2017 Withrow Teaching Excellence Award


March 17, 2017

Eleven receive top honors during 27th Annual Engineering Awards Luncheon 

It was a celebration of teaching, scholarship, and service when members of the Michigan State University College of Engineering convened in the University Club on Thursday, March 16, at the 27th Annual Engineering Awards Luncheon. 

Leo Kempel, dean of the College of Engineering, greeted award winners and about 100 guests from the college during the annual spring ceremony.Eleven from the college received top honors March 16. Awards were presented (l to r), top row: Bradley Marks, Nathan Mellott, Anthony Ingle; middle row: Joshua Nahum, Ramakrishna Mukkamala, Peter Lillehoj, Geoffrey Recktenwald; front row: Kyle Foster, Jennifer Keddle, Gilbert Baladi, and Joyce Chai.

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.

Geoffrey D. Recktenwald, an academic specialist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is described by many of his students as a professor who motivates them to put in the time and effort needed to be successful in class. Students are enthusiastic to declare, “He challenges us, but does not try to break us.” He teaches with “enthusiasm that is hard to find, making sure that the concepts are understood so that everyone understands the material.” He is passionate about his courses and his teaching. This is reflected in the comments of students who refer to him as “patient and caring.” His interests do not stop at the equation or figure; he embraces the potential in each of his students demonstrated by the effort he genuinely makes for each individual in his classes. His students say that he sets all of them up to succeed and champions the high expectations he demands. By being thought provoking and fair, he “resonates, inspires, and drives one to succeed.” 

Mechanical Engineering