Five faculty and instructors in the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences have announced their retirement for fiscal year 2017-18. Together, they have devoted more than 150 years of service to teaching and research.
Professor Peggy Hill (BS ’75, MS ’77) began her collegiate teaching career as an adjunct at TU in 1982 and was hired as an instructor in 1987. Prior to TU, she taught secondary education for 10 years at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa. Among the many teaching, research and service awards she has received, Hill was awarded the Penny Bernstein Distinguished Teaching Award from the Animal Behavior Society (2016) and the TU Medicine Wheel Award for Community Service (2010). Her research has focused on animal communication through airborne and substrate-borne vibration, mostly in the Orthoptera. She was awarded the 2013 Insect Drummer Award: Lifetime Achievement Award for Research on Vibrational Communication.
Research will continue to play an important role in her life, but Hill said after retirement she will miss the day-to-day interaction of student mentoring.
“I think the field has been my most effective vehicle for helping students understand the living world,” she said.
Hill plans to work on a couple of book projects, spend time with family, attend TU athletic events and volunteer in her local community of Catoosa. The TU tradition runs deep in her family; her husband attended TU and one of her daughters and a granddaughter are TU alumnae.
“I took my first TU classes when I was 16 years old, and I have been a proud and loyal Golden Hurricane since then,” she said.
Williams Professor of Petroleum Engineering Mohan Kelkar (JD ’89) joined the TU faculty in 1983 after receiving his PhD degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and teaching one year at Drexel University. He served as chairman of the McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering from 2002 to 2016 and is known for his classes in petroleum economics, unconventional resources, geostatistics and integrated reservoir modeling.
Kelkar’s professorship at TU is unique because he earned a juris doctorate from the TU College of Law in 1989 and began looking for a job in the legal field. When he was offered a position at an oil company, he decided to turn it down and continue teaching at TU.
“That was the biggest relief — when I made the call and told the company I didn’t want the job,” Kelkar said. “I loved the atmosphere here at TU, and I know I wouldn’t have been as happy as I am here.”
He is a past recipient of the TU Outstanding Teaching Award as well as the Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Teacher Award (2007). On an industry level, Kelkar was named a Distinguished Member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers in 2010.
“I had a tremendous opportunity to be at TU,” he said. “In return, your profession should not ultimately define you because there are better goals to achieve in life.”
In retirement, Kelkar plans to spend at least 30 percent of his time on social work. He also is a member of the Tulsa Arts Alliance. He and his wife have three children.
Dave Larson served on the TU Department of Mechanical Engineering Industry Advisory Board for 10 years before teaching classes as an instructor. He has led courses in engineering graphics and manufacturing processes for the past four years. His industry background in petroleum science includes a career at Schlumberger Oilfield Services before founding his own company, Larson Engineering. The acquisition of his firm by Chandler Engineering has expanded his ideas and inventions worldwide.
Although he looks forward to cycling, traveling, church involvement, family and activities as a member of Tulsa’s Harmonica Club during his retirement, Larson said he will miss TU students and their high level of interest.
“I’ve realized how dedicated professors are to developing relationships with students,” he said. “That was my goal — to connect with the students and show them the practical side of engineering.”
Paul Buthod Professor of Chemical Engineering Frank Manning has taught at TU for half a century. A native of Barbados, West Indies, he earned a PhD degree from Princeton University and served nine-and-a-half years on the faculty at the Carnegie Institute of Technology before joining TU’s chemical engineering program. Manning’s research specialized in industrial pollution control and surface processing of petroleum and fired heaters. He has been a principal investigator or co-investigator in more than 40 research grants or contracts as well as written three books and more than 70 publications. Manning is a recipient of the Hunt Silver Medal from the Metallurgical Society of AIME and was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education and was named TU Mr. Homecoming in 2016. He is a three-time recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Teaching Award — an honor determined by students.
“The students are wonderful, and I have just tried to do my job,” Manning said. “I always ask myself what’s best for the students, and that’s my first priority.”
Manning has taught thousands of students since he arrived at TU in 1968, and alumni often make special visits to campus to reunite with the beloved professor.
“My biggest regret is that I can’t remember all of the students I have taught, but I am grateful,” Manning said.
Professor Bryan Tapp’s first year in the Department of Geosciences was in 1982 after earning three degrees from the University of Oklahoma. Since then, he has become a TU expert in seismicity, field mapping, geomechanics, geodynamics, Oklahoma geology and more. Like many of his peers, students have fueled his drive to not only teach at the university level, but also serve as a leader for public school teacher workshops and other science-based community programs for children. He volunteers with the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance’s SENSEsational Science initiative and helps facilitate other related educational tools that provide a platform for teachers, parents and children to learn about Earth and its ecosystem.
“The real joy is the kids,” Tapp said. “The classroom is just pure joy for me. The growth opportunities for myself and students are priceless.”
Tapp is a member of several professional organizations and serves on the State Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity. He has twice received the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award as well as the University Outstanding Teacher Award. Tapp plans to continue as a professor emeritus while advising graduate students.
“The students are the real thing I will take away in my heart,” he said. “I’ve done the best I knew to do to move our institution forward and educate our students.”
In retirement, Tapp plans to work on a few projects, travel with his wife, spend time with family and enjoy exploring wildlife photography.