Alumni & Friends
Our alumni share a strong bond of friendship rooted in their memorable experiences as undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UMaine. Many have enjoyed successful careers in industry, government, and academia. We are proud of their accomplishments and grateful for their support of the department.
Our alumni and friends continue to be very generous to the department by supporting our academic programs through lasting gifts. Our students today are benefiting from the contributions made and scholarships established by our alumni and friends.
On behalf of the mechanical engineering students, faculty, and staff, we thank you for your support.
Dick Hill – A legend leaves a legacy
Richard C. “Dick” Hill was professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and director emeritus of the Department of Industrial Cooperation at the University of Maine, where he taught for 46 years. He passed away in July 2016. Hill epitomized the life of a professor who wove himself into the fabric of a university community, so much so that he chose to leave a legacy to benefit UMaine.
“Dick was the quintessential public research university professor — an exceptional educator, extraordinary innovator and visionary and ultimate citizen of the world, determined to make society better for all,” UMaine President Susan Hunter said. “He was one of the pillars of the UMaine College of Engineering, helping make it the outstanding program it is today.
“Dick was a larger-than-life legend who influenced generations of UMaine students and made a difference in the lives of Maine citizens. His legacy will live on in the countless lives he touched and the good work he did. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues.”
Hill was interviewed by the BDN in May for a feature article about his accomplishments and legacy. WABI (Channel 5) also reported on Hill’s passing and The Ellsworth American published an editorial in his memory.
At the University of Maine’s Crosby Laboratory every year, seniors pursuing degrees in Mechanical Engineering are required to participate in a Capstone Design project. The Capstone Design project exemplifies UMaine Engineering’s commitment to ensure that undergraduate education includes extensive “hands-on” experience. Seniors are required to participate and use the engineering principles learned in the first three years of the curriculum. The Capstone Design project not only focuses on designing and building projects, but also on testing, critiquing and comparing the results of the efforts with other students from the top engineering programs in North America.
Tom Hosmer, a mechanical engineer from the Class of 1958, has been intimately aware of the needs of the Capstone Design project for many years. Every fall he drove to the campus from his home in Concord, Massachusetts to speak with first-year students as well as the members of the senior design class. He imparted the perspective of someone who was, until very recently, an active mechanical engineer, and the students, in turn, share with Tom their plans, goals and questions, as they relate to careers in mechanical engineering. In addition to his trip to campus to visit with students, Tom also regularly came to campus to attend meetings as a member of the University of Maine Mechanical Engineering Department’s External Advisory Committee.
Having worked as a consulting engineer for Arthur D. Little, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1965 to 2000, and as a senior Mechanical Engineer for Nuvera Fuel Cells, Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts until 2004, Tom knew how important it was for engineering students to gain hands-on experience using modern equipment to construct real projects. According to Tom, “It’s essential that a mechanical design engineer have a working knowledge of manufacturing processes and equipment. If it cannot reasonably be made, the most ingenious design in the world is useless.”
Tom’s extensive work experience, combined with his strong awareness of the needs of the fourth year Mechanical Engineering students at the University of Maine, led him to establish the Thomas P. Hosmer ’58 Design Engineering Center Fund in the fall of 2004. This endowed fund will provide annual financial support to the Department of Mechanical Engineering so that it can:
- purchase equipment and/or supplies that will enhance the Capstone Design experience;
- support specific projects in the Capstone Design projects; and/or
- provide for periodic upgrades and maintenance of the Design Engineering Center.
The connection that Tom made and continues to, now through the fund, are invaluable to those students. We thank you Tom for all that you have done to help and support our students.
Frank E. Pickering
1992 Recipient of the College of Engineering Edward T. Bryand Distinguished Engineering Award
A native of Deer Isle, Maine, Frank E. Pickering received the Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine in 1953. He immediately accepted a position with the General Electric Company and while working full time he earned and received a Master of Science degree from Northeastern University in 1958. During a long and distinguished career, Frank made significant contributions to the United States’ pre-eminence in aircraft gas turbine technology. He led the design and development of the compressor for the T58 engine – the first high-performance axial flow unit for a turbine-powered helicopter. He also directed the complete design and development of three other advanced technology aircraft engines, the T64 which is an extraordinary turboshaft/turboprop engine that is still in serial production thirty years after its original development; the TF34 in which the application of high bypass technology was first applied to small engines; and, the F404 which powers the F-18, the Navy’s most advanced carrier attack aircraft.
Frank also initiated and led advances in engineering technology, materials engineering and manufacturing and quality technology which have greatly advanced the global competitiveness of the U. S. gas turbine industry. These advances included new computerized engineering workstations which increased the productivity of engines via tie-ins to mainframe computing power; the design and implementation of major computer integrated manufacturing cells; and the successful application of new materials technology.