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William Grossmann and Lori Wagner named college of engineering’s distinguished alumni, to speak at engineering graduation ceremonies

May 13, 2016

William Grossmann and Lori Wagner
William Grossmann and Lori Wagner

William “Bill” Grossmann, senior vice president of Global Project Design and Lori L. Wagner, armor marketing manager in the performance materials and technologies division of Honeywell are Virginia Tech's College of Engineering distinguished alumni for 2016.

"The college has approximately 65,000 living alumni, providing us with a host of very qualified and prestigious alumni who give back to their alma mater," said Richard C. Benson, dean of the college and the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair of Engineering. "Both Grossmann and Wagner are members of the college’s departmental advisory boards, the Committee of 100, and the Academy of Engineering Excellence.”

Grossmann and Wagner will address the college’s 2016 class of approximately 1,400 engineering graduates and their families and friends. The college graduation will be divided into two ceremonies on May 14 at Cassell Coliseum.

Wagner, of Richmond, Virginia, will address graduates at the 8 a.m. ceremony in the departments of biological systems engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, industrial and systems engineering, and mining and minerals engineering.

Grossmann of Berlin, Germany, will address graduates at the 11 a.m. ceremony in the departments of aerospace and ocean engineering, civil and environmental engineering, construction engineering and management, engineering science and mechanics, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering.

William “Bill” Grossmann

Born in Richmond, the Eagle Scout excelled at swimming, allowing him to attend Virginia Tech on an athletic scholarship. He was voted the outstanding swimmer in the Southern Conference in 1956, 1957, and 1958. In 1990, Grossmann was the first swimmer inducted into Virginia Tech’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Grossmann received three degrees from Virginia Tech’s Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering (AOE); bachelor’s in 1958, master’s in 1961, and doctorate in 1964. He received Virginia Tech’s Sigma Xi Award and NASA’s Dissertation Award.  The latter provided him with a one-year sabbatical with pay, and he moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village and a post doc position with New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

Grossmann formed the computer science center at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York, was part of a group at the Max Planck Institut für Plasma Physik that discovered a new form of fusion plasma heating, and developed an initiative for upgrading the information technology infrastructure at Asea Brown Boveri Germany, Ltd.

In 2006, together with his wife Judy, they established the Charlie L. Yates scholarship for leaders in aerospace and ocean engineering.

Grossmann continues to work with Science Applications International Corporation and National Institute of Aerospace dividing his time between Berlin and Hampton, Virginia. He is also an adjunct professor in the AOE department.

Lori L. Wagner

As a teenager, Wagner worked alongside her dad, operating power equipment and preferring the times they greased their hands, working on engines. Despite Lori’s expressed interest in chemical engineering, a math teacher informed her that she “would never become an engineer.”

In the late 1970s, she chose to attend Virginia Tech over MIT and with a National Merit Scholarship and a Pratt Scholarship, Wagner became part of the 10 percent of females in the chemical engineering class. She earned both her bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech in 1982 and 1987, respectively.

Upon graduation, she joined Allied, and after two buyouts, subsequently, Honeywell. Within four years, Wagner was promoted to management, supervising the process development group for Spectra fiber and Spectra Shield materials. Four more years later, she became technology manager of these Spectra lines, equipped with a $3.5 million budget.

Wagner’s name appears on more than 30 patents. She serves as armor marketing manager for the Packaging and Composites segment of the Specialty Products business, part of Performance Materials and Technologies -- a $10 billion strategic business unit of Honeywell.

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