April 12, 2019

Purdue trustees approve named professorships, new IUPUI degree


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (April 12) ratified two named faculty positions and authorized a new graduate degree program on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. Trustees also issued resolutions of appreciation for friends of the university, including one whose name will be added to campus facilities.

Robert J. Connor was named the Jack and Kay Hockema Professor in Civil Engineering, and Bedrich Benes was named the George W. McNelly Professor of Technology.

Robert Connor Robert Connor
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Connor is among the world’s foremost experts on the fatigue and fracture of steel bridges and highly regarded in the field of structural engineering. He has consulted on the majority of steel bridge failures in America in recent years, and his research on steel bridge fracture, fatigue, failure analysis and design has led to many important technical standards. Connor is an award-winning instructor, the director of the Center on Aging Infrastructure and the Steel Bridge Research, Inspection, Training and Education Engineering Center (S-BRITE) and the associate director of the Bowen Laboratory for Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research.

Bedrich Benes Bedrich Benes
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Benes joined the Purdue faculty in 2005 and today is an award-winning professor of computer graphics technology with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Computer Science. He also oversees Purdue’s High Performance Computer Graphics Laboratory and is editor in chief of Computer Graphics Forum. He is known and respected for his work in procedural modeling with applications in terrain simulation, functional structural modeling of vegetation and geometric modeling for additive manufacturing, and his methods and algorithms are extensively used throughout academia and in industry.

Trustees approved a new Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. This new program will replace the current mechanical engineering doctoral program offered on the IUPUI campus in cooperation with the School of Mechanical Engineering on the West Lafayette campus

The board also ratified the promotion and tenure of 142 faculty across the West Lafayette, Northwest, Fort Wayne and IUPUI campuses. 

In other action, the board approved a resolution of appreciation for those who recently have contributed $1 million or more to the university. Friends include the estate of Nils K. Nelson, to support Purdue University Northwest; Willis and Penny Conner, to support the Lyles School of Civil Engineering; Peggy Ford, to support Intercollegiate Athletics; James Hallar, to support the College of Agriculture; and Richard and Beverly Rella, to support the Krannert School of Management and Student Life.

In recognizing these donors, trustees further approved the naming of the Jack Calhoun Director of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club, to be held by the current director of the Purdue Musical Organizations and the Purdue Varsity Glee Club, William Griffel, and the Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building on the Purdue Northwest campus

Sources: Amy Noah, arnoah@purdue.edu

Robert Connor, rconnor@purdue.edu

Bedrich Benes, bbenes@purdue.edu

Jay T. Akridge, akridge@purdue.edu

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