Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Thank You to the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering at the University of Oklahoma

I made it back late last night from the University of Oklahoma where, on April 1, I had had a whirlwind day, as part of the Dream Course, Understanding and Engineering Systems, that I had been invited to speak in. I delivered two lectures, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening, on supply chains and network vulnerability, respectively.

This post is to thank the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering at the University of Oklahoma for the outstanding hospitality!

I stayed two nights in a Sooners Suite, which is actually a  large cabin. My suite had 2 bedrooms,  a huge livingroom, kitchen, and dining area, and I could not resist taking the photos, which feature a lot of University of Oklahoma (OU) decorations and memorabilia. Plus, there was a welcome bag for me upon my arrival.

One of the high points of my visit to OU included getting a quick  (my schedule was packed with meetings with faculty and students) drive around tour of campus by Dr. Randa Shehab, the Director of the School, and I managed to take a few snapshots below. The flowers were blooming, the sun was shining, it was warm (in contrast, it was snowing back home in Massachusetts), and the buildings and landscaping are simply stunning at OU!
Several groups of Master's and doctoral students presented overviews of their research projects to me -- very impressive and interesting work that is pushing both conceptual and methodological frameworks as well as applications from supply chains to energy to material science.

I also met with some faculty from the School of Computer Science and the Director of the School of Computer Science and had heard that my UMass CS colleague, Professor Don Towsley, had given a talk there a few months ago. It is such a small world in academia!

After my Dream Course lecture, and prior to my evening public lecture, I had dinner with the Faculty Advisors of the University of Oklahoma INFORMS Student Chapter, Professors Kash Barker and Hillel Kumin, in a room in the beautiful Student Union building -- to prove that I was actually there the photo below is of me standing in one of the rooms -- yes, those are oriental carpets and real flowers and plush chairs:
The Faculty Advisors for the OU INFORMS Student Chapter are standing to the right of the student chapter team leaders  in the photo above that I took after our dinner. The student chapter was very happy to have received the cum laude award from INFORMS (for the second time) at the Phoenix Annual meeting last Fall. We discussed the activities of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter that I have been the Faculty Advisor of for the past 9 years and compared notes and activities, including taking advantage of the great INFORMS Speakers Program!

Finally, I have to thank my host and the one resposible for this Dream Course, Professor Janet K. Allen, the John and Mary Moore Chair, for such outstanding hospitality. It even included a sumptuous buffet of Indian food at the Himalayas restaurant in Norman on Sunday evening, with her husband, Professor Farrokh Mistree, the Director of the School of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, and L.A. Comp Chair.

They also made sure that I saw the stunning engineering practice building (as told to me if athletes have practice buildings, engineers, should, too) in which I captured some of the student projects that will be entered in various competitions. Would you believe that the College of Engineering at OU has 200 National Merit Scholars!

I carried back an autographed copy of the book, A Letter to America, by David Boren, the President of the University of Oklahoma, given to me by Dr. Shehab.

The University of Oklahoma set new standards for academic hospitality -- thank you and congratulations on all the achievements from research scholarship to education!