Orwin Named to Kindelberger Professorship

In recognition of her outstanding leadership and engineering expertise, Elizabeth Orwin ’95 has been named James Howard Kindelberger Professor of Engineering at Harvey Mudd College.

The Kindelberger endowment is devoted in perpetuity to the support of top-ranking engineering faculty to ensure that Harvey Mudd students are educated and prepared for future technological leadership. The first holder of this professorship was Emeritus Professor Jack L. Alford, one of the originators of Harvey Mudd’s Clinic Program.

Orwin chairs the Department of Engineering and also directs the Engman Fellowship Program in Bioengineering, which trains students in biomedical engineering research and device design. Her lab’s main research focus is in the area of tissue engineering, specifically applied to the study and development of an artificial corneal construct. She specializes in biomedical engineering and has worked in industry on the research and development of a novel protein matrix for wound-healing applications. Orwin teaches Introduction to Engineering Design (E4) and Introduction to Engineering Systems (E59), as well as several tech electives, and has developed courses and programming in biomedical engineering.

“Liz has increasingly taken on leadership roles in the department and at the College, and thus she continues the important work that this professorship has always supported,” says Jeffrey Groves, vice president and R. Michael Shanahan Dean of the Faculty. “Her strong teaching and impressive record of research with students also speak to the professorship’s mission.”

The professorship has been held by John Molinder (2003–2015), who retired June 30, 2015, after 45 years of service to the College, and Emeritus Professor Rich Phillips (1991–2003) as well as Alford (1965–1991).

Orwin considers it a vote of confidence to have received the department chair and professorship, calling it “very much an honor.” As an engineering undergraduate, Orwin took rigorous and rewarding classes with Molinder, whom she describes as a “masterful lecturer,” and admired the leadership and professionalism Phillips brought to the role of Clinic director. “These are very big shoes to fill, and I feel privileged to carry on the tradition of excellence tied to this esteemed professorship,” she says.

The James Howard Kindelberger Professorship in Engineering was established in 1965 by North American Aviation (later known as North American Rockwell) in honor of James Howard Kindelberger, then chair and CEO of the company. Prominent aerospace engineer and former Harvey Mudd donor and trustee J. Lee Atwood served as chief engineer under Kindelberger at North American Aviation before succeeding him as president and CEO.

Endowed faculty chairs are among the highest recognition accorded to a faculty member. An endowed chair honors and recognizes the distinction of outstanding faculty while providing invaluable support for salary, research, teaching or service activities.