CU-Boulder to Honor Four Distinguished Engineering Alumni

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April 25, 2011

The University of Colorado Boulder will present the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award to four accomplished engineering leaders at the 46th annual Engineering Awards Banquet April 29.

Recipients of the 2011 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award are:

  • Mitat Birkan, manager of the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) program on space propulsion and power;
  • Dan Hernandez, executive vice president for global strategy at Sykes Enterprises, Inc.;
  • Larry Stolarczyk, founder and president of Stolar Research Corp.; and
  • Xiaodong Zhang, chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Ohio State University.

Engineering Dean Robert Davis will present the awards, which recognize select graduates and friends of the College of Engineering and Applied Science who have distinguished themselves through outstanding personal qualities, knowledge and significant contributions to their fields. The honorees were chosen by a committee of CU-Boulder’s Engineering Advisory Council.

Mitat Birkan, who earned his PhD in mechanical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1984, is receiving the DEAA in the Government Service category. As manager of the AFOSR’s program on space propulsion and power since 1987, he is responsible for an $8 million basic research program of significant interest to the nation, and for assuring the excellence and relevance of a broad research portfolio. He also has been an active contributor to Air Force space missions by transitioning research results to the development of space hardware.

Dan Hernandez, who earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at CU-Boulder in 1990, is receiving the DEAA in the Industry and Commerce category. He has served as an executive leader in the fields of telecommunications, customer service, and business process outsourcing, and is a dynamic, highly sought speaker who has inspired countless underrepresented and disadvantaged youth to pursue their dreams. Since 2003, he has been executive vice president for global strategy at Sykes Enterprises, Inc., based in Tampa, Florida. 

Larry Stolarczyk, who earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1960, is receiving the DEAA in the Research and Invention category. He has made extensive contributions to the field of electromagnetic remote sensing, including the development of radio imaging method (RIM) technology for safer, more environmentally friendly underground mining and the detection of anti-personnel landmines. Since 1994, he has been president of Stolar, a multimillion-dollar research and development company in Raton, New Mexico, specializing in mine communication. 

Xiaodong Zhang, who earned his master’s and PhD degrees in computer science at CU-Boulder in 1985 and 1989, respectively, is receiving the DEAA in two categories—Research and Invention, and Education. Since 2006, he has held the Robert M. Critchfield Professorship and served as chair of computer science and engineering at Ohio State University. His research in memory systems has contributed to the advancement of computer systems through several influential algorithms and their system implementations, which have been widely adopted in operating and database systems and commercial processors.  

More information about these and past awards is available on the college’s website.



Carol Rowe, 303-492-7426

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