History and national security, career advice and gratitude, and discussion of revolution — in material and product design — were on the menu this month as the department of materials science and engineering celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding.

The event kicked off in Iacocca Hall as featured speaker and former astronaut Terry J. Hart ’68gave a talk titled “Enabling the Moon.” Hart is currently a professor of practice in Lehigh’s department of mechanical engineering and mechanics.

Michael R. Notis ’60 ’63 M.S. ’69 Ph.D., professor emeritus of materials science and engineering, explore the department’s history during a presentation titled “Facts: Firsts and Fun.” Seven recent alumni of the department also presented during a panel discussion on career advice.

Notis' presentation highlighted several key events from the department’s history, including:

  • Mining and metallurgy made up one of the five original academic programs of study when Lehigh was founded in 1865.
  • Lehigh began awarding the B.S. in metallurgy in 1890-91, when mining and metallurgy were separated into two departments. In 1898, the department of metallurgy was established.
  • When Lehigh reinstituted its Ph.D. program in 1938, two international students—Shang-Shoa Young (Yang Shang-Shoa) from Beijing, China, and Vittorio De Nora from Milan, Italy—joined two chemistry students to become the first students to receive the degree.
  • The department’s name was changed to metallurgy and materials science in 1965 and to materials science and engineering in 1986.
  • The Materials Research Center was established in 1965; its name was changed in 2003 to the Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology.
  • The department houses one of the most extensive collections of electron microscopes in the U.S. In 1970, the department began offering its annual Microscopy School, which has trained nearly 6,000 engineers, scientists and technicians from around the world.
  • Several other leading research centers are housed in the department. They include the Institute for Metal Forming, the International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass, and the Materials Pennsylvania Coalition (MatPAC).

The department also presented its Distinguished Alumni Award to four former students:

  • Hamid R. Azimi ’91 M.S. ’94 Ph.D. is vice president for the Technology and Manufacturing Group and director of Substrate Packaging Technology Development with Intel Corp.
  • Terrence S. Hahn ’87 ’92 M.Eng. is president and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems.
  • Joan D. Stanescu ’87 ’92 M.S. is a former technology manager with Lucent/Agere/Triquint and also with IBM. Stanescu, who is married to Hahn, is also a violist with the La Châtaigneraie Orchestra in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Richard W. Hertzberg ’65 Ph.D. is professor emeritus and former chair of the department.

Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.

-Kurt Pfitzer is the Manager, Editorial Services for the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at Lehigh University.


Banners inside Whitaker lab attest to the scope of materials science and showcase the research centers and other endeavors at Lehigh that are related to materials science. (Photo courtesy Mary Anne Lynch/Lehigh University)