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Engineering Chairman Honored with Distinguished Teacher Award

Dr. Lawrence Murr
Photo courtesy
Lawrence Murr, Ph.D. longtime chairman of UTEP’s Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, has been selected this week to receive the 2009 Albert Easton White Distinguished Teacher Award.

The Board of Trustees at Ohio-based ASM International chose to honor Murr for his “selfless dedication to the formation of generations of students through teaching, research, mentoring, academic administration and leadership in the profession,” according to his selection notice.

The 70-year-old Murr has taught for more than 45 years, the last 20 at The University of Texas at El Paso.

“I’ve been expecting this for several years,” joked Murr, who says he’s honored at the recognition.

He referred to a teacher evaluation note card in his office submitted by a student he taught at the University of Southern California in the late 1960s. It read: “Unique approach to scientific learning.”

While he takes teaching seriously, he is willing to do what it takes to get his ideas across. An energetic man raised in Pennsylvania, Murr has been known to jump on his desk, roll on the floor, and put on masks to simulate different phenomena.

“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s what I do.”

The award recognizes the outstanding quality of Murr’s research and the extraordinary commitment he has to the success of his students, said Carlos Ferregut, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Engineering.

“He lives for his students and his research. They have been his passion,” he said.

Murr and his wife of 50 years, Patricia, plan to receive the award during the ASM Awards Dinner the week of Oct. 25 in Pittsburgh.

The award, established in 1960, is named after the first president of the American Society of Metals, a former Army colonel who also was an associate professor of metallurgy at the University of Michigan.

It recognizes teachers with long and devoted service records who also have significant accomplishments in materials science and engineering, and an unusual ability to inspire and to impart enthusiasm to students.

Cindy Ramirez may be reached at 915-747-7526 or 915-491-8237.

– Cindy Ramirez