Giving Stories Archive

Koenig Endowed Chair advances engineering education through leadership of Kalyanmoy Deb

Photo of Kalyanmoy DebKalyanmoy Deb was installed as the Herman E. & Ruth J. Koenig Endowed Chair in the MSU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering during ceremonies in August 2014.  The endowed chair was established in 2001 to recognize Koenig’s scholarly and academic leadership achievements, and his progressive contributions to furthering engineering education. 

Deb said the position gives him the opportunity to engage in research and development of efficient multi-criterion optimization and decision-making methodologies and promote their application to real-world industrial problems. "Optimization problems commonly arise in most scientific, business, and engineering problem-solving activities," he said. "I plan to take this chair professorship as an opportunity to facilitate their wide-spread use in both academia and practice through teaching, research and service."

His research interests include applied optimization, evolutionary computation, modeling and simulation, and design and control of intelligent systems. His 2001 book, Multi-Objective Optimization Using Evolutionary Algorithms, is the first-ever compilation of its kind.

Deb also holds joint appointments in two other departments within the college—computer science and engineering, and mechanical engineering—and contributes to research at the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, an NSF Science and Technology Center headquartered at Michigan State University. 

See more on Deb and the Koenig Chair at:

Empowering graduate students to solve the problems of today and tomorrow

A unique foundation that encourages graduate students to "think outside the box" and develop critical thinking skills continues to support graduate research in the College of Engineering. The II-VI Foundation Block Gift Program has funded two projects in the college for 2013-14. The foundation’s name, pronounced "two-six," refers to columns II and VI on the periodic table of elements.

For the second year the II-VI Foundation has funded the diamond electronic devices projects being carried in the lab of Jes Asmusssen, University Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Tim Grotjohn, professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering.

Graduate students who are working on projects include Shannon Demlow and Shreya Nad, who are creating diamond electronic devices that could someday power the world’s electrical grids. Runruo (Ted) Chen and Yunting Liu are investigating power control systems using wide bandgap devices to increase their efficiency and reliability, leading to improved transmission of electrical energy.

In addition, Fang Z. Peng, University Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering, has received II-VI Foundation support for four years for research in his power electronics lab.

"Our society has so many challenges that can be addressed by a highly educated, highly motivated and creative engineering and scientific community," said Rick Purnell, executive director of the II-VI Foundation. "Our focus is on students and enhancing their research capabilities, their problem solving and critical-thinking skills, and their ability to communicate. We want to help them develop the skills sets they will need to meet these challenges."

The two MSU projects are among 21 academic research projects at 19 universities supported by the II-VI Foundation in 2013-14, and the only ones in the state of Michigan.

Industry partners help expand CoRe opportunities

Preparation for tomorrow begins on Day One in the MSU College of Engineering with the Engineering CoRe (Cornerstone and Residential) Experience, an integrated academic and co-curricular program for first-year engineering students.

We see our mission as beginning the process of building the whole engineer, and we focus on three aspects–academic, professional, and personal development," said S. Patrick Walton, director of CoRe and an associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science. "We want our students to excel in the classroom, get internships or co-op experiences, and obtain fulfilling careers–and to have a happy and balanced life while they are doing it."

CoRe allows first- and second-year engineering students the option of living in Wilson Hall, immersed in the issues and challenges addressed by engineers. There they can begin to build a cohort that will be part of their support network throughout their time at MSU.

The CoRe Experience also includes the involvement of corporate partners in courses and the residential program. These partners, which now include Robert Bosch LLC, Consumers Energy in cooperation with the Consumers Energy Foundation, and GE, play key roles helping connect students to real-world engineering problems.

This is especially true for the theme floors in the residential program where the partners have displays describing challenges in areas, such as energy and transportation, as well as the importance of innovation and creative thinking. All three partners plan to renew their support of the CoRe Experience and continually refresh the exhibits on their theme floors in Wilson Hall. The industry partners see their investment in CoRe as a benefit because they all need good, bright engineers to help fuel the growth and success of their companies.

It’s all part of the college’s effort to make sure MSU engineering students are ready to "hit the ground running" by the time they graduate with a strong set of initial skills and are prepared to be lifelong learners to keep up with the ever-increasing rate of technological change.

Michael Dennos '43 helps professor's legacy live on through Larian Scholarships

Photo of Michael DennosScholarships can leave a lasting legacy and that’s certainly the case with the Maurice G. and Sara V. Larian Scholarship. Since its inception in 1974, more than 300 students have benefited from the fund, which was one of the first scholarship funds in the college and remains one of the college’s most important scholarships even 40 years after its inception. In October 2013, 22 more students were honored with Larian scholarships.

Maurice G. Larian was a professor of chemical engineering from the 1930s to 1971. He was born in Armenia and came to the United States without financial resources. He depended on his earnings and scholarships while studying for his BS and MS degrees at Iowa State University and his PhD at the University of Minnesota. He was described as the epitome of a scholar, a cultured humble gentleman and a good, but demanding, teacher. His most memorable quality was his sincere interest in, and concern for, his students and was known as "Doc Larian" to the many students who passed through the college during his tenure of 40-plus years.

One of those students was Michael Dennos, who credited Larian as a formative influence during his undergraduate years. Dennos earned a degree in chemical engineering in 1943.

