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Oakland University | School of Engineering and Computer Science

March 2012
Issue 1 - Volume 1

OU and SECS receive major gift commitment

The School of Engineering and Computer Science was among the recipients of the largest combination cash and planned gift in the history of Oakland University.

 Stephan Sharf

Stephan Sharf, longtime friend and benefactor of Oakland University, who has served on the SECS Advisory Board since 1996, made the generous donation in January. Of his $21 million gift, dedicated to enhancing the academic experience, $6 million was given to SECS.

"Mr. Sharf has been among the most generous donors Oakland University has had the good fortune to know, and his long legacy of gifts has touched just about every area of the university," Oakland University President Dr. Gary Russi said in a statement. " Mr. Sharf's generosity and love of Oakland University knows no bounds."

SECS will use the gift for priorities such as scholarships, research funds and endowed discretionary funds.

"The $6 million gift will transform the life of countless engineering students," Dean Louay Chamra said. "In addition, this generous gift will place the school on the path to realize greater achievement in engineering and computer science education."

Sharf, who received an honorary doctorate degree of science from Oakland University, is a former Chrysler executive and board member who was instrumental in bringing the company's corporate headquarters to Auburn Hills. Since 1981 he has generously contributed time and personal resources that have helped Oakland grow into a world-class university.  He was an Oakland University Trustee from 1987 to 1994. Sharf was a member of the OU Foundation from 1985 to 2006, serving on the executive, gift development, budget and appropriations and capital campaign committees.

In addition to the $6 million gift to SECS, $7 million dollars in planned and cash gifts will be directed to campus operational and capital needs. The remaining $8 million planned portion of the gift will be directed to the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and the OU Women's Golf Team for priorities such as scholarships, research funds and endowed discretionary funds.

 "Mr. Sharf's gift will have a positive impact on the lives of countless students and faculty in the years ahead," Dr. Russi said.  

OU formula race car builders get visit from Gov. Snyder at NAIAS

Oakland University students involved in the increasingly popular international Formula SAE collegiate car design competition have once again had the honor of showing off their work at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The honor was made all the more memorable, however, when Gov. Rick Snyder paid a visit with the Golden Grizzlies team and complimented the display of their 2010 and 2011 race cars.

"The students put so much hard work into this, so I think it's great that they got some recognition when the governor stopped by," said Brian Sangeorzan, associate professor of mechanical engineering in the Oakland's School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Each year, a team of up to 40 students pool efforts to design, build, test, market and compete with a formula-style racecar. Most team members are from the SECS, but participants have come from other disciplines as well, including programs in OU's School of Business Administration, School of Nursing and others.

Their efforts have paid off. Though the Golden Grizzlies teams have worked with budgets of approximately $15,000, they've placed as high as 11th and 13th in competitions hosting as many as 120 international teams.

Sangeorzan said that as much as students enjoy engaging in all aspects of the competition, they also enjoy representing the university at events that attract automotive industry representatives, potential team sponsors and prospective students. The NAIAS regularly delivers on all counts.

"We've had a number of high school students come up to us this year and ask a lot of questions, and we've even had parents of both prospective students and students who are already here come and talk to us," he explained.

The Oakland cars and the students who've helped build them greeted visitors in the lobby outside the main entrance of the auto show through the course of this year's NAIAS.

Gov. Snyder, center, joins members of the Golden Grizzlies racing team for a photo. From left, they are Matt Schmalenberg, John Smerczak, Tom Garvey, Pat Hoenle, Mike Pariseau, Katie Lonczynski, Scott Meyers and Associate Professor Brian Sangeorzan.

Engineering and Computer Science Day a success

The School of Engineering and Computer Science opened its doors to prospective students and their families in January, introducing them to the many academic and research opportunities SECS has to offer.

More than 320 guests attended the event, dubbed as a "Gateway to Innovation and Technology."  Visitors were given the opportunity glimpse the many facets of the School. Current students and faculty were on-hand to offer personal insight and answer questions.

Junior Tom Garvey is a Mechanical Engineering major and attended the event as part of the Formula SAE collegiate chapter at OU, of which he is Vice President.  Garvey said he enjoyed having an opportunity to talk to prospective students and their families.

"My favorite part was meeting young high school (students), who are still not sure what they want to do, and explaining the benefits of going to OU," Garvey said. "It means a lot to me to introduce OU to potential students. I remember being in their shoes."

Depending on their academic interest, guests could learn how aircraft can fly themselves or how nano-images are created to see atoms. Attendees could see how alternative fuels are created or how super-strong fasteners are made. Other displays touched on how robots move on their own or how advances in engineering can help medical workers.

