Longtime Mechanical Engineering Chair to Retire

Ward Winer, the Eugene C. Gwaltney Jr. Chair of Georgia Tech's George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Regents' Professor, will retire later this year after nearly two decades as chair and 38 years at Tech. School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair Gary May is heading the search committee to find a new chair.

"Ward Winer has been an advocate, teacher, colleague, friend and a leader for the Woodruff school," said College of Engineering Dean Don Giddens. "We owe him a great debt for his effective leadership and stewardship of mechanical engineering. The Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering has flourished under Ward's watchful eye to being in the top ten programs in the country."

Under Winer's leadership, Tech's mechanical engineering program has grown exponentially to become the largest in the country (in addition to being the largest undergraduate program at Tech), and is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The school's rank has moved from between No. 26 and No. 50 in the early 1980s to No. 6 and No. 7 this year for its mechanical engineering undergraduate and graduate programs, respectively. The Woodruff School endowment has increased from $3 million in 1988 to $100 million this year, including the $65 million George W. Woodruff endowment.

When Winer joined mechanical engineering (ME) in 1969, the school had 25 faculty members. Now, it has more than 100, including research faculty and academic professionals. When he became chair (then called director) in 1988, the school had two endowed chairs and three professorships; now the school boasts 10 endowed chairs and 5 professorships.

"I am very pleased to have played a role in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech," said Winer. "I consider my greatest achievement as chair to have been my ability to hire and retain excellent faculty and staff. It is these people who attract outstanding students, which results in outstanding alumni, which, in turn, makes the reputation of the school."

As chair, Winer also helped oversee the establishment of cornerstone mechanical engineering programs at two new campuses, Georgia Tech Savannah and Georgia Tech Lorraine in Metz, France.

"During his time as chair, the school and its programs have soared, so that as he now hands off the leadership, it is clearly recognized as one of the finest in its field," said Ronald Rousseau, chair of the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. "I have often watched with admiration as he brought grace to countless events, always knowing just the right thing to say in introducing a guest, asking a difficult question or presenting a point of view."

Winer came to Georgia Tech from the University of Michigan in 1969 as an associate professor of mechanical engineering and was named director of the mechanical engineering school in 1988.

Winer is an honorary member and a Life Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the Tribology Gold Medal from the British Tribology Trust in 1986. Winer was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988 and has served on the mechanical engineering advisory boards for Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan.