, and more efficiently utilizing volunteers to help with these endeavors. Hooks established an endowment in the MSE Department at NC State to continue the promotion of education to generations of students.
Nasser H. Karam
Nasser H. Karam recently retired as Boeing Spectrolab’s Chief Technology Officer and currently serves as a consultant. He served as Vice President of Advanced Technology Products with responsibility for Boeing – Spectrolab’s Research and Development for nearly 20 years. He has more than 25 years of experience in materials research, Photovoltaics, sensors and Optoelectronic devices. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1985. He and his team are world recognized for developing of advanced multijunction solar cells for Space satellites and Terrestrial concentrators, and advanced sensors for imaging and ranging and other Optoelectronic devices. In Space energy generation, Dr. Karam and his team are responsible for developing four generations of Space solar cells taking cell efficiency from 19% in 1997 to over 35% today. He was inducted in the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2004 for development of Multijunction Space solar cells. This cell technology has become the industry standard for all space satellites. Dr. Karam and his team have been recognized in the field of Terrestrial energy generation. For the last two decades, his team has developed, demonstrated and held most world records for high efficiency concentrating multijunction PV solar cells under concentration. Dr. Karam is a five-time recipient of the Hughes and Boeing Technical Excellence awards, two “R&D 100” and “Scientific American 50” awards, and a winner of the Hughes Electronics Chairman’s Honors Award. Dr. Karam has over two hundred publications, two book chapters, and holds twenty patents.
Brigadier General Leodis Jennings received his Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Engineering with a concentration in Metallurgy from NC State in 1983 and was commissioned an Armor officer in the Army National Guard of the United States. He is a consummate and experienced leader and force manager whose guidance was sought at all levels of leadership throughout the Army, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense and Congress. BG (ret) Jennings last assignment was as the Military Deputy to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8; Headquarters, Department of the Army. Paramount amongst his duties was ensuring a balanced resourcing and equipping strategy across all three Active Army components while adjudicating flag level overseas contingency operations involving deployed and/or deploying forces. In this capacity he managed more than $650B in resources and equipment. In 1984 he received a MA in International Business from Webster University; in 1996 a Master of Military Art and Science from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and in 2002 a MS in Strategic Studies from the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. BG (ret) Jennings hails from High Point, NC.
A native of Erie, Penn., Charles Manning was head of the Materials Engineering Group in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Advanced Materials Research Program from 1958 to 1967. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and geology from Florida State University in 1958 and his master’s degree in metallurgical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1967. He completed his Ph.D. in ceramic engineering at NC State in 1967 and joined the College of Engineering faculty as an associate professor in the Department of Mineral Industries, which later became the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Manning was promoted to professor in 1972. In 1981, he left the university to develop his private company, Accident Reconstruction Analysis, Inc., an engineering consulting firm that performs failure analysis and accident reconstruction. He has remained involved with the university by serving as an adjunct professor and a generous supporter, creating two endowments in the College of Engineering which supports students and the College’s funding priorities: the Arai Charles R. Manning Endowment and Dr. Charles R. Manning, Jr. Enhancement Endowment.
John Palmour (1960-2022) was one of the founders of Cree, Inc. He was also a College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. He served as Chief of Technology for Wolfspeed, which is a spin-off of Cree, Inc., separating the company’s Power and RF business. He formerly served as Cree’s chief technology officer of advanced devices, including wide band gap RF, microwave and power switching devices, and was a member of the company’s board of directors since 1995. During his career, Dr. Palmour authored or co-authored more than 266 publications and was a co-inventor on 46 US patents and 135 corresponding foreign patents. In 2013, he was named an IEEE Fellow. He played an active role in driving research collaborations with NC State engineering faculty and students and created a scholarship endowment in the MSE Department at NC State in honor of his father, a longtime NC State ceramic engineering professor.
