2016 Withrow Distinguished Scholar—Junior Award


March 18, 2016

Ten receive top honors during 2016 Engineering Awards Luncheon 

Members of the Michigan State University College of Engineering gathered in the University Club March 17 to celebrate accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and service at the 26th Engineering Awards Luncheon. 

Leo Kempel, dean of the College of Engineering, greeted more than 100 guests, along with the winners of the prestigious awards during the annual spring ceremony.

The College of Engineering handed out some of its most prestigious recognitions on March 17 during the annual Engineering Awards lunch. Honored were (from left) Alison Cupples, Truman Surbrook, Nikki Shook, Richard Lunt, Rebecca Anthony, Prem Chahal, Charles Ofria, Judith Cordes, Daina Briedis, and Charles Owen.

The Withrow Endowed Teacher/Scholar/Service Award Program was established by the Withrow family to recognize faculty of the MSU College of Engineering who have demonstrated excellence in instructional and scholarly activities and rendered distinguished service to the university and the student body. Jack Withrow earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from MSU in 1954 and an MBA in 1971. He retired as executive vice president at Chrysler Corp. in 1988, and then served as president and chief operating officer at Lectron Products Inc., from 1989 to 1995. He received the MSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1984. Dottie Withrow earned a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy and elementary education from MSU in 1955 and a master’s degree in teaching from Oakland University. She was a special education teacher in West Bloomfield Schools for many years and published a children’s book that promotes responsible pet care and a second book that teaches children about opera.

Distinguished Scholar—Junior Award
(Nominees have been in service to the university as instructors, assistant professors, or associate professors for not more than seven years.)

Richard R. Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science (CHEMS), is a rising star internationally in the field of excitonic materials for energy applications. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware (2004), and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Princeton University (2010). Just prior to arriving at MSU he worked as a postdoctoral associate in the organic and nanostructured lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

Since joining the MSU faculty in August 2011, in the departments of CHEMS and physics, he has built an impressive body of work. Lunt’s most well known research exploits the excitonic character of molecular semiconductors to produce lightweight flexible transparent solar cells. Additionally, he has pioneered advances in accurate methods for characterizing energy migration in excitonic semiconductors; in-situ real-time diffraction methods for understanding crystalline growth, and the design of nanocrystal blends for solar concentrators. Lunt has attracted funding of more than $2.5 million dollars over the past four years. 

He has authored more than 40 papers in leading journals (> 2000 citations with 41 total publications and 13 publications having > 50 citations) and has already garnered an h-index of 20, an unusually high metric for such a young faculty member. Many of his articles have been identified as “most accessed” or “most downloaded.” Applied Physics Letters named his work to its list of “50th Anniversary Editor’s Picks” as one of the most important articles published in recent years. Three recent articles have been featured as cover stories in advanced materials journals. His work has also been covered in the popular press, including Nature, the New York Times, CBS News, and Forbes.

Read more on the award winners. (.pdf)

Chemical Engineering and Materials Science