Adrian receives 2017 Honorary Degree from Illinois
MechSE Professor Emeritus Ron Adrian was the 2017 Honorary Degree recipient for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The degree was awarded at the campus commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13.
“I was just thrilled,” Adrian said. “I can’t think of anything that’s made me feel better than this award, because of my affection for Illinois. It just means very much to me.”
One of the world’s top authorities on fluid mechanics, Adrian received B.M.E. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He earned his PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge.
He joined the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (TAM) at Illinois in 1972. He was struck by the quality of the Illinois students, who he described as “excellent and serious,” as well as by the “mix of applications and foundations at Illinois.”
But he noted the world-class faculty may have influenced him the most.
“The faculty had superb scholars who were real giants in their fields,” Adrian said. “They were real fine gentlemen who taught me a lot about behavior. They were great mentors just by being who they were, and I just copied them.”
After retiring from Illinois in 2002, Adrian became the Regents’ Professor and Ira A. Fulton Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Arizona State University, where his career continues to this day.
After decades of ground-breaking research, renowned professorships, and countless awards and honors, his latest honor came back on the Urbana-Champaign campus 45 years after he first arrived here.
“The idea of coming here and graduating is a really fun idea,” Adrian said. “Being recognized by colleagues who supported me and having their respect is where the real honor comes and is at the heart of everything.”