Published on Friday May 2, 2003
Blue & Gold Days brought many alums back to Drexel to reminisce, but it was Materials Professor Alan Lawley’s retirement dinner that had not only alums, but also professors emeriti, people from industry, and other prominent members of the materials science and engineering world flocking to campus to bid the Grosvenor Professor of Metallurgy farewell. Seventeen members of Lawley’s immediate family were on-hand to hear the many kind words that were said about the professor’s 36 years of academic service and accomplishment at Drexel. His eldest granddaughter also contributed her own words of congratulation and admiration for her grandfather, stating her desire to follow in his footsteps.
Following her introduction, Surya Kalidindi, department head and professor, thanked Lawley for his contributions to the department and to the university, particularly noting his involvement in the first $1M grant to Drexel, as well as his role in developing the tDEC curriculum. Kalidindi also noted that the department would not be the same without Lawley’s sense of humor and his constant correcting of everyone’s English, be it spoken or written, and whether they be non-native or native speakers of the language. This sentiment was reiterated several times by alumni, professors, and members of industry alike, who thanked Lawley for his untiring assistance and hard-work.
Particularly fascinating was the presence of Professor George Dieter, the second department head and the person responsible for hiring Lawley. He told the story of recruiting him from the Franklin Institute and encouraging him to pursue a career in powder metallurgy. Last to speak was Judy Trachtman, assistant to the department head, who was hired by Lawley over 30 years ago. She read some e-mails sent by alumni who could not attend the event and spoke about her own appreciation for Lawley and the fond memories that have been forged over the years. She presented him with a cricket bat, he being an ardent fan of the sport, signed by all present. The event concluded with Lawley thanking everyone for coming and he even entertained the crowd with a song.