Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science has announced its 2009 Convocation on the Grand Challenges of Engineering, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19 in Howard Auditorium, Center for the Performing Arts.

Environmentally-friendly energy and energy abundance, safety from terrorist and nuclear threats, quality water supplies and a secure cyberspace are just a few of the critical issues that await those attending the event. The National Academy of Engineering has identified 14 major concerns for the 21st Century, calling them the Grand Challenges, which can be viewed at www.engineeringchallenges.org.

Dr. Woodie C. Flowers, Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will address to the assembly. Flowers, who received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tech in 1966, received his M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1968, his M.E. from MIT in 1970 and his Ph.D. in engineering from MIT in 1972. He has been on the faculty of MIT since 1972.

Flowers has been president and national adviser for the FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, Robotics program since 1992. He hosted the PBS television series, “Scientific American Frontier,” from 1990 until 1993. Flowers serves on the Board of Trustees for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and is a member of the Board of Directors for General Scanning, Inc.

Flowers received the Louisiana Tech Centennial Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994. He has also received the Ralph E. Teetor Young Educator Award, the Goodwin Medal for Outstanding Instruction, the Baker Award for Outstanding Teaching, the Hartog Distinguished Educator Award and the MacVicar Faculty Fellow for extraordinary contributions to undergraduate education.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Engineering Education and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

He recently received the Joel and Ruth Spria Outstanding Design Educator Award from ASME, a public service medal from NASA and a Doctor Honoris Causa from both Andreas Bello University in Chile and Worchester Polytechnic Institute.

The engineering convocation is free and open to the public.

Written by Judith Roberts