By Kristen Mitchell
The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science inducted four honorees, including three alumni and its recent former dean, into the GW Engineering Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed for continued contributions during their professional careers in engineering, technology or public service.
Seventy-six individuals have been inducted into the hall of fame over the past 12 years. John Lach, dean of SEAS, said it’s important to shine a spotlight on those who have worked hard and committed themselves to making the world a better place.
“Learning about the professional lives and achievements of our inductees helps inspire all of us here to strive in our careers, and it helps build the SEAS community across generations, across geography and across disciplines,” he said.
The inductees included: David Dolling, former dean of SEAS; Davinder K. Anand, B.S. ’59, M.S. ’61, D.Sc. ’65; Aicha Evans, B.S. ’96; and Richard A. Spires, M.S. ’87.Dr. Dolling, currently a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was additionally honored with a special tribute that recognized his leadership of the school during 10 years of exceptional growth. The tribute included the announcement of the new David S. Dolling Endowed Scholarship in Engineering, which honors his commitment to increasing the number of SEAS women students and faculty members. His contributions were recognized with the announcement of the new David S. Dolling Endowed Scholarship in Engineering.
The $380,000 endowed scholarship will support future generations of undergraduate women students in SEAS. The first recipient is junior Siobhan Whittle, who is majoring in mechanical engineering and was present at the ceremony.
Dr. Dolling, who stepped down as dean of SEAS last year, also received a special video salute from NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, B.S. '97, and a GW lapel pin that she took to the International Space Station when she served aboard it on a six-month mission in 2018.
Dr. Dolling said he had “the best job that anybody could have” while dean of SEAS.
He served as dean from September 2008 to August 2018 and oversaw the opening of Science and Engineering Hall. He led the school through a period that included recruiting approximately 60 new faculty across SEAS who subsequently secured record levels of research funding.
Under his leadership, the school also established the new Department of Biomedical Engineering, added new endowed professorships and scholarships, doubled the undergraduate student body and increased the number of women bachelor’s graduates increased to more than 40 percent.
He saw himself as the conductor of an orchestra where everyone had a different role to play. The school has come a long way over the past decade, he said, and he hopes the faculty and leadership continue that momentum going forward.
“As soon as you start relaxing, you fall behind,” he said. “So please orchestra members, don’t let up, keep playing, keep beating the drum…because there’s a lot more music to be made.”
Ms. Evans, the CEO of Zoox, an autonomous mobility developer, and was among the inductees, recalled spending countless hours in Tompkins Hall working on projects. She said the challenges she faced helped prepare her for the future.
“I had a great time at this university, it taught me a lot,” she said. “It didn’t teach me just about engineering or just math and science and physics and computing and so on, it gave me courage.”
Prior to joining Zoox in February 2019, Ms. Evans worked for Intel Corporation for 13 years. She most recently served as senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Intel, responsible for driving its long-term strategy to transform from a PC-centric company to a data-centric company.
Mr. Spires, former U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief information officer, was known as a change agent during his time in government. He encouraged others to find ways to give back through public service.
“The sense of mission, the sense of societal impact you can have, is nothing like what I have experienced in any other work I’ve done,” he said.
Mr. Spires dedicated his induction to all the “talented and hard-working government professionals” he worked with over the years.
Mr. Spires is currently CEO of Learning Tree International, a leading provider of IT workforce development and training solutions. Prior to leading Learning Tree, he was appointed as the Department of Homeland Security’s chief information officer and served in the role from 2009 to 2013. He previously worked for the Internal Revenue Service.
Dr. Anand said it was wonderful to return to campus. He fondly remembered the “great education and free parking” he benefited from during his nine years as a full-time student at GW, and he regaled the audience with stories of studying engineering at GW more than 50 years ago. He thanked the faculty who inspired and nurtured him over the years.
Dr. Anand is a professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and director of the Center of Engineering Concepts Development at the University of Maryland, College Park. Most recently, he developed a program in engineering for social change in partnership with the School of Public Policy at Maryland. He was awarded the NSF Outstanding and Superior Awards and the University of Maryland Outstanding Accomplishment Award.