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2009 Alumni Achievement Awards

Dev A. Banerjee
MSSSM '74, DScME '77
Alumni Achievement Award

Dev Banerjee joined McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems (MDHS) in 1977 as an aeromechanics engineer, after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, with a Masters in Control System Engineering, and a D.Sc. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

During his 31 year career, Banerjee established a record of sustained technical and leadership excellence, rising from an entry-level engineer to his current position as Director of Systems Engineering for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), responsible for technical excellence of approximately 6000 engineers across Boeing. He has published 18 technical papers and holds two patents.

Banerjee has served as a guest lecturer for mechanical engineering students at Washington University, and is currently assisting in developing a Systems Engineering program. In service to his community, he has also provided his guidance on the Board of Directors for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Maryland, and the department of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Banerjee lives in St. Charles, Missouri, with his wife, Renate. They have two grown children, Yamini and Nikhil.

George P. Bauer
BSIE '53, MS '59
Alumni Achievement Award

Reared in the Missouri Ozarks, George P. Bauer entered Washington University's School of Engineering with the help of a scholarship. He graduated in 1959 with bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial engineering. Early in his career, he worked for General Electric in their manufacturing engineering-training program, later serving two years as an officer in the U.S. Army.

Writing his master's thesis on the first IBM computer, Bauer was a natural for a job at IBM. He entered IBM as an account manager on the McDonnell Aircraft account. For three decades, he remained with IBM, rising to executive positions and moving 18 times in 25 years.

Today, Bauer is Chairman and CEO of the GPB Group, Ltd., an investment banking company headquartered in Wilton, Connecticut.

Bauer is a Board Member and Treasurer of Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, Connecticut; a member of the Board of Advisors for Yale Divinity School; and a member of the National Council for the John M. Olin Business School and Trustee of Washington University. In 2008, he and his wife endowed a professorship in corporate ethics and governance in the Olin Business School.

Bauer and his wife, Carol, have three children and five grandchildren.

Victor Hermelin
BSChE '36
Alumni Achievement Award

A tireless and creative inventor as well as a true entrepreneur, Victor Hermelin is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of KV Pharmaceutical Company, a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange with over 1,000 employees. Hermelin was an originator of the concept of time-release pharmaceuticals. His innovative work in pharmaceutical dosage design has made drug products easier to take and reduced side effects, thereby increasing compliance by the patient.

Hermelin was born in New York City and came to Washington University with the support of a scholarship. He earned a bachelor's of science in Chemical Engineering in 1936. Hermelin had his first taste of applying chemical theory to practice as a research assistant in the lab of Nobel Prize winner and Washington University professor, Dr. Carl Cori.

His first company was based on his invention of lanolin-enriched permanent wave, a solution he sold to local beauty shops. In 1944, he developed a unique process for producing multi-vitamins called Spheroids. This medical breakthrough was used by the Department of Defense to prevent night blindness in World War II soldiers fighting in the Pacific Rim. Hermelin also invented the skinless frankfurter while working at Swift & Company.

At the age of 90, Hermelin continued to play an active role in research and development of innovative drug delivery technologies. His latest patent is used in Ther-Rx's PrimaCare prescription prenatal product, one of the fastest growing prenatal vitamins.

Victor and his wife, Margie, reside in Chesterfield, Missouri.

Anna L. Patterson
BSCS '87, BSEE '87
Alumni Achievement Award

Anna Patterson's last Internet search engine was so impressive that industry leader, Google Inc., bought the technology in 2004. Her focus is on scaling architecture, tackling one of the major problems in search… the exponential growth of the Internet.

Searching for a better way for people to interact with the Internet, Patterson's work has revolutionized Internet search engines. A native of St. Louis, she was admitted to Washington University as a Langsdorf Scholar and, as a senior, served as Engineering Student Council President. In 1987, after receiving bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, she went on to earn her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Patterson then moved to Stanford University to work as a research scientist before joining the corporate sector.

In 2004, Patterson joined Google after designing, writing, and eventually selling Recall - the largest search engine in existence at the time with 12 billion pages. She was the architect of Google's largest search index, TeraGoogle, consisting of 30 billion pages. At Google, she was the technical lead of one of the two Web ranking groups at Google, in charge of GoogleBase, and the manager for the core piece of Google's ad-matching technology.

In 2006, Patterson left Google to create Cuil (an old Irish word for knowledge, pronounced "cool"). It is the largest search engine currently available, with the capability to search more than 120 billion web pages (three times as many as Google and with fewer computers).

Patterson leads Cuil with her husband, CEO and co-founder Tom Costello, a native of Ireland. They have four children: Ilaria, Avania, Caia, and Sean.

John C. Sommerer
BSSSM '79, MSSSM '79
Alumni Achievement Award

John C. Sommerer is Director of Science & Technology and Chief Technology Officer of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL).

