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Louis J. Powers

Distinguished Engineer: 1994

Degree: Mechanical Engineering – 1939

Citation at Time of Nomination in 1994

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Louis John "Jack" Powers graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1939 from Texas Tech University and his Master’s degree in Engineering Mechanics in 1950 from the University of Texas at Austin. His advanced studies include work at a number of institutions such as MIT, Stanford and the University of Southern California.

Joining the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas Tech University in 1942, Professor Powers has served Texas Tech, its students and faculty and staff for 52 extraordinary years. He served as chairman of the department for 20 years, from 1952 to 1972. The challenges in his instruction of mechanical design and dynamics courses have molded more than five generations of Tech students. Many former students fondly recall his high standards, hypothesizing that "Cactus Jack" would continue to hold class even if the University itself were closed.

Professor Powers, a lifelong learner, gained hands–on experience in numerous industrial research positions. After graduating from Texas Tech, he began work as a design engineer for Mobil Oil Company in California. He also worked during the summers at Humble Oil Company in Texas, the Applied Physics Laboratory of The Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, Phillips Petroleum Company, Hughes Aircraft Company, Litton Industries, John Lynch and Tait–AC Pump Company. Professor Powers has used his engineering expertise many times in patent litigation consulting and as an expert witness.

Jack Powers also has been an active public servant, participating on innumerable boards and civic committees. He was a member of the City of Lubbock Electric Utilities Board from 1973 to 1981 and was its chairman from 1974 to 1975. He is also former Vice President of the Community Health Center of Lubbock and an elder and lay preacher in the First Presbyterian Church of Lubbock.

Professor Powers belongs to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is a former member of that organization’s Policy Board on Education. He is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and former President of the South Plains Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the highest engineering honorary, and in 1942, received a national Tau Beta Pi scholarship.

Professor Powers has received many honors, including the Standard Oil Company Outstanding Teacher Award in 1968, "Engineer of the Year" in 1969 from the South Plains Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers and the first General Dynamics Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1991.

He is married to the former Margaret Rose Adams, and they reside in Lubbock. Their children are Patrick Powers, Anne Bolton, Genevieve Blanchette and Frank L. Powers, who is deceased. Professor Powers was honored for a half–century of service to Texas Tech University at a special recognition banquet in 1992. He and his wife have established the Powers Scholarship Endowment, which continues to grow through their generous personal donations and the donations of many appreciative alumni.

We are truly delighted to give Louis John Powers the very obviously deserved title of DISTINGUISHED ENGINEER EXTRAORDINAIRE.

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