More than 120 TIAA members and guests attended the 15th Annual Meeting of the TI Alumni Association. It was held May 22 in the new auditorium of the Edith O’Donnell Arts & Technology Building on the UT Dallas campus (shown above) in an atmosphere more like a festival than a business meeting. TIAA President, George Consolver, presided at the meeting, which featured four speakers, robotic demonstrations, tours of some of the labs in the building, as well as the election of officers for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
George began the meeting with a brief history of the growth of UT Dallas, from a grassy field to a major university today, with more than 21,000 students. The first building on the campus was the Founder’s Building, named after TI Founders: Cecil Green, Erik Jonsson, and Eugene McDermott, who did much to set in motion their vision of a great research university in the Southwest. In October of this year, UT Dallas will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Founder’s Building.
George recognized those in the audience who have contributed to the growth of UT Dallas by serving as faculty; many of whom also worked at TI. He also recognized graduates of the school and the retiree organization of UT Dallas, who were invited to attend the meeting.
One of the newest buildings on the campus is the home of the Arts & Technology program. Its founder and Director, Dr. Tom Linehan, told the audience, “The last 10 to 12 years, since coming to UT Dallas, have been the most exciting experiences in my career. The department now serves 1,250 UT Dallas students, studying digital content design and development. In the future, if you are going to do digital content design, you will have to come through Dallas.” The Arts & Technology program merges the innovation processes of artists, scientists and engineers, to equip students for success in today’s world of digital technology and e-culture.
Dr. Robert Rennaker, head of the Department of Bioengineering and executive director of the Texas Biomedical Device Center, gave an update on the progress of biomedical research. He commented, “There are now some 600 students in the bioengineering, biomedical area. We are training our students to be engineers first, then biologists second. Having TI on board has been critical to our success.” Dr. Rennaker reviewed a number of research programs underway, including four clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe. The school recently won a $2.4 million grant for stroke research. Although the Biomed Engineering Department is only two years old, its growth to 600 students has been amazing and a number of them are involved in funded research grants.
Following the presentation of Dr. Rennaker, George introduced Dr. Aaron Conley, VP of Development & Alumni Relations, who made a special announcement. Starting last year, the leadership of the TIAA began working on a program that would support the effort of the new Biomedical Devices Center to attract outstanding faculty and research associates. TIAA decided to set a goal of $250,000 to endow a fund, which would establish a TIAA Distinguished Professorship. Before we asked our members to contribute, we asked our TIAA leadership to gift or pledge to the fund. Dr. Conley announced that to date, “more than $200,000 has been gifted or pledged, including matches from the TI Foundation. He thanked the TI retirees and former TIers for their contribution to the further growth and development of Biomedical Devices at UT Dallas. He encouraged the audience to “talk to your friends and neighbors about what is happening at UT Dallas.”
Then TIAA members unanimously elected the following to serve as officers, beginning July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015: President, Larry James; Executive VP, Tom Boedecker; Treasurer, Barbara Papas; and Secretary, Cathy Beasley. In presenting the report of the Nominating Committee, Max Post, chair, commented that one of the goals of the committee was to involve more of the recent retirees in the leadership of TIAA. We were fortunate to retain the experience of Larry and Tom, who have served multiple roles in the TIAA in past years. Barbara retired from TI this year, and Cathy at year end 2012.
At the meeting, George Consolver thanked the members of the committee for their work, which included Lewis McMahan and Tom Boedecker. He also thanked the current officers for their dedicated service to the TIAA. More details about our new officers will be provided in future TIAA publications.
Following the election of TIAA officers, and an overview of upcoming activities, the audience was treated to a presentation of the latest robot technology by the Electrical Engineering Department, with Dr. Nicholas Gans showing videos of research projects. His research interests are in controls in robotics, with a focus on vision-based estimation and control for robots and autonomous vehicles.
The meeting concluded with tours to some of the labs in the Arts & Technology Building, including the Motion-Capture Laboratory.
Nancy Adams, wife of TI retiree, Jim Adams, remembered when she worked for UT Dallas in the 1980s, after they returned to Dallas from an assignment in Japan. She commented, “At that time, the school was only for grad students. The TI Founders would be so proud of what UTD has become.”
Several UT Dallas graduates who had also worked at TI were in the audience, as well as a number who had taught at the school. Dr. James Hellums, was a TI Fellow who worked 26 years for TI as an IC design engineer and in R&D at the Central Research Labs. At night, he taught IC design as a professor. He commented, “Ever since I retired I've been a life member of TIAA and participate in some of the programs, go on some of the trips, and I've enjoyed every one of them.” He further stated, “This event was very informative, I thought. This is the first time I've been in this new building and I'm very happy to see what they are doing here and learn about the research that's going on.”
Click here to access the photo album and then click on the first menu option to view a slideshow in full-screen mode. This was prepared by Ronnie Brandenburg, from photos taken at the Annual Meeting by Jerry Brandenburg and Linda Stopani and includes many slides from our speakers.