2016 Withrow Student Service 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.

Withrow Student Service Award
This award is presented to an advisor, academic specialist, or non-tenure-track instructor for outstanding service to students in the college. Nominations are submitted to the dean, and selection of the winner is made by the Engineering Undergraduate Studies Committee. 

Judith ‘Judy’ Cordes, director of Student Success for Women in Engineering, is passionate about student success, especially success of women in engineering. The persistence of our female students to graduation and the growth of the services that are available to women in engineering at Michigan State University are directly attributable to her efforts. 

She arrived at MSU a little more than 28 years ago, as an academic advisor within the College of Engineering. She has since helped guide generations of students through the academic programs, anxieties and stressors of college life. Over time, she became a special advocate for the growing group of young women who chose to enter this male-dominated field. Early on, she recognized the barriers that women face in both the academic environment of engineering and the workplace. She has put into place and supported several organizations to assist women in overcoming those barriers and achieving their goals. 

As the advisor for the MSU Chapter of the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE), she has played an active role in the developmental needs of women in the field. 

Former student and current colleague Sandra Christlieb noted: “As an undergraduate and member of SWE, I experienced firsthand Judy’s commitment to students. She devoted countless hours to guiding our student organization and took the time to know each of the members... I now have the privilege of working with Judy as part of the Women in Engineering Program...Not a day goes by without a student dropping into her office to talk... Judy doesn’t blink, drops what she is doing and devotes her full attention to the student. Her ability to provide caring and guidance is beyond compare... I feel fortunate to have a wonderful mentor.” 

Betty Shanahan, a College of Engineering Alumni Board member and former national executive director & CEO of the Society of Women Engineers, concluded, “As the College of Engineering celebrates more than one thousand female students, I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Withrow Student Service Award than the key individual who has been driven the recruitment and success of female engineering students at MSU for 25+ years - Judy Cordes.”

Read more on the award winners. (.pdf)

Dean Leo Kempel opened the annual luncheon ceremony and Thomas F. Wolff, interim chair of civil and environmental engineering, offered closing remarks.

Women In Engineering