The College of Engineering was saddened by the sudden passing of our colleague Jeremiah Mpagazehe on January 18, 2016. Jeremiah, 31, earned B.S. (2006), M.S. (2010), and Ph.D. (2013) degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon and was an accomplished researcher and scholar who started an assignment as visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon-Rwanda shortly before his death.
As a project scientist, he secured a new algae biofuel lab, procured roughly a million dollars worth of research equipment, and supervised and mentored dozens of undergraduate and master’s student researchers. Mpagazehe had received news that he won his first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant as a principal investigator to commercialize high-value algae products.
Deriving inspiration from his father, Charles, who is from Uganda, Mpagazehe’s long-held dream was to explore research and educational opportunities in East Africa. In addition to serving as the Chief Technology Officer of the CMU start up company InnovAlgae, he was working towards his dream at the Kigali campus.
A memorial was held for Jeremiah in Pittsburgh on April 14, 2016. In honor of Jeremiah’s legacy, an undergraduate scholarship has been established. If you would like to contribute to this fund, please go to www.giving.cmu.edu/Jeremiah.
Professor Emeritus David Casasent, a pioneer in the pattern recognition, image processing, and product inspection fields, passed away on November 17, 2015. He was 72.
David joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1969 and retired in 2009. He developed algorithms using morphological processing, computer vision, distortion-invariant filters, and neural network techniques for a number of applications including product inspection, automation, robotics, pattern recognition signal processing, advanced computing, artificial intelligence, missile guidance and synthetic aperture radar, and IR and visible data. These concepts offered parallelism, high speed, flexibility, a wide variety of achievable operations, and many novel data-processing architectures and algorithms.
“Dave’s service and contributions to the ECE Department were extraordinary,” said Vijayakumar Bhagavatula, the U.A. and Helen Whitaker Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “In addition to outstanding classroom teaching and developing optical data processing research facilities, he graduated nearly one hundred Ph.D. students under his research guidance and authored or co-authored nearly one thousand publications, a level of research productivity very rarely seen. Personally, I benefited significantly from his mentorship first as Ph.D. student and later as his colleague. Dave will be missed, but his contributions to the growth and increasing reputation of our department will last forever.”
Dr. Elio D’Appolonia, founder of E. D’Appolonia Consulting Engineers (EDCE) and a former faculty member in Civil Engineering from 1948 to 1956, passed away on December 30, 2015. He was 97.
Elio truly helped to define and develop the multidisciplinary, creative problem-solving nature of civil engineering at Carnegie Mellon that remains a hallmark of the program. A structural engineer with classical mechanics training, he found the emerging field of geotechnical engineering, an intellectually rich area in need of a combination of mechanics knowledge and creative engineering problem-solving.
In 1956, Elio left the university to start EDCE and became an internationally renowned consultant in geotechnical engineering. He was widely recognized as one of the leaders who moved the field ahead significantly from the 1950s through the 1970s. The firm he founded provided employment opportunities for students from Carnegie Tech. In 2012, in recognition of the longstanding relationship between Elio and the college, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering announced the D’Appolonia Endowed Graduate Fellowship Fund.
Contributions in honor of Elio D’Appolonia may be sent to the Dr. Elio D’Appolonia Graduate Fellowship Fund, Carnegie Mellon University, PO Box 371525, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-7525.
On March 30, the university community learned that Elliott Glasgow, 19, a first-year student in Engineering, had passed away. Elliott, who came to us from New York City, was a vital member of his residential community and a brother of Phi Delta Theta. He was known by his many friends for his wit and sense of humor. The College of Engineering extends its deepest sympathies to Elliott’s family, friends, and classmates.