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MMAE Alumni Contributions Honored at 2019 Alumni Awards

Illinois Institute of Technology recently held its 2019 Alumni Awards ceremony and recognized two outstanding alumni from Armour College’s Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering for their contributions to the university and community.

William S. Saric (ME ’63, Ph.D. ’68) received the university’s Professional Achievement Award, which recognizes alumni whose achievements in their fields have brought distinction to themselves as well as credit to Illinois Institute of Technology. Saric says, “The character of Illinois Tech provided me with the foundation for my entire technical career.”

Saric is an internationally renowned researcher and professor who has led and influenced significant research on fluid instabilities and transition to turbulence for more than four decades. He has reestablished two major wind tunnels and a flight research laboratory at Texas A&M University and was the director of the AFOSR/NASA National Center for Hypersonic Laminar-Turbulent Transition Research. 

The nomination letter highlights Saric’s numerous achievements: “His educational contributions go far beyond the exceptional students he has trained to shape the development of government strategy in his research area. Our country has benefited substantially from his efforts.” 

Matthew Pearson (ME ’04, M.S. MAE ’06, Ph.D. ’11) received the John J. Schommer Honor Award for excellence in both leadership and performance as a student-athlete at Illinois Tech and for achieving significant success after graduation.  

After graduating from Illinois Tech, Pearson began working for United Technologies Research Center, the corporate research center for all of United Technologies’ businesses in the Thermo-Fluid Dynamics Group. He has worked on a wide range of heat transfer projects including advanced heat exchangers, thermoelectric energy generation, electronics cooling, and combustor cooling. 

As Pearson’s role leading and managing products continues to grow, he has been promoted twice, most recently to principal research engineer at United Technologies Research Center. Pearson is currently working closely with the Collins Aerospace business unit on a number of cutting-edge technologies for commercial aviation.

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