Change is happening in the Oakland University School of Engineering. The long-anticipated new building opens early August, a new Associate Dean has been appointed, and now, a new Chair will be brought into the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Dr. Brian Sangeorzan has been appointed Interim Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, as Dr. Zissimos Mourelatos steps down to dedicate more time to research and teaching.
“Research in my opinion is extremely important, because among others, you advance the state of the art,” Dr. Mourelatos said. “It allows us to continuously enhance the content of the taught material for the benefit of our students and also provides a healthy and exciting competitive environment with faculty members from Universities around the world to come up with the next “new” development in your area of expertise. In addition, it provides a forum to interact with practicing and research engineers, work with students in carrying out projects, and provide visibility to Oakland University.”
Dr. Mourelatos earned his Ph. D. from the University in Michigan in 1985, and after 18 years at the General Motors R&D Center, he came to OU in 2003 where he served as the Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department since 2010. He has decided not to seek reappointment but rather, “stay on as a professor, doing exactly what professors do — putting all my efforts into teaching, research,and service.”
He noted that serving as the ME Department Chair was a great experience, which gave him a lot of perspective on how things work within the university.
As the new Chair, Dr. Sangeorzan comes with considerable experience, having been an OU faculty member since 1984.
“I’ve seen OU grow from a fairly small university, in an almost-rural area, into the current 20,000 student campus and vibrant surrounding community that we have today — quite a remarkable growth in a short period, especially the growth in professional schools and the new medical school,” Sangeorzan said.
Before coming to OU, Dr. Sangeorzan earned his BSME at the University of Detroit, while working as a co-op student at Ford Motor Company (Engine Division), and stayed at U of D as a teaching assistant. For graduate studies, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focusing on engine research. He has also worked at the US Army TACOM, General Motors Research Labs, FEV Engine Technology, Chrysler and conducted research for other organizations, including the EPA. During his time at OU, Dr. Sangeorzan recalls many enjoyable experiences.
“I have a lot of favorite moments — watching the ‘lights go on’ in a student who’s been struggling with something, sharing the sense of accomplishment in one of my graduate students when they’ve completed their thesis or dissertation, meeting with former students who are now accomplished in their careers, and watching our SAE Formula team grow into a world-class contender,” he said.
Dr. Sangeorzan said that serving as Chair for various committees within SAE, including serving as Chair of the 10,000 member SAE Detroit Section in 2012, was an important part of his experience.While he has big shoes to fill after the excellent work of previous chairs Dr. Mourelatos and Dr. Barber, Dr. Sangeorzan knows he has their support to further make a difference at OU as he takes on this position.
“It will be an exciting time for the school as we move into the new Engineering Center,” Dr. Sangeorzan said. “Our students will benefit from state-of-the-art laboratories and new equipment and machine shop facilities. I think the new space will also invigorate the faculty, and bring recognition from the professional community. For me personally, every new role brings new challenges and opportunities.”