A Langsdorf Scholarship recipient, Sommerer received his bachelor's and master's degrees in systems science and mathematics from Washington University. He went on to receive a master's degree in applied physics from The Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland. Prior to assuming executive responsibilities, he established an international reputation in nonlinear dynamics and complex systems, making both theoretical and experimental contributions to the field. His personal research has been featured on the covers of both Science and Nature.

As manager of the Laboratory's research and development program and science and technology strategy, Sommerer serves as primary technical liaison with the academic divisions of the university.

Sommerer is a member of the External Advisory Board for Washington University's Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering. He was a member of the Editorial Board of The Physical Review from 1999 to 2005. He serves on multiple technical advisory bodies for the U.S. Government, including the Naval Research Advisory Committee. Sommerer has also participated in numerous ad hoc National Academies studies, notably the Committee on Criteria for Management of Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories. He has received several awards, including being named Maryland's Distinguished Young Scientist in 1994.

Sommerer is married to a fellow engineer, Washington University alumna, Suzette (BSChE'79).

Gerald J. Williams
BSME '70, MSME '72
Alumni Achievement Award

Upon graduating from Washington University in 1972 with bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering, Gerald J. Williams lectured at Washington University from 1973 to 1980 as an affiliate professor of mechanical engineering, teaching courses in Air Conditioning Systems Theory and Practice.

In 1974, Williams began work for McClure Engineering Associates in St. Louis, advancing to president in 2000 — an office he held for eight years until his recent retirement after 34 years with the firm. As president from 2000 to 2008, he is credited with increasing the staff from 35 to 51 and revenue from $3.1 million to $6.8 million.

Williams served as principal engineer on numerous energy conservation projects for Washington University School of Medicine, including the design concept and implementation of a 20,000-ton chilled water network, an energy efficient and reliable system that mimics the operation of a central plant at significantly lower first cost and operating cost. The only system of its type in the country, it is an example of a practical solution to the challenges of sustainability and energy conservation.

Williams lives in St. Louis with his wife, Linda. Retirement should afford him the chance to devote more time to his 1960s rock band, "The Decades."

Robert L. Behnken
BSME '92, BSPHY '92
Young Alumni Award

In March 2008, Robert Behnken completed his first spaceflight mission as Mission Specialist 1 on space shuttle Endeavor during STS-123. During the 16-day mission, the crew delivered both the Japanese Experiment Logistics Module and the final element of the station's Mobile Servicing System. Upon completion of the mission, Behnken logged more than 378 hours in space, including almost 20 hours in three spacewalks. STS-123 returned to Earth on March 26. It was the 25th shuttle mission in support of the International Space Station.

Behnken's journey to space seemingly began at Washington University in St. Louis. Behnken began as an Air Force ROTC student and was later named Washington University's Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Senior in 1992. His exceptional performance as a student catapulted him into work as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. There Behnken earned his master's and doctorate degrees and conducted research in nonlinear analysis, including software implementation development and hardware construction.

Upon graduation, Behnken entered active duty at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. At Eglin, Behnken worked as a technical manager and developmental engineer for new munitions systems.

Behnken was next assigned to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School Flight Test Engineer's course at Edwards Air Force Base, California. After graduating, he was assigned to the F-22 Combined Test Force (CTF) at Edwards.

A graduate of Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights, Missouri, Behnken resides in Houston, Texas.

Stephen F. & Camilla T. Brauer
Dean's Award

Stephen and Camilla Brauer have provided significant scholarship support for students in the School of Engineering and in the John M. Olin Business School. They endowed the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Distinguished Professorship in Biomedical Engineering and have contributed generously to support University initiatives, including facility expansions like the laboratory addition in Jolley Hall.

In October 2008, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced that the University had received a major commitment from the Brauers to help implement the long-range, strategic plan of its School of Engineering & Applied Science. The School of Engineering's new building, scheduled for completion in 2010, will bear the name "Stephen F. & Camilla T. Brauer Hall." The commitment was made in the form of a challenge grant, which will match all gifts and commitments from alumni, parents, and friends up to the maximum of the commitment by the Brauers.

Stephen Brauer is chairman of Hunter Engineering Company, a leading manufacturer of computer-based, automotive service equipment for the global market headquartered in St. Louis. Camilla Brauer is a leading figure in local cultural and civic organizations and has been recognized nationally for her volunteer work as a fundraiser.

From 2001-03, Steve Brauer served as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. Upon returning to the United States, he resumed his position at Hunter Engineering. He is past president of the Missouri Botanical Garden Board of Trustees, a partner in The St. Louis Cardinals Baseball LP, a member of St. Louis Civic Progress, and a director of Ameren. His long association with Washington University began in 1987 when he joined the National Council for the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He was elected to the University's Board of Trustees in 1991 and currently serves as the vice chair and chair-elect.

Camilla Brauer serves as a member of The Danforth Circle Committee of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society at Washington University. In 1996, the National Society of Fund Raising Executives named her the Outstanding Fund Raising Volunteer in the United States.

 
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