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Alumni gifts establish new Faculty Fellowships

Lamar University’s announced the inaugural recipients of the College of Engineering Faculty Fellowship Program, awards made possible through the generosity of five alumni of the university, officials announced. Eleven faculty members where recognized and received funding and the title of faculty fellow in an afternoon program, Wednesday, March 22 in the Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship.

“These faculty fellowships recognize and support the innovative endeavors of outstanding members of the College of Engineering faculty,” said Srinivas Palanki, dean of the college. “We are grateful to our alumni who have made these fellowships possible through their generosity. Their support and interest in building and sustaining a culture of innovation at Lamar University is outstanding.”

First fellows with donorsTen fellowships were possible thanks to funding from five alumni donors: Anthony George, Jack Gill, Larry Lawson, Larry Norwood, and Anita Riddle. Each donor contributed $20,000 a year for three years, totaling $300,000. As a result, each of the 10 faculty members will receive a stipend of $10,000 a year for 3 years. An eleventh faculty member will receive a stipend of $5000 a year for 3 years from the College of Engineering.

Tao Wei, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and Rafael Tadmor, professor of chemical engineering, were named Gill Fellows. Ramesh Guduru, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Jerry Lin, professor of civil and environmental engineering, were named Norwood Fellows. Qiang Xu, associate professor of chemical engineering, and Quin Qian, associate professor of civil engineering, were named Riddle Fellows. Reza Barzegaran, assistant professor of electrical engineering, and Hassan Zargarzadeh, assistant professor of electrical engineering, were named George Fellows. Xuejun Fan, professor of mechanical engineering, and Xing Wu, assistant professor of civil engineering, were named Lawson Fellows. Yueqing Li, assistant professor of industrial engineering, was named a College of Engineering Fellow.

“In addition to providing valuable resources to support research and innovation, fellowships like these reflect well on the faculty who carry the title,” Palanki said. “Our benefactors have experienced incredible careers that reflect the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative initiative that reflect well on their alma mater. We are proud to have fellowships named in their honor.”

Anthony George is the CEO of Nautical Control Solutions, and founder and president of Control Dynamics International, a company he sold in 2010. A 1988 graduate of Lamar University, George has been an entrepreneur and inventor for more than 25 years in the fields of automation and control systems engineering and marine fuel management systems. Nautical Control Solutions is a provider of integrated marine fuel management and vessel monitoring in real-time worldwide. George is also a founding member of The Woodlands chapter of The Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a global network of entrepreneurs providing peer-to-peer learning, experiences and connections to experts with more than 12,000 members worldwide.

A successful scientist, technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist, educator and philanthropist Jack Gill is a 1958 graduate of LU, a Distinguished Alumnus, and holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Indiana University. Gill is a 35-year veteran of Silicon Valley and Boston and has founded and financed dozens of successful companies in the instrumentation, computer, telecom, and medical industries. At 33, he founded his first business pioneering micro-processor-based scientific instruments. In 1981, he co-founded Vanguard Ventures whose first five funds invested $155 million in 103 startups and generated more than $1 billion in return to investors. Gill joined the Harvard Medical School faculty in 2000, has taught entrepreneur courses at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Rice and Indiana University, and was a 1999 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award. In 1998, Jack and his wife, Linda, established The Gill Foundation of Texas. Gill is a past president of the LU Foundation and member of LU’s College of Engineering Advisory Council.

Larry Lawson, another university benefactor, attended LU in the 1960s, and, after switching careers from music to health care, founded eCardio Diagnostics in 2004, which became one of the Top 500 fastest-growing companies in America from 2009 to 2012. Ernst & Young tapped Lawson as its Health Science Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009.

Larry Norwood graduated from Lamar University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and spent his entire career with Lubrizol Corp., retiring in 2012 as corporate vice president of operations, a position he held since April 2004. He is a benefactor of LU, having established the Larry and Cynthia Norwood Chemical Engineering Scholarship through a $1 million endowment, and serving on the College of Engineering Advisory Council.

Anita Riddle is procurement manager for ExxonMobil since February 2009. Previously she was sourcing manager, 2005-2009, process department head, 2003-2005, senior environmental advisor, 2001-2003, and crude oil optimization manager, 2000-2001. She holds two advanced degrees from Lamar University; a masters in engineering management, 1993, and a Doctorate of Engineering, 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University. Riddle serves on the College of Engineering Advisory Council since August 2014, and together with her husband, Steven Schmidt, has established several faculty development and innovation funds in the college.