Dear Engineering Alumni
and Friends,

I hope this message finds you and your family well after a great holiday season and a great year.

As we enter 2011 and the second half of this school year, we are excited and honored to celebrate 110 years of engineering at The University of Mississippi. It's important to note that not only were we the first school of engineering but also the first accredited school of engineering in the state, and we are one of the oldest engineering schools in the South. Our faculty and this school have a long history of making outstanding contributions, and our roots go back to the university's early days when one of the first faculty members, John Millington, who was a professor of natural sciences, was making contributions to engineering with his book "Elements of Civil Engineering" in 1854. Obviously, a lot has changed since those days, but what has not changed is The University of Mississippi's and the School of Engineering's commitment to first-class education for young men and women from this state, nation and around the world.

So, we hope you will consider joining us on April 1, 2011, as we celebrate 110 years of engineering at The University of Mississippi. It all kicks off at noon on the Circle in front of the Lyceum with a blues and BBQ luncheon for all alumni, students, faculty and staff, and leadership from across the university. Then, beginning at around 1:30 p.m., department tours and presentations will take place simultaneously across the entire engineering complex by our student leaders and faculty. Later that afternoon will be a special naming dedication of Brevard Hall, and that evening, at our Excellence in Engineering banquet, we'll be honoring our most outstanding students, faculty and alumni.

The weekend promises to be one to remember as we honor our accomplishments and anticipate the future, which is bright for the School of Engineering and The University of Mississippi. We hope you will consider joining us for this very special celebration. If you have any questions, please contact Joshua Waggoner at
662-915-1601 or waggoner@olemiss.edu.


cheng signature
Alex Cheng
Dean of the School of Engineering


students recyclingStudent recycling sorter
selected as one of best

A three-member student team from The University of Mississippi was one of the finalists in the 2010 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Student Design Competition.

The 2010 competition, "Earth Saver: Autonomous Material Sorter," required participating teams to design, build and test an autonomous system capable of accurately sorting common recyclable materials into distinct waste containers.

"We spent about 150 hours in the design and construction of the sorter," said Andrew Walker, who worked with fellow students Bert Welch and Garret Stone on the project. "It was a learning experience for us to take control of the design process and produce a functional product, where almost none of our original ideas was used. We gained firsthand knowledge of how some things that seem best, in theory, are not practical for an efficient project."

The team's sorter worked by eliminating each material by its distinct physical properties.

"First, the glass, being the most dense, fell through plastic bristles we fashioned from a broom," Walker said. "Then the tin cans were removed by a rotating magnetic drum because they were the only ferrous materials. The plastic and aluminum containers were then separated by their size."

The group worked on its original design during the 2009 fall semester as a class project for Dr. Raju Mantena, professor of mechanical engineering. The three then began the assembly of the material sorter as their capstone project the following semester for Dr. Jagdish Sharma's senior design class. Their sorter was selected as the best senior design project for the class as well as for the entire school.

drawing"In the fall semester, all senior mechanical engineering students are challenged in the ME 427 Kinematics class to work, in groups of three, on conceptual designs for the annual ASME Student Design Competition," Mantena said. "A faculty panel selects one or two groups that have the opportunity to build
proof-of-concept prototypes in the following spring semester ME 438 Capstone Design Class and represent Ole Miss in the ASME Regional Student Conference held in March/April of each year. It is hard work but well worth the experience. All mechanical engineering students also get to go to the regional conference, to cheer our team and see how the students from other schools perform."

In the 2010 ASME competition, the UM team placed second in its district after the team from the South Dakota School for Mines and Technology. Walker said the UM team was named a finalist because about 30 teams, an unusually high number, competed in the district competition. Because of scheduling conflicts, Walker, Welch and Stone did not attend the competition finals, held Nov. 14 at the 2010 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The other universities that made it to the competition finals were California State University at Fresno, Carnegie Mellon University, Grand Valley State University, McGill University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, the University of Alabama, the University of Tennessee and Western Kentucky University, as well as the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Yeditepe University in Turkey. Texas's LeTourneau University had two teams entered in the competition.


Matching gifts create 'win-win-win' for school, alumni, employers
Over the past decade, the School of Engineering at The University of Mississippi has received more than $300,000 from various businesses and employees through its matching gift program.

"The matching gift program represents an exemplary commitment to encouraging and building upon the contributions of employees and even retirees to Ole Miss Engineering," said Joshua Waggoner, director of development for the School of Engineering.

Lee Ann Cooper, accounting assistant at the UM Foundation, agreed and said, "The gift program allows employees, retirees, surviving spouses and company directors to make donations to Ole Miss. Many corporations offer a matching gift program, but some employees may not know it."

Cooper said finding out if a company offers a matching gift program is easy. Matching gift procedures vary from employer to employer, but the following example is typical:
  • Visit your human resources department to see if your employer has a matching gift program, and obtain its matching gift form.
  • Fill out the employee portion of the form, and then send it along with your donation to the UM Foundation. Your gift may be designated specifically for the School of Engineering.
  • A UM Foundation representative fills out the university's portion of the form, certifying that your donation has been received and then forwards that information back to your employer.
  • Your employer verifies your eligibility and ensures that the university has met its requirements.
  • Your employer sends the matching gift to the university.
"Employee matching gifts are a good source of steady, predictable income, which can be used for general operating support," Cooper said. "And, if a company does not have a matching gift program, an inquiry from an employee can sometimes help motivate management to set one up. It truly is a win-win situation."

If you are interested in learning more about the School of Engineering's matching gift program, please contact Joshua Waggoner at waggoner@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1601. You also may contact Lee Ann Cooper directly at the UM Foundation at lcooper@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1583.