SECS Brag Corner

News and notes from across the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Mechanical Engineering

  • Professor Brian Sangeorzan was elected Chair of the SAE Detroit Section for 2012.
  • Professor Lian Yang received $91,330 from General Motors Corporation for the project entitled, "Developing a Shearographic Prototype for Inspection of Weld Joints."
  • Professor David Schall received $146,562 from NSF for the project entitled, "Atomistic Simulation of the Nanotribology of Carbon-based Materials: Establishing Links between Structure, Chemistry and Performance." He also received $10,015 from Faurecia Interior Systems for the project entitled, "Evaluation of TPO Glass-reinforced Polymer Recyclability."
  • Professor and Department Chair Zissimos Mourelatos received $160,527 from General Motors Corporation for the project entitled, "A Comprehensive Rotor-Bearing Dynamics Design Tool for Automotive Applications." He received $85,621 from TARDEC through the Automotive Research Center at UofM for the project entitled, "Development and laboratory Implementation of an Advanced Testing Method for Vehicle Systems using Time-dependent Reliability/Durability Principles." Mourelatos also received $100,000 from Chrysler LLC for the project entitled, "Enhancements to the Chrysler Door Closing Effort Model and Development of a Liftgate Closing Effort Model." 
  • Professor Xia Wang Received a $9,500 fellowship award from the OU research Committe for the project entitled, "Through-Plane Temperature Measurement in a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell using Phosphor Thermometry."

Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Professor Jia Li received $70,000 from Chrysler Group, LLC for the project entitled, "Wireless Location Awareness of Portable Pendant." Li also received $20,000 from Hughes Research Lab for the project entitled, "Evaluation of UWB Antennas."
  • Professor Ka C Cheok received $34,988 from Battelle for the project entitled, "Reliable Ultra Wideband (UWB) Tracking System with Multi-Sensor Fusion"
  • Professor and Department Chair Daniel N. Aloi received $60,000 from the United States Department of Transportation – Federal Aviation Administration for the project entitled, "Personal Privacy Device Modeling and Testing." Aloi was also appointed as Technical Editor for Navigation for the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronica Systems.

Computer Science and Engineering

  • Professor Dae-Kyoo Kim received funding from the Korea Institute of Energy and Technology Evaluation and Planning. The project, Grid-Wise Information Base and Configuration Engine Development by Unifying IEC 61850 and IEC 61970, is funded by Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP). It is an International Project (Participating Institutions: Oakland University (US), SISCO (US), Myongji University (Korea), Sejong University (Korea), Zenithtek (Korea). The grant amount is 1.23 M (OU: 305 K). Period: January, 2012 – January 2015.

Industrial and Systems Engineering

  • ISE junior Kimmy Romstad won first place in the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Detroit Chapter's Student Technical Paper Competition.  Kimmy's paper, entitled "Warehouse Relocation Project," was the result of her work on an internship project at Crittenton Hospital Medical Center during the summer of 2011.  The project was funded by OU's Pawley Lean Institute and was supervised by Professors Van Til and Sengupta along with Crittenton personnel.  Kimmy received $300 and her paper is eligible for the IIE Regional Student Technical Paper Competition.

  • The ISE Dept. has introduced it's new Productivity Improvement Graduate Certificate Program (know as the "4-Pack").  It is designed for any engineer (Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, etc.) who wants access to the productivity tools needed for their current job, or to upgrade their skills to help get a promotion or a better job.  A press release announcing the program on Automation Alley's website was second on their Top Ten List of most viewed press releases for the month of December. The press release can be seen in the News and Events tab of this newsletter. More information concerning the 4-Pack is available at: 

Upcoming events

American engineer and author Dr. Henry Petroski


will be the featured speaker when Oakland University's School of Engineering and Computer Science presents its annual Hammerle Lecture. The event is set for 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. on Monday, March 19, in Oakland Center Banquet Room B.

Engineering in the news

Engineers can boost productivity 
with an OU engineering '4-pack'

For Newcomers in Silicon Valley,
the Dream of Entrepreneurship
Still Lives

OU professors bring expertise to high school engineering event

Contact us

Computer Science and Engineering
168 DHE
Phone: (248) 370-2200
Fax: 248-370-4625

Electrical and Computer Engineering
102A SEB
Phone: (248) 370-2177 
Fax: (248) 370-4633

Industrial and Systems Engineering
653 SEB
Phone: (248) 370-2989 
Fax: (248) 370-2699

Mechanical Engineering
170 DHE
Phone: (248) 370-2210
Fax: (248) 370-4416

Academic Advising
159A DHE
Phone: (248) 370-2201
Fax: (248) 370-2084

SECS is always interested in hearing from our alumni. Email us a few lines about your latest job, accomplishment or relocation to
Oakland University   School of Engineering and Computer Science
248 Dodge Hall of Engineering
2200 N. Squirrel Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4478
(248) 370-2217