After 35 years of service at UCI, including appointments in both The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and the School of Medicine, Derek Dunn-Rankin (DDR) retired at the end of 2020. He served as the department chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and was also the director of the Masters of Engineering Program (MEng).
During his time in the Samueli School of Engineering, Derek touched the lives of countless students and was the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor of the Year for three years through the Engineering Student Council, and was awarded the Society of Automotive Engineers Faculty Advisor Award, Pi Tau Sigma Honorary Professor Award, UCI SURF Program Mentor of the Year, and UCI School of Engineering Instructor of the Year.
The impact he had on his students is immeasurable.
“DDR has a way of leaving a lasting imprint through his Socratic approach to lead a person to self-reflect and improve. He probably does not realize the enormous impact this can have on his students, but every little bit from leaning in to actually listen, to engaging and radiating the "I believe in you" made all the difference for me. His compassion, intellect, selflessness, and high standards made him the special mentor he was to me, and to others” – Amit Dhadwal
Derek’s passion is not just in the classroom, he has been a strong advocate for inclusiveness in engineering education. For many years, he aimed to increase the success of underrepresented groups in the sciences and engineering through being the faculty director of the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) and Mexico Graduate Research Education Program (MGREP), co-director of the UC systemwide Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, and director of the NSF Bridge to the Doctorate program.
“DDR really cared about UCI students and our perspectives. I remember from one of our discussions in the Undergraduate Studies Committee, he made me feel most welcomed and encouraged me to be a part of the conversation. Years later, we ran into each other at an alumni event. When I told him, I was now a new hiring manager at a major aerospace company, he asked me about what I looked for in new grads. Valuable perspectives come from all places. DDR is a role model for that inclusive mindset.” - Liz San Miguel
Although he retired in 2020, Derek's commitment to UCI remained unwavering. He and his wife, Katherine Martin, created the Derek Dunn-Rankin and Katherine Martin Excellence in Engineering Education Endowment (EEEE) to advance inclusiveness in engineering education in the Samueli School of Engineering community. Derek and Katherine are part of the Anteater family in so many ways, and their interactions with students and alumni along the way have provided many wonderful, indelible, and enriching memories.
We hope you'll join us in honoring Derek's incredible 35+ years of service with a gift to the Derek Dunn-Rankin & Katherine Martin Excellence in Engineering Education Endowment (EEEE). This fund supports the school’s priority for encouraging excellence and emphasizing inclusiveness in engineering education, at the discretion of a committee comprised of professors of teaching in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
The fund will be used to support membership fees to organizations that encourage excellence in engineering education for current faculty and mentors in the school, travel funds for students and research staff, to present at or attend engineering conferences, conferences for professional development opportunities, publication (not the research being conducted) of academic papers where the first author is a student, special materials to support hands-on learning within the school, and travel support to alumni from the school who are interested in returning to encourage excellence in engineering education.
Our goal is to raise $50,000 to get the endowment to $100,000. Endowed funds at the School will last in perpetuity, thereby supporting generations to come while serving as testimony to Derek’s transformative tenure and lasting impact at UCI and the Samueli School of Engineering.
We hope that you will contribute in whatever way you can as we honor Derek and further cement his legacy at UCI. Your support and involvement at the Samueli School of Engineering means a great deal.
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