James Leigh Lubkin

March 22, 2016

An award winning faculty member, whose use of computers in teaching engineering courses earned him multiple awards for education innovation, has died at age 90. 

James Leigh Lubkin, of North Bethesda, Md., passed away on Feb. 21, 2016, in North Bethesda. 

He was born in Bronx, N.Y., on March 5, 1925, the son of Joseph and Anna (Stern) Lubkin. 

He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having completed officer training at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944 and served through the end of World War II. 

He earned his PhD in engineering from Columbia University in 1950 and started his career at the Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City, Mo. Lubkin joined American Machine and Foundry in Stamford, Conn., in 1956 and began teaching evening courses at the University of Connecticut in Stamford.

In 1963, he accepted a position as professor at Michigan State University in the departments of civil engineering and metallurgy, mechanics, and materials science. He pioneered the educational innovation that became known as self-paced curriculum, introducing it at MSU to the applied sciences. 

In 1977, he received the John A. Curtis Award from the American Society of Engineering Education. In 1992, he received the William Bradley Award from MSU for education innovation for using computers to teach an engineering curriculum. 

He retired from MSU in 1993 after 30 years of service. 

He published multiple books and articles on topics in engineering and engineering education. He spent his sabbatical years at Imperial College, London, England; Technische Hochschul in Delft, Netherlands; Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur; and University of Indonesia in Jakarta.

He is survived by his wife Marianne (Buchholz) Lubkin of North Bethesda; sons, Gregory Lubkin, of Pacific Palisades, Calif., and Frederic Anthony (and wife Janice) Lubkin, of Owosso; grandchildren Alexandra Ernst of Hayward, Calif., James William Lubkin and Torrey Lubkin of Pacific Palisades; and step-grandsons Mitchell Opanasenko and Matthew Opanasenko of Owosso.

A private celebration of his life was held at his residence in North Bethesda on March 20. 

Memorials may be made to the National Audubon Society or the Michigan State University College of Engineering.

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