College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering

About the commencement speakers

C.D. Mote Commencement 2015 photo-225x300


President, National Academy of Engineering

C. D. Mote, Jr. is president of the National Academy of Engineering and Regents’ Professor on leave from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Mote is a native Californian who earned his BS, MS, and PhD degrees at the University of California, Berkeley in mechanical engineering between 1959 and 1963. After a postdoctoral year in England and three years as an assistant professor at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, he returned to Berkeley to join the faculty in mechanical engineering for the next 31 years. He and his students investigated the dynamics, stability, and control of high-speed rotating and translating continua (e.g., disks, webs, tapes, and cables) as well as biomechanical problems associated with snow skiing. He coined the area called “dynamics of axially moving materials” encompassing these systems. Fifty-eight Ph.D. students earned their degrees under his mentorship.

He held an endowed chair in mechanical systems at Berkeley and chaired the Mechanical Engineering Department from 1987 to 1991, when the National Research Council (NRC) ranked its graduate program effectiveness highest nationally. Because of his success at raising funds for mechanical engineering, in 1991 he was appointed vice chancellor expressly to create and lead a $1 billion capital campaign, which raised $1.4 billion.

In 1998 Mote was recruited to the presidency of the University of Maryland, College Park, a position he held until 2010 when he was appointed Regents’ Professor. His goal for the university was to elevate its self-expectation of achievement and its national and global position through proactive initiatives. During his tenure the number of Academy members on the faculty tripled, three Nobel laureates were recognized, and an accredited school of public health and a new department of bioengineering were created. He also founded a 130-acre research park next to the campus, faculty research funds increased by 150 percent, and partnerships with surrounding federal agencies and with international organizations expanded greatly. The number of students studying abroad tripled, and he created an annual open house day that attracts over 100,000 visitors, founded a charitable foundation for the campus whose board of trustees launched a successful $1 billion capital campaign, and took to lunch every student that wanted to go. The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked the campus #36 in 2010 and its Engineering School #13.

The NAE elected him to membership in 1988 and to the positions of Councilor (2002–2008), Treasurer (2009–2013), and President for a six–year term beginning July 1, 2013. He has served on the NRC Governing Board Executive Committee since 2009. He chaired the NRC Committee on Global Science and Technology Strategies and Their Effects on US National Security (2009–2010), and cochaired the National Academies Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (2007–2013) and Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Workforce Needs for the US Department of Defense and the US Industrial Base (2011–2012). He was vice chair of the NRC Committee on the Department of Defense Basic Research (2004) and served on the NRC committee that authored the Rising Above the Gathering Storm reports of 2005 and 2010. He was also a founding member of the FBI’s National Security Higher Education Advisory Board (2005–2010).

Mote’s recognitions include the NAE Founders Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Medal, and the Humboldt Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany. At the University of California, Berkeley, he was honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award, Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award, Berkeley Citation, and Excellence in Achievement Award. He is an honorary fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Academy of Mechanics, Acoustical Society of America, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He holds three honorary doctorates and two honorary professorships.



Katie Heinemann Commencement 2015 photo-225x300Katie Heinemann is graduating with a Bachelor in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics with the aspirations to go on to medical school. Last summer Heinemann was employed at NASA Glenn Research Center working on modeling astronaut central nervous system cerebral fluid response to microgravity and its effect on astronaut vision in the Space Academy program.

During her time as a student, Heinemann worked as a Community Advisor in the residence halls, studied abroad in Israel, Jordan, and Italy, volunteered on the University of Minnesota Emergency Medical Services team, worked as a learning abroad center Assistant Program Leader, facilitated the Diversity and Social Justice Leadership Retreat, lobbied on the Can’t Convert Love – A mission to end conversion therapy for minors in Minnesota – campaign, and competed nationally on the club handball team.

She is the recipient of the University of Minnesota President’s leadership Award, the University of Minnesota Alumni Association Leadership award, and was a part of the Tom Burnett Leadership Program. Earlier this year she presented her NASA research at the 2015 Human Research Program Investigators’ workshop.

Heinemann is passionate about social justice issues, healthcare, and space travel and aims to become a NASA flight surgeon or to work as a doctor for underserved populations in a metro area. Next year Heinemann will be working for GE power and water process technologies as a water engineering program field-commissioning engineer.

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