Claud Erickson Distinguished Alumni Award

2016 - Martin C. Hawley

Martin C. Hawley, 2016 Claud Erickson Award RecipientDr. Martin C. Hawley is a professor and recent past chairperson of the Michi­gan State University Department of Chemical Engineering and Materi­als Science (CHEMS). He is currently senior associate to the dean of engineering and director of the Composite Vehicle Research Center. During 2010-2012 he was also director of MSU’s Office of Sponsored Pro­grams. Earlier, he was co-director of the MSU Composites Center—a National Science Foundation, State of Michigan, and industry-supported center—for ten years.

He teaches, directs research, pub­lishes, and consults with industry and government in the areas of chemical kinetics, transport phenomena, enzyme separations, chemical reactor design, process design, materials processing, applied mathematics, computer simu­lation, economics, and optimization. Recent research involves chemicals from biomass, free radical production in microwave plasmas, electromag­netic coupling and measurements for materials processing, and basic reaction and transport studies in thick-section composites.

His teaching career is noted for the unsurpassed success of MSU under­graduate students in the annual AIChE Student Contest Problem. Dr. Hawley has taught the senior capstone process design courses at MSU for more than 40 years with a record of 46 MSU stu­dents receiving national contest awards. He holds six patents and has published more than 200 articles and books. Dr. Hawley and his co-authors received the 2014 Elsevier Journal Composites Part A Most Highly Cited Paper Award. He has advised 22 PhD students and more than 40 thesis masters students. Five of his former PhD students are noted faculty members at various universities.

The Mid Michigan Section of AIChE named Dr. Hawley Chemical Engineer of the Year for 1975 and 1976. In 1982 he was honored by MSU with a Distin­guished Faculty Award. During his term as CHEMS chairperson the depart­ment grew in both stature and size. The faculty increased by about 50 percent, the student body nearly doubled, and research expenditures for the depart­ment increased by a factor of five.

Dr. Hawley and his wife, Diana, live in East Lansing. Diana received her BS in Mathematics at MSU in 1975 and MBA in 1981. They enjoy golfing together and spending time with family up north.

About the Award

Nomination Form (.doc)
Past Recipients

Dean Lawrence Wayne Von Tersch established the Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumni Award in 1982. Claud Erickson, for whom the award was named, was the first recipient. Since then, it has been given annually to a College of Engineering graduate with a minimum of 15 years’ professional experience who has attained the highest level of professional accomplishment; provided distinguished and meritorious service to the College of Engineering and the engineering profession; and engaged in voluntary service at the local, state, national, and/or international level.

Claud Erickson, born in Manistee, Michigan, lived from 1900 to 1993. He had to help support his family during high school and took a full-time job immediately after graduation. At the urging of work associates who recognized his talents, Claud began college, but it was a constant financial struggle. At times, faculty members chipped in to keep him in school.

Claud ultimately received four engineering degrees from MSU, beginning with a bachelor of science in 1922. He later earned degrees in mechanical (1927), electrical (1933), and civil engineering (1934) and held a consulting professional engineer's license. He also studied law and was qualified to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

Claud was the first member of Lambda Chi Alpha, chartered in 1922 as the second fraternity at MSU; it now has well over 2,200 members.

He became the director and general manager of the Lansing Board of Water and Light and spent more than 50 years making the utility a strong, progressive force in the Lansing area. He was a nationally respected figure in public works, and in 1971 the Board named a new power plant in Delta Township after him.

Community activism was a way of life for Claud. He was the Ingham County chairman of the U.S. Treasury Savings Bond Drive for 50 years, beginning in 1941. He was honored in 1991 at the age of 91 by the U.S. Treasury Department for his 50 years of patriotic volunteer service. He was the only person in the United States known to have directed a local drive continuously since the program began during World War II.

He was a delegate to the Michigan Constitutional Convention, chairman of the Ingham County American Red Cross, and a trustee of St. Lawrence Hospital. He served at various times as president of the Lansing Rotary Club, the City Club of Lansing, the American Public Power Association, the Michigan Engineering Society, and the Greater Lansing Area Safety Council.

He and his wife, Thelma, were the parents of one son and four daughters. He was an avid stamp collector and was considered one of the nation's top authorities on electric-powered vehicles. He admired the simplicity of an electric car. He said, "It has only eight moving parts, and four of those are wheels."

Always maintaining close ties with MSU, Claud served on the MSU Foundation's first board of directors. He was asked by President John A. Hannah to oversee the construction of the Alumni Chapel. He also supervised the completion of 7,000 married-student housing units in just five months to accommodate U.S. servicemen returning to campus after World War II.

Claud always attended the spring commencement exercises of MSU's College of Engineering and the initiation ceremonies of the Chi Epsilon civil engineering honor society, and he kept close tabs on each alumnus who won the Claud R. Erickson Award.

When asked by President Hannah at one point, "Why do MSU alumni come back to campus year after year?" he responded, "Because they love the university that offered them the hand of friendship and the open door of opportunity."