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Updated 10:00 AM September 21, 2007




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Aerospace Engineering fellowship established
in memory of graduate

The late Richard Haken helped develop the space shuttle's robotic arm. Now, a fellowship established in his honor will assist the next generation of aerospace engineers as they pursue their own dreams.

Esther Haken, Richard's mother, bequeathed a trust to the College of Engineering (CoE) to create the Richard L. Haken Fellowship in aerospace engineering. Beginning in 2008, one aerospace engineering graduate student each year will be chosen to receive the award.

"This is a mother's tribute to her son and his accomplishments," says Roger Burgess, a close family friend who is the trustee for Esther Haken's estate. "Esther was intensely proud of her son and what he accomplished scholastically, as a student of the U-M, and as a significant contributor to the U.S. space program. She established this fellowship in his name to establish a long term tribute to his life and contributions."

Richard Haken, an only child, was born in 1936 in Grand Rapids. He graduated from Creston High School, also in Grand Rapids, and attended U-M for his entire higher education. He received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1958. He finished his master's degree in materials science and engineering in 1961, and his doctorate in electrical engineering in 1966. For most of his career, he was employed in the space industry with TRW Incorporated in Houston. He worked on the space shuttle and the Mercury missions. He died in 1997. Esther died in 2006.

"We appreciate the gift from Mrs. Haken. Aerospace engineering graduate students will greatly benefit from this generous support for advanced learning," says Wei Shyy, chair of the Aerospace Engineering department. "It is my hope that it encourages students to investigate issues related to the interplay between traditionally separated disciplines in a modern multidisciplinary framework."

CoE is ranked among the top engineering schools in the country. It boasts one of the largest engineering research budgets of any public university, at more than $130 million.

CoE has 11 departments and an NSF Engineering Research Center. Within those departments and the center, there is a special emphasis on research in three emerging areas: nanotechnology and integrated microsystems; cellular and molecular biotechnology; and information technology.

CoE seeks to raise $110 million for capital building projects and program support in these areas to further research discovery. Its goal is to advance academic scholarship and market cutting-edge research to improve public health and well-being, department officials say.

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