Professor Dolan Retires as the Inaugural H.T. Person Engineering Excellence Chair
January 24, 2013 — Dr. Charles (Charlie) Dolan retired as the H.T Person Engineering Excellence Chair at the close of the Fall semester. In 2002 the College of Engineering and Applied Science conducted a national search to find an outstanding engineering educator to fill the H.T. Person Chair. The Chair was named in honor of H. T. Person who served the University of Wyoming from 1929 to 1968 as Professor of Civil Engineering, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Dean of the College, and 16th President of the University. H.T. Person’s primary concern was always the student. The students remembered his ability to make complicated subject matter understandable, and that his door was always open to them. When grades were slipping or students were discouraged, he was the one who talked them into completing their degrees. H.T. used his contacts to find employment for “his students”. He was a mentor, father figure and friend. There will never be another quite like H.T. Person. The 2002 search ended with the selection of Charlie Dolan, then a Civil and Architectural engineering faculty member. The charge for the H.T. Person Chair included providing leadership for design related teaching and learning including increasing and strengthening interdisciplinary experiences and spearheading efforts to improve teaching and learning in the College.
As the H.T. Person Chair, Dolan developed a set of motivating freshmen design challenges used in the ES-1000 Orientation to Engineering course. The design challenge provides students the opportunity to practice the design process through a motivational, team-based, hands-on design exercise. Over the last several years design challenges have included balloon launchers, wind generators, Styrofoam planes, hill climbing robots, wall crawling robots and underwater robots. Students had a lot of fun while learning critical engineering skills. Dolan’s collection of freshmen design challenges will be published by Morgan and Claypool Publishers later this year.
During his years as the HT Person Chair, Dolan strengthened the nontechnical skills of our graduates. He achieved this through his involvement in teaching the interdisciplinary honors course, Technology and Society, and through leading a series of multidisciplinary capstone design projects for the College’s graduating seniors. Charlie involved students in real world, complex engineering projects. Students were required to design the technical portions of the design but also consider the soft skills including environmental impact, public opinion and project marketing. Dr. Dolan’s contributions will be sorely missed.
Dean Rob Ettema in coordination with the H.T. Person Engineering Excellence Committee will launch an internal search for the next H.T. Person Engineering Excellence Chair in early Spring. Committee members include: Frosty Kepler, Boots Nelson, Floyd Bishop, Dick Williams, Paul Rechard, Charlie Dolan, Ray Jacquot and Dean Ettema. To make contributions to the H.T. Person Excellence Fund in honor of Dr. Dolan, please contact Baillie Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.