Withrow Teaching Excellence Award


March 24, 2015 

The 25th anniversary of the Engineering Awards Luncheon celebrated teachers, scholars and service on March 19 at the University Club of Michigan State University. 

Leo Kempel, dean of the College of Engineering, welcomed all of the guests and congratulated the winners of some of the college’s most prestigious awards.The 25th Annual Engineering Awards ceremony honored (front) A. Pouyan Nejadhashemi, Lindsay Niesen, Abdol-Hossein Esfahanian, Subir Biswas, and Carmellia Davis-King, and (back) Rigoberto Burgueno, Neil Wright, Hayder Radha, and Lixin Dong. Missing from photo is Thomas Bieler.

Withrow Teaching Excellence Awards honor faculty teaching, advising and mentoring skills. One faculty member is selected from each academic unit, based primarily on nominations from students.  

Neil Wright, (Group photo, 5th from right) an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been described by students as, “everything a teacher should be.” Outside the classroom, Wright is just as effective and engaged. His impact in department has been tremendous. He has been instrumental in the establishment of a Biomedical Engineering Department, served as associate chair for the Undergraduate Program, and has always been a leader in curriculum development.  His connection to students and to the course material is critical. Student evaluations include: “He genuinely wants his students to learn”; “He is passionate about heat transfer”; “He is engaging and funny and reminds students that learning shouldn’t be a burden.” Comment after comment such as these can be found in a thick pile of contributions from students supporting his nomination. “He always puts his students first! He creates an excellent class environment. He convinces students that his subject is worthwhile and interesting.” Even after the semester ends, “he still remembers his students after the class.” 

Mechanical Engineering