ISE Banquet 2010

The 2010 ISE Banquet, held on Thursday, April 29 honored the department’s students, faculty and awarding the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Students that were honored at the banquet were:

  • Alpha Pi Mu Award - Michael Colucci ’12
  • IE Sophomore of the Year - Michael Arak ’12
  • ISE Sophomore of the Year - David Gritz ’12
  • IE Junior of the Year - Ramiro Alfaro ’11
  • ISE Junior of the Year - Rob Rappa ’11
  • IE Senior of the Year - Ben Thomas ’10
  • ISE Senior of the Year - Ana Alexandrescu ’10
  • Master's Student of the Year - Kelly Rapolas ’09, ’10G
  • Ph.D. Student of the Year - Julio Goez


  • The following student groups were recognized for their accomplishments and work throughout the course of the year:

  • ISE Council
  • Alpha Pi Mu
  • IIE
  • INFORMS
  • Rossin Jr. Fellows
  • Rossin Doctoral Fellows


  • Greg Capece ’10, Mike Pankey ’10 and Ben Thomas ’10 will be representing the department and Lehigh in June at the IIE Student Simulation Competition sponsored by Rockwell Automation. The students are advised by Dr. Bob Storer.

    ISE Faculty of the Year Award went to Dr. Mikell Groover. Mike entered Lehigh as a student and received the first Ph.D. from the department back in 1969. This will be Dr. Groover’s last semester teaching here at Lehigh and will be retiring at the end of 2010 after 44 years as a faculty member.

    “For those of you who voted for me, thank you,” said Groover. “For those of you who voted for another faculty member, you voted for an amazing professor.”

    Iacocca Receives Award

    The Distinguished Alumni Award for Industry went to legendary auto executive Lee Iacocca ’45, while the Distinguished Alumni Award for Academia went to former Virginia Tech President Paul E. Torgersen ’53.

    Lee Iacocca ’45, the visionary auto executive widely considered one of the most influential business and philanthropic leaders of the past century, and Paul E. Torgersen ’53, whose esteemed academic career includes serving as the 14th president of Virginia Tech were chosen to receive this award by a committee from the department.


    Iacocca, whose years at the helm of Ford Motor Company and then Chrysler Corporation were marked by innovation and success, received the ISE Distinguished Alumni Award in Industry. Although he was unable to attend the awards banquet held in Iacocca Hall, Iacocca did appear on a pre-recorded video accepting his award from Tamás Terlaky, the George N. and Soteria Kledaras ’87 Endowed Professor and Chair of ISE.

    “You know, there’s something about South Mountain that attracts the best from around the world,” Iacocca told Terlaky in the video. “Lehigh University has always held a special place in my heart.”


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    Watch the special video of Lee Iacocca '45 accepting the ISE Distinguished Alumni Award in Industry from Tamás Terlaky.


    Iacocca, who as a member of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees chaired the fundraising campaign to purchase the Mountaintop Campus from Bethlehem Steel and jointly started the Iacocca Institute in 1988, said he accepted the award “in honor of current and future Lehigh students who have continued to lead and shape the world.”

    At the awards ceremony, Iacocca’s sister, Delma Kelechava, was presented with the plaque by Terlaky following the video screening.

    Torgersen, who attended Lehigh on a tennis scholarship and went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University, received the ISE Distinguished Alumni Award in Academia.

    He started his career at Virginia Tech in 1967 as head of the Industrial Systems Department and became Dean of Engineering three years later. In 1990, he was named president of Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center and, in 1993, began a seven-year term as the 14th president of Virginia Tech. Torgersen, who retired in January 2000, has served as chairman of the ASEE Engineering Dean’s Council, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and has authored or co-authored five books.

    Torgersen receives award

    “During his term as president, he continued to teach at least one class per semester,” Lehigh Provost Pat Farrell said in introducing Torgersen. “And I understand from talking to Paul just now that he is still teaching at least one class per semester and he has to get on a flight back because he has a class tomorrow morning.”

    Torgersen, in accepting the award, recounted the humorous tale of how he started out studying electrical engineering at Lehigh, “which didn’t fit.” So he switched to industrial and systems engineering and, with each step as he graduated, earned his master’s and doctorate degrees, and started teaching at the university level, “My father was pleased, but it’s too bad it wasn’t electrical engineering.”

    Finally, Torgersen said, he called his father to tell him he had been named Dean of Engineering. When his father asked what the dean did, Torgersen replied: “Dad, the electrical engineering department reports to the dean.”


    Photographs from the evening can be found on the Lehigh ISE photobucket web page.

    Contributing writer: Jack Croft

    Photography by Theo Anderson


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