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University of Iowa News Release


June 9, 2007

UI engineering inducts two into Distinguished Alumni Academy, three into Legacy

The University of Iowa College of Engineering recently inducted two new members into its Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy and three new members into its Legacy of Iowa Engineering during the college's spring alumni reunion dinner on Saturday, June 7.

William D. Ashton, who received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering in 1962 and 1963, and Hong-Yuan Lee, who earned a Master of Science degree and doctorate in civil and environmental engineering in 1982 and 1984, were inducted into the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy for contributions toward engineering achievement, leadership, and service to the profession and society.

Ashton, a native of Davenport, is president of Ashton Engineering. After graduating from the UI, he served as chief of the Structural Design Section, Rock Island Corps of Engineers, and in 1970 earned the title of Quad City Engineer of the Year for his work on the 2,600-foot Milwaukee Railroad Bridge over Saylorville Reservoir. He has traveled throughout the United States as well as abroad to India, Ghana and other countries on many water-related projects. He received the U.S. Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1974 and the Army Certificate of Appreciation in 1978. His extensive community service includes the Rotary Club of Davenport, where he served as board member and president and led service trips to India for National Immunization Day against polio and to Guatemala to design rainwater capture systems.

Lee, deputy magistrate of Taipei County, Taiwan, manages one of the world's mega-cities, with a population of more than 2.6 million. He is also professor of faculty of hydraulic engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at National Taiwan University and visiting professor of UNESCO-IHE at Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute and Hohai University. He served as chief of Water Resources, Taiwan Province, from 1997 to 1999. Lee has focused on sustainable development for the past 22 years, studying and managing water, environment and urban infrastructure issues for government agencies while sharing his expertise by writing numerous policy articles for the domestic and international news media.

The late Thomas Farrell, who taught engineering communications for some 35 years, the late Frederic Goodson Higbee, who taught engineering drawing for 47 years, and Wayne L. Paulson, emeritus professor who taught civil and environmental engineering for nearly 40 years, were inducted into the Legacy of Iowa Engineering, which recognizes faculty, staff, alumni and friends who made exceptional historical contributions toward advancing the college in teaching, research or service.

Farrell served as instructor and associate professor of core literature and technical writing during 1939-42, 1946-49 and 1949-65, and as professor of engineering communications from 1968 to 1980. He earned the respect and admiration of students and colleagues for his devotion to the teaching of writing. His dedication to teaching complemented his related work, including public relations with alumni and industry, student placement, and advising Hawkeye Engineer and other student publications. His legacy became the foundation for the college's Hanson Center for Technical Communication, where student engineers learn to inform and persuade with the same commitment to excellence that they show in acquiring technical knowledge.

Higbee served as professor and head of engineering drawing from 1905 until 1952, during which time he served three generations of UI graduates. He is known for his contribution to the philosophy and technique of teaching engineering students -- by using engineering drawing as a basis for developing young minds. As a consequence, he was the first person to be honored with the Engineering Drawing Award by the American Society for Engineering Education. Known on campus as one of President Walter A. Jessup's "Four Horsemen," Higbee's critical advice and counsel helped the UI regain its position among Big Ten institutions early in the 20th century.

Paulson served as instructor of civil engineering from 1960 to 1965 and as professor of civil and environmental engineering from 1965 through 1999. He is an educational pioneer who expanded civil engineering into the modern-day environmental engineering track that ranks among the best graduate programs of its kind in the United States. An inventive educator, he served as a matchmaker between college alumni working in the profession and aspiring engineers. He helped develop the undergraduate option in environmental engineering and used a wide network of graduates and colleagues to engage students in field trips throughout the Midwest. Through his teaching of continuing education courses and coordinating professional conferences, he showed that learning can continue long after one receives a college degree.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,