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University of Dayton School of Engineering Endowed Chairs: Markus Rumpfkeil, Margaret Pinnell and Rebecca Blust

Three Engineering Faculty Appointed as Endowed Chairs

By Kelly Mofield, School of Engineering

Provost Paul Benson, in consultation with President Eric Spina, has approved the appointment of three School of Engineering faculty members to endowed chair positions: 

  • Dr. Markus Rumpfkeil — Hans von Ohain Chair in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 
  • Dr. Margaret Pinnell — The Bernhard Schmidt Chair in Engineering Leadership 
  • Professor Rebecca Blust — Frank M. Tait Chair in Engineering 

These appointments will commence with the new academic year with a formal installation on Oct. 25. Appointments are for four years.

“Please join me in congratulating Markus, Margie and Becky on their appointments to these prestigious positions,” said Eddy Rojas, dean, School of Engineering.“ I have every confidence that these individuals will advance their scholarship and continue their leadership within the School through these new roles.”

Candidates for department specific positions were nominated by the faculty development committee within the department. For positions not associated with a specific department, a nominating and selection committee of current endowed chairs and the associate deans submitted candidate recommendations.  Associate Dean Margie Pinnell recused herself from the process after her name came into nomination.

Endowed chairs must be full-time faculty at the rank of associate or full professor and have a record of vigorous and productive scholarship. Recipients receive the services of a graduate student researcher or the opportunity to teach one less class as well as a small discretionary fund to support scholarly work. 

The Hans von Ohain Chair in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Department — Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Markus Rumpfkeil, an associate professor whose research focuses on the area of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), has been appointed to this endowed chair position. The Hans von Ohain Endowed Chair in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering was established in 1999 to honor Dr. Hans von Ohain, co-inventor of the jet engine, who joined University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) as a senior research engineer and the University as a professor in 1979. This endowed chair empowers the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to maintain its leadership position in engineering education and scholarly research in the areas of aerospace fuels, combustion and thermal management.  Rumpfkeil has over 50 peer reviewed journal and conference papers and was recently named associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Rumpfkeil will use this endowed chair position to lead a committee to explore the feasibility of the University becoming part of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program.  

A member of the nominating and selection committee commented, “Markus demonstrates talent, drive and productivity as a researcher and also possesses a strong interest in contributing to a rich academic community by integrating students and faculty in meaningful activities.” 

The Bernhard Schmidt Chair in Engineering Leadership
School of Engineering

Dr. Margaret Pinnell, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and associate dean for faculty and staff development, has been appointed as the Bernhard Schmidt Chair in Engineering Leadership. This position was established in 2003 in honor of Dr. Bernhard Schmidt, distinguished electrical engineer and UD alumnus, who served the University for 52 years. The position is meant to establish the School of Engineering as a school of excellence and a leader in engineering education.

Pinnell has a strong record of leadership in the School of Engineering. She served as the acting director for ETHOS for over ten years, helping to establish ETHOS as a nationally recognized program and a distinctive program at UD. As the associate dean for faculty and staff development, she is working to enhance the culture and climate of the School of Engineering, helping faculty achieve their professional goals and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion among the faculty and staff.  Pinnell will leverage the endowed chair position to engage in research on leadership development at UD and elsewhere, issues of gender equity and inclusive excellence in leadership development, and will examine the potential for a leadership across the curriculum model for student leadership development.

 A member of the nominating and selection committee commented, “Margie is already a strong and respected leader within the School. Her impact extends far beyond the School of Engineering to the greater UD community, and she is firmly committed to engineering education.”

Frank M. Tait Endowed Chair in Engineering
School of Engineering

Rebecca Blust, associate professor in the Department of Engineering Management, Systems, and Technology and director of the Innovation Center, has been appointed as the Frank M. Tait Endowed Chair. This position was established in 1970 with a bequest from Mr. Tait, long-time friend and benefactor of the University and the founder of the Dayton Power & Light Company and Tait Manufacturing. This position was created to help advance research and innovation in the School of Engineering. 

Blust has a wealth of both industrial and academic experience in innovation. The Innovation Center is one of the School of Engineering’s flagship experiential learning opportunities and a key industry and community partner. In 2017, the Innovation Center facilitated approximately 150 projects and served approximately 75 percent of graduating seniors.  

Most recently, she is serving as an inaugural faculty fellow at the Institute for Applied Creativity (IACT) and is deeply involved with the GEMnasium, a collaborative hands-on ‘test lab’ and innovative transdisciplinary teaching space. Blust also works with University and community partners to determine an impactful, innovative purpose for the Dayton Arcade complex downtown. She will leverage the endowed chair position to help distinguish UD from other universities by creating an environment that enhances students’ ability to integrate and apply creative thoughts and ideas to both engineering and societal problems.  

A member of the nominating and selection committee commented, “Becky Blust is an outstanding faculty in engineering technology. She contributes significantly to the Innovation Center activities in the School of Engineering and plays a key role in establishing cross-campus collaborations and trans-disciplinary and experiential learning programs.”

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