Mechanical Engineering – 1947
Dr. George C. Beakley, Jr., Associate Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Arizona State University, has been highly recommended for the honor of Distinguished Engineer. As valedictorian of his high school class at Levelland, Texas, he was, as he puts it, "a wind–blown farm boy." The prevailing westerlies blew him to nearby Tech in 1941, where he studied engineering, worked part–time in the dormitory, served as the university’s first fencing coach, earned a major athletic letter, and was a founding member of the Saddle Tramps. World War II interrupted his education, but he returned to Tech in 1946 and graduated in Mechanical Engineering in 1947.
From 1947–1953, Dr. Beakley taught engineering at Tarleton State University. During that time, he wrote his first engineering textbook and completed a master’s degree at the University of Texas. During 1953–54 he worked as a stress analyst and rotor blade design engineer for Bell Helicopter Corporation. He then went on for a doctorate at Oklahoma State University, finishing his work there in 1956. Upon completion of the Ph.D., Dr. Beakley went to Arizona State University as Chairman of Mechanical Engineering and the first engineering professor employed by the school.
Dr. Beakley’s efforts were crucial to the establishment of ASU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Since its beginning, the ASU engineering program has grown to some 7,000 students pursuing a full range of engineering and engineering technology degrees. One of his major contributions was the development of the university’s Engineering Core Curriculum, which has since been adopted by a number of other engineering schools. For the past 25 years, Dr. Beakley has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading authorities on freshman engineering design.
Dr. Beakley is known to be a strong, perceptive leader––one whose visionary concepts are usually several years ahead of everyone else’s. His achievements include authorship of 29 engineering textbooks. These texts have led the nation in their popularity, with over a million students having studied from one or more of them. Other accomplishments include service as a member of 26 engineering (ABET) accreditation teams, membership at the level of Fellow in both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Education, and recognition in 1977 by ASEE as the first recipient of its national Chester F. Carlson award for creative effort in engineering education. In 1977 he was awarded the ASEE Western Electric Fund Award for excellence in teaching. In addition to his professional commitments, Dr. Beakley serves as a Deacon and teacher of a men’s Bible study class at the North Phoenix Baptist Church.
Dr. Beakley is married to the former Oletta Zeh, who graduated from Tech in 1944 in music education. The Beakleys have three sons and a daughter.
It is a pleasure to honor as fine a person as Dr. Beakley with the designation of DISTINGUISHED ENGINEER.