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UConn Engineering School Honors Top Alumni, Students and Friends (Released: May 1, 2002)

Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- Four pacesetters in government and industry were honored for their distinguished service by the University of Connecticut's School of Engineering, during its annual awards banquet held at the South Campus Ballroom on Tuesday, April 30.

During the ceremony, Amir Faghri, dean of the School, presented his top undergraduate students with nearly $400,000 in scholarships and announced that another $640,000 in scholarships will be awarded to incoming freshmen of the engineering program.

The 2002 Distinguished Engineering Service Awards were presented to Arthur Diedrick and Dennis Welch for their leadership roles in fostering a strong technology-based Connecticut economy and in cultivating strong industry/academic partnerships with the School of Engineering.

Diedrick is chairman of development for Governor John G. Rowland. He also chairs the board of directors of Connecticut Innovations (CI), the Clean Energy Fund (a unit of CI), the Connecticut Development Authority (CDA), the Connecticut Brownfields Redevelopment Authority (a subsidiary of the CDA), and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA). Diedrick was instrumental in creating Next Generation Ventures LLC, a joint venture of Connecticut Innovations and The Phoenix, and he serves on its board of directors. By combining the agility and market responsiveness of the private sector with the public-purpose mission of government, he has been a catalyst in the development and growth of businesses in Connecticut.

Welch is director, president and chief operating officer of Yankee Energy System Inc., a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities. He is the newly elected vice chairman of the New England Gas Association's board of directors, a member of the American Gas Association's leadership council, and a member of the Nature Conservancy's board of trustees.

The 2002 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards were presented to Michael Curtis and James Barger for their significant career achievements.

Barger, now a government consultant, recently retired from his position as chief scientist at Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) of Cambridge, Mass., a technology think tank. Barger is a renowned expert in acoustics and telecommunications technologies, remote detection and sensing. During his career with BBN, he offered expert scientific testimony before Congress on acoustical facets of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the Kent State University shootings. Barger earned his M.S. in mechanical engineering from UConn in 1960.

Curtis is senior vice president of Fuss & O'Neill Inc., a civil and environmental engineering design firm in Manchester, Conn. He is an expert in water quality and other issues related to the federal Clean Water Act, and he founded New England Bioassay, an aquatic toxicological testing service. He earned his bachelor's degree in biology from UConn in 1976, and his master's and doctoral degrees in environmental engineering from UConn in 1980 and 1987 respectively.

May 2002 Releases
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