Dear Engineering Alumni and Friends,

On May 8, a group of about 100 students reached a milestone in life by graduating from the UM School of Engineering with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

It was a perfect day for Commencement in the Grove and, later, the School of Engineering Convocation in the Lyceum Circle. The Commencement speaker, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, challenged graduates to find success by serving others.

“In your time at Ole Miss, you’ve heard this question probably a thousand times, and it’s almost a reflex,” Mabus said, delivering the address at his alma mater. “But I’m going to ask it for a different reason today, in a different way. Graduates, ARE YOU READY?”

As this is my first year as dean of the School of Engineering, this engineering convocation was the first one for which I was responsible. Naturally, I had some apprehension about whether everything would fall into place. Luckily, all went well, including cooperating weather!

In my parting words to the graduates, I told them that Chancellor Dan Jones, in his inauguration speech, “Transformation through Service,” challenged students to make service the very core of their beings. I told our students that we already see this core, the service DNA, in them.

This year, engineering students received a charter for an Engineers Without Borders chapter, the only chapter in the state of Mississippi. The chapter has volunteered for such local service organizations as Habitat for Humanity and is looking into potential international projects in Central America and Asia. Another student-led project is TREE (Technology Recycling to Enhance Education).

Students collect, clean and refurbish surplus computers using salvaged parts. The refurbished computers then are donated to Mississippi public schools.

It is these and other service activities that characterize the core of our students, and the school is committed to continuing to develop this core in them. During convocation, I challenged the graduating class to take this service DNA with them when they leave the university. I told them, “The professional skill you gained here empowers you to serve people effectively. Use it to serve your community, your state, your country and the deprived part of the world.”


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Alex Cheng
Dean of the School of Engineering

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When Sam S.Y. Wang joined the University of Mississippi faculty, it was mainly because of counsel from his dissertation adviser at another institution. Forty-three years later, Wang realizes his stellar career success as a renowned researcher, educator and administrator began with the man who saw the engineer within and lured him here.

"Dr. John A. Fox, who was my Ph.D. research adviser and professor at the University of Rochester, was the key reason why I came to work at Ole Miss," said Wang, who is the Frederick A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and founder-director of the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering. He is retiring from his administrative post June 30.

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If it were not for the generosity of others, two chemical engineering graduates probably would not have attended The University of Mississippi.

To help other prospective engineering students afford college, Mike and Emily Williams (both BSChE 01) donated $25,000 to establish the Mike E. and Emily N. Williams Engineering Scholarship.

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“I can’t remember the amount of the scholarships I received, but I do know the amount led to my decision to attend Ole Miss instead of LSU. I’ll forever be grateful for that,” said Mike Williams, a native of New Iberia, La.

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