2015 ASHRAE Hall of Fame

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Feb. 4, 2015

1873 graduate named to 2015 ASHRAE Hall of Fame

In a contemporary twist to a historical story -- a Spartan Engineer from 1873 was inducted into the 2015 ASHRAE Hall of Fame.Rolla C. Carpenter, an 1873 graduate, was inducted into the 2015 ASHRAE Hall of Fame for his pioneering contributions.

ASHRAE, an international organization that advances the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, inducted Rolla C. Carpenter (1852-1919) into its Hall of Fame during its winter conference in Chicago, Jan. 24-28.

Who was Rolla C. Carpenter?

A). Professor of math and civil engineering at Michigan Agricultural College (MAC)

B). First football coach at MAC (1884)

C). Co-designer of the neighborhood that would become East Lansing

D.) A pioneer of climate-controlled buildings

E). Teacher of astronomy and designer of MAC’s first observatory

F). All of the above

Answer: F -- all of the above!

Carpenter is among Michigan State’s University’s most revered early faculty members, according to the "Honoring Our Heritage and Our Faculty" website.

Rolla C. Carpenter

Carpenter was born in Orion, Mich., in 1852. He received his bachelor of science degree from Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.) in 1873 and a civil engineering degree from the University of Michigan in 1875.

Upon graduating from Michigan, Carpenter returned to M.A.C. as an instructor, while also continuing his studies further and receiving a master of science degree in 1876. Not one to stop learning, Carpenter later received another master’s degree, this one in mechanical engineering from Cornell in 1888.

Carpenter devoted his professional career as a professor between M.A.C. and Cornell. He served at M.A.C. from 1875 to 1890 and at Cornell from 1895 until his retirement in 1917. At M.A.C., as a professor of mathematics and civil engineering, Carpenter designed and supervised much of the construction of the young school, including construction of a dam on the Red Cedar River.Rolla Carpenter designed and supervised much of the construction of the Michigan Agricultural College, which became MSU.

In 1887, along with Professor William J. Beal, Carpenter helped design “Collegeville,” a neighborhood that later became East Lansing.

Carpenter was considered an expert in his time in the field of engineering and was appointed by the Academy of Science in 1915, at the request of the President of the United States, to investigate the slides at the Panama Canal. He passed away in 1919.

See a video on Carpenter and read more on this Spartan engineer.

ASHRAE is dedicated to serving humanity and promoting a sustainable world. With more than 53,000 members from over 132 nations, ASHRAE is a diverse organization representing building system design and industrial processes professionals around the world.