On September 5, 2014, as new associate professor Sean Maw was welcomed into the role of Jerry G. Huff Chair in Innovative Teaching at the College of Engineering, the work and values of another teacher were remembered.
A consummate teacher, the late Jerry Huff cared about his students and devoted much of his time to supporting their success. That was the key that unlocked and opened the door in 1979 for a young student named Don Listwin who, in his fourth year of engineering at the college, was still searching for a clear direction.
Years later, older and extraordinarily successful as an electrical engineer and executive in California’s Silicon Valley, Listwin funded the chair named for his former professor. He joined Maw and Jerry Huff’s wife and daughter, Beverley and Rebecca Huff, as well as Dean of Engineering Georges Kipouros and many friends and colleagues, at the college on Friday to celebrate and mark the occasion.
Speaking at the event, Maw thanked Listwin for his vision in creating the chair, which resides in the college’s Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development. The school is focused on helping students and working engineers develop communication, leadership, design and entrepreneurship skills necessary to move beyond the technical dimensions of engineering.
“Just as the Graham school is a very important component of our college—we are very fortunate to have it—this chair is a very important resource for our students and faculty,” Dean Kipouros said to those gathered for the formal portion of the event.
In his role as Huff chair, Maw will expand opportunities for student participation in hands-on engineering design projects, including multi-disciplinary design projects so students experience working together across engineering disciplines. He will also lead activities to ensure faculty and students are up to date with advances in engineering education and technology.
Rebecca Huff shared memories of her father that included her recollection of waiting to go home while he spent time with each student lined up at his door after classes. She then presented Maw with a tool box that represented Jerry Huff’s approach to learning and life: gather your knowledge and life’s lessons into one place so that when faced with a problem, you can go to that “tool box” and find all you need to come up with a solution.
Maw said, “I wish I’d had the pleasure of knowing Jerry Huff. He was a great teacher in electrical engineering, a colourful personality and he cared about his students passionately. I hope I can do his name proud.”