Alumnus honors professor through new scholarship


MechSE Communications

Edward Caulfield, left his mentor Professor Emeritus Robert E. Miller.
Edward Caulfield, left, with his mentor Professor Emeritus Robert E. Miller. 
Caulfield (left) with Miller.
In honor of his longtime mentor, alumnus Edward M. Caulfield (BSME ’72, MS TAM ’74, PhD TAM ’79) has funded a new scholarship, named after Robert E. Miller, a professor emeritus in MechSE whose legacy as a gifted teacher, adviser, and mentor inspired many in the department. Caulfield established the Robert Miller Scholarship to honor Miller’s excellent work with students over several decades.
The first student to receive the Robert E. Miller Scholarship is Thomas M. McGrath.
Miller earned a BS (’54) in aeronautical engineering, and an MS (’54) and PhD (’59) in TAM, all from the University of Illinois. He was a research and teaching assistant under Professor H. L. Langhaar and an instructor in the department before joining the TAM faculty as an assistant professor in 1959. He was subsequently promoted to associate professor and to professor. 
Miller was always a popular instructor, with seemingly inexhaustible energy in the classroom and a dedication to helping students during office hours. He received the Everitt Award in the College of Engineering for outstanding teaching, and was recognized by engineering students as an honorary Knight of St. Patrick in 1988. 
He also received the ASEE Mechanics Division Distinguished Educator Award in 1991. Miller advised more than 60 MS and PhD students on various topics in solid mechanics—particularly plates and shells—and in finite-element topics such as specialized elements for composite laminates. He also consulted for numerous companies, and he continues to be in contact with his former students, frequently assisting them with technical questions.  
Caulfield has been an ardent and long-time philanthropic supporter of the University of Illinois, and he frequently serves as a guest lecturer for classes in MechSE. Among his recognitions are the J. O. Smith Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching; the Campus Award for Undergraduate Teaching; the first TAM Distinguished Alumni Award for Technical Accomplishments; MechSE Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000; and the College of Engineering Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in 2009. 
He is the founder, president, and chief technical officer of Caulfield Engineering, LLC, in Naperville, Illinois. Prior to working in industry, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Illinois, where he taught courses in dynamics, vibration, materials science, and design of machinery. He and his wife Pamela are the proud parents of two sons who both graduated from Illinois.