Dear Alumni and Friends,

On May 14, a group of about 150 engineering students reached a milestone in life by graduating from the School of Engineering at Ole Miss with bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.

It was a cool and beautiful day for commencement in the Grove and, later, the engineering convocation in the Lyceum Circle. The Grove was such a beautiful setting that the commencement speaker, Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, exclaimed that he had never seen "a more beautifully aesthetically pleasing atmosphere as the Grove." He then invited the audience to "give the Grove a round of applause."

The engineering ceremony was held in the Circle, and the historic Lyceum was an ideal backdrop for graduation photos. A record crowd of parents, family members and friends joined the graduates in celebrating the occasion. Although we increased the number of chairs from last year, we still couldn't seat every family member and well-wisher, for which we apologize.

At the end of the ceremony, we tried something new this year. Knowing that it might be a hassle for the families to find a place for lunch, especially competing with the commencement-day crowd, the school prepared box lunches and invited those who did not have plans to stay and eat. It turned out to be a hit!

The 560 boxes were claimed in no time, and latecomers had to be turned away. People munched and mingled around lounges and classrooms in Brevard Hall, outside the building and in the Circle, chatting and celebrating for a long while. We can see this was much appreciated, and we look forward to continuing the practice in the future.


Alex Cheng Signature

Alex Cheng
Dean of the School of Engineering

Former engineering dean Karl Brenkert Jr. dies
Karl Brenkert Jr.

Karl Brekert Jr.

Karl Brenkert Jr., 89, dean emeritus of the University of Mississippi School of Engineering and professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, died May 19 in Sun City West, Ariz.

Popular with students and well-respected among UM deans, Brenkert helped boost the school's enrollment, budget and academic profile, adding professional disciplines and a doctoral program in engineering. A native of Detroit, he served as dean from 1964 to 1979 and continued to teach mechanical engineering courses until his retirement in 1989.

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Chemical engineering student wins scholarship from solar panel manufacturer

A University of Mississippi engineering student from Natchez is the recipient of a scholarship from a California-based solar technology firm.

Joanna David, a junior majoring in chemical engineering with an emphasis in environmental engineering, applied for the Twin Creeks Technologies scholarship and was awarded a full year's tuition this May. Recently, the firm completed the initial phase of its new solar panel production facility in Senatobia, Miss.

"In receiving the scholarship, I was invited to attend the Twin Creeks ribbon-cutting ceremony," David said. "Touring the facility allowed me to see firsthand how innovative and incredible this company is, and it made me feel extremely honored to be recognized by them."

As a student in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, David said the scholarship has been a blessing.

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Mechanical engineering chair receives prestigious award
Arunachalam Rajendran

Arunachalam Rajendran

A University of Mississippi faculty member is the recipient of a highly prestigious award from the International Conference on Computational and Experimental Engineering and Sciences.

Arunachalam Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering, was presented ICCES's Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization's 2011 annual meeting in Nanjing, China. He was honored for his research in "Impact Behaviors of Advanced Materials and Structures." Rajendran is the first in his field to receive this award, which recognizes his sustained and significant contributions in the forms of research, teaching and community service.

Rajendran is among only six people in the world, including three in the United States, to receive the honor, which is not given every year.

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