2016 Withrow Teaching Excellence 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.

Daina Briedis, an associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science and assistant dean of Student Advancement, is both a mentor for students and gifted educator. Students repeatedly cited her ability to teach complex ideas in memorable ways, her willingness to provide assistance, her dedication to ensuring that material is understood and her incredible sense of humor. As one student noted: “her engaging teaching style seems to be fueled her genuine interest in the material...and the prospect of our understanding.” “Dr. Briedis had the most impact on my life both inside and outside of the classroom. She had gone out of her way to meet with me and guide me toward a successful future. She is understanding and can also teach in an effective way. Her classroom is always enthusiastic and an open learning environment.” While students acknowledge her class is tough, they also know she goes above and beyond to ensure they learn. “Her methods of teaching are easy to follow while still being challenging. Her assessments are hard but fair.” “Her class is one of those milestone classes that cut all your bad habits.” 

Read more on the award winners. (.pdf)

Chemical Engineering and Materials Science