After 18 years with Schenectady Chemicals in New York, Dennos returned to Michigan and the family bakery business, Chef Pierre, which was started by his father in 1922. Dennos and his extended family built up Chef Pierre until it became the largest employer in Traverse City, Mich. Dennos became president of Chef Pierre in 1973 and chairman and CEO in 1981. Following the purchase of Chef Pierre by Sara Lee Corp., he retired in 1986 as an executive vice president of Sara Lee. Dennos died in 2012.

The Larian Scholarship continues to pay tribute to Doc Larian’s memory. Dennos was one of the major contributors to the fund throughout the years as was Sara Larian Gifford, Maurice’s wife, who died in September 2013.

Bosch highlightBosch partners with college to promote innovation and creativity

Robert Bosch LLC is partnering with Michigan State University’s College of Engineering in support of the college’s first-year program—the CoRe (Cornerstone and Residential) Experience.

With a $200,000 contribution from the Bosch Community Fund, Bosch—a leading global supplier of technology and services in the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology—becomes a corporate sponsor in the Engineering Theme Partnership program. Bosch joins Consumers Energy/the Consumers Energy Foundation and GE Transportation as a CoRe Theme Partner. - See more at:

MSU and GE collaboration trains next generation of engineers

GE is collaborating with Michigan State University’s College of Engineering to help train the next generation of engineers to address transportation-related issues for the future.

A ribbon cutting on November 1, 2011, marked the opening of the Transportation Commons in Wilson Hall.

MSU’s senior associate provost June Youatt and Brett BeGole, product general manager, GE Appliances, spoke at the ceremony. Later in the evening, BeGole presented a lecture, “Ecomagination at GE: Building Innovative Solutions to Environmental Challenges and Building a Career in Clean Technology,” to the greater MSU community. Click here to read the full article.

MSU and Consumers Energy partnership empowers students

Consumers Energy and the Consumers Energy Foundation have partnered with Michigan State University’s College of Engineering to empower the next generation of engineers to address energy-related issues.

A ribbon cutting on September 22, 2011, marked the opening of the Energy Theme Floor in Wilson Hall. MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon and John G. Russell, president and CEO of CMS Energy and Consumers Energy, spoke at the ceremony. Later in the evening, Russell presented a lecture, “Energy and Engineers,” to a group of students, faculty and staff. Click here to read the full article.

Spalding Scholarships reflect love of MSU, family Photo of Spalding family

The son of two loyal alumni, David (Dave) Spalding (’67, Engineering) grew up wearing, seeing and being Spartan green. As a testament to his parents and for all MSU has meant to his family, Dave recently funded the Charles and Mary Jane Spalding Expendable Engineering Scholarships in their honor and became a member of MSU’s Theophilus C. Abbot donor society. The scholarships he created have already helped many engineering students, a high priority for Dave. Click here to read the full article.


GE sponsors residential experience

Photo of 4 students looking at a laptop

With a $160,000 gift, GE is sponsoring the Residential Experience in the College of Engineering. As part of the partnership program, beginning in the fall 2011 semester, GE will present an engineering problem based on the theme "Cleaner Transportation for a Sustainable Future," and students will be immersed in learning about the industry.
Click here to read the full article on page 4 of the Developments publication. (.pdf)


Donor Profile: Steve Noll

Image of developments newsletter Donor Profile article

With beneficiaries ranging from the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum to the College of Engineering and the Spartan Marching Band, Steve Noll (Engineering, ’74) is an eclectic donor and good friend of Michigan State University. He is a member of MSU’s Wharton Society.

 A former national merit scholar, Steve could have attended any number of institutions of higher learning, but was swayed to MSU’s Honors College after seeing an impressive “road show” the MSU admissions team put on in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. He is proud of his MSU degree and particularly values the flexibility of the Honors College program which allowed him to broaden his education. “I still recommend it to prospective students I meet,” Steve said. Click here to read the full article. (.pdf)

Consumers Energy powers up engineering program 

Image of Developments article about Consumers Energy With a $150,000 gift made through the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy became the first corporate partner in a new initiative designed to immerse College of Engineering students in realworld issues facing the energy industry.

In the new partnership, Consumers Energy will present an energy-related engineering problem each year to students in the Residential Experience and Cornerstone Engineering program. Student involvement could include developing ideas to solve energy industry issues, leading environmental initiatives, working on energy-related projects that emphasize an interest in technology with a low carbon footprint, job shadowing and field trips to Consumers Energy facilities. Click here to read the full article. (.pdf)

"DREAM" helping engineering students achieve goals

Rick and Nancy Brown

Rick Brown (BS Mechanical Engineering '71) recently established the DREAM Endowed Scholarship in Engineering (Dedicated to Recruiting Engineers for America and Michigan). He says that he has merely planted the seed; his intent is that the endowment will grow into a substantial scholarship as other alumni contribute, thus nurturing the project. Click here for the complete story. (.pdf - Pages 28-29 Currents, Fall 2007)

Maibach gift leads to new engineering career center Ben Maibach

Ben Maibach and his wife, Barbara, chose to get involved with helping launch a new career services center in the College of Engineering. Ben (BS Civil Engineering '69) and Barbara (BA Mathematics '68) made a generous gift that served as the catalyst in the development of the center. "You have to do things at a different level today. You can't just provide classroom education to students. You need partnership with business," said Ben. Click here for the complete story. (.pdf - Page 6 of Currents, Spring 2008)