Golden Medallion Society Reunion

Graphic of 2019 Golden Medallion Society Reunion

2019 Golden Medallion Society Reunion

Thursday, May 9, 2019 (all day)
U of M East Bank Campus (various locations)

The Golden Medallion Society honors alumni who have reached the 50th anniversary of their graduation. Each May, as new members are inducted into the society, existing members are invited back to join the celebration.

Catch up with classmates, reconnect with faculty, and take a look ahead at new initiatives, innovative research, and the students of today as they become the leaders of tomorrow. 

The cost per person for the day is $30 (including meals, refreshments, and all activities). Pre-registration is required.



If you have questions about the event, please contact Joelle Larson at or 612-626-1802.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you have registration questions, wish to bring more than one guest, or have guests who will not attend all of the same events/sessions as you, please call U of M Tickets & Events at 612-624-2345 to register by phone.

Schedule and Event Details

Thursday, May 9, 2019

All Thursday activities will take place at TCF Bank Stadium unless otherwise noted.

9:30 a.m.—Golden Medallion Society Check-in/Refreshments

10:15 a.m.—Welcome and Keynote 

“50 years of Computing at Minnesota” 
Mats Heimdahl, Head and Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Stephen Guy, Associate Professor, Applied Motion Lab Director, Department of Computer Science and Engineering

11 a.m.—Department-Hosted Research Showcase Sessions (Choose one of the following presentations)

  • Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS)
    “Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the Frontier of Genome Technologies” 
    Kevin Dorfman, Professor
    Next-generation DNA sequencing and other genomic methods are leading to a new era of personalized medicine. Dorfman will explore how core concepts in CEMS, including fluid mechanics and polymer physics, play a role in these new technologies. A particular focus is new methods for reading very long DNA sequences, which promise to resolve longstanding problems in cancer biology and aging
  • Department of Chemistry
    “In Search of the Fountain of Youth: An Analytical Chemistry Journey”
    Edgar Arriaga, Professor
    Professor Arriaga will speak on novel analytical chemistry strategies to monitor molecular changes in single cells. The Arriaga research team and collaborators have been using these strategies to help break the code that defines why we age and what we can do about it. Who wouldn’t like to live healthier longer?
  • Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering (CEGE)
    CEGE faculty will discuss their work related to climate change. 
    “Remote Sensing of the Water Cycle from Space”
    Ardeshir Ebtehaj, Assistant Professor
    The first step in understanding climate change and its impact on water and food security is to monitor changes from space. Satellite observations are providing a wealth of information on the space-time variability of Earth’s water resources. Ebtehaj will discuss his research to improve remote sensing of precipitation and soil moisture from space.

    “Water and Carbon Under Climate Change”
    Xue Feng, Assistant Professor
    Will the vast amount of carbon stored on land be released as greenhouse gasses? Using peatlands and forests as testbeds, Feng will discuss how the fate of carbon in soils and trees may depend on the seasonal variations in precipitation and their interaction with rising temperatures.
  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    “Healthcare Innovations Enabled by Two-Dimensional Nanomaterials” 
    Steven Koester, Professor
    Two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials have the potential to revolutionize healthcare by enabling point-of-care and implantable devices that can detect and monitor a wide range of biological conditions. These capabilities are enabled by the unique physical properties of 2D materials, particularly their atomic-scale thickness, which makes them highly sensitive to their local environment. In this presentation, Koester will describe his latest research on biosensors made from graphene, a single-atom-thick layer of carbon. His group has used this remarkable material to realize new types of glucose monitors for diabetes treatment, gas sensors for disease detection in human breath and DNA "nano-tweezers" which can realize revolutionary new types of point-of-care sensors.
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
    “Internal Combustion Engines and Data Science to Enhance Electrified Vehicles of the Future”
    William Northrop, Associate Professor, Director of the Thomas E. Murphy Engine Laboratory
    Northrop will discuss what will power our vehicles in the coming decades. Recent predictions about the impending death of internal combustion engines and expansion of electrification beg the question of whether engines will be replaced by all-electric powertrains in the near future. Northrop will debunk the idea that engines are going away anytime soon and will show how data science with range extender engines can be harnessed to increase efficiency and overcome limited driving range of electric vehicles.

12:15 p.m.—Lunch

During this time, we will present medallions to members of classes prior to 1969 who have not previously been inducted into the Golden Medallion Society.

1:30 p.m.—Breakout Sessions (Choose one of the following presentations)

  • “Industrial and Systems Engineering: CSE’s Newest Department”
    Saif Benjaafar, Head and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
    In 2012, in response to an ever-increasing demand for industrial and systems engineers across the nation, CSE launched a new department with a unique focus on the study of large-scale and complex systems, such as manufacturing, supply chains, transportation, healthcare, and service systems, with a new undergraduate major that blends engineering, mathematics, computing, and management. Already a success story, learn about the explosive growth the department has seen in students, faculty, and research and hear highlights on several research projects that are tackling grand challenges in transportation, health, and the environment.
  • “Returning to Earth Safely: Re-Entry from Apollo to the Present”
    Graham Candler, McKnight Presidential Professor, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Russell J. Penrose Professor, and Associate Department Head, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics; Demoz Gebre-Egziabher, Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, Director of the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium
    2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. A spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere experiences extreme conditions, with flow field temperatures exceeding the surface temperature of the sun. The spacecraft thermal protection system must withstand high heating rates, while not being too heavy or fragile. Candler will describe the heat shield design approach used for the Apollo missions and the progress that has been made over the past 50 years to understand and model the interaction of high-temperature air with thermal protection system materials.

3 p.m.—Breakout Sessions (Choose one of the following presentations)

  • “Addressing Societal-scale Challenges with Nanoscale Materials: Flexible Transistors and Sensors for Bio-Integrated Devices”
    Sarah Swisher, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    In the six decades since the first demonstration of an integrated circuit in 1958, Moore’s Law has allowed our computing devices to become smaller, cheaper, and more powerful. However, another paradigm of electronics has recently taken shape: flexible electronic systems leverage compliant form factors and lightweight designs to enable new ways of integrating electronic devices into our lives. Swisher’s research focuses on the development of thin, flexible electronics that will directly interface with the body. She will discuss how her team formulates and synthesizes electronic nanomaterial “inks,” then uses high-precision additive manufacturing techniques (e.g. inkjet printing) to build flexible transistors and customizable electronic biosensors. As examples, Swisher will discuss “smart bandage” prototypes for early diagnosis of pressure ulcers, and her team’s work developing neural sensing devices to explore communication paths between different regions of the brain.
  • Gemini-Huntley Robotics Research Laboratory Tour — THIS SESSION REACHED CAPACITY AND IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE.  
    The Gemini-Huntley Robotics Research Laboratory was unveiled in the fall of 2018. It is the result of a complete renovation of 20,000 square feet on the first two floors of the Shepherd Laboratories building, which is nestled in the heart of the East Bank Campus and connected to many of CSE’s engineering buildings. Funded primarily by generous private support, this renovation includes state-of-the-art robotics research labs, teaching spaces, faculty and graduate student offices, and public spaces for collaboration—creating a vibrant and flexible space that will bolster the University’s robotics teaching and research programs. It also provides for the first permanent home for the CSE award-winning Solar Vehicle Project. PLEASE NOTE: Tour is not recommended for individuals with limited mobility. Bus transportation provided to and from Shepherd Laboratories.

4-5 p.m.—Closing reception 
Close out the day with mingling over heavy appetizers and a cash bar.