Grainger College of Engineering Awards

Grainger College of Engineering Alumni Award for Distinguished Service

Daniel N. Donahoe

Daniel N. Donahoe

MSME 1979

A two-time Illinois alumnus, Donahoe earned his bachelor’s degree in general engineering (now Industrial and Enterprise Systems) in 1977 and stayed to earn an MS in mechanical engineering two years later.

With a career spanning more than 40 years, Donahoe is currently the owner and CEO of 1000 kilometers, a general engineering practice with specific focus defined by a radius of 1000 kilometers from Salt Lake City. He has been a licensed professional engineer in several states since February 1982. He also passed the ASQ Certified Reliability Engineer exam, completed an MBA at Santa Clara University in 1983 and earned a PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland in 2005.

Donahoe’s career interests have spanned spacecraft thermal control work at Lockheed to artillery fuzing at Motorola to worldwide tracking stations at Ford Aerospace. From there he spent time at Teledyne working on avionics, worked in reliability at Compaq Computer Corporation and enjoyed a short stint at Iomega. After serving on the staff of the University of Maryland while completing his PhD, Donahoe worked in exponent failure analysis and spent more than five years working as a civil servant for the U.S. Air Force.

His work in thermal analysis continues by participating in ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.9 Mission Critical Facilities, Data Centers, Technology Spaces and Electronic Equipment. He has also been active in many other professional organizations including AIAA, ASME, ASHRAE and IEEE. Much of his career has been spent in integration of equipment into systems, a “general engineer” in the truest sense.

Bruce Koe

Bruce Koe

BSME 1966

During his corporate career, Koe worked in the publishing industry. His roles included vice president of global operations at Reader’s Digest, executive vice president of operations at Golden Books Family Entertainment, director of business development at Hallmark Cards and corporate vice president of Banta Corporation.

Koe then launched The Kirkwood Group, providing strategic marketing, management and operations consulting to the publishing, media and printing industries. As a consultant, he successfully helped his clients develop strategic imperatives to drive real growth and assisted them with restructuring their operations to improve profits and net worth.

Since retiring, Koe has focused on giving back to the University, his community and his church. He is a founding director and board member of Building One Community (The Center for Immigrant Opportunity) in Stamford, CT. He also serves on the board of Food Rescue U.S., a not-for profit organization that serves the food insecure by employing technology and volunteers while also reducing food waste in more than 40 cities across the country. Koe also served on the Grainger Engineering “With Illinois” campaign cabinet from 2017 to 2022.

In 2001, he and his wife Linda established the Kirkwood Scholarship for women in engineering, endowing it in 2018. Since its inception the scholarship has benefited 55 women engineers, many of whom have gone on to have successful careers with several Fortune 500 companies. Both he and Linda are life members of the University of Illinois Alumni Association.

The Grainger College of Engineering Alumni Award for Distinguished Service is conferred upon exceptional alumni each year. Recipients are recognized for professional distinction through outstanding leadership, contributions to the field of engineering, creativity, and entrepreneurship; as well as service to society, the professional community, and to the department, college, or university.

Knights of St. Patrick

Hrushi Athreya

Hrushi Athreya

Hrushi Athreya is a senior earning a dual degree in mechanical engineering and engineering physics with a minor in astronomy. He currently serves as President of the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); a Consulting Engineer and Former President of Illinois Robotics in Space; and Business Director for MechSE MakerWorks.  

He is also a dome telescope operator for the University of Illinois Astronomical Society, and a varsity student-athlete on the Illinois Rowing Team. In addition, an undergraduate researcher for the Observational Cosmology Laboratory working on the Terahertz Intensity Mapper, which is a stratospheric ballooning experiment that will launch from the South Pole to look at light from the early Universe.

Next fall, Athreya plans to continue his education in graduate school. “While I am currently in the process of deciding exactly where I want to go, I will be starting my PhD in physics with a focus on astronomical instrumentation, which is essentially doing engineering for astrophysical purposes such as detectors, telescopes, and balloons. My career goal is to become a physics faculty member.”

In his free time, Athreya enjoys hiking and being outdoors. He has visited over 25 national parks, with a goal of visiting all of them someday.

Ximena Castillo

Ximena Castillo

Ximena Castillo is a senior in mechanical engineering, graduating in May. Throughout her college career she has been heavily involved in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), for which she currently serves as Internal Vice President. She is also an active member of the Morrill Engineering Program (MEP), having served as an MEP mentor last fall, and now on the Core Welcome Committee Team. Over spring break this semester, she studied abroad in Jamaica with MEP.

After graduation, Castillo will move to Southern California to work for Boeing, where she was accepted into their Engineering Foundational Career Program, a rotational program lasting two years, with four different six-month rotations. 

“I am very excited for this next chapter of my life, and receiving the Knights award before graduation is truly an honor. I am grateful for all of those who have impacted me on this journey and helped me get to where I am today!”

The Knight of St. Patrick is an honor awarded to students who demonstrate leadership characteristics, excellence of character, and exceptional contribution to The Grainger College of Engineering. The award originated at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where students claimed St. Patrick must have been an engineer to have been able to drive all the snakes from Ireland, and since then the honor has represented excellence in engineering fields.

Faculty Awards from The Grainger College of Engineering

Naira Hovakimyan

Naira Hovakimyan

Excellence in Translational Research

This award honors faculty or staff researchers for special achievement in translational research. Examples of translational research include, but are not limited to: entrepreneurial activities related to research outcomes, technology transfer of research through licensing of intellectual property, and research leading directly to products/outcomes with notable societal impact. 

Bill King

William P. King

Excellence in Faculty Mentoring

This award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to faculty mentoring by actively assisting pre-tenure and mid-career faculty in developing their career(s). Exceptional mentoring can include offering advice, feedback and guidance on research activities, coaching on work-life balance issues, providing professional opportunities for mentees, and/or assisting in development of teaching skills.

Kyle Smith

Kyle C. Smith

Dean's Award for Early Innovation for an Associate Professor

The award recognizes exceptional individuals who are working at the early stages of the innovation life cycle to turn their research into products that benefit the world.  Candidates are selected from the pool of faculty who made invention disclosures to the OTM during the previous academic year.