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Dr. Hawks retires
Devoted 31 years to university
Dr. Roger Hawks came to Tri-State University 31 years ago with one goal—to teach.
After completing a doctorate in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland, Trine’s retiring Allen School of Engineering & Technology dean could have taken other jobs, and he did—as an aerospace technologist and engineer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, an aeronautical engineer for the Fairchild-Hiller Corp., and an automobile racing consultant. But none of those positions could satisfy his passion for classroom teaching.
Dr. Roger Hawks, left, chats with Trine Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Finley at Hawks' retirement reception May 7. Hawks retired from his position as Dean of the Allen School of Engineering & Technology after 31 years with the university.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” he said Thursday, May 7, surrounded by friends and coworkers at his retirement reception in Trine’s Centennial Station. “The students are what I’m about. Teaching classes is why I came here in the first place.”
He loved his job, and the university returned his affection. “If you can think of it, I’ve done it,” he said of his TSU/Trine career. In the course of his teaching career, he held many positions, including Wade Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering chair and Allen School of Engineering & Technology dean more than once.
During his service as department chair and dean, Dr. Hawks led the Wade Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and the Allen School of Engineering & Technology through a number of successful Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology visits. Moreover, he envisioned graduate-level education in engineering at Trine University, and then worked in earnest to make it a reality. He wrote the change request to the Higher Learning Commission for this purpose, securing approval for Trine’s Master of Engineering degree program during the 2006 comprehensive evaluation visit.
Dr. Hawks has received numerous awards from the university, including the Pi Tau Sigma Outstanding Teacher Award, McKetta-Smith Outstanding Teacher, Moore Award for Teaching, and the Barrenbrugge Award for Faculty Excellence.
While he enjoyed large group leadership, the interaction with small student groups brought more happiness. “I’ve recently had two small classes that were the most fun in years. When they’re learning faster than you’re teaching, it’s fun,” he said.
He’ll spend his retirement involved with his other love—baseball research. “I have 15 years of it I can get to now,” he said. A member of the Baseball Science Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research, he has taught several honors seminars on various baseball topics at Trine. He will concentrate on preserving Tri-State and Trine baseball history.
He plans visits to grandchildren in California, but will continue to live and enjoy his daily walks right here in Angola, close to his Trine colleagues, students, and baseball records.