Friday, May 13, 2016 (all day)
U of M East Bank Campus (various locations)
University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering

Registration is now closed. If you are still interested in attending, please contact Megan Orr at or 612-625-3767 to inquire about late registration.


For your convenience, a discounted block of rooms is reserved for our guests at The Commons Hotel, 615 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis. Click here to reserve a room online or call  800-822-6757 (MPLS) or 612-379-8888 and ask for the 50-Year Reunion Group. Reduced room rate expires April 12, 2016


Friday, May 13, 2016

8:30–9:45 a.m. Registration—TCF Bank Stadium, M Club Room (use Benton County entrance). Light breakfast and refreshments will be served.

9 a.m. Optional stadium tour

9:45 a.m. Welcome and keynote speaker
“Engineering With a Purpose” presented by Engineers Without Borders student group

11 a.m. Department hosted presentations—Choose one of the following presentations:

  • Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
    Perry Leo, Head and Professor, will deliver a department update. He will be joined by Associate Professor Demoz Gebre-Egziabher, who will present “Drones: Opportunities and Challenges.”
  • Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
    C. Daniel Frisbie, Head and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, will deliver a department update and reflections upon his recent appointment to the role of department head. He will also discuss his research on flexible or “printed” electronics.
  • Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering
    Joe Labuz, Head and MSES/Miles Kersten Professor, will deliver a department update. He will be joined by Assistant Professor Lauren Linderman, who will present “Structures That Can Think: Smart Sensors to Improve Civil Infrastructure Resilience.”

    • OVERVIEW: Buildings and bridges are affected by earthquakes, wind, temperature changes, and wear from human or vehicle traffic. Smart sensors combine onboard sensors, embedded computing, and communication to measure how a structure responds to these demands. The response is used to evaluate the structure’s behavior, limit its response, and offer insights for the long-term performance and capacity.
  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Randall Victora, Head and Professor, will deliver a department update. He will be joined by historian and Charles Babbage Institute Director Thomas Misa, who will present on the rise of Minnesota computing after World War II.

    • OVERVIEW: Drawing on rare archival documents, photographs, and oral histories, Thomas J. Misa’s groundbreaking history shows how Minnesota recognized and embraced the coming information age through its leading-edge companies, its workforce, and its prominent institutions. Digital State reveals the inner workings of the birth of the digital age in Minnesota and what we can learn from this era of sustained innovation.
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
    Uwe Kortshagen, Head and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, will deliver a department update and speak about the future of the undergraduate teaching program after renovation of the ME building’s North Wing.

12:15–1:15 p.m. Lunch—TCF Bank Stadium, Indoor Club Room

1:45–2:40 p.m. Breakout session 1—Choose one of the following presentations:

  • “Turning Jello into Replacement Heart Valves”
    Bob Tranquillo, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Department Head, Department of Biomedical Engineering

    • OVERVIEW: Building on 25 years of experiments with fibrin, Robert Tranquillo and his team have developed a procedure for making a cell-produced protein matrix that can function as a scaffold for growing a blood vessel or tubular heart valve. The procedure begins by combining the blot clot fibrin – a Jello-like substance – with skin cells called fibroblasts. With stimulation provided in bioreactors, these cells transform the surrounding fibrin into an aligned collagenous tube of matrix that can be made to function as a heart valve, possibly even growing with a child.
  • “Is Sulfate Harmful to Wild Rice? And Why Does Minnesota Care So Much?”
    Amy Myrbo, Research Associate and Director of Outreach, Diversity, and Education, National Lacustrine Core Facility (LacCore), and Continental Scientific Drilling Coordination Office (CSDCO), Department of Earth Sciences

    • OVERVIEW: Minnesota is unique in its regulation of a naturally occurring chemical to protect a single species of plant. The standard for sulfate discharge to waters growing wild rice (Zizania palustris) is 10 mg/L, compared to the EPA drinking water standard of 250 mg/L. If this level of sulfate is not harmful to humans, why does it hurt wild rice? And why so much concern about this particular plant? Where does sulfate come from? Researchers from UMN and the MN Pollution Control Agency, in collaboration with Ojibwe and Dakota bands, are working to ensure protection of this special natural resource.

3–4 p.m. Breakout session 2—Choose one of the following presentations:

  • “Science and Mapping at the Ends of the Earth; How We See the Arctic and Antarctic from the St. Paul Campus”
    Paul Morin, Director and Principal Investigator, Polar Geospatial Center

    • OVERVIEW: The College of Science and Engineering’s Polar Geospatial Center (PGC) is in a unique position to see the entirety of both poles at unprecedented resolution. US scientists can now see, measure and explore areas that were previously inaccessible with detail never before imagined. In addition, PGC is leading a multi-agency, public private partnership to produce the highest resolution digital topography for the Arctic ever attempted for such a remote location. Watch the video.
  • “Taken For a Ride: Why We Want Provably Secure Software in Vehicles”
    Michael Whalen, Program Director, Software Engineering Center, Department of Computer Science and Engineering

    • OVERVIEW: Dr. Whalen will describe trends in vehicle automation in both aviation and automotive systems: drones and remotely piloted aircraft, adaptive cruise control and caravanning/platooning in cars, and eventually, self-driving cars and self-piloted, human-rated aircraft. As these systems become more complex, and more interconnected, security becomes a substantial risk. Recent attacks have demonstrated that it is possible to remotely take control of an automobile including the brakes, acceleration, and steering. Moreover, it is possible to remotely surveil a car’s location, conversations within the car, and even to remotely steal it. The University of Minnesota is part of a large ($20M) multi-organization project to develop secure vehicles. Whalen will describe some of the attacks and technologies for making future vehicles secure.

4–5 p.m. Free time to explore campus or attend department graduation receptions

5 p.m. Closing dinner—Mariucci Arena, Club Room

QUESTIONS? Please contact Megan Orr at 612-625-3767 or email

2015 50-Year and Golden Medallion Reunions were a success!

About 200 alumni who graduated 50 years ago or more and their guests were part of the 2015 50-Year Reunion and Golden Medallion Society Reunion.

View and download photos from the 2015 reunion.