Mikell P. Groover was honored by his colleagues in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) recently for more than half a century of dedication and service to Lehigh.
Groover, who earned four degrees from Lehigh, is retiring as professor of industrial and systems engineering after 45 years on Lehigh’s faculty. The author of seven books on manufacturing, Groover is a man who has had a singular impact on Lehigh.
As part of the annual ISE banquet in Iacocca Hall last week, Tamás Terlaky, the George N. and Soteria Kledaras ’87 Endowed Professor and Chair of ISE, referred to Groover as “the soul of the department” and the person he turned to “when I needed to learn about the department's great traditions, alumni, and colleagues in the IE community.”
Groover shared the spotlight at the banquet with Irwin Young ’50, who was awarded the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award. As the current chairman of the board of Du Art Film Laboratories and Du Art Video, Young has made his mark as a pillar of the New York film community through his technical achievements and his active membership in numerous organizations supporting innovations in technology and programming in television and film.
Young won an Oscar in 2000 for the prestigious Gordon E. Sawyer Award, given each year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to someone whose technological contributions have brought credit to the film industry. (For more on Young, read: An engineer-filmmaker returns to his alma mater.)
Also as part of the annual ISE celebration, Leon McGinnis, the Eugene C. Gwaltney Chair in Manufacturing Systems and Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, spoke earlier in the day as the Spencer C. Schantz Guest Lecturer.
Groover earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering, a B.A. in arts and sciences, an M.S. in industrial engineering and, in 1969, the first Ph.D. granted by what was then known as the department of industrial engineering. He served as president of Chi Phi fraternity. Except for a two-year stint with Eastman Kodak, he has spent all of his life at Lehigh since 1957.
In preparation for the banquet, more than 100 of Groover’s former students wrote testimonials about his teaching, research, and passion for his field, praising his ability to synthesize complicated ideas and his compassion in the classroom.
“To this day,” shared Vincent Armenti ’02, “when I find myself in a challenging situation I still remind myself that Professor Groover believed in me. It puts a smile on my face."
Groover is remembered for his commitment to the adaptation of his field. His life as a faculty member, he says, became an exercise in continuous learning.
"Teaching students, doing research, writing textbooks—these activities reinforce each other."
Photos by Christopher Elston