Professor receives outstanding engineer award from Purdue

Associate Dean Larry Howell was recently recognized with the 2016 Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award from his alma mater, Purdue University.

Purdue selects alumni each year who have demonstrated excellence in industry, academia, and governmental service. This year, Howell was the only academic honored with the award. 

“I got to go back to Purdue and meet with people that I knew when I went there,” Howell said. “It was a really great feeling to know that I’d made my alma mater proud.”

Howell received both his master’s and PhD degrees from Purdue after finishing his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University. Before going to graduate school, he worked on projects like the YF-22, the first prototype of the US Air Force F-22 Raptor. 

Having worked as a professor at BYU for 22 years, Howell has done considerable research on subjects like compliant mechanisms, origami-inspired mechanisms, and space mechanisms. He wrote the book “Compliant Mechanisms,” which is the most cited work in the field and has been translated into Chinese. He was also awarded with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Machine Design Award, which is one of the highest honors given in ASME. 

Of all Howell’s accomplishments as a mechanical engineer, he is most proud of the work he’s done with his students. He has been a co-inventor with more than 60 students on patents, and coauthor with more than 80 students on papers. 

“It’s not just about the technology and research,” Howell said. “It’s about providing those opportunities to work with students.”

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