Hayne Palmour III
Hayne Palmour III, North Carolina State University Professor Emeritus of Ceramic Engineering, attended the Georgia School of Technology, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Ceramic Engineering in 1948. In 1950, he earned his M.S. degree in Ceramic Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received a Ph.D. in Ceramic Engineering from North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (later North Carolina State University) in 1961. Palmour held several different positions in government and industry before becoming an instructor of ceramic engineering in the Department of Mineral Industries at North Carolina State College in 1958. In 1961 he became a Research Engineer with the N.C. State College Department of Engineering Research and in 1965 he was made a Research Professor with the Department of Engineering Research, North Carolina State University, and a Professor of Ceramic Engineering, Department of Materials Engineering, in 1981. During his 37 years at North Carolina State University, Palmour was active as a researcher, educator, advisor, administrator, and as a Faculty Senator. Palmour’s pioneering work in sintering and ceramics technology helped put the Ceramics Engineering program at North Carolina State University at the forefront of academic and governmental research. Palmour was active in scientific and professional societies, including the American Ceramic Society, of which he was named a Fellow in 1965; National Institute of Ceramic Engineers; Keramos (Ceramic Professional Fraternity); the Society of the Sigma Xi; Phi Kappa Phi; and the International Institute for the Science of Sintering. Additionally Palmour was the recipient of the Governor’s Award of Excellence, the Alcoa Foundation Engineering Research Achievement Award, John Marquis Award, 1987, and the Frenkel Prize (for extraordinary contributions in the field of sintering). In 1999, he was inducted into Georgia Institute of Technology’s Engineering Hall of Fame.
Gerald White began a career in the military (Air Force) during the Korean War. With the issuance of the GI Bill, he was able to pursue undergraduate engineering education at NC State University. He was greatly inspired by the former MSE Department Head, Dr. William Austin who was invested in students’ success and subsequently made himself accessible to all students. As a way to honor Dr. Austin and cement his legacy at NC State, White established the Dr. William W. Austin Graduate Student Fellowship, a permanent endowment in the MSE Department that will enhance the department’s graduate student recruitment efforts. Also, White created an undergraduate scholarship to impact generations of students in perpetuity. These endowments provide critical resources for students studying materials science and engineering. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, Gerald White went on to work for Douglas Aircraft Company as a research and process engineer. In 1966, he joined the Industrial Piping Supply Company as a fabrication engineer. In 1972, he transferred to a sister company, Industrial Piping Incorporated, where he started up and managed a pressure vessel fabrication division. In 1984, he became a partner in Ward Tank and Heat Exchanger Corporation-a company that designs and fabricates custom shell and tube heat exchangers and pressure vessels. White retired in 2007 as vice president of Ward Tank but remains a partner in the company and sits on the board of directors.
Willard has a generational history in materials science. His uncle, Charles Willard, started Willard Industries, a secondary lead refinery and manufacturing facility in Charlotte, soon after WWII. In 1958, with Clarence Willard’s (Laurens’ father) help, the Willard brothers purchased a small galvanizing facility in Harrisburg, NC that grew into Galvan Industries. Galvan is the company Laurens Willard now owns and serves as the president and chief executive officer. He has been with this family-created company for 40 years. The company has expanded from the original plant Charles and Clarence Willard began that was equipped with a 10′ x 3′ x 4′ kettle suitable for small parts to becoming one of the largest capacity job galvanizing plants in the Southeast, processing more than 30,000 tons of fabricated steel products a year. In its electrical products business, Galvan Electrical is the second largest manufacturer of copper coated and galvanized ground rods in the United States. Willard led the internal development and patenting of a unique copper plating process that produces heavy copper coatings directly from copper scrap utilizing dimensionally stable, insoluble, iridium oxide coated, titanium anodes. By developing and implementing various recycling processes, Willard also lead Galvan to achieve zero discharge status on its process streams. With 120 employees, Galvan Industries and Galvan Electrical manufacture and ship products all over the United States, Canada and Mexico, with exports to the Middle and Far East.
Under Laurens Willard’s leadership, Galvan Industries has received numerous accolades and awards for both companies, including the 2015 American Galvanizers Association(AGA) Galvanizing Excellence award in Building and Architecture for the Charlotte Douglas Airport parking structure, the 2012 AGA Lifetime Achievement Award for Metrolina Greenhouse, the Nation’s largest greenhouse in Huntersville, NC, the 2008 AGA award for Industry for the National Gypsum plant in Mt. Holly, NC, the 2005 AGA National Award For Excellence for a one-of-a-kind pedestrian bridge using hot-dip galvanized steel reinforcements in Greenville, SC, and the 2003 Excellence In Hot-Dip Galvanizing Bridge And Highway Award from AGA for its work on the Goshen Bridge in Virginia. Willard has also been active in the American Galvanizer’s Association serving on the Association’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee.